Wednesday, August 31, 2016

S'mores Trail Mix: National Trail Mix Day

Today is National Trail Mix Day! Want to extend the summer? Mix up a batch of S'mores Trail Mix. Perfect for the Trail, an afterschool snack, or a lunch box treat. O.K. not the healthiest of snacks, but delicious and easy.

Teddy Grahams, Bear shaped graham cracker snacks, come in chocolate flavor, but the regular honey grahams cereal work best for a contrast of flavor and will make your trail mix more 'S'mores' tasting. There are all kinds of wonderful natural graham cereals.

S'mores Trail Mix

Ingredients
15 ounces Golden Grahams cereal (Teddy Graham cereal or a natural Graham Cereal)
16 ounces miniature marshmallows
12 ounces chocolate chips

Directions:
Empty all ingredients into a LARGE bowl or bag and mix.

Happy Trail Mix Day! Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Toasted Marshmallow Flourless Chocolate Cake: Toasted Marshmallow Day

Today is National Toasted Marshmallow Day, and, of course, you can make S'mores--and all the variations thereof. Here's a link to a S'mores Round-up on National S'mores Day that I posted last year. I've added lots of other Smores recipes since then.. but it's a start.

But how about something other than Smores? Something easy and great for the Gluten-Free Folks? The following Flourless Chocolate Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Topping is fabulous!

You can use your favorite flourless chocolate cake recipe or try this easy Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe. For the Marshmallows, I recommend using high quality marshmallows or making your own. Here's a link to Michael Recchiuti's Marshmallow recipe. If you only have 'regular' marshmallows, that will work, too.

Toasted Marshmallow Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients 
8 ounces dark chocolate 70-75% cacoa
1 cup sweet butter
1-1/2 cup sugar
6 large eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa
25 marshmallows 

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F
Butter 10-inch spring form round baking pan. Line bottom with buttered wax paper.
Break chocolate into pieces.
In double boiler or metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth.
Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture.
Add eggs and whisk well.
Sift cocoa over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined.
Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 35-40 minutes, or until top has formed thin crust and toothpick comes out moist but not wet.
Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes.
Remove springform sides. Leave cake on bottom of pan.
Put cake (still on springform base) on cookie sheet.
Top with marshmallows while still warm (leave an inch around edge free - they spread).
Put cake back in oven at 375 for 5 minutes--until marshmallows are 'toasted'.
Remove from oven.
If they're not toasted enough, use mini-torch (one of my favorite kitchen tools) to toast.
Cool on rack.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Milky Way Brownies: Back to School

I like this Retro Milky Way Ad. Students don't really look like this anymore (nor do the Milky Way bars), but it got me thinking about school days. My friend Donna always had Milky Way bars in her freezer, and I'd stop by her house on the way to school and have one. Her mother never minded! I frozen Milky Way Bars. When we were older, Donna and I got a ride to high school with a neighbor. While we waited for him, we availed ourselves of the Milky Way bars on his family's coffee table! Maybe this wasn't particularly healthy, but it was a delicious way to start the day!

Now, I buy miniature Milky Way bars to give out at Halloween. We don't get many kids where I live, so I put the 'extras'  (that would be all of them) in the freezer. How to use them up? In Brownies, of course. And, these two recipes for Milky Way Brownies are great for back to school! One's for home, and the other's for a crowd!


1. EASY MILKY WAY BROWNIES!

Make your favorite Brownie Mix (I like Ghirardelli), following directions by adding the 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg, and 1/3 cup water. At 20 minutes into the baking (350F), put about 7 ounces of chopped up miniature Milky Way Bars or Milky Way Bites on top. Bake another 20 minutes. Oh yum! Gooey back to school love!

2. MILKY WAY BROWNIES FOR A CROWD!

Have a crowd coming over after school? Baking for the college crowd? Want to make a batch of Milky Way Brownies from scratch? This recipe is the Bees Knees! Love the Vintage Ad above!

Ingredients: 
1 pound sweet butter, cut into pieces
1 pound dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate (or very dark - 90%), chopped
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
7 large eggs
2 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla
2 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 ounces miniature Milky Way bars, chopped
2 Milky Way Bars, sliced

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 12x18x1-inch pan. Line with foil that hangs over sides (butter the parchment). This makes it easier to get brownies out.
In metal bowl or saucepan over saucepan of simmering water, heat butter and chocolate until melted and smooth; cool slightly.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs, espresso powder, vanilla, and sugar. Stir egg mixture into slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Cool to room temperature.
In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt, then add to batter. Stir chopped mini Milky Way bars into chocolate mixture. Then pour into prepared baking pan and smooth top with rubber spatula.
Place slices of full-size Milky Way Bar on top of brownie batter.
Bake 25 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake!
Let cool completely, then cover tightly and chill overnight. These are very gooey, so be sure to chill if you want to cut them!


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dark Chocolate Pudding with Strawberry Roses

Photo: Driscoll's
The other day I was at a food event and one of the caterers served chocolate pudding, decorated with fresh strawberries. I was going to ask for the recipe when I remembered that Driscoll's, my favorite berry people, had posted a wonderful Dark Chocolate Pudding recipe with Strawberry Roses. Being a rose aficiando (I have over 130 rose bushes in my garden), I meant to re-post this earlier. The technique for creating strawberry roses is awesome and easy. It really elevates the chocolate pudding both in beauty and taste.

I recently made these Strawberry Roses to put on top of Strawberry Short Cake. So there are all kinds of uses. Here's the recipe and instructions for Dark Chocolate Pudding with Strawberry Roses.

DARK CHOCOLATE PUDDING WITH STRAWBERRY ROSES

Pudding 
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping
1 package Driscoll's Strawberries (16 ounces)
8 fresh mint leaves

Directions

Pudding
Melt Chocolate.
Whisk together 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch.
Bring remaining 1- 1/2 cups milk, sugar, cocoa, and salt just to a simmer over medium heat. Stir cornstarch mixture then add to milk mixture in saucepan and bring to boil, whisking constantly. Cook 1 minute.
Remove from heat and stir in melted chocolate and vanilla.
Spoon into 4 glasses.
Cover surface directly with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming. Chill.

Topping 
Before serving, hull 16 strawberries by removing the green calyx.
Take 4 strawberries and cut top off of strawberries. These strawberries will be used as the center for the roses.
For the remaining strawberries, slice into 1/8: sections to use for the rose petals.
Begin arranging sliced strawberries around pudding making sure ends of slices are facing out and extend slightly beyond rim of glass.
After first circle of strawberries is placed, begin making second circle of strawberries but position slightly more forward toward the center of glass.
Continue with third layer.
Once finished add cut strawberry to center and garnish with mint leaves.
Serve immediately.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Chiquita Banana, Carmen Miranda, & Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I've always loved Chiquita Bananas, especially the logo with Chiquita and her Fruit Hat that was popularized by Carmen Miranda. There was something so foreign and exotic about Chiquita -- and Carmen Miranda.  I was so taken by all the Carmen Miranda Hollywood productions that when I was in Rio several years ago, I made a pilgrimage to Carmen Miranda's home on Avendida Rui Barbosa. Very fun!

