Monday, May 22, 2017

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies: Perfect for Memorial Day

"Rosemary is for Remembrance"-- so this recipe for Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies is perfect for Memorial Day. I grow a lot of rosemary in my garden that I use it in baking and grilling. It's a very versatile herb. There are several varieties, and they flower, so it's also quite pretty -- and deer resistant. Rosemary is also very aromatic. And, a little goes a long way.

The phrase "Rosemary is for Remembrance" comes from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember.” 

Even before Shakespeare's era, many cultures assigned meaning to this herb. It was often used in funerals or in the care of the dead. But also, at one time, it was the fashion for brides to wear wreaths of rosemary. Rosemary was also thought to repel evil spirits and cure thievery. 15th and early 16th century statesman and writer, Sir Thomas More, tied rosemary to memory in his writing. He wrote fondly of it “running” about his garden without cultivation because: “it is the herb sacred to remembrance, and therefore, to friendship…” And for my mystery friends, an Agatha Christie novel, published as both Remembered Death and Sparkling Cyanide, uses the Shakespeare quotation.

ROSEMARY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients 
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups Chocolate Chips
1 cup pecans, chopped
2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl.
Beat butter, both sugars, and vanilla in large mixer bowl until creamy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually beat in flour mixture.
Stir in Chocolate Chips, chopped Rosemary, and pecans.
Drop by rounded tablespoon onto un-greased cookie sheets.
Bake 9-10 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Build a Chocolate "Campfire Cake"!

Here's a great "Campfire Cake" you can make ahead for a picnic, barbecue, or camping trip. Serve this Chocolate Campfire Cake on a wooden plank/log for effect...but a wood cutting board or plate will do, too. I first saw this Campfire Cake in 2015 in  CountryLivingMagazine, but now it's all over the Internet. Lots of variations. Such fun! This would be great for Memorial Day. Bring the great outdoors into your backyard.

Here's what to do: Make your favorite two layer Chocolate Cake and your favorite Chocolate Frosting. Buy some rolled wafer cookies (I like Pepperidge Farm Pirouette Rolled Wafers) and red and orange hard candy.

HARD CANDY RECIPE

Preheat oven to 375.
Put red and orange hard candies on parchment-lined cookie sheet; put in oven.
Once candies have melted (about 10 minutes), remove from oven.
While still liquid, use a skewer to marbelize the colors.
Set aside and let cool.
Once hardened, peel from liner and break into triangular shapes.

Decorate top of cake with rolled wafer cookies and candy flames when you're ready to serve.
Tip: Do not put the candy flames in the refrigerator of they will soften up and lose their shape.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Strawberries Stuffed with Chocolate Cream: Strawberry & Cream Day

Tomorrow is National Strawberries and Cream Day! I knew I had to find a way to add "chocolate" cream. Strawberries can be stuffed with all kinds of things that make them even more wonderful. I posted a recipe for Strawberries stuffed with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cheesecake, Tiramasu or Marscapone all of which also included dipping the strawberries in chocolate first. So for Strawberries and Cream Day, I thought Strawberries with Chocolate Cream Stuffing would be perfect. I've made these many times, and there are lots of variations, of course, depending on the chocolate you choose and if you use Kahlua or Cream (or another liqueur). This recipe is adapted from both  RecipeZaar and Yummly,  two great sites for you to check out!

STRAWBERRIES STUFFED WITH CHOCOLATE CREAM

Ingredients
24-36 strawberries
1 cup dark chocolate (65-75%), chopped
2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream or kahlua
4 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
14 cup powdered sugar

Directions
Wash berries, cut off stems and hollow out a bit to resemble a small cup.
Place chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips, if that's what you have) and Cream or Kahlua in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds on high. If not melted continue for 10 seconds each time until melted.
Set aside until cooled just a bit.
In separate bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until fluffy.
Add chocolate mixture to cream cheese mixture and beat until combined.
Put finished mixture into a Ziploc or pastry bag and fill strawberries. Heap chocolate onto top a bit and finish with a swirl :-).
Put strawberries in refrigerator for at least an hour.

Photo: Yummly

Friday, May 19, 2017

Camp Sunset: Dutch Oven Double Chocolate Cake

I love Sunset Celebration Weekend! This year it will be held once more at Cornerstone in Sonoma, May 20-21. There is so much planned to make your weekend exciting, educational, and fun, including Camp Sunset: DIY interactive Retro crafts activities with a modern twist, food demos showing off the ins and outs of backcountry cooking, and Western Spirit: Exploring locally influenced whiskies! Of course, there's much more at Sunset Celebration: Food and Wine with celebrity Chefs, Live Fire Cooking Stage, and Wine & Spirit Seminars. Don't forget to stop by the Sunset Smart Cottage. I loved it. High-tech meets high-style at the Sunset Smart Cottage. There's also a Smart Trailer (special-edition Tommy Bahama Airstream). Be still my heart!

Here's a great recipe for a Dutch Oven Double Chocolate Cake that you can make on your next camping trip. Everyone will love you and this cake! Recipe from Sunset, of course.

Dutch Oven Double Chocolate Cake
Tip: use charcoal briquets instead of wood to better control the heat.

Ingredients 
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup dried buttermilk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips, divided
About 1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Sweetened whipped cream (whisk whipping cream in a bowl with a little sugar or use canned)

AT HOME 
Combine flour, sugar, dried buttermilk, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and 1/2 cup chocolate chips in lidded container or resealable plastic bag.
Pour 1/3 cup oil and the vanilla into second container with snug lid.
Cut circle of parchment paper to fit bottom of 4-qt. camp dutch oven.

IN CAMP
Fill charcoal chimney starter one-third with briquets, set in irepit, ignite, and let burn until briquets are spotted gray, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, generously oil dutch oven, line with parchment paper circle, and oil paper.
Pour flour mixture into medium bowl.
When fire is ready, add oil mixture and 1 cup water to flour mixture and stir until blended.
Scrape into dutch oven and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Using tongs, space 8 coals in firepit in circle a little smaller than dutch oven.
Set dutch oven on coals, checking that it's level. Set lid on top, then arrange 14 coals on lid around the lip and 2 coals in center of lid. Set any extra coals aside.
Bake cake until skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes; to check, lift lid by sliding tongs through lid's center handle and bracing them against side of lid closest to you, then tilting lid up.
Remove lid and let cake cool at least 15 minutes before cutting into wedges.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Devil's Food Cake vs Chocolate Cake: What are the Differences?

