Thursday, December 31, 2015

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Pomegranate Champagne Glaze

New Year's Eve. Today is also Champagne Day, so pop some corks early and make this  Chocolate Cake with Champagne Glaze?  Pretty and tasty, and a great way to celebrate. Happy New Year!

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Champagne Pomegranate Glaze

Chocolate Bundt Cake

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp Instant Coffee Granules
8 ounces dark chocolate (60-70%), chopped, divided
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sweet butter, softened
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
3 large eggs

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Grease 10-inch Bundt pan.
Combine flour, baking soda and baking powder in small bowl. Bring water and coffee granules to a boil in small saucepan; remove from heat. Add 6 ounces chocolate; stir until smooth.
Beat sugar, butter, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs; beat on high speed for 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture alternately with chocolate mixture. Pour into prepared Bundt pan.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until long wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean.
Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely. Place on plate. Brush cake with glaze.

Champagne Pomegranate Glaze

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
1 cup champagne
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

Directions
While cake is baking, combine sugar, champagne, and pomegranate juice in medium saucepan. Bring to boil while stirring. Reduce heat, add seeds, and simmer 20-30 minutes.
Transfer to bowl and let cool (will thicken as it cools).
Brush cake with glaze.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bacon Chocolate Truffles from Chef Liz Thompson

Today is Bacon Day! Yes, there's a day devoted to Bacon. Not a big surprise!

Chef Liz Thompson offers a great recipe for Bacon Chocolate Truffles. Chef Liz Thompson is a culinary instructor at The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire. She has been in the restaurant business for more than 20 years. Her background includes restaurant ownership and years of food marketing as well. She has an MBA in marketing in addition to a culinary degree, and launched a highly successful restaurant named The Pig, which was voted “Best BBQ in L.A.” by Los Angeles Magazine in 2002.

No time to make these truffles? Grab a Vosges Mo's Bacon Bar.

Bacon is considered one of the most versatile foods on the planet, with Americans eating an average of 18 pounds of bacon a year. That’s about 5,608,654,506 lbs for the entire U.S., which is equal to the height of almost 8 Empire State buildings and the reason why there is National Bacon Day. Bacon. For those of us who love it, it can do no wrong. It is also not a passing fad. We have accepted bacon as a “flavor”, like root beer, peppermint or cherry. 

Bacon has moved beyond the plate as a mere side to a new platform. Once Burger King introduced their Bacon Ice Cream Sundae to the entire country, it was realized that “ baconnites” are not a small part of the population. In 2012, Jack in the Box sold a Bacon Milkshake that was on their “secret” menu using a bacon syrup. The craze may have started with chocolate covered bacon at the county fairs, then started moving into chocolate starting with Vosage’s Bacon Chocolate Bar and now there is bacon popcorn, bacon brittle, bacon cakes. And how about a website called “Bacon Freaks” and a “Swine and Dine” club featuring monthly shipments of bacon products along with a matching wine with a “Snouts Honor” label? There is Baconnaise Bacon Mayonnaise, and believe it or not, Bacon Chocolate Covered Oreos and Bacon Milk Chocolate Covered Twinkies sold by a company called Bacon Addicts and sold through Amazon. And Urban Outfitters sells Bacon Candy Canes. 

And the question surfaces, how to do bake/cook with bacon? The easiest way is to cook it either in the oven or in a pan, drain it and crumble for use in basically anything the way you might add nuts to. If you are using bacon to flavor a custard like crème brulee or ice cream, the bacon must be infused into the milk or heavy cream. The bacon, once again, is cooked and drained and broken up into pieces and put into the dairy and heated to a boil and then left off the stove for twenty minutes, allowing the flavor to seep in, and is then strained.

I really like this recipe because it is subtle. The cream is infused with bacon rather than having bacon bits in the truffles. Here's Chef Liz Thompson's recipe.

Bacon Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients
2 ¾ pounds of Dark Chocolate Chips
2 ¾ cups Heavy Cream
8 oz. Bacon Strips, Cooked and Drained

Directions
1. Place chocolate chips in large bowl and set aside.
2. Put heavy cream in a high sided pot on to avoid boiling over and place on stove. Place  bacon, broken up into medium sized pieces, into heavy cream and bring to boil. Turn off heat and leave on stove.
3. Let sit for 20 minutes to infuse the heavy cream with bacon flavor; strain out bacon pieces.
4. Bring heavy cream to boil again, and then pour on top of chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes until chocolate starts to melt and then begin whisking until the mixture is completely blended.
5. Place mixture into container and refrigerate once cooled down to set.
6. Once the mixture is set, it can be scooped out individually with large side of melon baller. Dip melon baller into hot water each time to easily scoop out bacon flavored truffle filling and place on wax paper and refrigerate again until firm.
7. Using chocolate dipping fork or regular fork, dip chocolate into either melted Candy Melts, already tempered, or temper your own chocolate if you are brave. Let set; it is not necessary to refrigerate again.

New Year's Eve Chocolate Covered Ice Cream Cone Hats

From an old Disney's Family Fun Magazine comes a really adorable chocolate covered ice cream cone project that you can do with kids. Use these cones to hold your favorite ice-cream on New Year's Eve!

New Year's Eve Chocolate Covered Ice Cream Cone Hats

Ingredients
Sugar cones
Ice cream
Chocolate chips (12-ounce bag for 10 to 12 cones) or any high quality dark chocolate, chopped
Icing: Make this easy. Buy the Wilton's icing writers. They come in multiple colors and are easy to use
Shoestring licorice
Mini-nonpareils

Instructions
Spread melted chocolate chips over each sugar cone with a small spatula. Let chocolate harden for about 1 hour (or 20 minutes in the refrigerator).
Optional: For chinstraps, use icing to attach the ends of a fruit strip or a length of shoestring licorice to the inside of each cone.
Use icing to decorate the hats and attach nonpareils. 

Get creative and use your Gingerbread cookie decorating techniques

Photo: Disney Family Fun

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Champagne Truffles: Ring in the New Year!

Ring in the New Year with Champagne Truffles. Several great Chocolate Companies make Champagne Truffles. The following list is not definitive, but will get you started. Comment below with your favorites. Love to add to the list. Scroll down for an awesome video from Vosges Haute-Chocolate on the making of Champagne Truffles!

Recchiuti Chocolate Champagne Truffles
A version of a classic favorite. Dark chocolate truffle with Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs from Napa Valley and confectioner's sugar.

Seattle Chocolate Company Champagne Truffles. A bubbly truffle featuring a blended milk and dark chocolate center with natural popping candy and a bit of bite. Enrobed in dark chocolate.

Choclatique Bubbly Champagne Truffles. I love these. Have tried them several times. They're light and cream and bubbly! 

Teuscher Chocolate of Switzerland
House specialty, the famous Champagne Truffle, a blend of cream, butter and chocolate: champagne cream center surrounded by a dark chocolate ganache, covered in milk chocolate and dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Originally created by Adolf Teuscher, Sr. in 1947. Available also in an all dark version which I like even more!

Jacques Torres
Jacques' Taittinger Champagne Truffles are a combination of milk chocolate, fresh cream and Taittinger Brut La Francaise. I love the cork shape of these truffles.