So in honor of Carmen Miranda and for National Banana Lovers Day, here are two  recipes for Banana Bread. These are from Chiquita Bananas. I added chocolate chunks to both of the following recipes because I love chocolate and bananas. You can also add nuts. The second recipe is gluten free! Be sure to scroll down to Carmen Miranda in the" Tutti Frutti Hat" Here's the 1950s "Chiquita Banana" song!

THE CHIQUITA BANANA SONG



Best Chiquita Banana Bread
adapted from Chiquita Bananas

Ingredients
4 whole Chiquita Bananas
1 cup All-purpose flour
1 cup Unprocessed wheat bran
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Brown sugar
3/4 cup Dark Chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
1 cup Unsalted butter, soft
2 whole Eggs
1 tsp Madegascar Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Walnuts
1 Tbsp Local Honey

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease large 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Whip 2 Chiquita Bananas and sugars until mix is creamy (about 3 minutes).
Add butter, eggs, and vanilla and whip until smooth.
Mix in all dry ingredients until blended.
Fold in walnuts and Chopped Chocolate (or chocolate chips).
Slice two Chiquita Bananas and toss with honey until Chiquita Bananas are well coated.
Pour mix in loaf pan and place honey coated bananas on top.
Bake in oven for 60 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes then place plate on top of pan and flip pan upside down so loaf falls onto plate.

Gluten Free Banana Bread 
with Chocolate Chunks
adapted from Chiquita Banana Bread, recipe idea Alisa Bennett

Ingredients
3 large Chiquita bananas
3 large Eggs
1/4 cup Coconut oil (melted)
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
2 cups Almond meal
2 Tbsp. Coconut flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

Instructions
Puree egg, oil, vanilla, and bananas in blender.
In separate bowl, blend dry ingredients.
Add banana and egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix well.
Fold in chopped walnuts and chopped chocolate.
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes.

"THE LADY IN THE TUTTI-FRUTTI HAT" from Busby Berkeley's Welcome to Banana Island

Friday, August 26, 2016

King Louie's Banana Boats

The weather promises to be warm and beautiful this weekend and tomorrow is National Banana Lovers Day, so I thought I'd post this fun recipe for King Louie's Banana Boats from one of my 'Theme" Cookbooks: Cooking with Mickey and Friends by Pat Baird. You'll go Ape over these. They're fun to make with the kids.

Since we barbecue all year round, I often make these on the grill, but you can just as easily follow the directions and make them in the toaster oven.

And, as Mickey reminds us, Bananas are a good source of potassium and carbohydrates. Use a good dark chocolate (broken up) or high quality dark chocolate chips, and you're adding antioxidants. Want to make S'mores Banana Boats? Add graham crackers mixed with melted butter to the chocolate chips and marhsmallows. You'll love King Louie's Banana Boats. You'll want to make more than one!



Thursday, August 25, 2016

S'mores Martinis: Celebrate 100 Years of the National Park Service

Happy 100th Birthday, National Park Service! It's been a century since Woodrow Wilson signed into law the act crating the National Park Service. There are now 84 million acres in the national-park system, including 59 national parks and 353 national monuments, battlefields and historic sites. I feel so lucky to have visited so many of them.

So what could be better to toast the NPS than a S'mores Martini? Here are two recipes for an adult version of S'mores: S'mores Martinis.

Just a bit of history. If you're not familiar with s'mores, they're made by sandwiching a toasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate in between two graham crackers. The name S'mores (alternatively Smores) comes from the two words "some more," because everyone always want s'more. This American treat was developed by the Girl Scouts in the early part of the 20th century, making use of the newly mass-produced marshmallow. Marshmallows were easy to transport, as were candy bars and graham crackers, and the marshmallows could be toasted over a fire to make a fabulous campfire treat in a situation where other types of sweets would have been difficult to come by. Of course, the quality of the chocolate and marshmallow, and even the graham crackers (if you make your own) will vary, but S'mores aren't about haute cuisine, at least not at my house.

So today in honor of the creation of the National Park Service, Drink Your S'mores! Both S'mores Martini recipes make four glasses. First recipe adapted from MyFind. Second recipe adapted from the Evite Blog. Let me know which you like best!

1. S'MORES MARTINI

2 oz Chocolate Vodka
2 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 oz Cream de Cacao
2 oz Vanilla Vodka
2 oz Heavy Cream
Graham Crackers, Crushed
Chocolate Syrup
12 toasted mini marshmallows or 4 large marshmallows (use a kitchen torch or skewer and hold over flame)

Dip rim of 4 martini glasses in chocolate syrup and then into crushed graham crackers. Chill glasses in freezer.
Pour all remaining ingredients except marshmallows into martini shaker filled with ice and shake until well blended. Strain and pour into chilled glasses.
Skewer toasted marshmallows on cocktail stick and place across rim.

2. S'MORES MARTINI

8 oz vodka
2 ozs chocolate liqueur
Graham crackers
Marshmallow creme (Marshmallow Fluff)
Miniature marshmallows

Pour vodka and chocolate liqueur into pitcher and stir. Refrigerate for several hours until mixture is very cold.
Put crushed graham crackers in small bowl.
Lightly coat rims of martini glasses with marshmallow creme (marshmallow fluff).
Dip each glass into bowl of graham cracker crumbs. Shake bowl gently to cover marshmallow creme with crumbs.
Put prepared glasses in freezer.
Skewer and Toast marshmallows over open fire or with kitchen blowtorch.
Pour drink mixture into 4 prepared glasses. Add skewered toasted marshmallows for garnish.

Rum Truffles: Guest post by Alan Cassady-Bishop

I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds collide. I know Alan Cassady-Bishop from his reviews of historical mysteries as well as his being a Facebook friend. What I didn't know about him was that he operates a very successful Nottingham business: Mrs Bishop's Doggy Deli, the first East Midlands Barkery. So he's very well versed in the ways of baking and cooking.


Alan Cassady-Bishop, Nottingham, UK:
Rum Truffles

Taking a break from baking dog cakes and treats, and of course reading and reviewing historical crime novels, I love to cook. I started cooking when I was seven and enjoy experimentation and the fun of being imaginative and inventive. However, when it comes to sweets (candy) my favourite chocolate “fix” are ...

Rum Truffles

Ingredients 
200g dark chocolate pieces
175ml double cream
4 tsp rum (or other liquor to taste)
Chocolate strands, sugar strands, icing sugar

Method 
1. Cover a tray tightly with cling film.
2. Grind the chocolate to a powder and put into a bowl.
3. Pour cream into a small pan and gently heat, not letting it boil and separate.
4. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and stir slowly, to melt the chocolate. Mix in the rum at this point. Mix well until it becomes a thick, shiny dark ganache of chocolate.
5. Place mix into a ‘fridge to chill for an hour or until it becomes firm.
6. Using a melon baller or a teaspoon, scoop out bite-size portions. Dusting your hands with icing sugar, gently roll the portions into balls.
7. Roll these balls in a coating – traditionally these are dark chocolate strands but can be coloured sugar strands, icing sugar or even crushed nuts. Place the completed truffles onto the prepared tray and refrigerate.
8. Once fully set, store in an airtight container and store in the ‘fridge.