People always ask what's the difference between Devil's Food Cake and Chocolate Cake. It's a good question, and there are many different interpretations. Some recipes use cocoa, some melted chocolate, some add coffee or hot liquid, and some increase the baking soda. And, since it's National Devil's Food Cake Day, here are some answers.


According to Wikipedia:

Because of differing recipes and changing ingredient availability over the course of the twentieth century, it is difficult to precisely qualify what distinguishes Devil's food from the more standard chocolate cake. The traditional Devil's food cake is made with shredded beets much the way a carrot cake is made with carrots. The beets add moisture and sweetness to the cake, helping it to be very rich. The red of the beets slightly colors the cake red and due to the richness of the cake it became known as the Devil's food. 

O.k. That's a beet cake or a 'natural' red velvet cake, and I make a good one, but it's not a Devil's Food Cake in my opinion.  

Devil's food cake is generally more moist and airy than other chocolate cakes, and often uses cocoa as opposed to chocolate for the flavor as well as coffee. The lack of melted chocolate and the addition of coffee is typically what distinguishes a Devil's food cake from a chocolate cake, though some recipes call for all, resulting in an even richer chocolate flavor. The use of hot, or boiling water as the cake's main liquid, rather than milk, is also a common difference. 

Devil's food cake is sometimes distinguished from other chocolate cakes by the use of additional baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) which raises the pH level and makes the cake a deeper and darker mahogany color. Devil's food cake incorporates butter (or a substitute), egg whites, flour (while some chocolate cakes are flourless) and less egg than other chocolate cakes. Devil's food cake was introduced in the United States in the early 20th century with the recipe in print as early as 1905. 

A similar cake, the red velvet cake, is closely linked to a Devil's food cake, and in some turn of the century cookbooks the two names may have been interchangeable. Most red velvet cakes today use red food coloring, but even without it, the reaction of acidic vinegar and buttermilk tends to better reveal the red anthocyanin in the cocoa. When used in cakes, acid causes reddening of cocoa powder when baked, and before more alkaline "Dutch Processed" cocoa was widely available, the red color would have been more pronounced. This natural tinting may have been the source for the name "Red Velvet" as well as "Devil's Food" and a long list of similar names for chocolate cakes.

I'm partial to Devil's Food Cake.

Here are several mid-century recipes. Sorry about the light print on the first cookbook.

I've posted many Devil's Food Cake recipes in the past, but today I have four mid-century recipes.

The first recipe is for Cocoa Devil's Food Cake from How To Get the Most Out of Your Sunbeam Mixmaster (1950). I posted a "Mix-Easy" Devil's Food Cake for Mother's Day a few years ago, and you might want to look at that one, too. It's pretty much the same as the following recipe. The following page in the Sunbeam Mixmaster cookbook pamphlet is great for today's post since there's a Chocolate Cake recipe next to the Devil's Food Cake recipe.


This same cookbook has a recipe for Black Devil's Food Cake, so now we have Cocoa Devil's Food Cake, Black Devil's Food Cake, and a Red Devil's Food Cake. As you see, the following Black Devil's Food cake is made with cocoa and with the addition of strong hot coffee or boiling water.


The Red Devil's Food Cake is a variation on the Chocolate Fudge Cake on the same page, and to save space, they didn't reprint the entire recipe! It's a very small pamphlet. The baking soda is increased, but otherwise it's the same cake. This recipe is from the Recipes for your Hamilton Beach Mixer-17 Delicious New Cakes (1947). Don't you just love that someone wrote good next to the recipe? It's the same recipe I posted (but from a different pamphlet) on Devil's Food Cake Day for Mother's Day. 


And one more Red Devil's Food Cake from the same mid-century period. This one is from Kate Smith Chooses her 55 Favorite Ann Pillsbury CAKE RECIPES.


Enough Devil's Food Cake recipes? Never! Have a look at Martha Washington's Devil's Food Cake from Capitol Hill Cooks: Recipes from the White House by Linda Bauer. It's a great Buttermilk Devil's Food Cake!

So what's the difference between Devil's Food Cake and Chocolate Cake? You decide.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

One Bowl Chocolate Cake: Retro Ads & Recipes

I've posted this recipe for One Bowl Chocolate Cake before but in a totally different Advertisement. I found both of these ads for the same product--two different brands, same product: Crown Brand Corn Syrup (Canada) and Karo Corn Syrup (U.S.). Thought you'd like the comparison. The First Advertisement emphasizes the Cake -- "A Delicious One Bowl Chocolate Cake." The Second is all about the Marshmallow Frosting--"At last...an easy "No-Cook" Marshmallow Frosting!" Same Cake photo, although the first frosting recipe is for Chiffon Frosting, while the second is for Marshmallow Frosting. Both recipes below!







Monday, May 15, 2017

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES: RECIPE ROUND-UP

Today is Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Here's an updated Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Round-up from DyingforChocolate.com! Perfect for Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! Do you have a favorite recipe? Post a comment and link!

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

Michelle Obama: Mama Kay's White & Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Retro Whitman's Sampler Mother's Day Chocolate Ads

Happy Mother's Day!  I grew up in Philadelphia, home of Whitman's Samplers. Here are a few Retro Whitman's Sampler Mother's Day Chocolate Ads. You can never miss with a box of Whitman's Samplers. Read more about Whitman's Chocolates HERE.







Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

My Mother: 1942 & 2014





Saturday, May 13, 2017

Chocolate Apple Pie: National Apple Pie Day

Today is National Apple Pie Day, and this is the perfect post for Mother's Day tomorrow, too. It's all about "Mom and Apple Pie," and this Chocolate Apple Pie is "as American as Mom and Apple Pie." But what's the origin of these catch phrases? What's the meaning of as American as Mom and Apple Pie

From Wikipedia: 
Although apple pies have been eaten since long before the European colonization of the Americas, "as American as apple pie" is a saying in the United States, meaning "typically American". In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, apple pie became a symbol of American prosperity and national pride. A newspaper article published in 1902 declared that “No pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished.” The dish was also commemorated in the phrase "for Mom and apple pie" - supposedly the stock answer of American soldiers in World War II, whenever journalists asked why they were going to war.

My grandmother made an awesome Apple Pie. I've written about it before. It did not contain chocolate, and she made it in a huge rectangular pan that was big enough to feed a crowd since there were always lots of family at our house. She made Apple Pie because it was American, and when she came to these shores, she became an American!  My Bubbe was born in Ukraine, married in London, and settled in Philadelphia, the cradle of liberty. She took her new citizenship to heart, and she baked her special apple pie for every Friday night dinner. She did it because she saw herself as a true American. So Celebrate Mom (and Grandmom) and Apple Pie with this easy Chocolate Apple Pie Recipe!

