Sunday, July 31, 2016

Costco All American Chocolate Cake

So today's my sister's birthday, and you'd think I would have baked a cake. No, and "I knew she was coming, but..."

Several years ago, the clan gathered in Bodega Bay, and I had way too many things to do to get ready for the onslaught, so I bought my favorite Chocolate Cake that would feed the crowd. Although I opted for this cake, some of the non-chocolate folks wanted lemon? Really?? Now, I do like Lemon Cake, but what's a birthday without chocolate cake?  So I thought I'd revisit this chocolate cake virtually in this post. Costco All American Chocolate Cake. It's my cake of choice for large parties.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's ever tasted the fabulous Costco All American Chocolate Cake. It's huge! It's delicious! It's a deep dark chocolate four layer cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. 7 pounds of heaven! Yes, it really is 7 pounds  (the mystery: if you eat it all, you'll gain 20!). This cake also freezes very well, in case you have room in your freezer for this gigantic cake -- for emergency parties. Actually I've been told that many restaurants buy the Costco All American Chocolate Cake, slice it thin, and serve it with raspberry or strawberry sauce. Really. Of course these restaurants don't employ any of my pastry chef friends. The restaurants probably charge a fortune, too, per slice. The Costco All American Chocolate Cake is a real deal at $16.99.

If you want to get fancy (or fancier) with the cake (it's already decorated with beautiful frosting with chocolate curls down the sides) freeze or chill the cake in order to cut the slices really thin. Makes it easier to cut. Then drizzle with raspberry sauce! But if you're like me, fresh is the way to go. Use a good cake slicer. As I said this is a mile high cake. Add candles, and it's the perfect birthday cake!

Happy Birthday, Judie!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

Today is National Cheesecake Day! I've posted recipes for a variety of of chocolate cheesecakes,  from Pumpkin Cheesecakes to Double Chocolate Cheesecakes, so for today's food holiday, I thought I'd take a different approach. I love truffles, so here's a simple recipe for Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles. You'll love these! As always, use the very best chocolate. There are three different ways to coat these.. It's up to you!

CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE TRUFFLES

Ingredients 
8 ounces cream cheese
4 cups powdered sugar
5 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate, melted (I use 70% cacao)
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Coatings for truffles:
toasted pecans, chopped (or other nuts)
pulverized graham crackers (gives you a true cheesecake taste)
cocoa powder

Directions
Using mixer, slowly add powdered sugar to cream cheese mixing well after each addition. Add melted chocolate and vanilla and mix until smooth. Chill several hours. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in coatings.

How easy is this?

Adapted from She Wears Many Hats

Friday, July 29, 2016

Chocolate Avocado Pie

Avocados seem to be popping up everywhere lately. Now, if you're like me, you like guacamole, and you may even favor avocado toast (but not at $15 a serving at your local cafe). Avocados have always in my fruit/vegetable bowl and have been for many, many years. Avocados are very versatile. They contain a lot of fat, so they're great in Chocolate Avocado Mousse and Puddings.

The following is a great Chocolate Avocado Pie because although you can make a chocolate cookie crust, you can also elevate the crust by making it with Oreos. And, if you're glucose intolerant, there's coconut milk instead of cream (you can substitute cream, if you'd prefer). Make sure your coconut milk is the very best and contains only coconut milk and water. Emulsifiers will 'gum' up the works and prevent the fat from separating.

Chocolate Avocado Pie

Ingredients
35 Oreos
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cans (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk (or cream equivalent), chilled overnight
2 Tbsp sugar
7 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
5 ripe avocados
1/2 cup Dark cocoa powder
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
Dash of salt

Directions
In food processor, pulse Oreos into coarse crumbs. Mix with melted butter and press into bottom of pie pan and up the sides. Put in refrigerator.
Being careful not to shake coconut milk cans, remove from refrigerator and open. The thick coconut cream will have separated to the top. Scoop out dense cream, leaving water. Whip coconut cream with electric mixer for a few seconds, until smooth and creamy. Fold in 2 Tbsp sugar and set in refrigerator. (If you're using cream, whip it up and add sugar).
Melt chocolate in double boiler.
In food processor add melted chocolate, avocados, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Blend until smooth.
In large bowl, gently fold together avocado chocolate and coconut whipped cream (or regular whipped cream).
Pour into prepared pie crust, cover, and refrigerate for 3 hours to set.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

One Bowl Milk Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Caramel Frosting

I've posted lots of chocolate cake recipes over the years, including Milk Chocolate Cakes, but mostly they use only cocoa as the main chocolate ingredient. Since today is National Milk Chocolate Day, I thought I'd post this awesome recipe from Rhoda Boone at Epicurious,  that uses both cocoa and milk chocolate bars. I'm not much for making chocolate layer cakes, and this One Bowl Milk Chocolate Cake is awesome. The Chocolate Caramel Icing is pretty great, too! I sprinkle the icing with a bit of sea salt. Yum.

ONE BOWL MILK CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE CARAMEL FROSTING

Ingredients

Cake: 
1 cup unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
6 ounces high-quality milk chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Frosting:
9 ounces high-quality milk chocolate, divided
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup store-bought dulce de leche or caramel sauce

Directions

Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9" pan and dust with 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder, tapping out excess.
Melt remaining 1 cup butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add chocolate and remaining 1/2 cup cocoa powder; cook, whisking constantly, until smooth. Let cool slightly.
Whisk eggs and vanilla in large bowl. Add sugar and whisk until smooth, lightened in color, and slightly aerated, about 2 minutes. Stream in buttermilk while whisking, then stream in chocolate mixture while whisking until smooth.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into chocolate mixture. Whisk until batter is mostly smooth (there will be a few small lumps). Transfer to prepared pan.
Bake cake until tester inserted into  center comes out clean, 35–40 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cake cool completely.

Frosting: 
Slice 2 ounces chocolate into long, thin shards; reserve for decorating. Coarsely chop remaining 7 oz. chocolate and transfer to a medium bowl. Add vanilla and salt.
Heat cream in  small pot over medium until just starting to simmer. Pour over chocolate mixture and let sit 3 minutes. Whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Whisk in dulce de leche. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
Whisk frosting to lighten and loosen, then use spatula to spread over cake. If it's too stiff to work with, let it sit out on the counter for a few minutes. Sprinkle with reserved chocolate shards.  (I sprinkle with sea salt, too!
Cut into thirds lengthwise, then into fifths crosswise (you should have 15 pieces).