Note: The rum can be replaced by any flavouring such as brandy, almond or orange. Rum lovers beware – putting more rum in may increase the flavor but it will slow or stop the ganache setting.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Chocolate Chip Waffles with Chocolate Maple Syrup

Today is National Waffle Day. If you're following my food holidays, you'll know that there are actually two Waffle Days, but I'm making waffles today to celebrate. My waffle maker doesn't come out as often as it should, but when it does, I wonder why I don't make waffles more often. The new waffle makers are so easy to clean.

So for today's Waffle Holiday, I'm making Chocolate Chip Waffles with Chocolate Maple Syrup! 

CHOCOLATE CHIP WAFFLES

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
4 Tbsp sweet butter, melted
3/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips
Chocolate Maple Syrup (see recipe below)

Directions
Preheat waffle maker.
In large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
In smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and butter until well combined.
Pour wet mixture into dry mixture, fold in chocolate chips and stir with wooden spoon until just combined.
Grease waffle maker and pour batter into preheated prepared waffle iron.
Cook until steaming stops and waffles are crisp and golden, about 3 minutes (time depends on waffle maker).
Top with Chocolate Maple Syrup! 

CHOCOLATE MAPLE SYRUP

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups pure maple syrup
4 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/4 cup sweet butter, chopped
Pinch of salt

Directions
Heat maple syrup in small sturdy saucepan over moderate heat until hot.
Whisk in cocoa powder, butter, and pinch of salt. Turn down to simmer and whisk for a minute.
Serve syrup warm.
Syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 1 week

Fresh Peach Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust

The other day was National Eat a Peach Day, this month is Peach Month, and today is National Peach Pie Day. Lucky for me there are all kinds of fresh peaches at the Farmers Market.

So today in honor of the holiday, I'm making a Chocolate Peach Pie. I've found that adding chocolate to the peach filling is way too sweet and gooey, so I'm keeping it simple. The chocolate in the following recipe is a traditional chocolate cookie crust made with chocolate wafers. The peach filling is also simple, but feel free to substitute your favorite peach pie filling.

Since peaches are in season (here in California), and there are so many different varieties to choose from, I'll be able to make a fabulous pie! This peach pie is best served chilled, but there are plenty of other recipes out there for a warm peach pie, if you prefer.

CHOCOLATE PEACH PIE

CHOCOLATE CRUST

Ingredients
2 cups chocolate wafers
6 Tbsp sweet butter (or salted if you're inclined)

Directions
Melt butter.
Put chocolate wafers in plastic bag and crush with spoon or rolling pin. Should be pea-size.
Combine melted butter and ground chocolate wafers.
Press ingredients into 9 inch buttered pie pan--bottom and up the sides.
Bake for 10 minutes-325. Let cool.

FRESH PEACH FILLING

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
Peeled Fresh Peach halves (pitted)
1/2 pint heavy cream

Directions
Mix sugar and cornstarch.
Cover inside of chocolate cookie crust with 3/4 of mixture. Go out to sides
Arrange peeled peach halves around outside edge (insides of peaches up).
Fill in with other peaches until full.
Sprinkle rest of mixture over peaches.
Put cream inside each peach center.
Bake at 325 for about 30-40 minutes.
Chill and serve.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate: National Eat a Peach Day

Everything is just PEACHY today! It's both National Eat a Peach Day and National Peach Month! In honor of the day and month, throw some peaches on the grill and add dark chocolate in the cavities. Peaches and chocolate -- a great combination of flavors.

Want to experiment? Choose different varieties of peaches and chocolate from different chocolate makers and with different amounts of cacao.

Here's a simple recipe for Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate adapted from an Epicurious recipe for Grilled Brown-Sugar Peaches with White Chocolate. That's a great recipe, too, and I love it with the toasted pistachios and WHITE chocolate. I don't like pistachios with the dark chocolate and peaches, though, but let me know what you think if you add the pistachios. It's a matter of taste. I stocked up on peaches at the Farmers Market this past weekend. Love all the varieties.

Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate

Ingredients
3 Tbsp sweet butter, melted
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
4 unpeeled peaches, halved, pitted
1/3 cup finely chopped dark chocolate (I like 70% cacao)

Directions
Get barbecue to medium-high heat. We use a Weber, so judge accordingly when you think it's hot. Make sure the grates are clean. Brush the grate with a tiny bit of oil right before the peaches go on.
Blend butter and sugar in large bowl. Add peach halves; toss to coat.
Place peaches, cut side down, on grill. Grill about a minute until slightly charred.
Turn peaches over (use tongs).
Divide chopped dark chocolate among peach cavities.
Drizzle remaining butter/sugar mixture from bowl over chocolate.
Grill until chocolate just begins to melt and peaches are charred, about 2 minutes.
Remove carefully from grill, plate, and serve.

Cartoon of the Day: Bundt


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Chocolate Pecan Torte: National Pecan Torte Day

August 22 is National Pecan Torte Day.  I've posted many chocolate pecan pie recipes, but a torte is not a pie. Here's a definition from Wiki:
A torte is a cake made primarily with eggs, sugar, and ground nuts instead of flour. Variations may include bread crumbs as well as some flour. Tortes are Central European in origin. The word torte is derived from the German word Torte, which was derived from the Italian word torta, which was used to describe a round cake or bread.
Tortes are commonly baked in a Springform pan. An element common to most tortes is sweet icing. (Exceptions include several French tortes, such as Gâteau Mercédès and Gâteau Alcazar.) When the cake is layered, a thick covering of icing is placed between the layers, and there is almost always icing on the tops and sides of the torte. A number of European tortes do not have layers.
Following are two recipes for Chocolate Pecan Torte. The FIRST is easier and fun to make! Lots of shortcuts. The SECOND is fabulous but much more involved. They're both very tasty! As always, a lot depends on the quality of your ingredients.

1. Chocolate Pecan Torte 
from Epicurean.com This recipe is fun to make, as well as easy and delicious. O.K. it's not traditional, but its great!

Ingredients:
No-stick flour and oil baking spray
1 prepared 8 or 9 inch pecan pie, thawed if frozen
1 box (about 1 pound 4 ounces) fudge brownie mix, makes a 9-by-13-inch pan
1/4 cup brewed coffee or water
2 tablespoons bourbon or other whiskey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, large or extra-large

Directions:
Heat oven to 325F. Spray interior of 9-inch springform pan with baking spray.
Cover surface of pie with plastic wrap and top with plate. Invert pie onto plate, and remove pie tin. Invert prepared springform pan over pie and then invert whole, so that  pie slides into pan. Remove plate and, using the plastic wrap to keep your hands clean, smash pie so it fills bottom of pan.
Mix brownie mix, coffee, bourbon, oil, and eggs in medium mixing bowl until smooth and texture of wet mud. Pour over pie and smooth top. Bake until sides are firm and top is crusty but center is still soft, about 50 minutes. Cool until pan is comfortable to touch; remove sides of pan and cool completely. Cut into wedges to serve.
***
This SECOND recipe won the $1000 1985 Woman's Day "Yummiest Chocolate Recipe Contest." I've changed it slightly, adding more chocolate and an apricot jam filling. This torte is more traditional and reminds me of a Viennese Torte. You can substitute raspberry or peach jam.