CHOCOLATE APPLE PIE

Ingredients
Pastry for a double-crust 9-inch pie, unbaked
8-10 tart apples (peeled, cored and sliced thinly--number of apples depends on their size)--Gravensteins aren't available this time of year, but they're my favorite, especially for pies!
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup 65-75% dark chocolate fair-trade organic, chopped into smallish pieces

Directions
Apples: peel, core, and slice thinly.
Combine cinnamon & sugar = cinnamon sugar. (you may need a tiny bit more). I've also used the chocolate cinnamon sugar from Trader Joe's
Place 1 layer apple slices on bottom crust. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar. Repeat twice.
Spread chopped chocolate pieces over top.
Using remaining apples, make 3 more apple/cinnamon sugar layers.
Top with 2nd crust and seal edges. Make cut on the top--or prick with fork in a few places.
Bake in preheated 450 F oven for 15 minutes (until golden).
Lower heat to 350F and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes, or until apples are tender.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Mother's Day Vintage Ad & Recipe for Golden Cream Chocolate Cake

For Mother's Day I'm posting a Vintage Ad that references mothers. I love these Vintage Ads and recipes from Baker's Chocolate that "Tell a Story." These Ads appeared in Life Magazine from 1937-1938. Some of them are so amusing, especially this Ad from February 7, 1938 (and again on June 5, 1939) for Paula's Golden Cream Chocolate Cake. What a period piece! I mean really...just read the headline, "Paula Gives Mother-in-Law Her Come-Uppance." And don't you just love the word "Flibbertigibbet." Good thing Paula had a mind and talent of her own. And what a saint she was for not lauding her baking skills over her mother-in-law. Such modesty. Oh puh..lease. I feel like writing 'the rest of the story.'

At first meeting, Paula's mother-in-law thought Paula couldn't boil water.. She was proved wrong when Paula baked a lovely Golden Cream Chocolate Cake. These 'story ads' say a lot about the times! Of course Paula couldn't have done it without Baker's Chocolate and her own Mother's teachings!

This recipe really is delicious. The cake is a "cross between a Fudge Cake and Boston Cream Pie." A perfect posting (and baking!) for Mother's Day!




Thursday, May 11, 2017

MOTHER'S DAY COCOA SPICED SALMON

My Mother circa 1942
Confession: My mother was not a chocoholic. So for Mother's Day that always precluded giving her Truffles or Chocolates or baking anything chocolate specifically for her. However, my mother would have eaten salmon every day if she had the opportunity. So here is an easy recipe adapted from Peggy Trowbridge Filippone on about.com for Cocoa Spiced Salmon.

I love cocoa/chocolate rubs, and this one helps seal in the flavor of the salmon. We do a lot of grilling at our house, and this is perfect for Mother's Day.. or any day! If you don't have a grill, you can broil. Give it 10 minutes tops!

Here's a chocolate menu for you for Mother's Day: Cocoa Spiced Salmon with a green salad made with blueberries, cocoa nibs, blue cheese and spiced walnuts. I use a Strawberry vinaigrette. You can also make a Flourless Chocolate Cake for dessert and maybe some Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.

Mother's Day Cocoa Spiced Salmon

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp dry mustard
Dash of ground cinnamon
1 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp DARK cocoa powder
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1-1/2 pounds salmon filet

Mustard Sauce (optional)
1/4 cup dry mustard
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp hot water

Directions:

We cook on a Weber, but if you have a gas grill, fire to medium-high heat.
Smear 1 teaspoon olive oil over bottom of shallow aluminum pan. (Alternatively, you may form a tray out of a double layer of heavy foil. Be sure to put it on a cookie sheet for stability.)

Whisk together sugar, dry mustard, cinnamon, paprika, cocoa powder, chili powder, cumin, pepper, and salt.

Coat both sides of the salmon filet with remaining olive oil.
Place in grill pan skin-side down.
Sprinkle generously with cocoa spice mixture and pat down.
(You may have some spice mix left over. Store in a glass jar in a cool, dark place up to 6 months.)

The recipe says to grill salmon about 10 minutes per inch of thickness, until salmon flakes easily with a fork. Do not overcook or it will become dry. We cook our salmon for a much shorter period of time, but then we don't have the same control on the heat.

Mustard Sauce: Optional
Whisk together dry mustard, sugar, and hot water until smooth. 
Serve as a condiment with Cocoa Spiced Salmon.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

DIY CHOCOLATE FACIALS: THE PERFECT MOTHER'S DAY GIFT

Here's a personal and unique Mother's Day Gift! A Chocolate Facial for Mom! Mix up one of these recipes -- the Perfect Mother's Day gift. Be sure to make a second batch for yourself!

We all know Chocolate is good for the heart, blood pressure, and a lot more. When I was growing up, we were told that chocolate was bad for the skin. That it actually caused acne. This is not true. Chocolate is full of antioxidants that actually gives the skin extra protection against free radicals and can nourish the skin. The following masks can increase hydration, support skin's defense against UV damage, decrease roughness, and actually improve blood flow. Give one or all of them a try.

Pros of Chocolate Face Mask: The skin becomes glowing and soft. The skin becomes firm and smooth. Even if the mask goes into your mouth, no problem; it tastes yummy. The final Chocolate Face Mask even has an alternative fudge recipe.

So here are 5 D-I-Y Chocolate Face Mask Recipes! They're all simple to make. Let me know which is your favorite.

1. Chocolate Mask from Household Magic: Daily Tips

Mix together a heaping Tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder with heavy cream to form a paste.
Apply to clean, dry skin and leave paste on for 15 minutes.
Wipe off mask with washcloth.
Rinse face with lukewarm water and pat dry.

2. Chocolate Yogurt Honey Mask from Flavor Fiesta

Ingredients:
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp yogurt
1 tsp honey

Directions:
Blend cocoa powder with honey and yogurt. Cocoa powder can be difficult to blend, so be patient with this step. Keep mixing until mixture looks like melted chocolate.
Clean your face with lukewarm water. Dab dry and then apply the mask evenly all over your face except the eye and lip areas. Relax for 15-20 minutes and let the mask do it’s magic.
Wash off with lukewarm water and dab dry.
Apply moisturizer.