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Single Malt Scotch Whisky Peanut Chocolate Truffles

I've been a judge at several Scotch and Chocolate pairings. It's a hard job, but someone has to do it.

It's often difficult to decide which chocolates pair best with which Scotch, but since today is National Scotch Day, I thought I'd post a recipe for Single Malt Scotch Peanut Chocolate Truffles. It's the ultimate pairing of not two but three distinct flavors. You can decide on your own chocolate and your own Scotch. Keep the chocolate semi-sweet, so you have some sugar in there. I tend to go very dark, but not in this recipe. Recipe is adapted from one by Florence Fabricant that appeared in the New York Times in 2008.

I love truffles. They're easy to prepare and look and taste great!

Single Malt Scotch Peanut Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients
1 pound--12 ounces dark chocolate (55-65% cacao-needs to be semisweet to offset the salted peanuts & Scotch)
2/3 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 tsp honey (original recipe calls for floral honey)
3 Tbsp Single Malt Scotch Whisky
6 Tbsp salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

Directions
1. Break 8 ounces chocolate into small pieces and place in metal bowl. Heat cream to a simmer and pour over chocolate. Stir until chocolate has melted and is smooth. If necessary, place bowl briefly over low heat to finish melting.
2. Stir in honey, Scotch, peanuts, and vanilla. Chill until firm, 2 hours.
3. Use small ice cream scoop to scoop small amounts of chocolate mixture. Quickly roll into 1 inch balls. Place on platter or baking sheet lined with parchment. Put in freezer to firm up (about 30 minutes).
4. Break up remaining chocolate and place 16 ounces in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on full power 2 to 3 minutes, stirring a few times, until melted. Remove from oven. Stir in remaining chocolate until melted. With two forks hold truffles and gently dip in melted chocolate to coat. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet at room temperature 15 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Irish Coffee Chocolate Milkshake: National Coffee Milkshake Day

Today is National Coffee Milkshake Day, and, of course, I would make it a Chocolate Coffee Milkshake, but I decided to take it one step further and add some Irish Whiskey, making this a very special way of celebrating this food holiday. Love this adult version. Don't want alcohol in your drink? Scroll down for an easy non-alcoholic Coffee Chocolate Milkshake.

Irish Coffee Chocolate Milkshake

Ingredients
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
6 scoops coffee ice cream
2 Tbsp milk
1 ounce Irish Whisky

Directions
Peel chocolate to have some shavings to garnish milkshake.
Combine ice cream, milk, and whisky in blender. Process until smooth
Stir in chopped chocolate.
Garnish with chocolate curls.

Non-Alcoholic Chocolate Coffee Milkshake

Ingredients
1-1/2 cup chocolate ice cream
1/4 cup strong coffee or espresso (already made)
1/4 cup milk
Pinch cocoa powder

Directions
Put all ingredients except cocoa in blender. Blend on high until smooth and frothy. Pour into glasses. Sprinkle with cocoa.

Monday, July 25, 2016

1-2-3 Fudge Sauce for Hot Fudge Sundae Day!

Today is National Hot Fudge Sundae Day! I really like Hot Fudge Sauce on cold ice cream.

This Retro Ad & Recipe for 1-2-3 Fudge Sauce is from Carnation Evaporated Milk, September 7, 1953. You can follow the recipe, or you can make your own. I just love these vintage ads, don't you? So here's a way to beat the heat! I would use 4 squares, of course.. and probably substitute some excellent artisan chocolate!




Sunday, July 24, 2016

Chocolate Tequila Cocktails for Tequila Day

Tequila is a versatile liquor that goes well in lots of beverages. It even goes well in truffles. See my recipe for Tequila Truffles HERE.

Since today is National Tequila Day, I thought I'd post some recipes using Tanteo Cocoa Tequila. Yes, you can make drinks with tequila and your own chocolate liqueur, but Tanteo Cocoa Tequila is a chocolate-infused Tequila that's delicious. It's made with 100% agave blanco tequila and infused with cocoa beans and jalapeño. I love the extra kick of the jalapeño, and the chocolate blends well with the natural agave. Tanteo Cocoa Tequila isn't overly sweet, either, so it's quite the grown-up chocolate drink! These Chocolate Tequila Cocktail recipes are from the Tanteo website.

COCOA ROSALITA
1-1⁄4 oz Tanteo Cocoa Tequila
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
3/4 oz Campari
1 Drop Mole Bitters

Add ingredients into an ice filled mixing glass
Stir and strain into a Champagne coupe glass
Garnish with a flamed orange zest

BLACK SOMBRERO
1-1/2 oz Tanteo Cocoa Tequila
1/2 oz Kahlua
2 oz Club Soda
lime wedge for garnish

Combine the tequila and Kahlua in a cocktail shaker filled with ice
Shake well
Pour everything into a rocks glass
Top with club soda
Garnish with a lime wedge

Have a Great Tequila Day!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Penuche Fudge aka Brown Sugar Fudge, Creamy Praline Fudge, New England Fudge, and Sucre a la Creme Fudge!

Yesterday was Penuche Fudge Day. This tasty fudge is sometimes called Penuche Fudge, sometimes Brown Sugar Fudge, Creamy Praline Fudge, New England Fudge or even Sucre a la Creme (in Canada)! Whatever you call it, it's fabulous.

Historically, Penuche Fudge has been attributed to New England (New England Fudge) as well as some places in the South (Creamy Praline), but there are many variations in nearly every part of the world. Milk is usually boiled down to thick fudge and brown sugar is then added to it to create the distinctive butterscotch taste. The dish is very similar to Mexican Cajeta which is also a kind of sweetened thickened goat’s milk with the same dull brown color of penuche. There are also many Indian versions of the same dish using thickened milk called as peda or milk fudge burfi. The only difference between the different regional variations is the thickness of the eventual dish. Cajeta is liquidy and can be used a as a spread, while penuche is semi-soft like a fudge and pedas or milk burfis are stiffer. But the basic ingredients in the penuche fudge recipe and preparation process are the same. Dulde du leche is another very popular version where condensed milk is thickened with hours of cooking resulting in a thick paste. Different versions of this dish are very popular all over Latin America and France even though they are given different names.