2. Chocolate Pecan Torte

Chocolate Pecan Torte:
12 ounces dark  chocolate (70% cacao-fair trade organic)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cup pecans
3/4 cup softened sweet butter
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
1/3 cup sifted flour
2 Tbsp dark rum
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Apricot Filling:
1/3 cup apricot jam
1 Tbsp orange liqueur
2 Tbsp dark rum
2 tsp lemon juice

Chocolate Glaze:
6 ounces dark chocolate (65-70% cacao)
2 Tbsp heavy cream
2 Tbsp sweet butter

Decoration:
1/2 cup pecan halves
1 Tbsp sweet butter
1 Tbsp Apricot Filling

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Butter 9" springform pan and dust with cocoa, shaking out excess. Set aside.
In top of double boiler, over hot water, melt the two chocolates together. Stir until smooth, and completely combined. Remove from heat, and allow chocolate to cool slightly.
Using food processor, grind  pecans fine with about 1/2 cup of the sugar. Add butter and remaining sugar, creaming together well. Beat in egg yolks, rum, and vanilla extract. Add flour and process with the rest. Add melted and cooled chocolate, and process again. It's quite dense.
Whip egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Mix about 1/3 of beaten egg whites into thick chocolate batter, then fold chocolate mixture into remaining whites, folding thoroughly.
Spread chocolate batter into prepared springform pan, and bake in preheated 325 degrees oven for 30 minutes or more, until toothpick inserted in center comes slightly moist.
Remove torte from oven, and allow to cool and settle in pan.
Take off springform, and transfer torte to its serving dish.

Sieve apricot jam into small saucepan. Add orange liqueur, rum, and lemon juice. Bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer a moment, then remove pan. Reserve 1 tablespoon of finished glaze for pecan trim, and spread rest over torte. Allow apricot filling to set, then top with chocolate glaze.

In top of double boiler, over hot water, melt chocolate and cream together. Remove from heat, and stir in butter, whisking till smooth. Allow glaze to cool until it will spread smoothly over torte. Use metal spatula to smooth it evenly over top, and coat sides with thinner layer.

In small sauce pan, combine apricot glaze, and butter. Melt them together. Add pecan halves, and stir until all are coated. Drain nuts, and allow to set slightly, then press around edge of torte.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Better Bacon Brownies: Bacon Lovers Day

Today is National Bacon Lovers Day! I've posted many chocolate bacon recipes over the years because bacon provides a great saltiness that complements the chocolate. I've even posted two Bacon Brownie recipes. But if two recipes aren't enough, here's a third. Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.com.  Of course, you can add more bacon if you'd like. I love that you caramelize the bacon in this brownie recipe.

Better Bacon Brownies

Ingredients
1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup DARK cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Grease 8-inch square baking dish.
Fry bacon in skillet over medium-high heat until nearly crisp, about 5 minutes. Add honey and stir until foaming subsides. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to plate to cool.
Mix melted butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl; mix in eggs.
Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt together in bowl; add to egg mixture.
Fold bacon and chocolate chips into mixture; pour into prepared baking dish.
Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes.
Allow brownies to cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Easy Chocolate Ice Cream without a Machine

So it's summertime here in the Northern hemisphere, and what's summer without ice cream?  Today is Soft Ice Cream Day, so why not celebrate by making your own? Don't have an ice cream maker? No problem. Here are two recipes that are easy and delicious. As always, your final product will only be as good as your ingredients, so use the BEST! Think these are  new recipes? Check out the Elsie the Cow recipe for Magic Chocolate Ice Cream at the end of this post!

1. Easy Chocolate Ice Cream without a Machine!

Ingredients 
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla extract

Directions
In medium bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Set aside.
In bowl of mixer, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form (do not over beat)
Fold sweetened milk mixture into whipped cream.
Pour into 2 quart container, cover, and freeze for 6 hours or overnight.

2. Easy Rocky Road Ice Cream without a Machine!
You can use the recipe above and just add the nuts and marshmallows--it will have a softer consistency...or try this one.. To have plain Chocolate Ice Cream using the following recipe, just omit the nuts and marshmallows.

Ingredients
4 oz dark (70-75% cacao) chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
Pinch of Kosher Salt
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or chopped roasted almonds)
1/2 cup mini-marshmallows

Directions
Combine chocolate and condensed milk in top of double boiler or saucepan over saucepan over simmering water. After chocolate has melted, take off stove and stir in vanilla and salt. Set aside to cool.
In large mixer bowl, add 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. When cream has stiffened, whip in 1/3 of chocolate mixture and fold in remaining chocolate. Then fold in nuts and mini-marshmallows.
Pour mixture into quart-sized plastic container with an air--tight lid. Freeze2 to 3 hours.
Eat the same day.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Chocolate Crunch Ice Cream Pie: National Ice Cream Pie Day

Today is National Ice Cream Pie Day. I've posted many ice cream pie recipes. They're very easy. I suggest you make a nice chocolate cookie crust, soften some ice cream and put it in the pie shell (after you've put the pie shell in the freezer for 1/2 hour). Top with sprinkles or chocolate curls and freeze.

Want to get a bit fancier? Here's a wonderful Retro Recipe from an old magazine for Chocolate Crunch Ice Cream Pie. The chocolate crust is made with chocolate, coconut, oatmeal, nuts and butter! Great combo.

I found this recipe on one of my favorite sites: Recipe Curio. This site is still up but hasn't been updated in about 6 years. Anyone know why? Or if the blogger is posting elsewhere? We share an affinity for older recipes and ads, and she has also found some great old handwritten recipes and cookbooks and pamphlets.

I use hazelnuts in the pie crust, but almonds would be great, too. This recipe is gluten-free. Always good! Also, you don't need to make the 'coffee' ice cream recipe. Buy some.. or use another type of ice cream.. or use your own recipe.




Chocolate Crunch Ice Cream Pie
(Makes one 9-inch pie)
Roll your pie and coffee into one spectacular of a dessert–a chocolate crunch shell mounded with scoops of coffee-flavored ice cream.
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2/3 cup coconut, toasted
2/3 cup oatmeal, toasted
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (I like hazelnuts)

Coffee Ice Cream:
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
3/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
Melt chocolate pieces and butter over hot water. In bowl, combine coconut, oatmeal, and nuts. Add chocolate mixture. Press firmly in 9-inch buttered pie plate. Freeze 30 minutes.
To make coffee ice cream, combine softened vanilla ice cream with coffee powder till well blended. Spoon into pie shell. (If mixture is too soft, return to freezer before spooning into shell.) Freeze till firm, about 2 or 3 hours, or overnight.
For easier cutting, dip bottom of pie plate in hot water for a few seconds.