Williams-Sonoma
La Maison du Chocolat selects and roasts its own cacao beans, and all of the chocolate is made from special house blends. Their collection of chocolate truffles are hand made at the La Maison du Chocolat workshop in Paris. Other truffles but includes Champagne truffles: dark chocolate truffles infused with Fine Champagne Cognac, covered with dark chocolate and dusted with cocoa powder.

Payard Truffles
Champagne Truffles

Neuhaus Champagne Truffles
Dark chocolate dusted with a frosting of powdered sugar with soft centers of champagne butter. Not for the superstitious. Neuhaus Champagne Truffles are sold in boxes of 13.

Godiva makes a champagne truffle, but I haven't had one in awhile. I remember it was beautiful and very smooth, but there was more chocolate taste than champagne. Still Godiva truffles are great.

Charbonnel & Walker Milk Chocolate Marc de Champagne Truffles.  Milk Chocolate with Marc de Champagne center.  Also try Charbonnel & Walker Chocolate Pink Champagne Truffles. Tangy & Sweet with a strawberry dusting and Marc de Champagne truffle center. Tangy & sweet.

Paul A. Young Champagne Truffles. Made with real Champagne.

Demarquette Champagne Truffles. These are made with vintage Dom Perignon Champagne. U.K. Brut Champagne (Dom Perignon) blended with our very own recipe of single estate and single origin cocoas from around the world and Cornish and Hampshire creams for the ultimate in pure taste. Each truffle is hand dipped in 71.1% couverture chocolate before being dusted with pure cocoa powder.

Nuubia French Champagne Truffles. Silken white ganache infused with Cognac, pipped into dark chocolate shell, covered in chocolate and finished with icing sugar.

Vosges Krug Champagne Truffle. Watch this awesome video on making Champagne Truffles.



Making of Krug® Champagne Truffles from Vosges Haut-Chocolat® on Vimeo.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Truffles: Recipe Round-Up for National Chocolate Candy Day

Today is National Chocolate Candy Day. Chocolate Truffles are my favorite kind of candy -- be they filled, covered, rolled, or dipped! Chocolate Truffles are a chocolate confectionary, traditionally made with a chocolate ganache center coated in chocolate, cocoa powder, or chopped nuts, and usually in a round shape. Their name derives from their traditional shape, which resembles a 'Truffle' which is the edible part of the tuber fungus.

Here's a round-up of 50+ Chocolate Truffle Recipes that have been posted on DyingforChocolate.com over the last few years. Make one or more and enjoy these truffles today as you celebrate National Chocolate Candy Day. No time to make truffles? Buy some great truffles at your local chocolatier and celebrate!

Do you have a favorite truffle recipe? Post below.

Absinthe Truffles

Almond Joy Truffles with Orchid Vanilla

Amaretto Truffles

Avocado Truffles  (Dark Chocolate)

Bailey's Irish Cream Truffles

Black Currant Tea Chocolate Truffles
 
Black Russian Truffles

Blueberry Truffles

Blue Cheese Truffles

Cappuccino Truffles

Candy Cane Truffles 

Caipirinha Truffles

Champagne Truffles

Chevre Chocolate Truffles 

Chocolate Cherry Truffles

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Real Coffee Truffles  

Cognac Truffles

Death and Taxes Truffles 

Eggnog Truffles  (Dark Chocolate)

German Chocolate Cake Truffles

Gingerbread Truffles

Goat Cheese Truffles

Grand Marnier Truffles

Guinness Chocolate Truffles

Guinness Pretzel Truffles

Chocolate Heart-Shaped Truffles 

Honey Truffles

Irish Coffee Truffles

Kahlua Truffles

Kentucky Derby Truffles 

Lavender Chocolate Truffles

Lemon Chiffon Truffles 

Maple Truffles

Milk Chocolate Truffles

Margarita Truffles 

Mexica Truffle Recipes (3)

Chocolate Mint Truffles

Mint Julep Truffles 

Mojito Truffles

Nutella Truffles

Orange Creamsicle Truffles 

Oreo Truffles

Parisian Chocolate Truffles 

Peanut Butter Truffles

Peanut Butter & Jelly Truffles 

Pecan Pie Truffles

Pumpkin Pie Truffles

Raspberry Vodka Truffle

Rocky Road Truffles

S'mores Truffles 

Tequila Truffles

Toasted Almond Truffles 
































Sunday, December 27, 2015

Chocolate Fruitcake: National Fruitcake Day

December 27 might seem a little late for National Fruitcake Day, but as they say, better late than never.  If you're like me, you're saying Fruitcake? That over-inebriated rock hard cake with artificial fruits that gets passed around the family kind of like a white elephant gift? Well, it doesn't have to be. There are actually some wonderful recipes for Chocolate Fruitcake. Aha, your eyes and tastebuds have already picked up.

Of course, I'm all about easy, so here's an easy recipe for Chocolate Fruitcake. One caveat, you won't be able to eat this today. Fruitcake really does need to ferment a bit. Following is a recipe for Chocolate Fruitcake adapted froom Diana Rattray at Southern Food. This recipe originally called for candied red and green cherries, but I really don't like those. Try using dried cranberries or dried cherries or dried apricots, lots of nuts and your choice of alcohol. It's quite a versatile recipe. The original recipe didn't use booze, but what's a fruitcake without alcohol? Another recipe for Chocolate Fruitcake that I really like is David Lebovitz's Chocolate-Cherry Fruitcake.

Either way, if you like chocolate, you'll find this chocolate twist on an old holiday standard quite to your liking!

Chocolate Fruitcake

Ingredients:
1 cup sweet butter
6 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao, fair-trade), chopped
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1-1/2 cups combination of walnuts and pecans, chopped
1/2 cup rum, whiskey, or amaretto.. (or whatever you like)

Directions:
1. A day ahead, plump the dried fruits by tossing them in 1/2 cup of amaretto,  rum or whiskey (or whatever alcohol you like!), cover for later use in the cake.

To Make Cake:
1. Melt butter and chocolate in large heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring often. Remove from heat, and cool for 15 minutes.
2. Stir in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add flour and salt, stirring until blended. Stir in chopped boozy fruits and chopped nuts. Spoon mixture into 4 greased and floured 5 x 3 x 2-inch loaf pans.
3. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes
4. Poke lots of small holes in cakes with skewer. Pour 3 Tbsp liquor (see above) onto each cake. Let cool for another 10-15 minutes or so.
5. Remove from pans, and cool on wire racks.
6. Wrap in plastic and store for up to 7 days.

If you're making these Fruitcakes ahead, you can brush with more liquor every day. Don't freeze if you're adding alcohol.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Boxing Day: Pear and Chocolate Trifle

Photo: BBC GoodFood
Being an Anglophile, I often come across references to Boxing Day in British books I read. What exactly is Boxing Day? When I was younger, without any 'real' boxing day experience, I took it to mean the day after Christmas when you boxed up all your ornaments and returned them to the attic. I also thought Boxing Day was the day that you boxed up your presents and returned them to the stores where they were purchased. I was so wrong.