O.K. I meant to mention that there's no chocolate in Penuche Fudge. So if you want Chocolate Fudge, check out my National Fudge Day Recipe Round-Up!

Penuche Fudge

Ingredients
4 cups brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp sweet butter
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1-2/3 cups chopped pecans

Directions
Combine brown sugar, cream, and butter in medium saucepan. Stir until dissolved. Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F.
Remove from heat and stir until mixture loses its gloss (or process in food processor 30 seconds) Quickly stir in vanilla and nuts and spread into 9x9 inch dish.
Chill before cutting into squares.

Friday, July 22, 2016

S'mores Cones on the Grill

Summertime is all about S'mores, so I was excited to find this inexpensive "S'mores" piece of equipment for the grill. Sur La Table sells a S'mores Cone Rack. Why do you need this? No losing marshmallows to the fire. No mess, either. Holds 12 cones at once--upright and secure. Stainless steel.

S'mores Cones on the Grill

Add waffle or sugar cones
Fill with Chocolate and Marshmallows (mini mashmallows work well, too)
Grill

Don't want S'mores? You can add other chocolate candy bars to your cones. Yum!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

National Junk Food Day: Fast-Food S'mores & Homemade S'mores Pop Tart Recipe

Today is National Junk Food Day. What really constitutes junk food? Candy you ate as a child but were told not to eat. Candy and cookies and chips that ruined your dinner? Treats that had no nutritional value? Processed food? What do you think?

If you're in any doubt, go to TheImpusiveBuy blog. O.K. this site goes beyond junk food, but you should still take a look. Want to take that a step further, check out Junk Food Betty's reviews.

I'm a huge fan of S'mores, and I tend to make my own variations, but here are a few "junk food" S'mores you can pick up at 7Eleven, Target, the drugstore, or your supermarket.

S'MORES FAST FOODS

S'mores Chips Ahoy
Pepperidge Farm S'mores
Nabisco Honey Maid Grahamfuls S'mores Filled
M&M's S'mores
Klondike S'mores Ice Cream Bars
Fiber One S'mores Bars
S'mores flavored gum
S'mores Crunch Bar 
Kellogg's S'mores Frosted Pop-Tarts

Want to make your own S'mores Pop Tarts? Here's an easy recipe from Adrianna Adarme, that appeared on the KQED website a few years ago, and these really does taste so much better than the store bought:

HOMEMADE S'MORES POP TARTS

Ingredients 

For Pop Tart crust: 
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, ice water

For Egg wash: 
1 large egg, beaten

For Filling:
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 ounces dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 tablespoons butter, cubed
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup marshmallow creme or marshmallow fluff
2 graham crackers, crushed, plus more for topping

For Icing (optional): 
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
3 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream
Pinch of salt

Directions 
Combine flour, powdered sugar, and salt in large bowl. Using box grater, shred butter onto flour mixture and mix, using your hands, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter.
In small bowl, mix 2 large egg yolks with 1/4 cup water. Create well in center of flour mixture and pour in egg mixture. Stir until begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough doesn’t hold together, add a little more water and mix again. Remove dough from bowl and place in mound on a clean surface. Knead dough until it holds together and forminto two discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.

While dough is in refrigerator chilling, start filling. Combine unsweetened cocoa powder, heavy cream, chocolate chips, sugar, butter, and pinch of salt in top of double boiler or saucepan over a saucepan with water over simmering heat. Gently stir until mixture is smooth. Remove and set aside. Chocolate mixture will thicken as it cools.
Remove both dough disks from refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier. Roll out dough with rolling pin on lightly floured surface in shape of a rectangle with 1/8″ thickness.
Using cutter, cut the dough into a 10″ x 13″ rectangle. Repeat with second disk of dough.
Take your two 10″ x 13″ rectangles and, using your cutter or knife, cut each piece into thirds so you have about 6 to 8  - 3 1/2″ x 4″ rectangles. Re-roll scraps to get additional pop tarts. If your dough is very soft, put on parchment-lined baking sheet, being sure they don't overlap, and stick in freezer fro 5 minutes. This will make it easier to assemble.

To assemble: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place one half of  pop tart squares, about inch apart. Transfer teaspoon of chocolate filling to center of rectangles. Then, a few scoops of marshmallow fluff --about two scoops of marshmallow creme and one chocolate scoop. Sprinkle each mound of chocolate and marshmallow creme with small handful of crushed graham crackers. Brush edges with egg wash to hold two layers together.
Place second rectangles of dough on top of ones with filling, gently crimping edges together, using tines of fork. 
Transfer assembled pop tarts to freezer for 10 minutes. After freezer, brush tops with remaining egg wash and using  fork, prick four-five holes in tops. Place in pre-heated oven and bake 17 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
Transfer to baking rack to cool for 10 minutes.

While pop tarts are baking, mix together glaze.
In small bowl, mix together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, and pinch of salt until very smooth. If needed, add splash more of cream. Top warm pop tarts with  glaze and sprinkle crushed graham crackers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Chocolate Tootsie Roll Pops: National Lollipop Day

Today is National Lollipop Day. It should come as no surprise that my favorite lollipop when I was growing up was a Chocolate Tootsie Roll Pop.

I loved licking the hard outside to get to the chewy center. At some point, I used to chomp on the lollipop to make that crunchy hard candy shell combine in my mouth with the chewy tootsie roll center.

The Tootsie Roll Pop official website says that the Tootsie Roll Pop was the first lollipop providing an embedded candy "prize." That's exactly what it was...a prize! I can still taste it. Of course I only wanted a chocolate tootsie roll pop because what goes better with chocolate than more chocolate. And, don't forget the sticks. They were always great to chew on even after all traces of 'chocolate' were gone.

History of the Tootsie Roll Pop: Tootsie Roll Pops were invented in 1930 by Brandon Perry, an employee of The Sweets Company of America or in another history, by an employee named Luke Weisgram who was experimenting with new products, or in another story an employee named Tom Medric. Doesn't matter! The Chocolate Tootsie Roll Pop was made from putting company's famous Tootsie Rolls into hard candy, and it quickly became one of the best selling lollipops in the world. 