3. Chocolate Brown Sugar Sea Salt Mask from WikiHow

Ingredients
2 bars of dark chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup of milk
Sea salt
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Directions
Heat dark chocolate in double boiler for about 3 minutes.
Mix sea salt, brown sugar, and 2/3 of a cup milk in a bowl.
Remove melted chocolate from heat.
Mix melted chocolate with salt/milk mixture.
Allow to cool.
Apply to face while cool but not hardened.
Leave on until it hardens.
Wash or chip off with mild cleanser and warm water.
Add moisturizer when done.

4. Chocolate Oatmeal Honey Mask from Skin Care and Remedies

Ingredients
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup organic honey
2 Tbsp of heavy cream (or sour cream)
3 tsp oatmeal powder

Directions
Mix all ingredients until mass in consistent.
Apply to face, gently massaging so oatmeal can start exfoliating the dead skin cell layer.
Leave on for about 15-20 minutes
Rinse off with lukewarm water.

The following recipe is one of my favorites because it's so versatile.. with a tiny bit of tweaking, you can make fudge! How cool is that?

Chocolate Avocado, Honey, Oatmeal Face Mask (or Fudge)  
 from Meghan Telpner-Making Love in the Kitchen

Ingredients
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup organic honey
2 Tbsp smashed avocado
3 tsp oatmeal powder (leave this out if making soft fudge, leave in if you want a harder texture)

Directions: Face Mask
Mix all ingredients until mass is consistent.
Apply on face, gently massaging so oatmeal can start exfoliating the dead skin cell layer.
Leave on for 15-20 minutes.
Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Instructions: Fudge
Mix all ingredients (except oatmeal) until mass is consistent.
Spread in small pyrex dish or into individual ramikens.
Allow to set in refrigerator for at least two hours.



Monday, May 8, 2017

Coconut Cream Pie: Make it from Scratch!

Love these food holidays! Today is National Coconut Cream Pie Day! Add a Chocolate Cookie Crust, and you're calling my name! The advertisement on the right is from 1947 for "A Dreamy Creamy Coconut Pie You Can Make At Home-in Minutes," but believe me, take a few more minutes to make your own. It will be 100% better!

The following recipe is adapted from Southern Living (April 2005) and also appeared in one of the Best of Southern Living collections. It's worth the time to make this great Coconut Cream Pie from Scratch.

COCONUT CREAM PIE FROM SCRATCH

Coconut Cream Pie Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups half-and-half
4 egg yolks
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
Garnish: toasted coconut

Directions

Chocolate Pie Crust
2 cups chocolate wafers
6 Tbsp sweet butter

Melt the butter.
Put chocolate wafers in plastic bag. Close bag and crush with spoon or rolling pin until you have tiny pea-sized chocolate bits.
Combine melted butter with chocolate bits.
Press ingredients into 9-inch buttered pie pan. Be sure and go up sides.
Bake 10 minutes at 325°F. 

Filling:
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in heavy saucepan. Whisk together half-and-half and egg yolks. Gradually whisk egg mixture into sugar mixture; bring to boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat.

Stir in butter, 1 cup coconut, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, placing plastic wrap directly on filling in pan; let stand 30 minutes (or put it in the refrigerator). Spoon custard mixture into prepared crust, cover and chill 30 minutes or until set.

Beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add 1/3 cup sugar and remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla, beating until soft peaks form. Spread or pipe whipped cream over pie filling.

Garnish with toasted coconut

*To make toasted coconut, heat oven to 350. Put coconut in a pie pan and spread out to about 1/4 inch thick. Toast in oven for about 3-5 minutes.. check to make sure it doesn't burn. 

HAPPY COCONUT CREAM PIE DAY!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Mint Julep Truffles: 2 Recipes

Yesterday was the Kentucky Derby, and I didn't get to post this. But it's never too late to make these Mint Julep Truffles, and let's face it, they go well with the Triple Crown, too! The Mint Julep has been the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, since 1938. Why not step it up a notch and make these fabulous Mint Julep Truffles? I'm all about easy, and the two recipes below are just that!

Mint juleps are traditionally served in pewter or silver julep cups. I always love an opportunity to buy unique tableware. You can serve the truffles in mint julep cups!

Read more about the history of the Mint Julep at whatscooking america.

1. MINT JULEP TRUFFLES

Ingredients
7 ounces DARK (60-75% cacao) chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp minced fresh mint leaves
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp good quality bourbon
Cocoa

Directions
Put chopped chocolate in bowl and set aside.
Heat heavy cream and mint leaves in small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Stir in butter and bourbon; whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth.
Cover chocolate mixture with plastic wrap (press wrap onto surface of chocolate) and chill for two hours, or until firm.

To Form Truffles:
Put cocoa in shallow bowl.
Using a melon baller or teaspoon, scoop out balls of chilled chocolate. Form into balls quickly between your palms.
Roll balls in cocoa to coat.

II. Mint Julep Truffles 
(recipe from Food Network)

Ingredients 
6 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate (not chocolate chips), coarsely chopped
2 ounces good-quality milk chocolate (not chocolate chips), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 to 4 tsp bourbon
1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract
1/3 cup sugar
2 packed Tbsp fresh mint leaves

Directions 
Put chopped semisweet and milk chocolate in medium bowl. Bring heavy cream and butter to  simmer in small saucepan. Pour cream mixture over chocolate, completely covering it, and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir with spatula until chocolate is completely melted, smooth and glossy. (If chocolate doesn't melt completely, microwave the mixture on high in 15-second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted.)
Fold in bourbon and peppermint extract until incorporated. Mixture will look separated at first, but keep stirring until uniform.
Set bowl over larger bowl of ice water, and let mixture chill for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until  thickened a bit and it's become homogeneous. Pour mixture into shallow 2-quart baking dish or 9-inch pie plate. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
Meanwhile, process sugar mint in food processor for 1 minute until mint is finely chopped and dispersed, scraping down bowl with spatula halfway through. (The mint sugar can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.)
Scoop tablespoon-sized balls of chocolate mixture, and roll them between hands to shape them, working quickly-- balls melt fast.
Put them on plate or rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Put mint sugar in shallow dish, and drop balls in few at time, shaking dish to coat on all sides; transfer truffles to platter, shaking off excess, and refrigerate until ready to serve them.

(Once truffles have been coated, they must be served that day. Uncoated, they can be stored overnight in refrigerator in airtight container or covered with plastic wrap, then coated the day they're served.)

Cartoon of the Day: Genetic Engineering


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Dark Chocolate Crepes Suzette: National Crepes Suzette Day!