Boxing Day is the day after Christmas, when "servants and tradesmen traditionally would receive gifts from their superiors." Today it's a national holiday in most of the British Commonwealth and former British colonies. As far as why it's called Boxing Day, there are several different theories:

A ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present.

Boxing Day was a day off for servants and when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. The servants would also go home to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.

A box to collect money for the poor was placed in Churches on Christmas day then opened the next day.

Great sailing ships when setting sail would have a sealed box containing money on board for good luck. If the voyage were a success the box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas and the contents given to the poor.

Whatever the origin, it's definitely another day to eat well, and that would mean chocolate!

Here's a lovely British recipe I found a few years ago to celebrate Boxing Day: Pear and Chocolate Trifle. What could be better for Boxing Day than a trifle? This recipe is from John Torode in BBC Good Food Magazine. I've adjusted the measurements for American Cooking. If you're just too tired to bake another thing after the holidays, a shortcut would be to use leftover Chocolate Cake in the trifle.

BOXING DAY PEAR AND CHOCOLATE TRIFLE

Ingredients

FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE LAYER
7 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup sweet butter
2 cups superfine (if you don't have golden caster) sugar
5 large eggs, separated

FOR THE POACHED PEARS
6 firm pears, peeled
1 vanilla pod, split

FOR THE MASCARPONE LAYER
2 large egg yolks
4 Tbsp golden caster sugar (superfine sugar)
5 ounces marsala
2 - 9 ounce tubs of mascarpone

TO FINISH
3.5 ounces dark chocolate, grated
5 tbsp very strong coffee (or espresso)

Directions

1. For the cake: Melt chocolate and butter together, then cool. Meanwhile, heat oven to 325F. Butter and line the base and sides of 9"springform pan with parchment paper.

2. Whisk sugar and egg yolks until very pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Fold in chocolate mix using large metal spoon. Put egg whites and pinch of salt into another bowl and, with clean beaters, whisk until you have medium peaks. Fold this gently but thoroughly into chocolate mix with metal spoon, then spoon into pan and bake for 11/2 hrs until risen all over. Insert skewer into middle of tin to test; it should come out with just a few damp crumbs but no wet mix. The cake will sink once it cools.

3. While cake cooks, put pears, vanilla pod and 4 cups water into saucepan. Weigh pears down under surface with small plate, then simmer for 20 mins, covered, until tender. Leave to cool in liquid if you have time. Cut each pear into 6 long slices, then remove stalk and core.

4. For mascarpone layer: Half-fill medium saucepan with water, then bring to simmer. Put yolks, sugar and 6 tbsp of the Marsala into large bowl, sit it over just-simmering water, then whisk for 5 mins until mixture is thick and holds trail for few secs. Put mascarpone into bowl, beat with 2 tbsp more Marsala to loosen, then whisk in egg mix in 2 batches, until smooth, thick and light.

5. You're now ready to assemble the trifle. Cut cake in half - it will be squidgy, so don't worry if it breaks up. Spoon some of mascarpone layer into bottom of  dish, then top with a few pears and a sprinkling of grated chocolate. Put half of cake on top, then sprinkle with some of remaining Marsala and coffee. Spoon more of mascarpone over, then top with more pears and more chocolate. Top this with next piece of cake, spoon over more Marsala and coffee, then spoon remaining mascarpone mix over top. Finish with remaining pears. Chill for at least 2 hrs, or up to 2 days. When ready to serve, cover with last of grated chocolate.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Chocolate Figgy Pudding Recipe: Vintage Christmas Cards of Cats with Figgy Pudding

"Now! Bring us some figgy pudding and bring some out here!"

How long have you been singing this Christmas Carol? Have you ever had Figgy Pudding aka Christmas Pudding? And what, exactly is it?

One other question, can you add chocolate? Yes! Scroll down for Ghirardelli's recipe for Chocolate Figgy Pudding.

Figgy Pudding is pretty much exactly what it sounds like -- a pudding/cake with figs in it. The reason that it's in such high demand, though, has more to do with its inedible ingredients. Coins, rings and other trinkets were often hidden in the Christmas pudding and each supposedly predicted the recipient's fortune for the coming year. For example, if you found a coin, you would become wealthy. If you found a ring, you'd get married ... and so on. Think of it as an Old English fortune cookie.

From WiseGeek.com:

It's amazing what a brief mention in one Victorian-era Christmas carol can do for an obscure little dessert called figgy pudding. Every year, thousands of people around the world become curious about the dessert mentioned in the secular English carol "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." Apparently, the party-goers mentioned in the lyrics refuse to leave until they get some of this pudding from their host. This must be some seriously good pudding.

In actuality, figgy pudding is more of a cake than a pudding. There have been recipes for it since the 15th century, although its popularity as a Christmas dessert probably reached its peak during the late 19th century. Several factors have significantly hampered the wholesale expansion of the figgy pudding industry, including an interminably long cooking time, an exotic ingredients list and a cringe-inducing dependency on saturated fats for texture.
There are numerous recipes for this pudding, from a traditional steamed version similar to modern bread pudding to a pastry-covered blend of figs, dates, fruits and spices. Nearly all recipes call for three or four hours of steaming. This is accomplished by placing a metal bowl with the pudding mixture into a larger bowl partially filled with boiling water. The indirect heat generated by the boiling water cooks the dessert evenly and slowly. This is equivalent to using a bain marie water bath for individual ramekins filled with batter.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Figgy Pudding


Ingredients
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
4 cups soft bread crumbs
1 cup finely chopped suet (I use sweet butter)
2 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 cups chopped dried figs
3/4 cup Ghirardelli's Ground Chocolate
1/2 cup hot milk
3/4 tsp salt

Directions:
Beat eggs, add sugar, bread crumbs, suet, figs (dredged with flour), chocolate mixed with hot milk, and salt, stir thoroughly.
Steam three hours in a greased mold.
Serve hot with a hard sauce.

Hard sauce: Great recipe at The Pioneer Woman

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Chocolate Egg Nog: History & Three Recipes

Today is National Eggnog Day. How perfect? Eggnog evokes the holiday spirit, and Chocolate Eggnog... well how delicious can you get? There are so many variations... Following are three great recipes. FYI: this wonderful rich drink can be spelled as one word or two: egg nog or eggnog, so I'm going to change it up in the recipes below.

The History of Eggnog From Wikipedia:

The origins, etymology, and the ingredients used to make the original eggnog drink are debated. Eggnog may have originated in East Anglia, England; or it may have simply developed from posset, a medieval European beverage made with hot milk.

The "nog" part of its name may come from the word noggin, a Middle English term for a small, carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol. However, the British drink was also called an Egg Flip (from the practice of "flipping" (rapidly pouring) the mixture between two pitchers to mix it).

Another story is that the term derived from egg and grog, a common Colonial term used for the drink made with rum. Eventually, that term was shortened to egg'n'grog, then eggnog. One very early example: Isaac Weld, Junior, in his book Travels Through the States of North America and the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, during the years 1795, 1796, and 1797 (published in 1800) wrote: "The American travellers, before they pursued their journey, took a hearty draught each, according to custom, of egg-nog, a mixture composed of new milk, eggs, rum, and sugar, beat up together;..."