For people with more time on their hands than they should have: A student study at the University of Cambridge concluded that it takes 3481 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Another study by Purdue University concluded that it takes an average of 364 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop using a "licking machine", while it takes an average of 252 licks when tried by 20 volunteers. Yet another study by the University of Michigan concluded that it takes 411 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. A study by junior high students in Swarthmore School concluded that it takes 144 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. As I mentioned before, I chomp near the end, so I would certainly alter the statistics.

For those who love a mystery, read the history of Leo Hirschfeld: Tootsie Roll Tragedy - and the murky Tootsie Roll history HERE.

And, for those of you who prefer their Tootsie Pops in a Glass, here's a recipe to celebrate the day.

Tootsie Pop Cocktail Recipe 
You'll be amazed at how much this tastes like a tootsie roll!

1 part Kahlua
1 part Root beer
2 drops chocolate syrup

In a Highball Glass, add Kahlua, then root beer. Stir. Then let chocolate syrup drop. Add tootsie pop (unwrapped) to garnish.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Chocolate Daiquiri Recipes: National Daiquiri Day

Today is National Daiquiri Day, and how better to celebrate than with Chocolate Daquiris! And, instead of one recipe...here are three recipes with different fruits and flavors. Perfect for this summer holiday.

FYI: A traditional Daiquiri is a cocktail that usually combines rum, citrus (usually lime), and sugar or another sweetener. Add Chocolate, and it's my drink of choice!

Chocolate Daiquiri 

4 parts Light Rum
2 Parts Dark Cacao Liqueur
2 parts lime juice
1 part simple syrup

Fill shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into chilled daquiri glass.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Daiquiri

3 ounces chocolate vodka
1 cup fresh strawberries

Combine ingredients in blender. Blend well. Pour into chilled daiquiri glass. Garnish with chocolate covered strawberry!

Chocolate Banana Daiquiri

2 cups ice
1 banana, chopped in pieces
2 ounces golden (or white) rum
2 ounces creme de banane (this should be on your bar shelf!)
juice of 2 limes
2 Tbsp chocolate syrup

Blend ice and banana and blend on high speed. Then add all other ingredients to blender. Pulse until everything evens out and then blend on high until smooth. Serve in daiquiri or high ball glasses.
OMG.. this is fabulous!!




Monday, July 18, 2016

Ribbon Fantasy Fudge

I love Fudge. Well who doesn't? I love both the texture and the taste. What makes it special for you?

Here's a great Retro Ad & Recipe from Kraft for Ribbon Fantasy Fudge using Marshmallow Creme. I usually use Marshmallow Fluff which I think has a better flavor. What I like most about this Fudge recipe is that there are two distinct layers. Easy to make, and oh so pretty! And, you can always throw in some walnuts for more texture.


Ribbon Fantasy Fudge

Ingredients
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter (original retro recipe calls for Parkay margarine)
2/3 cup (5-1/3 fl oz can) evaporated milk
6 ounce pkg semi-sweet chocolate pieces (I substitute chopped good dark chocolate)
7 ounce jar Kraft marshmallow creme (I prefer marshmallow Fluff)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy style)

Directions
Combine 1-1/2 cups sugar, 6 Tbsp butter, and 1/3 cup milk in heavy 1-1/2 quart sauce pan; bring to full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 4 minutes over medium heat; stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate pieces until melted. Add 1 cup (1/2 jar) marshmallow creme and 1/2 tsp vanilla; beat until well blended. Pour into 13 x 9 inch pan. Repeat with remaining ingredients, substituting peanut butter for chocolate pieces. Spread over chocolate layer. Cool at room temperature; cut into squares.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

3 Easy Chocolate Ice Cream Recipes: National Ice Cream Day

I scream! You scream! We all scream for Ice Cream! Make it chocolate! To celebrate the day, here are several 3 easy recipes for Chocolate Ice Cream. As always use the very best ingredients.

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM RECIPE #1

Ingredients
1-1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

Directions
Whisk together milk, cocoa powder, and sugar to combine.
Stir in heavy cream and vanilla extract.
Refrigerate chocolate ice cream base for at least 30 minutes before putting in your ice cream freezer, so it is completely cold. This will help freeze faster, improving texture, and allow cocoa powder to become fully hydrated by the milk and cream.

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM RECIPE #2

Ingredients
1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup white sugar
1-1/2 cups whole milk
31/4 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla extract

Directions
In bowl, combine cocoa and both sugars, whisking to combine well. Add milk and whisk until sugars are dissolved. Stir in heavy cream and vanilla. Pour mixture into freezer bowl of ice cream maker. Let run for 30 minutes, or until mixture is thick, soft, and creamy.
Transfer to airtight container and freeze at least 2 hours.

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM RECIPE  #3 (without ice cream maker)
This recipe is for Magic Chocolate Ice Cream -- recipe from Borden's Elsie the Cow

Ingredients
1 square unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1/2 cup whipping cream

Directions
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler. Add sweetened condensed milk and stir over rapidly boiling water 5 minutes until thick. Add water, mix well. Chill. Add vanilla. Whip cream to custard-like consistency. Fold into chilled mixture. Freeze until half-frozen. Take out of container and beat until smooth but not melted. Replace in freezer until frozen.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

S'mores Bread Pudding

It's summer, and I can't have too many recipes for S'mores. So here's a new one--S'mores Bread Pudding--easy and fabulous! Recipe from AllRecipes, a great source for all recipes. Natch! This is a great ooey-gooey taste treat for breakfast or dessert. It's a great Bread Pudding that you can make in your oven at home and taste like you made it over the campfire.

S'mores Bread Pudding

Ingredients
4 hot dog buns, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup miniature marshmallows
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
5 graham cracker squares, crushed Honey Maid Graham Crackers
2 Tbsp miniature marshmallows, or more to taste
2 Tbsp miniature semisweet chocolate chips, or more to taste

Directions 
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
Grease 2-quart square baking dish. Spread hot dog bun pieces on baking sheet. Bake hot dog buns in preheated oven until dry and crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Cool completely.
Beat condensed milk, 3/4 cup milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and nutmeg together in a bowl.
Spread hot dog bun pieces out in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Pour milk mixture over buns. Scatter 1 cup marshmallows and 3/4 cup chocolate chips over milk mixture; let rest until mixture is slightly soaked into bread, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over top.
Bake in preheated oven until  knife inserted into center of bread pudding comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
Whisk 2 tablespoons milk, 2 tablespoons marshmallows, and 2 tablespoons chocolate chips together in saucepan over medium heat until marshmallows and chocolate are melted and completely incorporated.
Pour marshmallow mixture over bread pudding and cool, 20 to 30 minutes.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Kicked Up Chocolate Tapioca Pudding!