Crepes Suzette. Ooh-la-la! What could be more French? Today is National Crepes Suzette Day.

To add a chocolate element, you can always add chocolate sauce to your traditional crepes suzette, but why not make Dark Chocolate Crepes?

History of Crepes Suzette from What's Cooking America?

Probably the most famous crepe dish in the world. In a restaurant, a crepe suzette is often prepared in a chafing dish in full view of the guests. They are served hot with a sauce of sugar, orange juice, and liqueur (usually Grand Marnier). Brandy is poured over the crepes and then lit. The dish was created out of a mistake made by a fourteen year-old assistant waiter Henri Carpentier (1880-1961) in 1895 at the Maitre at Monte Carlo's Café de Paris. He was preparing a dessert for the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII (1841-1910) of England. 

 
According to Henri Charpentier, in own words from Life A La Henri – Being The Memories of Henri Charpentier:


“It was quite by accident as I worked in front of a chafing dish that the cordials caught fire. I thought I was ruined. The Prince and his friends were waiting. How could I begin all over? I tasted it. It was, I thought, the most delicious melody of sweet flavors I had every tasted. I still think so. That accident of the flame was precisely what was needed to bring all those various instruments into one harmony of taste . . . He ate the pancakes with a fork; but he used a spoon to capture the remaining syrup. He asked me the name of that which he had eaten with so much relish. I told him it was to be called Crepes Princesse. He recognized that the pancake controlled the gender and that this was a compliment designed for him; but he protested with mock ferocity that there was a lady present. She was alert and rose to her feet and holding her little shirt wide with her hands she made him a curtsey. ‘Will you,’ said His Majesty, ‘change Crepes Princesse to Crepes Suzette?’ Thus was born and baptized this confection, one taste of which, I really believe, would reform a cannibal into a civilized gentleman. The next day I received a present from the Prince, a jeweled ring, a panama hat and a cane.”

DARK CHOCOLATE CREPES SUZETTE


For the Crepes: 

Ingredients
2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 1/2 Tbsp melted sweet butter
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted
1-1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup DARK cocoa
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Melt butter and chocolate together, mixing to combine and smooth out  chocolate. 
In large bowl, combine milk and eggs. 
In separate, smaller bowl, combine dry ingredients.
Whisk together milk and eggs with dry ingredients, continue whisking as you incorporate butter and chocolate mixture.
Cover and refrigerate at least an hour, or overnight. Be sure to re-whisk batter before you cook  crepes.

To Cook Crepes:
Butter hot skillet (small or medium, not large) or crepe pan, then wipe out excess butter with paper towel so it's dry-ish. 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 a spatula for few seconds to cook other side.


SAUCE & FINAL PREPARATION

Ingredients
4 Tbsp sweet butter
1/4 cup sugar
Juice of 6 oranges (with zest from one)
3 Tbsp Cointreau
3 Tbsp Cognac
12 dark chocolate crepes
Grated chocolate for garnish

Directions
Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Stir in sugar, zest, juice, and liqueur. Stirring constantly, reduce sauce to 2/3 cup. Carefully add each cooked crepe to  pan—one at a time—and coat with sauce.
Fold each crepe into quarters, and arrange on plate (3 per plate if you're serving four)
Sprinkle crepes with orange zest and grated chocolate chocolate.

Only if you're really careful: flambé sauce: reserve two tablespoons and add three more of Cognac. Stir together and remove the pan from heat. Ignite with match and pour flaming sauce over crepes.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Pinata!


Mexican Chocolate Cheesecake

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Here's a great recipe for Mexican Chocolate Cheesecake from Betty Crocker, only slightly adapted. As always, use the very best chocolate and other ingredients. To make this extra chocolate-y, make a chocolate crust.

Mexican Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust
1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies (about 35 cookies)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling 
1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) chopped Mexican Chocolate (I use Taza Mexicano)
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
3 eggs

Topping and Garnish 
2 cups sweetened whipped cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Chocolate shavings

Directions:
Heat oven to 350°F.
Wrap outside bottom and side of 8-inch springform pan with heavy-duty foil to prevent leaking. Spray inside bottom and side of pan with cooking spray.
In small bowl, mix crust ingredients. Press in bottom of pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Cool crust 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, melt chopped chocolate and whipping cream over medium-low heat; stir until smooth. Remove from heat.
In large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, just until blended.
Stir in chocolate mixture. Pour filling over crust.

Bake at 300°F 1 hour or until edge of cheesecake is set at least 2 inches from edge of pan but center of cheesecake still jiggles slightly.
Turn oven off; open oven door 4 inches. Let cheesecake remain in oven 30 minutes. Run small metal spatula around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake.
Cool in pan on cooling rack 30 minutes.
Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

To serve, run small metal spatula around edge of pan; carefully remove foil and side of pan. Cut cheesecake into slices. Top slices with whipped cream; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
Garnish with chocolate shavings. Cover; refrigerate any remaining cheesecake.

Photo: Betty Crocker

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Cinco de Mayo Chocolate Menu: Molés & Tamales

Cinco de Mayo and Chocolate! So many great recipes and such a natural combination. Cinco de Mayo (The Fifth of May) is a Mexican holiday celebrating the victory of the Mexican army over the French at the Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862. Puebla's signature dish is Molé Poblano--a Chocolate spicy stew--the national dish of Mexico. It's not sweet, even with the chocolate, since there are groundnuts, seeds, bitter chocolate and spices. There are so many varieties. Below are a few variations. Want to go the easiest route? Try Mole paste with Mexican Ibarra chocolate. You'll still want to add some chicken broth and tomato juice and maybe some peanut butter, but it's quick-- or you can try one of these recipes:

MOLES

Chicken Mole, my favorite Mexican chocolate main dish, can be very complicated to make. Here's an easy recipe adapted from Paula Deen for a quick Chicken Mole. o.k. it's not all that quick, but faster than the traditional recipes.

Quick Chicken Molé

Ingredients
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 chipotle peppers, roughly chopped
1 (10-ounce) can chicken broth
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 ounces Taza Chocolate Mexicano, chopped
1 (5-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), for garnish
White rice, for serving

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat oil in saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and spices and continue to saute to toast and develop flavor. Add diced tomatoes, peppers, chipotles, broth, peanut butter, and chocolate. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and puree until smooth.
Sear the chicken in heavy bottomed hot saute pan over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Add to casserole dish, cover with sauce and braise the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Garnish with pepitas and serve with white rice.