In Britain, the drink was popular mainly among the aristocracy. Those who could get milk and eggs mixed it with brandy, Madeira or sherry to make a drink similar to modern alcoholic egg nog. The drink is described in Cold Comfort Farm as a Hell's Angel, made with an egg, two ounces of brandy, a teaspoonful of cream, and some chips of ice, where it is served as breakfast.

Eggnog crossed the Atlantic to the English colonies during the 18th century. Since brandy and wine were heavily taxed, rum from the Triangular Trade with the Caribbean was a cost-effective substitute. The inexpensive liquor, coupled with plentiful farm and dairy products, helped the drink become very popular in America. When the supply of rum to the newly-founded United States was reduced as a consequence of the American Revolutionary War, Americans turned to domestic whiskey, and eventually bourbon in particular, as a substitute.

The Eggnog Riot occurred at the United States Military Academy on 23–25 December 1826. Whiskey was smuggled into the barracks to make eggnog for a Christmas Day party. The incident resulted in the court-martialing of twenty cadets and one enlisted soldier.

Chocolate Eggnog
 from Woodhouse Chocolate via The Nibble

Ingredients
6 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
Dash of salt
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces of quality dark chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup cold heavy cream
2 teaspoons Madagascar vanilla extract
1 tablespoon freshly-ground nutmeg
1/2 cup Bourbon
Whipped cream
Gresh-grated nutmeg for garnish

Directions
Place chopped chocolate in medium mixing bowl and set aside. Also have at the ready the heavy cream in measuring cup or pitcher.
In second medium-size bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and salt. Whisk in milk, then pour mixture into saucepan.
Heat egg mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it reaches 160°F. Be careful to heat gently and remove from heat as soon as the mixture reaches 160°, or eggs will curdle.
Pour about 1/2 cup of hot egg/milk mixture over chocolate and pour rest back into bowl in which you whisked it in. Immediately, stir cold cream into the egg/milk mixture in bowl (not chocolate bowl). With small whisk, start whisking in center of chocolate mixture, working in small, circular motions to emulsify chocolate.
When you have smooth, homogenous mixture, gradually add rest of egg/milk mixture.
Whisk in vanilla, nutmeg and Bourbon.
Chill for several hours, preferably overnight, to mellow flavors.
Serve cold, with dollop of whipped cream and sprinkling of grated nutmeg.

Spicy Mexican Chocolate Eggnog 
from Martha Stewart

Ingredients
2 quarts whole milk, plus more if needed
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod reserved
4 cinnamon sticks
12 egg yolks
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
3 ounces milk chocolate, melted
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups brandy
Whole nutmeg, for garnish
Cayenne pepper, for sprinkling

Directions
Heat 2 quarts milk, sugar, salt, vanilla seeds and pod, and cinnamon sticks inlarge pot over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves and mixture is heated through. Remove from heat. Let stand for 30 minutes.
Prepare ice-water bath. Whisk yolks in medium bowl until pale, about 2 minutes. Whisk 1 cup of milk mixture into yolks in slow, steady stream. Whisk yolk mixture into remaining milk mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture registers 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 6 minutes. (Do not boil.)
Remove pot from heat, add melted bittersweet and milk chocolates, and stir until incorporated. Discard vanilla pod and cinnamon sticks.
Pour mixture into a large bowl set in ice-water bath, and let cool, stirring often.
Whisk cream until soft peaks form. Pour cooled eggnog into large serving bowl, and add brandy (Add more milk to eggnog if necessary to reach desired consistency.)
Top with whipped cream. Grate nutmeg over top, and sprinkle sparingly with cayenne.
Serve immediately

Easy White Chocolate Egg Nog 
from Sandra Lee, Food Network

Ingredients 
1 quart egg nog
1/2 cup white rum
1/2 cup white chocolate liqueur
1 cup whipped topping
Grated white chocolate, for garnish
Pumpkin pie spice, for garnish

Directions
In punch bowl, combine eggnog, rum, and white chocolate liqueur.
When ready to serve, whisk egg nog to make it frothy and pour mixture into cups.
Place 1 heaping tablespoon of whipped topping into each cup.
Garnish each with grated white chocolate and sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice.

Crisco Christmas Cake: Retro Ads & Recipe

Crisco was standard in our pantry when I was growing up, and I've posted about Crisco several times on this blog. Here's a Retro Crisco Christmas Cake Ad --but since this is a chocolate blog, I'm also posting the 'same' ad for a Crisco Chocolate Cake. Everything in the Ad is pretty much the same, except the color and frosting. Very retro advertising.





RECIPE FOR CHOCOLATE CRISCO CAKE

STEP 1 — Measure (all measurements level): 2 cups sifted cake flour, 1-2/3 cups sugar, 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1-1/2 teaspoons soda, 1 teaspoon salt. Add 1/2 cup Crisco, 3 squares melted chocolate, 2/3 cup milk. Mix thoroughly by hand (300 strokes) or by mixer (medium speed) for 2 minutes.

STEP 2 — Add 2/3 cup milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 eggs (2/3 cup). Mix thoroughly another 2 minutes. Pour batter into two 9″ layer pans (1-1/2″ deep) which have been “Criscoed” or lined with paper. (For smaller pans, fill half full, bake remaining batter in cup cakes.)

Bake in moderate oven 350°F. about 35-40 minutes.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Peppermint Patty Drinks: Add Alcohol

Peppermint and Chocolate are a match made in heaven. Add alcohol and now you're talking! I love Alcoholic Peppermint Patty Drinks, especially around the holidays. Here are some great recipes. Santa will love them and so will your guests!

Peppermint Patty Hot Chocolate Cocktail

1 ounce peppermint schnapps
1/2 ounce dark crème de cacao
1 tsp crème de menthe
hot chocolate (the best quality chocolate)* (fill the mug)
whipped cream
Garnish with shaved chocolate or chocolate sprinkles and a candycane

Pour liqueurs into glass mug.
Fill with hot chocolate.
Top with whipped cream.
Garnish with shaved chocolate or chocolate sprinkles.

Chocolate Peppermintini

2 1/2 ounces chilled vodka
1/2 ounce chilled peppermint schnapps
1/2 ounce chilled white Creme de Cacao (or Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur)
Junior mints

Mix cold liquor together and shake with ice.
Strain into martini glass.
Drop a few Junior Mints into bottom of glass or garnishrim with crushed candycanes

Optional: I've used Godiva chocolate liqueur in place of the creme de cacao, and I've also used Chocolate vodka in place of both the vodka and Creme de Cacao. Just different. I'm not a stickler for proportions.

Peppermint Patty on the Rocks

1 ounce peppermint schnapps
1 ounce dark crème de cacao
2 ounces cream

Pour peppermint schnapps, crème de cacao, and cream in ice-filled old-fashioned glass.
Shake by placing a mixing tin over glass and give a good shake.

Photo: Candy Cane Martini Glasses from Artland

CANDY CANE FUDGE

Photo: Edith Maxwell
Nothing say the Holidays quite like Candy Canes, so why not combine Candy Canes with another holiday favorite--Fudge. I love Candy Cane Fudge.This recipe is so easy.