Today is National Chocolate Tapioca Pudding Day...not to be confused with National Tapioca Day (June 28) when I posted two Chocolate Tapioca Recipes. This recipe is 'kicked up'with the addition of Rum! Now we're talking. Recipe from Emeril Lagasse. It's easy, fast, and delicious!

KICKED UP CHOCOLATE TAPIOCA PUDDING

Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp quick cooking tapioca
3 cups whole milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 ounces DARK chocolate
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 tsp dark rum

Directions 
In medium saucepan, combine sugar, tapioca, milk and egg. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Add cinnamon and chocolate to saucepan and cook over medium heat until pudding comes to full boil, stirring continually to prevent burning.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and rum.
Cool for 20 minutes. Stir for creamy texture.
Serve warm or chilled.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Crepes a la Bastille: Triple Chocolate Crepes

Today is Bastille Day! And what could be more french than Crepes!
Just as the bricks came tumbling down when the French stormed the Bastille, ice cream and chocolate will tumble from your fork when you cut into these fabulous Triple Chocolate Crepes for the Bastille Day Holiday. Crepes a la Bastille! If you didn't get to make these this morning, you can always make them for dinner! Breakfast for Dinner!

CREPES A LA BASTILLE

Crepes
Ingredients
2 cups whole milk
2 eggs
2-1/2 Tbsp sweet butter, melted
1 ounce dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), melted
1-1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup high quality DARK cocoa 

1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt


Making the Crepes
Melt butter & chocolate together, mixing to combine and smooth out chocolate. 

In large bowl, combine milk and eggs. 
In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
Whisk together milk and eggs with dry ingredients, continue whisking incorporating butter and chocolate mixture.
Cover and refrigerate at least an hour, or overnight. 

Be sure to re-whisk batter before cooking the crepes.

Cooking the Crepes
Butter a hot frying pan (small or medium) or crepe pan, then wipe out excess butter with paper towel so it is sort of dry

Pour in small amount of crepe batter and tilt pan as needed so batter spreads and covers bottom of pan. As edges begin to turn up, flip crepe with spatula for few seconds to cook other side.

Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp honey
3 ounces Dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped

Directions
Combine cream and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 3 minutes or until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan, stirring frequently (do not boil).
Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until smooth.

Fill Crepes with Dark Chocolate Ice Cream or Chocolate Ganache and Drizzle with Chocolate Sauce.

Viva La France!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Grand Marnier Chocolate Cake: Grand Marnier Day!

Tomorrow is Grand Marnier Day, so I thought you'd want to bake this Grand Marnier Chocolate Cake ahead. Grand Marnier is a remarkable combination of a premium blend of cognac and exotic oranges created in 1880 by Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle. Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle perfected the premium Grand Marnier blend in 1880 and at the time, his vision of combining the essence of wild tropical oranges from Haiti with premium cognac from France was seen as cutting edge and completely unexpected. The cognac found in Grand Marnier is made from Ugni Blanc grapes from five of the best crus within the Cognac region in France and is double-distilled in copper stills. The bitter, exotic orange called ‘Citrus Bigaradia’ sourced from the Caribbean, is a rare variety which offers an intense and unique flavor profile and aroma.

This recipe for Grand Marnier Chocolate Cake is adapted slightly from Bon Appetit! Of course, if you have no time to bake a cake, you can always drink a glass of Grand Marnier! Be sure and check out the great advertising video for Grand Marnier "La Vie Grand Marnier." Scroll down.

Grand Marnier Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

Cake
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
6 large eggs, separated
2 Tbsp Grand Marnier
1 Tbsp finely grated orange peel
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Icing 
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
7 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, room temperature
2/3 cup whipping cream

Cake Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan; line bottom with parchment paper round.
Stir chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Cool slightly.
Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl 2 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, Grand Marnier, orange peel, and vanilla. Stir in lukewarm chocolate. Add flour and salt; stir to blend.
Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another large bowl until peaks form. Fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions.
Transfer batter to prepared springform pan.
Bake cake until top is dry and cracked and tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 45 minutes.
Cool cake in pan on rack (top will fall slightly).
Can be made 1 day ahead.
Cool completely; cover and let stand at room temperature.

Icing Directions
Place chocolate and butter in medium metal bowl. Bring cream to boil in small saucepan. Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture; stir until mixture is melted and smooth.
Run thin knife around inside of cake pan; remove pan sides.
Invert cake onto 10-inch removable tart pan bottom or cardboard round.
Place on rack set in rimmed baking sheet.
Remove cake pan bottom and parchment.
Pour icing over cake and spread to cover top and sides (any icing that drips onto baking sheet can be reused).
Chill until glaze sets, about 30 minutes.
DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead.
Cover with cake dome and chill.
Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.
Cut into wedges and serve.

 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Happy's Butter Toffee

I love Toffee, and I just judged Toffee for the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon. So many wonderful toffeetiers! I've posted several great recipes for Toffee, but here's one more from the Snow White Cook Book. Happy loves Toffee, too.
And just an FYI, I have Six of the Seven Dwarfs in my Garden. These cement statues were made in the 1950s. I'm still looking for Sneezy. Not interested so much in Snow White.



Monday, July 11, 2016

Chocolate Mojitos! National Mojito Day

Today is National Mojito Day, and what could be better than a Chocolate Mojito?

This first recipe is from Divine Chocolate. It was created for Divine by the mixologist at the Virgin Clubhouse, Heathrow, London. 

1. Chocolate Mojito

Ingredients 
3/4 lime diced
2 Tbsp brown sugar
8 mint leaves, 1 mint leaf for garnish
1 Tbsp melted Divine Dark Chocolate
100 ml Dark Rum
10ml Creme de Cacao

Directions 
Pour creme de cacao in tall drinking glass
Mix lime, mint, and sugar, and mix into creme de cacao
Add melted Dark Chocolate
Fill glass with crushed ice
Pour dark rum over ice and mix with long spoon.
Taste and add more sugar or ice if needed.
Garnish with a sprig of mint

And if one recipe is good, two is even better. Sorry, I can't remember where I found this recipe, but it does work!