You can also use this mole dish with Enchiladas!

The following recipe is from Kendall Jackson. Pair a Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Malbec with this. 
 
Chicken Mole Poblano with Animal Crackers

Ingredients

For chicken:
1 whole chicken
3 quarts water
1/2 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp oregano

Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour or until chicken is done. Strain and reserve the liquid and chicken.

For mole sauce:
4 Tbsp rice oil (or other neutral flavored oil)
8 dried mulato chilies, stems and seeds removed
4 dried pasilla chilies, stems and seeds removed
4 dried ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed
2 dried cascabel or chipotle chilies, stems and seeds removed
12 almonds
1/4 cup peanuts
3 garlic cloves
1/4 large onion
1/2 plantain, diced
12 animal crackers
5 raisins
3 whole black peppercorns
2 cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
5 cups reserved chicken stock
2 slices bacon
1/2 bar (1-1/2 ounces) Mexican chocolate (Ibarra)

Directions
In large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat, add oil and sauté the chilies for approximately 3 minutes. Stir chilies constantly, being careful not to burn them. Using slotted spoon, remove chilies and reserve.

Add almonds and peanuts and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Add garlic, onions, and plantains and cook until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes. Add animal crackers and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Add raisins, peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon and cook until aromatic. Remove from heat and place in blender, add chilies, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, and chicken stock. Purée until the sauce is smooth consistency.

In small pan, cook bacon until fat has rendered. Remove bacon and all but 1 tablespoon of fat from pan (bacon can be eaten or reserved for another use). Add chocolate to pan. Once chocolate has dissolved, cook for 2 minutes or until aromatic. Add bacon fat and chocolate mixture to purée and stir to combine.

To serve: Slice chicken onto platter and cover with mole sauce. Garnish with remaining sesame seeds. Serve with Mexican rice and tortillas on the side.

The extra mole sauce can be frozen for up to 2 months.
***
Here's a completely different mole recipe--this time for WHITE Chocolate Mole with Animal Crackers. Recipe from Judy Walker in the Arizona Republic a few years ago.

White Chocolate Molé with Animal Crackers

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds
1/4 cup walnuts
2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
2 whole cloves
1 fresh poblano chile, seeded and chopped
2 fresh serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
1 small clove garlic
1/2 white Spanish onion, cut into chunks
5 animal crackers, toasted
1/4 cup sweet butter
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread peanuts, almonds, and walnuts on a jelly-roll pan. Toast in oven, shaking pan occasionally, until nuts are slightly colored and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes.

In blender, combine nuts, water, cinnamon stick, and cloves; blend until nuts are very finely ground. Strain through medium-mesh sieve over bowl, pressing on solids with back of ladle or rubber spatula to release liquid. Reserve liquid and discard solids.

In blender, combine chiles, garlic, onion, and nut liquid. Add animal crackers; puree until smooth. Strain through medium-mesh sieve over bowl, pressing on solids with back of ladle or rubber spatula to release liquid. Discard solids.

In large saucepan, heat butter. Stir in nut-chile liquid. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat, scraping bottom of pan occasionally with rubber spatula, until mixture is consistency of thick pea soup, about 15 minutes.

Stir in chocolate, salt, and pepper until chocolate is melted. Use immediately.

Note: The mole without the chocolate can be made ahead and refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to a week. To serve, heat in a saucepan and stir in the chocolate.

**
Here’s another “Main Dish”—I know it’s really a dessert, but they’re tamales, after all, so I’m counting them as a main dish. This recipe for Chocolate Tamales for Cinco de Mayo is from Diana's Recipe Book. The tamales are easy to make and delicious.

CHOCOLATE TAMALES

Ingredients
1 cup milk
1 pound DARK chocolate, 70-85% cacao, chopped
1 pound butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 pounds corn flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
24 corn husks

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
Boil milk and add chocolate. Stir constantly until chocolate is completely melted. Add butter and sugar. Mix until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Mix corn flour and baking powder together in bowl. Slowly add chocolate mixture and mix by hand for 10 minutes.
Grease 2 (12 cup) muffin pans and line with corn husks. Fill with chocolate tamale mixture and bake for 20 minutes.


Kentucky Derby Chocolate Bourbon Nut Pie

Over the past few years, I've posted several chocolate recipes that are perfect for Kentucky Derby Parties. I have more than one recipe for Derby Pie, the traditional chocolate, nut, bourbon pie, so here's a re-post of the three most popular --plus a Pie in a Jar to take to your Kentucky Derby party!

Kentucky Bourbon Chocolate Walnut Pie has been served at the annual Derby Horse Race for over 50 years. It was a special recipe that was first made at the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Kentucky. * Note: You can't legally call it a "Derby Pie" recipe. The name "Derby Pie" is trademarked, and the owners of the name are very aggressive protecting the name "Derby Pie." DyingforChocolate.com is not a commercial site, but to be safe,  I'm calling it Kentucky Derby Chocolate Nut Pie. Similar Pies to the one above are sometimes called Brownie Pie or Tollhouse Pie, but it's really Derby Pie. There have been many modifications over the years, but the most important ingredient is Kentucky Bourbon.

I'd love to hear about your favorite Kentucky Derby Pie. Do you use Pecans or Walnuts? How much chocolate? What kind? How much Bourbon? What kind?

1. Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie

Ingredients
1 pie crust (homemade or store bought)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup light corn syrup
4 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1/4 cup Kentucky Bourbon
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1-1/4 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, shelled and chopped in half

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll crust out.
In large mixing bowl, on medium speed with whisk attachment, whip butter, sugars, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla and bourbon together until frothy.
Remove bowl from mixer, and fold in chocolate chips and pecans or walnuts. Blend well.
Pour into prepared pie crust and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until set.
Serve warm or cool completely before serving with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

2. Kentucky Bourbon Chocolate Walnut Pie

Ingredients
1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar (1/2 brown/1/2 white)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup melted butter
2-4 Tbsp Kentucky bourbon (it's a matter of taste)
1 cup chopped English walnuts (you can vary this by using pecans)
1-1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
dash of salt
1 - 9 " deep-dish pie shell (pre-made crust or make your own)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix flour and sugar.
Add eggs and melted butter; mix to combine.
Stir in bourbon, walnuts, chocolate chips, vanilla, and salt.
Pour mixture into unbaked piecrust.
Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Pie should be chewy but not runny. 

Another variation: don't add the chocolate chips to the mix: Arrange them on the bottom of the unbaked pie shell. Pour over chocolate chips and bake.