Wine and Chocolate Pairings

I came across this fabulous guide to wine and chocolate pairing from ProFlowers.  It pairs 14 popular chocolates like peanut butter cups and chocolate covered espresso beans with complimentary wines. I asked Taylor Poppmeier, the creator of this pairing, if we could post on DyingforChocolate. Enjoy!

Taylor Poppmeier

As a self-admitted chocoholic, it's obvious that I enjoy my fair share of my favorite treat. I have always enjoyed a glass of red with a square (or bar) of dark chocolate but was hesitant to enjoy anything more adventurous out of fear that the taste of both would clash. Some connoisseurs argue that the bold flavors make pairing difficult so I am sharing a handy guide with you. ProFlowers created an easy cheat sheet for wine and chocolate pairings. They included everything from high end lavender truffles to the classic favorites like peanut butter cups. So peel open that candy bar and pour yourself a glass of wine. Cheers!

Basic Wine and Chocolate Pairing Rules:
  1. The wine should be as sweet as the chocolate.
  2. Begin pairing by color. The darker the chocolate, the darker the wine.
  3. When possible, opt for a high quality chocolate bar.
  4. Consider texture as well as taste.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Retro Rum Fudge Recipe for National Rum Day

Today is National Rum Day. I love Chocolate and Rum, and I use rum in lots of recipes. I love this 1941 Ronrico Rum recipe pamphlet -- "The Rum Connoisseur"-- a giveaway, I'm sure, from Ronrico Rum. Love the graphics on the cover and title page. So I'm renaming this Retro Rum Day!



Enjoy the Rum Fudge and Rum Marshmallow recipes!


Monday, August 15, 2016

Chocolate Lemon Meringue Pie: Pie in the Sky!

Today is National Meringue Pie Day and what could be better than a Chocolate Lemon Meringue Pie. I love lemon and chocolate!  (Photo is from a Vintage ad for "Jello" pie filling, but I use Meyer Lemon Curd for the filling.)

There are so many recipes for Lemon Meringue Pie. You can make your own lemon filling and your own pie shell, but here's a simple and easy recipe that uses Chocolate Ganache (I always have some in the freezer--but you can make fresh), artisan Meyer Lemon Curd from a jar, and a pre-made pie shell (I use Trader Joe's pie dough). O.K. you'll be making the meringue, but that's o.k. it's fun and fast.

EASY CHOCOLATE LEMON MERINGUE PIE

Use a pre-made 9" pie shell. Prick and bake as directed.
Let Pie Shell Cool.
Add a layer of Chocolate Ganache (see chocolate ganache recipe). Warm it up first, so you can easily spread evenly to the edges.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Warm Lemon Curd (to allow it to spread easily) and then add it to make a layer on top of the chocolate ganache. Spread gently and evenly to the edges--don't mix the two, if possible.
Top with Meringue (see directions below)
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Meringue Topping:
4 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
2 Tbsp sugar

Whisk together egg whites and cream of tartar in bowl of mixer. Beat whites until peaks form and then gradually add sugar. Keep beating mixture until stiff peaks form-about one to two minutes.
Using a spoon, place spoonfuls of meringue over surface of entire filling. Meringue should cover the filling completely to edge of crust.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes --until meringue has golden tips.
Remove pie from oven and place on wire rack to cool before slicing.

Happy Lemon Meringue Pie Day!

Julia Child's Chocolate Mousse: Happy Birthday, Julia!

Happy Birthday, Julia Child!  

Julia Child was born on August 15, 1912. She has inspired millions of amateur cooks and professional chefs with her skills, easy kitchen spirit (how can we forget the chicken?), and passion for learning, since her first cooking program aired on public television in 1963.

Julia Child revolutionized American cuisine through her French cooking school, award-winning cookbooks, and world-renowned television programs by presenting an approachable version of sophisticated French cooking to her eager audience for four decades.

Child began with a sincere passion for good food and the pleasures of cooking, studying in France in the '50s with chef/friend Simone Beck. With the help of Louisette Bertolle, another dedicated food lover, they created a cooking school called L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes and later, in 1961, completed their groundbreaking cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Her book and television show that followed made the mysteries of fancy French cuisine approachable, introducing gourmet ingredients, demonstrating culinary techniques, and most importantly, encouraging everyday "home chefs" to practice cooking as art, not to dread it as a chore.

Julia Child passed away on August 12, 2004. Today would have been her 104th birthday. So in honor of the day, here's her recipe for Chocolate Mousse! Be sure and scroll to watch the video at the end from her TV series The French Cook.

Julia Child's Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients 
6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee
4 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup (170g), plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons (30ml) dark rum
1 tablespoon (15ml) water pinch of salt

Directions
1. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat.
2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
3. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer.)
3. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo above. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla.
5. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don't overdo it or the mousse will lose volume.
6. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.

Not clear enough? Watch this Julia Child make this on The French Chef

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Chocolate Bytes: Swedish Fish Oreos

This week, Nabisco announced the newest Oreo flavor: Swedish Fish Oreos. This oreo has rebright red Swedish Fish gummy candy replace the traditional white creme filling. 

"We know that consumers enjoy variety when it comes to snacking so we create all of our limited-edition flavors to provide surprising new twists people know and love and on occasion, create unexpected and unique flavor combinations that people may never have thought were possible," an Oreo spokesperson told Business Insider on Wednesday. 

The flavor, however, has left quite a few Oreo fans scratching their heads on social media. Food blog The Impulsive Buy began its review with the "Jurassic Park" quote "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." 

The food blog wasn't impressed with the new Oreo filling. "This creme isn't perfectly pillowy, soft, and squishy," The Impulsive Buy wrote. "It's a little more sticky, chewy, and dare I say...slimy. It cracks and falls apart like a child's Play-Doh diorama of the Berlin Wall." 

"The creme's taste is just like Swedish Fish," The Impulsive Buy added. "It has potent, puckering pops of candied cherry and a slightly off-putting finish of waxy gelatin. I really wanted to like Swedish Fish Oreo, but the 'crispy fruit medicine puree' textural contrast is too much for even a quasi-licensed gummy-ologist." 

I haven't tried it yet, but I will soon. It doesn't really appeal to me, although I love Swedish Fish, and I love Oreos. Just not together! Meanwhile, Oreo fans can judge for themselves when the new cookie flavor lands only at Kroger stores, though some stores are already selling them online.

HT: Paul D. Marks

Orange Creamsicle Truffles: National Creamsicle Day

Today is National Creamsicle Day. I haven't had a Creamsicle in years, but I did occasionally buy one from the Good Humor Truck. Fudgsicles, of course, were my favorites!

What exactly is a Creamsicle? Well a Creamsicle is a frozen dessert with a vanilla ice cream core and a fruit sherbet coating. The classic Creamsicle flavor combination is orange and vanilla. Officially, the term “Creamsicle” is a registered brand name owned by Unilever, and similar products cannot be labeled as Creamsicles. However, the original Creamsicle® is such a perennial best-seller that the term is often used generically, and the branding rights may eventually be lost due to trademark dilution. 