CANDY CANE FUDGE

Ingredients
18 ounces dark chocolate  (60-75% cacao), chopped
1-14 ounce can  sweetened condensed milk
Dash of salt
1 tsp peppermint extract
4 peppermint candy canes, crushed

Directions
1. Line 9" pan with wax paper.
2. Melt chocolate with sweetened condensed milk and salt in heavy saucepan over another saucepan with simmering water (or in top of double boiler). Stir until melted.
3. Remove from heat; stir in peppermint extract, and half the crushed candy canes.
4. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Top with the rest of candy cane crumbs.
5. Chill 2 hours or until firm.
6. Remove from pan by lifting edges of wax paper.
7. Cut into squares.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Cartoon of the Day: Santa


Cocoa in a Jar: Great Holiday Gift

Need last minute gifts? Here are 4 easy combinations for Cocoa in a Jar.

From Sunset Magazine comes these four recipes and fabulous photos for Cocoa in a Jar. What better gift to give now and throughout the winter season?

Mixes will fill 1 - quart jars (12 servings), but if you have different containers, keep the ratio of the ingredients constant. Layer the ingredients for homemade Cocoa in a Jar, add a ribbon and a tag, and you have great gift. For most of my 'in a Jar' gifts, I tie with raffia, but ribbon is very festive. I especially love a cinnamon stick tied into the ribbon on the Mexican Cocoa. On the back of the tag, write "Mix contents in a large bowl. For each serving, put 1/3 cup cocoa mix in a mug and stir with one cup boiling water. Store remaining mix in airtight container."

Possible containers: 1-liter French canning jars, 1-quart cracker jars. Mason jars.

Want to create your own unique Cocoa in a Jar? Use these recipes from the Cocoa Round-Up as a starting point.

CLASSIC COCOA

Layer 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup powdered milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows. Makes 1 quart mix or 12 servings hot cocoa.

MEXICAN COCOA

Layer 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup powdered milk, 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, and 3/4 cup chopped Mexican chocolate (such as Ibarra). Add a few cinnamon sticks to top of jar. Makes 1 quart mix or 12 servings hot cocoa.

PEPPERMINT STICK COCOA

Layer 1 cup powdered milk, 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy. Makes 1 quart mix or 12 servings hot cocoa.

MOCHA COCOA

Layer 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup espresso powder, 1 cup powdered milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate or miniature chocolate chips. Makes 1 quart mix or 12 servings hot cocoa.


Photos by David Prince

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Holiday Thumbprint Cookies

I love Thumbprint Cookies, and they're so easy to make. Betty Crocker has two great recipes that can be made festive by adding holiday sprinkles and holiday Hershey's kisses. These are the perfect cookies to give or keep! And, I'll bet Santa would love a plate after his long ride.

PEANUT BUTTER THUMBPRINT COOKIES

Ingredients
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Additional:
granulated sugar
About 36 Hershey's® Kisses®, unwrapped

HOLIDAY THUMBPRINT COOKIES
This recipe uses a Betty Crocker cookie mix, but you can always substitute your own sugar cookie recipe.

Ingredients
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker™ sugar cookie mix or any flavor
4 tablespoons colored sugar
36 Hershey's® Kisses®, (any variety) unwrapped

Directions
Heat oven to 375°F.
In medium bowl, make dough as directed on pouch for drop cookies.
Shape dough into 36 (1-inch) balls; roll in colored sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Immediately press 1 chocolate candy in center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheets.
Cool completely, about 20 minutes.
Store cookies in tightly covered container.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Ice Cream Cake Bûche de Noël

The Winter Solstice is upon us, and what could be more fitting that a Yule Log aka Bûche de Noël. Yes, it can be served for Christmas, but we all know about the cross-over traditions of winter holidays.

The tradition of the Yule Log spans millennia and actually precedes Christianity. Peasants used to burn a yule log on the Winter Solstice in December to keep evil spirits away, which they presumed might come because of the prolonged darkness at the Winter Solstice.

As Christianity grew, the yule log became more commonly associated with Christmas celebrations and Christianity adopted the Yule log tradition. For centuries, Christians cut their own yule logs at Christmas time or they would try to find a yule log to burn. During the 1700s and 1800s, it was a regular Christmas tradition for men to go out in search of a yule log. Many European countries had traditions surrounding the Yule log, but a Yule log was burned either in the days preceding Christmas or on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

For the purposes of this blog, the expression "Yule log" has also come to refer to a log-shaped Christmas cake or "Bûche de Noël." This week I posted a recipe for a Bûche de Noël. I also posted a list of bakeries and patisseries in the San Francisco Bay Area where you can purchase a Bûche de Noël for your holiday celebration.

Here's a simple recipe adapted from the Breyers Ice cream site for a Buche de Noel aka Yule Log Ice Cream Cake. You can always change the ice cream to a flavor you like best. Personally I think chocolate looks the best! How easy is this?

ICE CREAM YULE LOG aka BUCHE DE NOEL

1 box (16 oz.) angel food cake mix or Duncan Hines Chocolate Cake mix (guess which one I use?)
1 Tbsp confectioners sugar PLUS extra for garnish
1 container (1.5 qt.) Chocolate or Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (original recipe uses strawberry)
3 large marshmallows
6 mini marshmallows
Unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 can (16 ounces) chocolate frosting
Fresh mint sprigs
Cranberries
Ground cocoa nibs

Directions
Preheat oven to 350° Line 15-1/2 x 10-1/2-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper; set aside.
Prepare cake mix according to package; pour into prepared pan. Bake 22 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. On wire rack, cool 15 minutes.
Run metal spatula around edges of cake to loosen; sift 1 Tbsp sugar onto cake. Invert onto clean kitchen towel; remove parchment paper.
Starting at short end of cake, roll up tightly, jelly-roll style, folding towel into cake; refrigerate 30 minutes or until chilled.
On cutting board, unroll cake. With scissors, cut carton from softened (leave out for 10 minutes) Ice Cream (or if you're using another brand of ice-cream, let it soften until you can spread it). Arrange Ice Cream on its side, then cut crosswise into 8 slices. Arrange slices on cake leaving 1-1/2-inch border at one end of cake; pressing to form an even layer. Roll cake up tightly, using towel to help roll cake; freeze 3 hours or overnight. Freeze serving platter 30 minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, for ''mushrooms'', with scissors, snip large marshmallows in half crosswise; press mini marshmallows onto sticky side of large marshmallows. Sift cocoa powder over mushrooms; set aside.
On cutting board, remove towel from cake. With serrated knife, slice 1-1/2-inch diagonal piece off one end of cake. On chilled serving platter, arrange large ''log.'' Place diagonal slice against side of ''log'' to form ''branch.''
Frost "log" and "branch" with chocolate frosting, leaving ends unfrosted. Drag fork across frosting to create "bark"; press on "mushrooms." Return to freezer to firm up.
To serve, garnish with cranberries and mint and sprinkle with additional confectioners sugar. Serve on a bed of ground up cocoa nibs!

TIP: The frosting will cover any cracks you may get in the cake when rolling.