***
Several years ago my friend Janet Appel sent me this recipe. Leave it to someone from Kentucky to make the 'real' thing. I miss Janet. She was the quintessential Kentucky belle.

3. Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie
(Originally called Derby Pie)
FROM ENTERTAINING THE LOUISVILLE WAY-QUEEN’S DAUGHTERS 1969

Ingredients
1 stick melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
4 eggs beaten
1 Tbsp Wild Turkey Bourbon
1 cup whole pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1- 9 or 10 inch unbaked pie shell

Directions
Mix above ingredients and pour into pie shell.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until fairly firm at 350 degrees.
Let cool and set up before serving.
Garnish with sweetened whipped cream.

Note from Janet Appel: We soak the pecans in bourbon over night and use a jigger of bourbon. We still add the tablespoon of bourbon to the mixture. White corn syrup is Karo.

***
No time to bake? Going to a Kentucky Derby Party? You can assemble and take this Kentucky Derby Pie Mix in a Jar! 

For this recipe, I substitute Bourbon for the vanilla in the directions. You can always write vanilla (or Bourbon optional) on your recipe gift card.

4. Kentucky Derby Pie in a Jar!

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar (or use half brown and half granulated)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup coursely chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Directions:
Pour sugar into lightweight food storage bag. Tie bag and cut off some of the excess and fit bag into bottom of a 1 quart wide-mouth canning jar.
Pour in half of nuts, then put in layer of chocolate chips, and then add remaining nuts.
Into food storage bag, add flour and pinch of salt.
Tie with twine or ribbon and cut off excess plastic bag end, if necessary.
Fit into the top of jar and screw on top.

Directions for gift tag or label:

Kentucky Derby Pie in a Jar!
Here's what to add:

Ingredients:
1 9-inch pastry shell, unbaked
4 ounces melted sweet butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp Bourbon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325°.
Remove bag of flour from jar; set aside.
Pour nuts and chocolate chips into pie shell, spreading evenly.
In small mixing bowl, whisk 2 eggs.
Remove sugar bag and empty sugar and flour bags into bowl, stirring to blend well.
Whisk in 1 tsp Bourbon or splash more (or vanilla) and 4 ounces melted butter. Blend well.
Pour batter evenly over nuts and chocolate chips.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until nicely browned.
Chill thoroughly before cutting.
Serve with whipped cream.

If you're a mystery fan, you'll want to read my list of Kentucky Derby Mysteries on my other blog, MysteryFanfare because we all know there's always murder and mayhem at the races.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Mexican Chocolate Kahlua Ice Box Cake

Vintage Ice Box Cake Pan
Cinco de Mayo is coming up, and I have a Mexican Chocolate Ice Box Cake to add to my growing list of Mexican chocolate recipes. This recipe, originally from the 60s, was 'found' by the Baltimore Sun for a reader.  I've changed a few things, and you might want to, too. I used Taza Mexican Chocolate. I cut down a bit on the sugar, too, but maybe not enough for your palette. If you use unsweetened chocolate, you can add more sugar. You can always cut off the tops of the lady fingers, but I like the way they look the way they are. Love this no bake cake. No eggs, so no worries, either. And, in case you don't know, an ice box was a large wooden box, zinc or tin-lined, with a compartment for big blocks of ice and an area with shelves for storing perishables. Starting in the early 20th century they were called refrigerators, but make no doubt about it, they were not mechanized or electrified.


Mexican Chocolate Kahlua Icebox Cake

Ingredients
60 ladyfingers (Trader Joe's .. but there are other brands)
2-3/4 cups chilled whipping cream
4 ounces Taza Mexican chocolate (but feel free to use any very dark chocolate)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 tsp Mexican vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ounce semisweet chocolate (grated)
1/4 cup or more Kahlua

Directions
Brush ladyfingers with Kahlua. Line bottom of 9-inch diameter springform pan with ladyfingers. Line sides of pan with ladyfingers, standing ladyfingers side by side with the rounded side facing out.
Stir 3/4 cup whipping cream, chocolate, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in heavy saucepan over low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove saucepan from heat and cool to room temperature.
Using electric mixer, beat powdered sugar, butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla in large bowl until blended. Beat in cooled chocolate mixture.
Combine remaining 2 cups cream, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in another large bowl. Using clean dry beaters, beat until firm peaks form. Fold half of whipped cream mixture into chocolate mixture.
Spread half chocolate filling into ladyfinger-lined pan. Top with layer of ladyfingers, then remaining chocolate filling.
Pipe or spread whipped cream mixture over filling. Sprinkle with grated semisweet chocolate.
Refrigerate until firm, at least three hours. Can be made one day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated. Remove pan sides from cake and serve.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mexican Truffles for Cinco de Mayo: Chocolate Truffles Day

Today is National Chocolate Truffles Day! What a day to celebrate. And, since Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner, I thought I'd post three recipes for "Mexican" Truffles.

The first recipe is for Tequila Truffles that I've posted before. I love this one, and you really can taste the Tequila. I sometimes roll Tequila Truffles (the ganache part) in cocoa....or dip them in dark chocolate and sprinkle with course sea salt. Either way works. The second recipe is for Mexican Chocolate Truffles and the third is for Spicy Mexican Truffles. Try all three!

1. Tequila Truffles 
This recipe is adapted from Divine Chocolate. I probably didn't need 100 or more truffles as in the original recipe :-) I must admit that I'm a bit haphazard in measurements when I make these. I adhere to my grandmothers's "a pinch of this, a pinch of that" method. I daresay, though, that my grandmother would never have made Tequila Truffles.

Ingredients:
14 oz white chocolate, chopped into small chunks
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tsp white tequila
1 tsp grated lime zest
Drop of fresh lemon juice and drop of fresh lime juice or 1/4 tsp each of lime and lemon oil (natural) 

Coating
1 - 1 1/4 lbs. dark chocolate (70% cacao) for dipping, chopped into small chunks
Coarse sea salt

Ganache Directions
Line shallow baking pan with plastic wrap, overlapping 2 or more sheets as needed, leaving generous overhang on two sides (enough to cover the ganache once it is in the pan).
Place white chocolate in food processor and process to crumb consistency. Add tequila, zest, and juice or oils.
Bring cream to boil in small pan. With food processor on, pour cream through feed tube, processing fortotal of 20-30 seconds, until mixture is perfectly smooth. Scrape ganache into plastic wrap-lined pan and let cool at room temperature, without stirring.
Once ganache is cool, fold plastic wrap over it and let sit at room temperature for several hours, preferably overnight, until firm enough to scoop. You can always refrigerate, but the texture of the truffles won’t be quite as silky. Once ganache has set, chilling won’t hurt it.
To shape  truffles, use melon baller to form balls with hands from the ganache. If needed, smooth the surface with hands. (I do both)
Place centers (ganache balls) slightly apart on tray lined with parchment or wax paper. Let stand at room temperature, uncovered, until surface is dry and slightly crusted, at least 2 hours, preferably longer.