2. Chocolate Mojito

Ingredients
2 Sugar Cubes
1 Tbsp Chocolate Extract
1 ounce Rum
1 Lime
4 ounces Club Soda
Fresh Chocolate Mint Leaves
1/2 - 1 cup Crushed Ice
Coarse Sugar
Chocolate Shavings

Directions
Wet lid of glass and garnish with coarse sugar. Add sugar cubes and chocolate extract to glass and crush the sugar cubes. Take a sprig of chocolate mint leaves and flatten out to release flavor. Pick off the leaves and add to glass. Cut lime into 4 wedges, squeeze juice of 2 of wedges into glass and then drop them in. Add rum. Add Ice until just below the rim of the glass. Use spoon to mix up what's in glass. Top off with club soda. Add lime wedge and straw to glass. Shave some chocolate onto drink for garnish. Put another sprig of chocolate mint next to straw so you'll smell the mint when you drink.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Piña Colada Fudge: National Piña Colada Day!

Today is National Piña Colada Day! Definitely a holiday I can get behind, particularly on a Sunday. So how to add Chocolate? Easy... Piña Colada Fudge! Here's a simple recipe for Pina Colada Fudge that includes one of my sweet favorites--marshmallow creme (marshmallow fluff) and chocolate. As always, use the very best white chocolate--not the artificial white chocolate disks.

PINA COLADA FUDGE

Ingredients
1 pound chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips
3/4 cup marshmallow crème or fluff
1 cup shredded coconut, (unsweetened)
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon rum  (or rum extract)
3/4 teaspoon coconut extract
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple

Directions
Line 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, and spray foil with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In large microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate in microwave, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Stir until chocolate is smooth and completely free of lumps. Add marshmallow crème, coconut, butter, extracts, sweetened condensed milk. and salt; stir until butter melts and everything is combined. Add chopped pineapple at the end and stir to combine evenly.
Pour fudge into prepared pan, and smooth into even layer.
Allow fudge to set at room temperature overnight, or in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.
Once set, lift fudge from pan using foil as handles.
Use sharp knife to cut fudge into 1-inch squares to serve.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Chocolate Sugar Cookies: 3 Recipes

For me there's nothing quite like a Sugar Cookie, and, if you add Chocolate it's even better! Of course, one can never have too many recipes for this perfect cookie. So today for National Sugar Cookie Day, here are three recipes.

1. CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
14 Tbsp sweet butter
1-3/4 cups dark brown sugar (packed)
1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In shallow bowl, put granulated sugar on a plate. Set aside.
In bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder.
In large bowl, melt 10 Tbsp butter in microwave. Do not overheat; microwave butter until just melted. Stir in remaining 4 Tbsp butter until melted. Allow butter to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Whisk brown sugar, vanilla and salt into melted butter until  smooth. Whisk in egg and egg yolk until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until just combined.
Roll dough into balls -- 2 Tbsp for each cookie. Roll balls in white sugar and place on lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets.
Flatten cookies to 1/4-inch thick.
Sprinkle cookies with more white sugar.
Bake 12-14 minutes. Don't overbake.
Transfer to wire rack to cool.

2. CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
5 ounces unsweetened or very dark Chocolate, chopped
1 cup butter
1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Directions
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Melt chocolate and butter together in a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (or in a double boiler).
Add 1 cup sugar, egg, and vanilla; mix well.
Stir in flour mixture until well blended.
Refrigerate 15 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.
Heat oven to 375°F.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in remaining sugar.
Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 min. or until centers are set.
Cool on baking sheets 1 minute.
Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

This third cookie recipe is for Chocolate Caramel Sugar Cookies! This easy recipe is adapted from Kraft. Feel free to use Kraft products such as the caramels and Planters Pecans-- or use your favorite caramels and nuts.
 
3. CHOCOLATE CARAMEL SUGAR COOKIES

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 ounces very dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup butter
3/4 cups sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1/2 cup chopped Planter Pecans
14 ounces KRAFT caramels
2 Tbsp milk

Directions
Mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on High for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add 1 cup sugar, egg, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in flour mixture until well blended.
Refrigerate 15 minutes or until dough is easy to handle.
Heat oven to 375°F.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in 1/2 cup chopped Pecans.
Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Make indentation in each ball.
Bake 8 to 10 min. or until centers are set.
Microwave 1 package Kraft Caramels with 2 Tbsp milk in microwaveable bowl on High for 3 minutes or until caramels are melted..stirring after 2 minutes.
Spoon into centers of cookies.
(Drizzle with extra melted chocolate, if you feel inclined)
Cool on baking sheets 1 minute.
Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Homemade Almond Joy: Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

Happy Chocolate Covered Almonds Day For me, Almonds and Chocolate are all about Almond Joy.

Today, Almond Joy candy bars are manufactured by Hershey's. Almond Joy has a coconut-based center topped with two toasted almonds and covered in a layer of milk chocolate. Almond Joy is the sister product of Mounds, which is the same confection but without the almonds and coated with dark chocolate. I'm actually partial to Mounds, but for the purposes of today's holiday, I'm posting about Chocolate Covered Almonds and Almond Joy. One concession, in the recipe for Homemade Almond Joy Bars, I use dark chocolate! Almond Joy bars have milk chocolate.


According to Wikipedia, Peter Paul Halajian, a candy retailer in Connecticut in 1919, along with other Armenian investors, including Dutch candy manufacturer Jett Schaefer, formed the Schaefer Candy Manufacturing Company in 1919. The company first sold various brands of candies, but following sugar and coconut shortages in World War II, they dropped most brands and concentrated their efforts on the Mounds bar. The Almond Joy Bar was introduced in 1946 as a replacement for the Dream Bar (created in 1936) that contained diced almonds with the coconut. In 1978, Peter Paul merged with the Cadbury company. Hershey’s then purchased the United States portion of the combined company in 1988.

During the 1970s, the Peter Paul company used the jingle, "Sometimes you feel like a nut / Sometimes you don't / Almond Joy's got nuts / Mounds don't," to advertise Almond Joy and Mounds together. In a play on words, the "feel like a nut" portion of the jingle was typically played over a clip of someone acting like a "nut", engaged in some funny-looking activity. Scroll down to watch the Retro Commercial below.