Don't have time to do this? Baskin & Robbins has Ice Cream Buches de Noel for sale. You get to pick the ice cream flavor you like. They're ready for take-out or they'll customize it for you.

Photo: Breyer's with strawberry ice cream

Friday, December 18, 2015

Gluten Free Sacher Torte: Guest post by Wendy Hornsby

Today I welcome back Wendy Hornsby. I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds collide. Edgar-award winner Wendy Hornsby is the author of 11 mysteries. Next from Wendy Hornsby, Disturbing the Dark, from Perseverance Press, April 2016. 

Wendy Hornsby:

When we sit down to a meal, we want everyone at the table to be able to enjoy every dish we set before them. Accommodating special dietary needs might take a little extra thought, but doesn’t really take much extra effort, if any, to prepare. I would certainly never put something deliciously chocolate in front of my gluten-intolerant daughter and tell her she couldn’t have any.

Last Christmas my family enjoyed the rich Sacher Torte Janet posted on Dying for Chocolate. Because the Sacher torte uses very little flour, it was easy to make a gluten free version. I just substituted the same measure of all purpose Namaste gluten free flour for wheat flour (there are several brands out there, Namaste is the one I use). GF cakes are more delicate than cakes that have wheat gluten to bind them, so I sliced the torte into only two layers instead of three, though a braver person might try three. Once I converted ounces of sugar and butter to tablespoons, the cake was fairly easy to make. My version and notes are attached.

The chocolate Genoise sheet of the Buche de Noel recipe you posted the other day also uses very little flour, so simply substituting gluten free flour should work. I would add a fourth egg yolk as extra binding. Do check to make sure the baking powder is gluten free. I make my own baking powder as I need it so I can certain of what’s in it. The formula is 1 measure (i.e. teaspoon) of baking soda to 2 measures of cream of tartar.  If you make a quantity and want to store it, add 1 measure of corn starch to stabilize it. Gluten free cakes and breads generally don’t hold up for very long, so it’s risky to make them very far ahead of serving them.

Gluten Free Sacher Torte 

Cake:
6 ozs. good bittersweet chocolate cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp butter
4 egg yolks
2 ¼ Tbsp sugar, plus 7 Tbsp (a scant ½ cup)*
5 egg whites
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup all purpose gluten free flour, such as Namaste or King Arthur gluten free

Apricot filling:
1 ½ c. apricot preserves
1 Tbsp apricot brandy

Glaze: 
6 ozs. Bittersweet chocolate cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp butter
2 ozs. heavy cream (whipping cream)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9” by 2” cake pan

For the cake: 
In a bowl, combine chocolate and butter and melt over a double boiler. Set aside to cool. Whip egg yolks with with 2 ¼ Tbsp sugar until light colored and ribbony. Beat in cooled chocolate mixture.

In another bowl, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Slowly add remaining 7 Tbsp sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in flour. Fold 1/3 of egg white mixture into chocolate. Carefully fold in remaining egg whites, thoroughly but gently. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until paring knife inserted into middle comes out clean. Remove from rack and cool on rack.

The filling: 
Puree the preserves. Stir in brandy. Slice the cake into 2 or 3 equal layers.** Spread filling on top of each layer. Stack the layers and chill for at least 30 minutes.

The glaze: 
in a bowl, combine chocolate and butter and melt over a double boiler. In a small pan, bring the cream to a boil. Stir into melted chocolate. Cool until it reaches glazing (spreadable) consistency. Spread over top and sides of cake. Chill at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve: the torte is very rich. Cut into cut into narrow slices (about 2-3 inches at the wide end) and serve with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on the side of the plate.

*Measurement notes: I converted the measurements for ounces called for in the original recipe posted on the Dying for Chocolate blog to Tablespoons for butter and sugar. 1 ounce of sugar = 2 ¼ Tbs. and 3 ounces of sugar converts to 6 ¾ Tbs., or .4375 cup (a very scant half cup); I rounded it up to 7 Tbs. By weight, 1 ounce of butter = 2 Tbs. 

**Assembly note: Gluten free flour makes a more fragile cake than all purpose wheat flour, so I cut the cake into 2 layers instead of 3 rather than risk having it fall apart.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Bûche de Noël: Where to Buy in the San Francisco Bay Area

Not everyone has the time or skills to make a Bûche de Noël for the holidays, but there are lots of places you can buy a Bûche de Noël. Of course, you'll want to get your order in soon.

If I were in Paris, I would probably have an impossible decision to make if I were to buy only one Bûche de Noël since almost every patisserie makes a Buche de Noel. Sadly, I won't be in Paris, but if you are, here are two outstanding places.

There are beautiful Bûches de Noël by Pierre Herme (Paris). One of the Bûche de Noël is a Chuao Chocolate Buche with Cherry Accents and another is a Buche with chocolate and caramel. Alexis Mabille has created a couture Bûche de Noël for Chocolaterie Angelina. Mabille put his stamp on the traditional yule log with the pastry chef Sebastian Bauer, opting for a heart of creamy chestnuts, candied apple and a confit of yuzu and lime surrounded by milk-chocolate ganache and crisp pecans. Mabille’s bûche is not a log, but a "Cocoa" Chanel bag: quilted and studded with edible silver buttons, topped with Mabille’s signature silver bow. And, almost every patisserie has its own version.

And, since I'm located in the San Francisco Bay Area, I thought I'd post several (but definitely not all) bakeries in the area that make Buches de Noel. Get your orders in now.

Buche de Noel: San Francisco Bay Area:
 
Tartine (SF) (Genoise filled with espresso buttercream, meringue mushrooms, pistachio moss, Valrhona chocolate Glaze)
La Farine, (Rockridge, Piedmont, Fruitvale)
b. patisserie, (SF): 4: Chocolate Coffee Caramel, Coconut/Passion Fruit//Pineapple//Mango, Smore and Vanilla with Red fruits.
Bi-Rite (SF): TCHO Chocolate Buche de Noel
Miette (SF, Marin, East Bay): Traditional
Craftsman and Wolves (SF- 2 locations): Coffee, Hazelnut, Yogurt & Caramel
La Boulangerie de San Francisco (multiple locations)
Bouchon (Napa). Two sizes of traditional Buche
La Bedaine (Berkeley): Three flavors
Sweet Things (Tiburon & SF)
Fleur de Cocoa (Los Gatos)
Douce France (Palo Alto)
Tout Sweet Patisserie (San Francisco and Palo Alto)
Cafe Madeleine (San Francisco)
Arizmendi Bakery (Oakland)
Masse's Pastries (Berkeley)
Sweet Bar Bakery (Oakland)
Fournee Bakery (Berkeley)
Sweet Adeline Bakeshop (Berkeley)

Most fine bakeries and patisseries make Bûche de Noël for the holiday. Check out your local.