So to honor the holiday--and to add chocolate-- make these Orange Creamsicle Truffles. Love this easy recipe.

FYI: You can substitute lemon juice and zest, and you have another winner--but it won't be a Creamsicle!

ORANGE CREAMSICLE TRUFFLES

Ingredients 
1/4 cup sweet butter
Zest of 1/2 orange
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 cup 'real' white chocolate chopped (Guittard) or white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions 
Put white chocolate in mixing bowl, set aside.
Melt butter with orange zest in small saucepan. Stir in cream and scald mixture.
Pour hot cream mixture through mesh sieve over white chocolate and using rubber spatula press zest against sieve to release orange oils into mixture. Allow mixture to rest 1 minute, add orange extract to white chocolate mixture then stir until smooth.
Cover mixture and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm enough to handle.
Scoop mixture out with small cookie scoop or teaspoon and form into balls.
Roll balls in powdered sugar.
Freeze truffles 20 minutes before eating.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Chocolate News: Deep Fried Twinkies in your Freezer now

Deep-fried Twinkies are no longer just for state fairs and those with deep fryers at home. Hostess Brands, the makers of Twinkies, launched Deep Fried Twinkies yesterday. The new Twinkies can be found in the frozen food section at Walmart for the next three months, and after that will be available at other stores. The cream-filled snack in vanilla or chocolate is the result of a yearlong collaboration between Hostess and Wal-Mart, as both companies look to spark food sales with innovative products.

Battered and partially fried before being frozen, these Twinkies need to be finished for a short time in the oven, toaster oven, or frying pan. They'll cost $4.76 for a box of seven.

The treats were inspired by consumers who have been deep frying Twinkies at home and at fairs for years. But while a deep-fried Twinkie may taste great, it’s not exactly a healthy snack. No surprise there. Coming in at 9 grams of fat and 220 calories, Deep Fried Twinkies have double the fat content of a regular Twinkie. The treats, which come in chocolate and vanilla, are in with line the "caloric decadence," the brand is known for.

Hostess hoped to recreate the state fair staple, but it wasn't easy. The company tested prototypes at its Kansas City, Missouri, headquarters, and considered making it a restaurant product. Then Wal-Mart approached them. Executives at Hostess, which also has an office near Wal-Mart's headquarters in Arkansas, came to Wal-Mart, and cooked in the kitchen with them.

"The original samples were pretty good," said John Pearson, Wal-Mart's senior buyer for frozen foods. "But the batter was a little lumpy."Hostess wanted a baking time of less than 10 minutes - with the right amount of oozing filling and a crispy texture. When baked, the Deep Fried Twinkies do come out a bit crispy, but aren't an exact match for the ones at fairs or restaurants.

The Name: Hostess considered Carnival Twinkie, Boardwalk Twinkie and the Light and Crispy Twinkie. But Pearson and other Wal-Mart executives encouraged Hostess to call them what they are: Deep Fried Twinkies.

This product marks the first time Hostess Brands has developed a product for the frozen foods section; a move that is a smart extension of the brand into another section of the grocery store.

Want to make your own Deep Fried Twinkies?

HOME-MADE (sort of) FRIED TWINKIES

Ingredients
6 Hostess Twinkies, frozen
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp oil
1 cup flour
1 tso baking powder
1/2 tsp salt flour, for dusting

Directions 
Heat oil in deep fryer to 380 / 400 degrees.
Combine wet ingredients in one bowl, whisk dry ingredients in separate bowl. Combine both into one bowl blending together.
Set in refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Place wooden stick into end of twinkie, sprinkle with flour to create light dusting on Twinkie.
Dunk Twinkie into mixture and then place in fryer.
Fry for 2 - 5 minutes, until golden brown on both sides.
Remove, let oil drain, let set for a few minutes.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Chocolate Covered Breadsticks: Bread and Chocolate

Bread and Chocolate: How I Survived in Europe on $5 a Day.

Many years ago I traveled throughout Europe with the Europe on Five Dollars a Day guidebook, a Eurail Pass, a baquette (frequently replenished), and bars of chocolate. Today I'm more into the 2-4 Michelin star meals, but back then I had very little money, and there were exceptional crunchy baquettes and high quality French and Belgium chocolate to be had for a song. Filled me up--and delicious!

Today, I recreate those times... taking it up a notch with Chocolate Covered Breadsticks. I use skinny pre-made breadsticks, but if you have the time, you can make your own breadsticks. I use Italian breadsticks. Remember it's all about the quality of the breadsticks and the chocolate!

Want to get creative? After dipping the breadsticks in chocolate, sprinkle with chopped pistachios or kosher salt or sea salt. These chocolate covered breadsticks go great with a cup of coffee or tea. Want to serve them as an hors d'oeuvre? Wrap prosciutto tightly around the breadstick before dipping in chocolate. This works better with fatter, breadier breadsticks, at least for my taste.

CHOCOLATE COVERED BREADSTICKS

Ingredients
2.5 ounces dark chocolate (65-85% cacao)
12-15 very thin breadsticks

Directions
Melt chocolate and dip quickly up 3/4 length of breadsticks.
Let excess chocolate drip off.
Put coated sticks on parchment-lined baking sheet.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes to harden.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Marshmallow Fluff Fudge: 2 Retro Ads & Recipes

I can never have too many Fudge recipes. Yes, I have my favorites, but sometimes you just want to experiment. So, you can see why I really like these two Vintage Ads & Recipes, both of which use Marshmallow Fluff as a major ingredient. Marshmallow Fluff you ask? You may know this product as Marshmallow Creme. You can make it at home or you can buy a jar. Can't find it at your market? Try Amazon or another online store. I usually have a jar in the pantry. O.K. not the healthiest of ingredients, but it's special and really adds to the flavor in these Fudge recipes!

So here are two Retro Ads and Recipes for Marshmallow Fluff Fudge!




Wednesday, August 10, 2016

S'mores Bundt Cake: 2 Recipes for National S'mores Day!

If you follow my blog, you know I love S'mores, and I've posted over 60 S'mores Recipes. In all these S'mores recipes, I've never posted a S'mores Bundt Cake Recipe. So in honor of National S'mores Day here are two easy and delicious recipes, for S'mores Bundt Cakes.

The first recipe is from Cuisinart! I've mentioned many times, that you should always check recipes at food association sites, but also products. Use your cuisinart (or whatever you have) to make this. It will be so easy!