Did you ever try any of these? In the 2000s, Hershey began producing variations of the product, including a limited edition Piña Colada and Double Chocolate Almond Joy in 2004, a limited edition White Chocolate Key Lime and Milk Chocolate Passion Fruit Almond Joy in 2005, and a limited edition Toasted Coconut Almond Joy in 2006. Although Peter Paul as a company no longer exists, the name still appears on the wrapper as part of the bars' brand names.

Want to make your own Almond Joy Bars? Simple and delicious. I know that Almond Joy uses milk chocolate, but I'm partial to dark which is why I probably always liked the Mounds Bar better. You can use either type of chocolate in the recipe below. As always use the very best chocolate for the very best candy!

Homemade Almond Joy Recipe

Ingredients
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sweet butter, softened
Pinch of Salt
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
14 ounces sweetened flaked or shredded coconut
24 ounces dark chocolate, chopped  (milk chocolate if you're a traditionalist)
3/4 cup whole almonds (that you'll toast-see recipe)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350F
1. Spread raw almonds on baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
2. In big mixing bowl, blend milk, butter and vanilla. Add powdered sugar a little at a time. Add coconut a little at a time and mix until combined. The mixture will be thick. Place mixture in refrigerator for 30 minutes. (You can use your Kitchen Aid flat beater, but I prefer the texture that comes from hand mixing.)
3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove coconut mixture from refrigerator. With hands, shape one tablespoon of coconut into small log - 2 inches long and 3/4-inch thick. Press coconut mixture tightly together. Place logs on lined baking sheet and continue until all coconut mixture is finished.
4. Press an almond on top of each coconut log.
5. Place baking sheet in freezer to chill while you melt chocolate.
6. In medium microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate in tmicrowave 2-4 minutes at 30 SECOND intervals until chocolate is melted (or melt in top of double boiler or pan over saucepan of simmering water).
7. Remove coconut logs from freezer.
8. Dip in Chocolate: See next step

How to Dip in Chocolate:  Two Ways

1. Place one coconut almond log on fork. Use spoon to scoop a bit of chocolate over almond. This helps almond stick to coconut log during dipping. Lower fork into chocolate and spoon chocolate over candy to coat. Lift fork and gently shake to release some of the chocolate. Scrape bottom of fork along the side of bowl and place on lined baking sheet. You might need a toothpick to help get the candy off the fork. Repeat until all candy is coated in chocolate. If chocolate gets thick, return to microwave or heat for a tiny bit more.
Let dipped candy harden for 45 minutes. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

2. Using Two Fork method (or a special dipping tool-I find this handy), dunk coconut logs in chocolate, bring up and tap on lip of bowl to remove excess chocolate. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and repeat.

Do You Remember this Almond Joy Commercial?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Chocolate Brownie Strawberry Sundae

Today is National Strawberry Sundae Day. Yes, that's a food holiday. Love this 1950s Dairy Queen Ad for a Strawberry Sundae, but let's make it 2016! Add Brownies: Bake your own or buy some. Use real ice cream and fresh strawberries and make this delicious Chocolate Brownie Strawberry Sundae.

Chocolate Brownie Strawberry Sundae

Chop up some Brownies
Soften up some Vanilla Ice Cream
Slice a bunch of fresh Strawberries
Hot Fudge sauce

Layer all ingredients in sundae bowls or cups or tall clear glasses. Pour hot fudge sauce over the whole thing!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

S'mores Ice Cream Pie

July is Ice Cream Month. That should come as no surprise to folks in the Northern Hemisphere. And, since it's summer, it's all about S'mores. Here's a fun graphic and recipe for S'mores Ice Cream Pie from Hershey's Recipes!


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Peanut Butter Brownies: Retro Ad & Recipe

I love Retro Ads, especially the ones that include recipes. I was a Brownie (and later a Girl Scout), so this Retro Advertisement caught my eye! You'll love this recipe for Peanut Butter Brownies. However, I would use butter and not margarine. Make these brownies for your Brownie Troop or for a summer picnic!



Monday, July 4, 2016

PEEPS Patriotic S'mores for Fourth of July

Photo: PEEPS®
I love S'MORES, and these seasonal  PEEPS® Patriotic Vanilla Creme Marshallow Chicks are so cute! This photo and recipe are from my friends at PEEPS®.  Here's something fun for everyone at the Fourth of July barbecue or campfire: PEEPS Patriotic S'mores!

PEEPS PATRIOTIC SMORES!

Ingredients
PEEPS Patriotic Vanilla Creme Marshmallow Chicks
Graham crackers
Chocolate bars
Sprinkles (Red, White and Blue)

Directions
Break graham crackers in half, so you have two squares.
Melt PEEP over fire or low heat.
Layer melted PEEP over square of chocolate, with graham cracker square on bottom
Top S’more with second graham cracker square and drizzle melted chocolate on top
Add patriotic sprinkles, and top off with PEEPS Patriotic Vanilla Creme Marshmallow Chick

Celebrate Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Red White and Blue Trifle: 2 Recipes for the Fourth of July

I'm a big fan of Trifle. It's easy and pretty. You can add alcohol or not, but traditional trifles include it.  I love a tipsy trifle! I always use a clear bowl.. It's great to see the layers. Here are two Trifle recipes that are delicious and great Fourth of July show stoppers.

The first recipe is from Taste of Home, one of my go-to sites. I love the flavors in this one. Interestingly, it doesn't include cake, but you can always add a layer of pound cake or angel cake if you want to be more traditional. You can decorate the top of either trifle with a flag pattern made of strawberries and blueberries and whipped cream.

The second recipe for Red White and Blue Trifle  is adapted from All Recipes. It has the added flavor of white chocolate pudding. For the second recipe, you can make your own pound cake or buy prepared. The original recipe called for a small amount of coconut liqueur in the whipped cream/pudding. If you want to add alcohol, I would add a Tbsp of White Chocolate Liqueur to the whipping cream, instead.