Coating Directions
Temper dark chocolate by melting about 75% of chocolate either in double boiler or in microwave until it reaches about 100°F. Add remaining 25% of solid chocolate to bowl and mix until all melts and temperature reaches about 90°F. Dip truffles one at time (I use the two fork method I've posted before) in melted chocolate, let excess drip off, and place on tray lined with parchment or wax paper.
2. Sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt before chocolate begins to harden. Continue with remaining truffles, but if dark chocolate becomes to cool, reheat a bit until it gets back up to about 90°F.
Let sit at room temperature.
Store truffles in a covered container at cool room temperature for up to 10 days.

2. Mexican Chocolate Truffles 
 recipe adapted from Elizabeth LaBau on About.com

Although it doesn’t use actual Mexican chocolate (although you could), this easy chocolate truffle recipe has cinnamon, almonds, and coffee for a sweet spiced Mexican chocolate taste. Unlike most truffle recipes, the chocolate is not melted but remains in small chunks. For this reason, it’s important to chop the chocolate very fine so that it’s evenly incorporated throughout the candy.

Ingredients:
4 ounces dark chocolate (60-75% cacao, very finely chopped
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup almond paste
1 Tbsp strong coffee
1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup DARK cocoa powder
 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
In large bowl, combine chopped chocolate, sugar, almond paste, coffee, and melted butter. Stir with wooden spoon until comes together and forms smooth paste.
Combine cocoa powder and cinnamon in shallow bowl or pie tin.
Using teaspoon, scoop up small balls of the truffle mixture and roll into ball in between your hands. Roll truffle in cocoa-cinnamon mixture, and place on baking sheet or plate.
Repeat with remaining truffle mixture and cocoa powder.
Refrigerate truffles for 2 hours before serving.
If you are making these ahead of time, transfer chilled truffles to airtight container in the refrigerator so they don’t get too dry or absorb other odors. Take out and leave at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

3. Spicy Mexican Truffles

Ingredients
1/3 cup heavy cream
6 Tbsp sweet butter, chopped
2 cups Dark Chocolate (60-85% cacao), chopped
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 Tbsp ground cardamom
1/2 Tbsp orange peels
Pinch of Salt

Directions
In saucepan bring cream to simmer.
Add butter and stir until melted.
Add chocolate.
Stir until completely melted and smooth.
Stir in cayenne, cardamom, orange peels and salt.
Remove from heat and pour into shallow bowl.
Cool, cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
Using melon baller or hands, roll mixture into small balls.
Roll each ball in cocoa.

Monday, May 1, 2017

May Day: Queen of the May Chocolate Cake, Maypole Parfait: Retro Ad & Recipes

I love May Day with its Maypole, Morris Dancing, and all the traditions associated with it. Chocolate Cake on May Day, alas, was not one of them. Nevertheless, here I am many years later,  and I still love everything about May Day.

Check out my list of May Day Crime Fiction and Morris Dancing Mysteries on Mystery Fanfare.

This Retro Baker's Chocolate Advertisement above fills that void of chocolate treats with these recipes in Ladies Home Journal for Queen of the May Chocolate Cake and Maypole Parfaits. FYI: I was never the May Queen, although I did dance around the Maypole.

Be sure to scroll down for a history of May Day, Queen of the May, and Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "The May Queen"



From Wikipedia:

The May Queen or Queen of May is a term which has two distinct but related meanings, as a mythical figure and as a personification of the holiday, and of Springtime.

Today the May Queen is a girl who must ride or walk at the front of a parade for May Day celebrations. She wears a white gown to symbolise purity and usually a tiara or crown. Her duty is to begin the May Day celebrations. She is generally crowned by flowers and makes a speech before the dancing begins. Certain age groups dance round a Maypole celebrating youth and the spring time.
Sir James George Frazer found in the figure of the May Queen, a relic of tree worship:
According to popular British folklore, the tradition once had a sinister twist, in that the May Queen was put to death once the festivities were over. The veracity of this belief is difficult to establish, but while in truth it might just be an example of anti-pagan propaganda, frequent associations between May Day rituals, the occult and human sacrifice are still to be found in popular culture today. The Wicker Man, a cult horror film starring Christopher Lee, is a prominent example of these associations.


The May Queen
 by Alfred Lord Tennyson

You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;
To-morrow 'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year;
Of all the glad New-year, mother, the maddest merriest day;
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

There's many a black, black eye, they say, but none so bright as mine;
There's Margaret and Mary, there's Kate and Caroline:
But none so fair as little Alice in all the land they say,
So I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

I sleep so sound all night, mother, that I shall never wake,
If you do not call me loud when the day begins to break:
But I must gather knots of flowers, and buds and garlands gay,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

As I came up the valley whom think ye should I see,
But Robin leaning on the bridge beneath the hazel-tree?
He thought of that sharp look, mother, I gave him yesterday,--
But I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

He thought I was a ghost, mother, for I was all in white,
And I ran by him without speaking, like a flash of light.
They call me cruel-hearted, but I care not what they say,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

They say he's dying all for love, but that can never be:
They say his heart is breaking, mother--what is that to me?
There's many a bolder lad 'ill woo me any summer day,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

Little Effie shall go with me to-morrow to the green,
And you'll be there, too, mother, to see me made the Queen;
For the shepherd lads on every side 'ill come from far away,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

The honeysuckle round the porch has wov'n its wavy bowers,
And by the meadow-trenches blow the faint sweet cuckoo-flowers;
And the wild marsh-marigold shines like fire in swamps and hollows gray,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

The night-winds come and go, mother, upon the meadow-grass,
And the happy stars above them seem to brighten as they pass;
There will not be a drop of rain the whole of the live-long day,
And I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

All the valley, mother, 'ill be fresh and green and still,
And the cowslip and the crowfoot are over all the hill,
And the rivulet in the flowery dale 'ill merrily glance and play,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.

So you must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear,
To-morrow 'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New-year:
To-morrow 'ill be of all the year the maddest merriest day,
For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen o' the May.