And, lastly if you don't want a whole Bûche de Noël, several restaurants have Bûche de Noël by the slice on their dessert menus.  Check with your favorite French restaurant.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bûche de Noël for the Holidays

A Bûche de Noël is not for the faint of heart. The few times I've had this Holiday Classic, I've bought it at a French Bakery. Bûche de Noël is the traditional dessert served during the Christmas holidays in France, Belgium, Quebec, and other French related and Christian populated countries. Basically it looks like a log ready for the fire. The traditional Bûche de Noël is made from a Genoise (see recipe below) filled and frosted with buttercream. The Bûche de Noël is often iced to look like a piece of the branch has broken off. Sometimes there are fresh berries and meringue or marzipan mushrooms. The Bûche de Noël is one of my favorite holiday desserts. The log represents the hearth--the center of the house, and this yule log (Bûche de Noël) will be the center of your holiday table.

Here's the Bûche de Noël recipe from Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri (HarperCollins) reprinted on Foodnetwork.com. If I were to make this, I know I'd do a more traditional chocolate butter cream, and I've given a recipe for that, but the coffee buttercream sounds good. If you choose the chocolate buttercream, you could always add a little Kahlua.

Also, NordicWare has Yule Log Pan, so you can make whatever kind of cake you'd like--or you can always just buy one at a French Bakery.

Bûche de Noël

Ingredients

Coffee Buttercream
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
24 Tbsp sweet butter, softened
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
2 Tbsp rum or brandy

or

DFC: Chocolate Buttercream: 3/4 cup whipping cream 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, 5 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped, 4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped

1 Chocolate Genoise Sheet, recipe follows

Marzipan:
8 ounces almond paste
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 to 5 Tbsp light corn syrup

For Finishing:
Cocoa powder
Red and green liquid food coloring
Confectioners' sugar

Directions

To make the buttercream: 
Whisk egg whites and sugar together in bowl of electric mixer. Set bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until sugar is dissolved and egg whites are hot. Attach bowl to mixer and whip with whisk on medium speed until cooled. Switch to paddle and beat in softened butter and continue beating until buttercream is smooth. Dissolve instant coffee in liquor and beat into buttercream.

Turn genoise layer over and peel away paper. Invert onto fresh piece of paper. Spread layer with half buttercream. Use paper to help roll cake into tight cylinder. Transfer to baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until set. Reserve remaining buttercream for  outside of buche.

To make the marzipan: 
Combine almond paste and 1 cup of the sugar in bowl of electric mixer and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until sugar is almost absorbed. Add remaining 1 cup sugar and mix until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add half corn syrup, then continue mixing until a bit of marzipan holds together when squeezed, adding additional corn syrup a little at a time, as necessary; the marzipan in bowl will still appear crumbly. Transfer marzipan to work surface and knead until smooth.

To make marzipan mushrooms:
Roll 1/3 of tmarzipan into a 6-inch long cylinder and cut into 1-inch lengths. Roll half lengths into balls. Press remaining cylindrical lengths (stems) into balls (caps) to make mushrooms. Smudge with cocoa powder.

To make holly leaves: 
Knead green color into 1/2 remaining marzipan and roll it into long cylinder. Flatten with back of spoon, then loosen it from surface with spatula. Cut into diamonds to make leaves, or use cutter.

To make holly berries: 
Knead red color into tiny piece of marzipan. Roll into tiny balls.

To make pine cones:
Knead cocoa powder into remaining marzipan. Divide in half and form into 2 cone shapes. Slash sides of cones with points of pair of scissors.

Unwrap the cake. Trim the ends on the diagonal, starting the cuts about 2 inches away from each end. Position arger cut piece on buche about 2/3 across the top. Cover buche with the reserved buttercream, making sure to curve around protruding stump. Streak buttercream with fork or decorating comb to resemble bark. Transfer buche to platter and decorate with marzipan. Sprinkle platter and buche sparingly with confectioners' sugar "snow."

Chocolate Genoise Sheet:
Special equipment: 10 by 15-inch jelly-roll pan, buttered and lined with buttered parchment

Ingredients
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
Pinch salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cake flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa

Directions
Set rack in middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
Half-fill medium saucepan with water and bring to boil over high heat. Lower heat so water is simmering.
Whisk eggs, yolks, salt, and sugar together in bowl of heavy-duty mixer. Place over tpan of simmering water and whisk gently until mixture is just lukewarm, about 100 degrees (test with your finger). Attach bowl to mixer and with whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until egg mixture is cooled (touch outside of bowl to tell) and tripled in volume.
While eggs are whipping, stir together flour, cornstarch, and cocoa.
Sift 1/3 of lour mixture over beaten eggs. Use rubber spatula to fold in flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to bottom of bowl on every pass through batter to prevent flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another 1/3 of flour mixture and finally with remainder.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until well risen, deep and firm to touch. (Make sure cake doesn't overbake and become too dry, or it will be hard to roll.)
Use small paring knife to loosen the cake from sides of pan. Invert cake onto rack and let cake cool right side up on paper. Remove paper when cake is cool.

Make your own cake with this Yule Log Pan from NordicWare. Available everywhere.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Cartoon of the Day: DIY Holiday House

From Rhymes with Orange:


Guinness Chocolate Truffles for Christmas

I love Guinness Chocolate Truffles. How great to have some of these Guinness Truffles around for the holidays. Make a lot. There won't be any left over! These really do taste like Guinness, and Guinness goes so well with Chocolate! They also make a great gift.

GUINNESS CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

Ingredients
3/4 cup Guinness
1 pound dark chocolate  (65-75% cacao), chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Cocoa

Directions
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler or saucepan over another saucepan with simmering water.
Gradually stir in cream.
Gradually add Guinness, stirring gently to blend.
Cover and chill overnight.
Shape mixture into 3/4 inch balls, using about a tablespoon for each.
Roll in cocoa (or roll in red and green decorating sugar for Christmas)


Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Chocolate Peppermint Trifle

I love a good trifle, and I have posted several recipes for trifle before, but with the holidays coming up, I thought what could be more English for the Holidays than a Chocolate Peppermint Trifle?

I'm posting two recipes. One easy and quick, the other a bit longer but very good.

#1 Chocolate Peppermint Trifle

This one is fast and easy to make, and you can use Peppermint Bark you've made or purchased.

Ingredients
1 chocolate cake cut up into cubes
1 large box of chocolate pudding (add a couple of drops of Peppermint Schnapps to the pudding). Make the pudding.
Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark (or Trader Joe's -- or your own), chopped into chunks
Whipped Cream (I always whip my own with a little sugar)

Directions
Layering: Cake on bottom, then add layer of pudding, then a layer of chopped up Peppermint Bark, then layer of whipped cream. Repeat.
Top off with finely crushed candy canes or a bit more chopped up Peppermint Bark.

O.K. I'm not much for proportions, but most trifles aren't. Use what you have, and I'm sure you won't go wrong.

#2 Chocolate Peppermint Trifle

This is the longer of the two recipes, but absolutely delicious. I've adapted Martha Stewart's recipe for Triple-Chocolate Peppermint Trifle. She has a chocolate cake recipe, but you can skip it and make a good chocolate cake from a mix or your own recipe, then follow the rest of this recipe.

You can make the trifle components the day before you assemble the trifle. Be sure and refrigerate everything in separate airtight containers.