1. S'MORES BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water
11 whole graham cracker sheets
3 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 stick butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup marshmallow cream

Directions
In mixer bowl combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; mix until dry ingredients are combined. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; mix until just combined and then add hot water and mix for 20-30 more seconds.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Pulse graham cracker sheets in food processor until coarse crumb is formed; add in brown sugar, melted butter, and 2-3 Tbsp warm water and pulse until combined. Mixture should hold its shape when formed. If it doesn’t, continue to add small amounts of water until it does.
Prepare Bundt pan by coating with cooking spray. Press all but 1/2 cup of graham cracker mixture evenly into bottom of pan and an inch or two up the sides. Next, pour in chocolate batter. Sprinkle reserved graham cracker crumbs over top.
Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. With electric mixture beat together  butter and powdered sugar for several minutes until very smooth and creamy. Add in marshmallow cream and beat until well combined.
When the cake comes out of oven, let cool for 10 minutes and then turn out onto cooling rack.
When cake has completely cooled, spread frosting over top.
Take a kitchen torch and burn a bit to give it that real s'mores look and taste.

So if one recipe is good, two is even better. This second S'mores Bundt Cake is slightly adapted from Miriam Pascal at OvertimeCook.com

2. S'MORES BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
Graham Cracker Streusel
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Chocolate Cake
5 eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup DARK cocoa powder
3/4 cup milk

Marshmallow Glaze
1 cup marshmallow fluff
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp boiling water

Garnish:
Crushed graham crackers chocolate shavings

Directions
Graham Cracker Streusel
In small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, oil, and brown sugar. Stir until combined.

Chocolate Cake
Preheat oven to 350. Grease Bundt pan well with floured baking spray. Set aside.
In bowl of electric mixer on medium speed, beat together eggs and oil until combined. Add sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla. Beat until combined and smooth. Turn mixer to low speed and add cocoa powder, followed by  milk, then flour. Beat until just combined.
Pour half of batter into prepared Bundt pan, then sprinkle about 2/3 of graham cracker streusel over batter, distributing it evenly. Top with remaining batter and then sprinkle  remaining crumbs over top. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.
Allow cake to cool completely before glazing.

Marshmallow Glaze
Combine marshmallow fluff, vanilla, and boiling water until spreadable consistency. Add up to another teaspoon of boiling water, as needed. Spread over cooled cake. Top with chocolate shavings and graham cracker crumbs.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Strawberry Chocolate Fool: National Strawberries and Cream Day

Today is National Strawberries and Cream Day. To celebrate, you can always have some lovely strawberries in cream or whipped cream, but how about taking it up a notch without much extra work? I love this recipe for Strawberry Chocolate Fool. This is one of the easiest desserts to put together, and just perfect with all the fresh strawberries in the market right now. What's great about this dessert is that there are only really three ingredients--and I usually have them in pantry and frig--Chocolate, Strawberries, and Cream. Oo.k, you can add a bit of salt and vanilla, but you don't have to.

What's a Fool you ask? It's a classic British dessert of fruit and whipped cream, and it's perfect for the warm summer weather. The word fool actually comes from the French word fouler which means to crush. You crush the strawberries! Then you whip the cream and add some chopped chocolate. It's kind of like a mousse. Want to elevate your presentation? Serve this Strawberry Chocolate Fool in clear individual containers such as wine glasses--either stemmed or short. Another serving option would be to serve in short clear mason jars. I have tons of those! And, FYI, bookmark this recipe for a last-minute Valentine's Day dessert.

STRAWBERRY CHOCOLATE FOOL

Ingredients
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped finely
2 cups fresh sweet strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla (optional)
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions
Put sliced strawberries in bowl (save some for layers and garnish). Add sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mash berries and chill for 30 minutes.
Whip cream to stiff peaks. Fold chilled strawberry mixture and chopped chocolate into whipped cream.
Spoon into serving dishes, alternating layers with remaining chopped strawberries. Garnish with chopped chocolate and a strawberry.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Reese's Peanut Butter No-Bake Pie

It's hot this summer, and I'm always looking for easy no bake recipes. I've posted Peanut Butter Chocolate Pies before, but this Reese's Peanut Butter No-Bake Pie from The Novice Chef is terrific. I adapted several things, as well as making my own chocolate cookie crust (see recipe below). I substituted my own hot fudge sauce, but as always, feel free to use what you have. I also use whipped cream rather than Cool Whip, but again, it's a choice you can make. The Novice Chef uses Smucker's Hot Fudge Topping.

REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER NO-BAKE PIE

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cookie Crust
1-1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs -about 25 (chocolate wafers that have been crushed)
1/4 cup sweet butter, melted and cooled

Directions for Crust:
In bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter until moistened and pat evenly into bottom and up side of 10-inch deep pie plate. Bake in preheated 350 °F oven for about 10 minutes or until firm. Let cool.

Pie Ingredients
24 unwrapped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, divided
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
12 ounces whipped cream (whipped into stiff peaks) or Cool Whip, divided
12 ounces hot fudge sauce

Directions
Line bottom of pie crust with whole Reese's cups in flat layer. Set aside.
In stand mixer, beat peanut butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar until smooth.
Fold in 8 ounces of whipped cream (or cool whip) into peanut butter mixture by hand, until well combined. Spoon mixture into pie shell and smooth mixture to edges of pie using spatula or back of spoon.
Heat hot fudge topping for 1 minute in microwave. Stir. Pour on top of cake and spread until reaches the edges.
Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
Once pie is set, spread remaining whipped cream over hot fudge layer.
Chop up remaining Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and sprinkle on top.
Refrigerate until ready to serve!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Chocolate Fudge Cake: National Lighthouse Day

Today is National Lighthouse Day. I've always been fascinated by Lighthouses, not just because of how they important they are to ships at sea, but because of the 'odd' (to a kid) living arrangements. Who lived in the Lighthouse? Did they have kids? Did the children go to school? Was the Lighthouse isolated from the community? And, what about the kitchen? Was there gas and electricity? Running water? 

Most of my early lighthouse experiences were down the shore in New Jersey--Cape May and Barnegat, but since childhood I've visited Lighthouses all over the U.S. Living in Northern California, I've visited the Lighthouse on the Rock (Alcatraz), Fort Point, and East Brother Island (lighthouse keeper job comes up often. This lighthouse operates as a B&B), Pigeon Point, Ano Nuevo (near the elephant seal breeding ground), Point Montaro. 

Growing up I loved Lighthouses in Books and Movies. I'm a mystery fan--check out my other blog: www.mysteryfanfare.com, and lighthouses sometimes feature in dramatic endings, although I recently read a crime novel in which the lighthouse and its keepers set the opening scene and tenor of the story. Scandinavian crime novel, as I remember it.

Anyway, in honor of today's holiday--Lighthouse Day--here's a chocolate recipe for Chocolate Fudge Cake from Becky Sue Epstein and Ed Jackson's American Lighthouse Cookbook. This cookbook on my shelf, of course, and I highly recommend it. The cookbook is a culinary journey across America, visiting 47 lighthouses, dozes of essays about them and over 300 recipes from eight coastal regions of the U.S.