1. RED WHITE AND BLUE TRIFLE 

Ingredients
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract  (or white chocolate liqueur)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract  (or almond liqueur)
2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped
2 quarts strawberries, halved, divided
2 quarts blueberries, divided

Directions
In large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and extracts until fluffy. Fold in whipped cream.
Place third of  mixture in a 4-qt. bowl.
Reserve 20 strawberry halves and 1/2 cup blueberries for garnish.
Layer half of remaining strawberries and blueberries over cream mixture.
Top with another third of the cream mixture and the remaining berries.
Spread remaining cream mixture on top. Use reserved strawberries and blueberries to make a "flag" on top.

2. Red White and Blue Trifle

Ingredients
3 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup white sugar
1 quart heavy cream
1 (3.3 ounce) package instant white chocolate pudding mix
1 (6 ounce) container lemon yogurt
2 (16 ounce) prepared pound cakes, cubed
2 pints fresh blueberries,

Directions 
In bowl, sprinkle strawberries with sugar; stir to distribute sugar. Set aside.
Chill large metal mixing bowl and beaters from electric mixer. Pour cream into chilled mixing bowl, and add white chocolate pudding mix and lemon yogurt. Beat until fluffy with electric mixer set on Medium speed.
Spread layer of pound cake cubes into bottom of a glass 10x15-inch baking dish.
Cover pound cake with layer of strawberries; sprinkle blueberries over strawberries.
Spread thick layer of whipped cream over berries.
Repeat layers several times, ending with layer of strawberries sprinkled with blueberries and reserving about 1 cup of whipped cream
Top trifle with dollops of whipped cream to serve.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Star Spangled Cocoa Bundt Cake for Fourth of July


I always say you should check out recipes on food product sites that you like, and for me, the Hershey's Kitchens site is a regular stop.

I grew up in Philadelphia. My Aunt lived in Harrisburg, so Hershey's, being on the way, was a frequent stop. I remember the Hershey Factory tour that took us on catwalks over rooms filled with chocolate vats--without barriers. I always thought you could fall into the vats. This was pre-Willy Wonka. I'm sure my memory is impaired, but it was a child's paradise and fantasy. I know Hershey Park had lots of amusement rides, a roller coaster, possibly a pool, but our family never availed ourselves of those 'amusements'. We always went on the educational tour. We did have chocolate, though, so I'm grateful.

Hershey, PA is a very different place now with an enormous hotel, amusement park, spa, first class restaurants, kitchens and more. Hershey's always seems so American to me! Patriotic, even. So I'm not surprised that this Hershey's Kitchens' Cocoa Bundt Cake has become of my favorite recipes, and here it is, all dressed up for the Fourth of July. I've adapted the recipe slightly.

Star Spangled Cocoa Bundt Cake

Ingredients

3/4 cup sweet butter, softened
1-2/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup DARK Cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
Powdered sugar
Fresh blueberries and strawberries
Sweetened whipped cream

Directions
1 Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 12-cup bundt pan (with a hole in the middle)*
2 Beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl until fluffy; beat in sour cream. Stir baking soda into buttermilk; set aside. Stir together flour, cocoa and salt; add alternately with buttermilk mixture to butter mixture. Beat 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3 Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until wooden pick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Place cake on serving plate. Sift powdered sugar on top and sides of cake. Top with blueberries, strawberries. Serve with whipped cream.

Tip: If you don't have buttermilk, here's how to sour milk: Mix 1 Tbsp white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup.

Cake Photo: Hershey's Kitchens

Friday, July 1, 2016

Tollhouse Stars & Stripes Cookies: Fourth of July

From the Nestle Toll House Kitchens comes this recipe and photo for Toll House Stars and Stripes Cookies. How can you go wrong with a Chocolate Chip Cookie, America's Favorite Cookie? Perfect for the Fourth of July!

These cookies are great to make with kids. The fact that this recipe uses refrigerated cookie bar dough makes these cookies quick and easy. You can always make your own chocolate chip cookie dough. I have star cookie cutters.. well... I have a lot of cookie cutters. This recipe decorating technique should give you lots of 'food for thought' for other celebrations.

TOLLHOUSE STARS & STRIPES COOKIES

Ingredients
1 pkg (16.5 oz.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar Dough
1 pkg (8 oz.) light cream cheese (Neufchâtel), at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
24 fresh, medium strawberries, sliced
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels

Directions
1. PREHEAT oven to 350º F.
2. ROLL cookie dough to 1/4-inch thickness between two pieces of wax paper. Remove top piece of paper. Cut cookie dough into stars with 3-inch star cookie cutter. Transfer cookies to ungreased baking sheet(s). (If stars are too hard to remove from wax paper, refrigerate rolled dough for 10 minutes.) Roll remaining dough to 1/4-inch thickness; cut out additional stars.
3. BAKE for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. While hot, reshape and pat edges of each star back into shape with knife. Cool on baking sheet(s) for 2 minutes; remove to wire rack(s) to cool completely.
4. BEAT cream cheese and sugar in small mixer bowl until fluffy. Spread onto cooled cookies. Place strawberry slices onto each cookie pointing outward. Place 5 to 6 blueberries in center of each cookie. Top each cookie with morsels.

Photo: Nestle Kitchens

Chocolate Gingersnaps: Gingersnap Day

Today is National Gingersnap Day! I love Gingersnaps--or Ginger Snaps, as some spell it! Although they're usually associated with the holidays, they're fabulous all year round. They're also a very versatile cookie, and I often crush them up, add a bit of melted butter and use them as a crust for various pies, especially chocolate silk pie. If you end up making these gingersnaps bigger, you can also use them for the cookies in a Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich! And, since Fourth of July is this weekend, you might want to do just that!

So here's a great easy Chocolate Gingersnap Cookie Recipe (adapted from Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook via About.com Home Cooking) that uses both fresh and ground ginger and cocoa and chopped dark chocolate! How can you go wrong?

Tip: If you haven't used these dried spices since the holidays, you might want to check their freshness. They do have a shelf-life, and it would be sad to ruin these delicious cookies with 'stale' ingredients.

CHOCOLATE GINGERSNAPS

Ingredients
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sweet butter
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tbsp water
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1-1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp Dark cocoa
1-1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
7 ounces high quality dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup sugar

Directions
In large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses, water and minced fresh ginger.
Combine flour, cocoa, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or until easy to handle.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on greased (or parchment-lined) baking sheets.
Bake cookies at 350 F. for 10 to 12 minutes or until tops begin to crack. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.