FOR THE SYRUP
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup chocolate flavored liqueur, such as Godiva

FOR THE MOUSSE
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
12 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped (the highest quality)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peppermint candies or candy canes

FOR THE PUDDING
8 ounces chocolate 40-65% cacao, finely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
3 large egg yolks, room temperature

FOR SERVING
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup chopped peppermint candies or candy canes

Make the syrup: Bring sugar and 1/4 cup water to boil in small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Let cool completely. Stir in liqueur.

Make the mousse: Prepare ice-water bath; set aside. Bring 1 cup cream just to a boil in  small saucepan. Place white chocolate in food processor; with machine running, pour in hot cream in a slow, steady stream, and process until smooth. Transfer to medium bowl set in ice-water bath. Let cool, stirring occasionally, until thick enough to hold ribbons on surface, about 15 minutes.

Beat remaining 1-1/2 cups cream to nearly stiff peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture, then fold in candies. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thickened and almost firm, 4 to 6 hours.

Make the pudding: Put chocolate into large bowl; set aside. Bring cream almost to a boil in small saucepan. Whisk yolks in a bowl. Pour in hot cream in a slow, steady stream, whisking.

Pour mixture back into pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until thick enough to coat back of spoon, about 1 minute. Pour through fine sieve over chocolate; whisk until smooth. Set bowl in ice-water bath. Let cool, stirring occasionally, until thick enough to hold ribbons on surface, about 15 minutes. Place plastic wrap directly on surface; refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

To assemble: Spread one-third of mousse into bottom of glass trifle bowl that is 8 to 10 inches in diameter. Top with cake layer, and brush with half the syrup.

Top with half the pudding, then another third of mousse. Place remaining cake layer on top; brush with remaining syrup. Top with remaining pudding, then mousse. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 12 hours.

Beat cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Top trifle with the whipped cream, and sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy or crushed candy canes.

This recipe is divine.

**
As with most recipes, you don't have to add alcohol, but a true trifle would have it.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Trader Joe's Chocolate Passport: Take a Trip around the Chocolate World

I love this set of Chocolate from Trader Joe's. It makes a great stocking stuffer or hostess gift or even the basis of your own "chocolate tasting" during the holidays. Trader Joe's Chocolate Passport is beautifully packaged, as well as containing terrific chocolate from beans sourced from all over the world. Different amounts of cacao, too.

Each chocolate is sourced from eight original locations each with its own terroir. Trader Joe's Chocolate Passport takes you on a journey through the cacao-growing world: Peru, Ecuador, Venazuela, The Dominican Republic, Ghana, Papua New Guinea, Sao Tome, and Tanzania. The cacao ranges form 60-73%. Take a trip around the chocolate world!

At $9.99, this is a great bargain!



Ben & Jerry's S'mores Ice Cream Cake

I love Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, and I love S'mores. Even in the dead of winter, this Ben & Jerry's S'mores Ice Cream Cake is a winner. Here's the recipe, and be sure and watch the video. This is a no-brainer and can be made at the drop of a hat. If you're like me, you probably have all the ingredients in my pantry and freezer! The finished cake looks and tastes amazing! I dropped the extra fudge sauce at the end from the original recipe, because I think the S'mores Ice Cream Cake is rich enough as is. So here's a reminder of summer in winter. Enjoy! Thanks, Ben & Jerry's!

 

BEN & JERRY'S S'MORES ICE CREAM CAKE

Directions
Prepare the crust (see below)
Prepare the filling (see below)
Top the crust with Ice Cream filling
Spread 2 cups of marshmallow fluff over the top of the ice cream (this can be done directly after filling with ice cream, or you can chill ice cream layer first)
Freeze cake for a minimum of two hours

To serve: Remove cake from freezer, let cake sit for 10 minutes, top with mini marshmallows and torch to golden brown
Run a knife around the edge of pan and remove side of spring-form
Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Crust: 
16 (8 oz.) whole graham crackers, crushed 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 stick butter, melted
Combine graham crackers and sugar, add melted butter and stir to sandy, buttery consistency. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of 9” spring-form pan, using fingers or  flat bottomed measuring cup. Chill for 10 minutes while you prepare ice cream.

Filling:
3 Pints Ben & Jerry’s S’mores Ice Cream (or any Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Ice Cream)
Remove Ice cream from containers and place in bowl to soften, about 10 minutes.
Stir to combine and top prepared and chilled graham crust with ice cream.

Follow directions above for marshmallow topping!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Retro Christmas Mince Pie: A Tip from Elsie the Cow

There's something very odd about the notion of mincemeat pie, albeit, it's all in the name. For many Mincemeat Pie is a holiday tradition. I saw this Retro Advertisement with a tip from Elsie, the Borden Cow, and I just had to post it. Too Funny! So here's a little history on Mincemeat Pies--and a recipe for individual Chocolate Mince Pies!

What exactly is mince meat? Mincemeat (one word or two) is a mixture of currants, raisins, sugar, apples, candied citrus peel, spices, and suet, typically baked in a pie.

History of Mincemeat from: Whatscookingamerica.net

Mincemeat developed as a way of preserving meat without salting or smoking some 500 years ago in England, where mince pies are still considered an essential accompaniment to holiday dinners just like the traditional plum pudding. This pie is a remnant of a medieval tradition of spiced meat dishes, usually minced mutton, that have survived because of its association with Christmas. These pies have also been known as Christmas Pies. Mince pie as part of the Christmas table had long been an English custom. Today, we are accustomed to eating mince pie as a dessert, but actually "minced" pie and its follow-up "mincemeat pie" began as a main course dish with with more meat than fruit (a mixture of meat, dried fruits, and spices). As fruits and spices became more plentiful in the 17th century, the spiciness of the pies increased accordingly. Read more HERE.

And what's a chocolate blog without chocolate? Here's a great recipe from the BBC for individual Chocolate Mincemeat Pies.

CHOCOLATE MINCEMEAT PIES

Ingredients
10 ounces plain flour, sifted
4½ ounces icing sugar, sifted (powdered/confectioners sugar)
2 oz cocoa powder, sifted
pinch salt
7 oz cold butter, diced
2 free-range egg yolks
1 lb 2 ounces ready-made mincemeat
2 clementines, zest and juice
2 Tbsp milk
1 free-range egg, beaten

Directions
Mix flour, icing sugar, cocoa powder and salt together in a bowl. Mix in butter with fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in egg until the mixture comes together in clumps (you may need to a little cold water).
Knead the dough briefly until smooth, wrap in plastic wrap and leave to chill in refrigerator for one hour.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Mix mincemeat, clementine zest, and juice together in bowl.
Remove pastry from fridge, and roll out to thickness of 1/4 inch.
Using a 3 inch fluted cutter, stamp out 12 discs from the pastry and use them to line a 12-hole bun tin.
Fill each hole with two teaspoons of mincemeat mixture and brush edges with a little milk.
Using a 2 1/2 inch fluted cutter, cut out 12 circles and use them to top the mince pies, pressing the edges together with your fingertips.
Re-roll any remaining pastry and cut out snowflakes or star shapes to decorate top.
Brush top of each mince pie with beaten egg and gently place the decorations on top, then brush again with egg.
Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until pastry is cooked through.