Chocolate Fudge Cake 
Grosse Point Lighthouse, Illinois

Ingredients
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 ounces sweet baking chocolate
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
9 Tbsp sweet butter, softened, divided
1-1/8 cup sugar
2 extra-large eggs
21/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar  (this is what really makes this recipe!)
Cocoa Frosting (recipe follows)

Directions
Preheat  oven to 325ºF. Butter 2 (9-inch round) cake pans with 1 Tbsp butter.
Mix dry ingredients in  bowl.
Melt chocolate in microwave on medium heat or in double boiler.
In electric mixer, cream together 8 Tbsp butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at time, beating well after each addition. Pour in vinegar and melted chocolate, and mix well.
Slowly add flour mixture, mixing until fully incorporated.
Spread batter into prepared cake pans.
Bake 30 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake. 
Unmold the cakes.
Place 1 layer so bottom is facing up on platter. Spread 1/4 cup Cocoa Frosting on top of this layer. Place  second layer on top so tbottoms of layers are together, and frost  entire cake with remaining

Cocoa Frosting 

Ingredients
3 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp butter, softened 1 tsp (Madagascar) vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2–4 Tbsp milk

Directions
In electric mixer, stir together sugar, butter, vanilla, and cocoa. Add milk, a little at time, until desired consistency for frosting.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Root Beer Float Chocolate Bundt Cake: National Root Beer Float Day

Today is National Root Beer Float Day. Just an FYI: A&W Root Beer is giving away small Root Beer Floats today, so you might want to get over to an A&W store today.

So what exactly is a Root Beer Float? Well, a root beer float is made from Root Beer and vanilla ice cream. To make a 'traditional' root beer float, add the root beer to a tall chilled glass, leaving a bit of room in top. Then slowly add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the glass. Drizzle a small amount or root beer on top, and it will turn to foam. You might want to put a plate under the glass, because when the ice cream begins 'to float', it sometimes bubbles over! Sometimes people just mix the two together, but I like the very float-y way. A Root Beer Float is traditionally made with vanilla ice cream, but you can also make a Root Beer Float with Chocolate Ice Cream--it would be called either a brown cow or a black cow, depending on where you live. Each region in the U.S. has its own names. No surprise there!

But maybe you want to do something even more special than making an ice cream float to celebrate the day, but still maintain the root beer float flavor. And, you want to include lots of chocolate. I'm a huge fan of bundt cakes. They're easy and pretty! Well, then this recipe from the BrownEyedBaker is perfect. There's chocolate in both the Bundt Cake and the Frosting. Personally I rarely frost my bundt cakes, and I feel this cake has the flavor of the root beer float, but if you're all about frosting, make the frosting and ice the cake! Actually the frosting, itself, tastes like a root beer float! Lick the bowl!

Root Beer Float Chocolate Bundt Cake

Ingredients
2 cups root beer (not diet root beer)
1 cup DARK unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup sweet butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray, or butter pan and dust with flour, shaking out excess flour; set aside.
In medium saucepan, heat root beer, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until butter melts. Add sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.
In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together.
In small bowl, whisk eggs until just beaten, then whisk into cooled cocoa mixture until just combined. Fold flour mixture into cocoa mixture. Do not overbeat. Lumpy is fine!
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking, until sharp knife inserted into cake comes out clean. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool. Loosen sides of cake from pan and turn onto rack.

Root Beer Float Fudge Frosting

Ingredients
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
½ cup sweet butter, softened
1 tsp salt
¼ cup root beer
2/3 cup DARK unsweetened cocoa powder
2 -1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions
Put all ingredients in food processor. Pulse in short bursts until frosting is shiny and satiny, scraping sides of food processor a few times. (You can always use hand mixer or standing mixer)
Using spatula, spread frosting over cake in a thick layer. Let frosting set before serving.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Fudge: Post by author Nancy J Parra aka Nancy Coco

I love when my mystery and chocolate worlds collide. Today I welcome back Nancy J Parra aka Nancy Cocothe author of over 20 published novels which include four mystery series: The Gluten-free Baker’s Treat Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime), The Candy Coated Mysteries (Kensington), The Perfect Proposal Mysteries (Berkley Prime Crime) and The Kensington Palace Mysteries. Her writing has been called witty and her protagonists plucky by reviewers around the world. Nancy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and blogs at the KillerCharacters.com on the 8th of every month. Nancy loves to hear from readers. Be sure and check out her mysteries.

Nancy J Parra aka Nancy Coco:
Fudge Making is More Than a Christmas Tradition 

Fudge brings to mind road trips, vacations and holidays. The yummy, often homemade, candy is in the forefront of my Mackinac Island set, Candy Coated Mystery series. The fourth book in the series, All You Need is Fudge highlights the great yacht race from Chicago to Mackinac. It is a tradition that happens every year. Only this year’s race is murder when Allie finds a dead woman floating in the marina. With trusted Bichonpoo puppy, Mal, on the job solving this crime isn’t as easy as pie.

For this series I’ve experimented with several kinds of fudge. Below is the most beloved so far. I hope you enjoy! --Nancy

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Fudge 

Ingredients
4 cups pecans chopped
1 1/2  cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup Half and Half
3 Tbsp dark corn syrup
stick butter + 1 1/2 tsp butter for pan prep
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups mini dark chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 8 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven and allow the pecans to cool. Prepare a 9x9 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and butter the foil with 1 ½ tsp butter. Place 2 cups of dark chocolate mini chips in the bottom of the pan.

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the brown and granulated sugars, the cream, and the corn syrup over medium heat. Stir until the sugars dissolve, insert a candy thermometer-ensure it does not touch the bottom or sides of the pan, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Allow the mixture to boil, stirring frequently, until it reaches 238 degrees F on the candy thermometer. This takes approximately 10 minutes. (I set the timer to help understand how long it takes for the temperature to reach this point.) Once at 238, remove from heat. Take out the thermometer and stir in the butter, vanilla extract, and chopped pecans. Stir the fudge vigorously with a heavy wooden spoon. (I break more spoons making fudge. It will get thick.) Stir constantly for 10-15 minutes until the fudge loses its shine and holds its shape. Pour fudge into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Refrigerate the fudge to set it, for at least 1 hour.

Once set, remove the fudge from the pan using the foil as handles. Cut the fudge into small 1-inch pieces to serve. Store fudge in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Chocolate Chip Day: Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Round-Up

Today is Chocolate Chip Day on the food calendar. And, because my first reaction is Chocolate Chip Cookies, here's an updated Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Round-up from DyingforChocolate.com! Perfect for Chocolate Chip Day! Do you have a favorite? Post a link in comments.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE ROUND-UP!

Vanishing Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sesame Chocolate Chip Cookies 

M&M Chocolate Chip Party Cookies

Rainy Day Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Bittersweet Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Shortbread Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crisco Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies: 2 Recipes

Chocolate Chip Cookies Secret Ingredient: Lemon Juice

Sea Salt and Thyme Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Toll House Cookies: Vintage Ad & Original Recipe

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies

Gooey Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Retro Chocolate Chip Cookies Ad & Recipe

Coffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Red & Green M&Ms "Chocolate Chip" Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk/Chocolate Chip Cookies: National Oatmeal Day

Chocolate Cricket Chip Cookies

Honey Chocolate Chip Cookies: Baking with Honey Tips

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies: National Zucchini Day

Double Tree Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sea Salt & Thyme Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hilary Clinton's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar

Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toll House Stars and Stripes Cookies

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies