Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mixed Berry Chocolate Molten Cakes

Berries are at the Farmers Markets, the roadside stalls, and in your garden. Throughout the year, though, Driscoll's brings berries to my table. I can always depend on the quality of their organic berries. So, if you're at the market and you find their berries, you know they'll be good.

Driscoll's has a great website with terrific berry recipes. This was Recipe of the Month a few years ago, and I love it! I've made lava cake before (Molten cake is the same thing), and putting the berries inside the 'lava' is fabulous. It's that surprise bite of berries with oozing dark chocolate that makes this so good.

There are so many ways to combine Chocolate and Berries, and Driscoll's fabulous recipe for
Mixed Berry Chocolate Molten Cakes is a keeper! 

Another good thing about this recipe is that these Mixed Berry Chocolate Molten Cakes only take 15 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook. As you know, I am all about easy, and this is both simple to make and delicious. I've made a few adaptations, but really the recipe is so good as is.

Mixed Berry Chocolate Molten Cakes

Ingredients
8 ounces dark chocolate, 65-85% cacao fair trade, chopped
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus butter for ramekins
3 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
2 Tbsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder
6 ounces Driscoll’s Raspberries
6 ounces Driscoll’s Blackberries
6 ounces Driscoll’s Blueberries

Vanilla ice cream or Whipped Cream with just a dash of sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Generously coat 6 ramekins or custard cups with butter (be generous because you'll be unmolding them)
Melt chocolate and 5 Tbsp butter in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl on medium power for 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute -- or in a double boiler or saucepan on top of a saucepan of simmering water. I usually don't melt chocolate in the microwave.
Return to microwave if needed, stirring until completely melted. Do not overheat.
Beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla until lemon colored and about tripled in volume, 3-5 minutes with an electric mixer.
Stir cocoa powder and half the egg mixture into melted chocolate.
Gently fold chocolate-egg mixture into remaining eggs until thoroughly blended, but still fluffy.
Pour half the batter into prepared ramekins (about 3 tablespoons each).
Place 3-4 raspberries or blackberries in centers. Top berries with remaining batter. (Can cover at this point and refrigerate up to 24 hours before baking.)
Bake 13 -15 minutes (16-18 minutes if refrigerated) until puffed and slightly cracked on edges and centers are still moist.
Cool 2 minutes. Run a knife around edges.
Using hotpads, invert cakes onto dessert plates. Surround with remaining berries.
Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Photo: Driscoll's Berries

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Grilled Peaches with Dark Chocolate: National Peach Month

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.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Black and White Eclipse Cookies

Black and White Cookies are iconic in New York. They're so Retro! Lots of bakeries make them. These cookies are thick and more cake-like and covered with frosting that hardens. Usually half the cookie has white icing and half has chocolate (vanilla & chocolate).

To decorate them for today's Eclipse, frost them in different stages of the eclipse! Alternatively, you can make a double batch of the chocolate icing and decorate with different sized circles of chocolate (moon in front of the sun) Another possibility..and an easier way to celebrate. Grab a box of Pepperidge Farm Double Chocolate Cookies (or other big chocolate cookies) and Frost half or as much as you'd like, using the white icing recipe below.

BLACK AND WHITE ECLIPSE COOKIES

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup buttermilk

Black and White Icing: 
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 Tbsp plus 2 tsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Dark cocoa powder

Cookies: 
Heat oven to 350.
Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
In large bowl, beat together sugar and butter until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in egg until well combined. On low speed, alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
Drop 1/4 cupfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart and spreading into large circles, about 4 inches across.
Bake for 13 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers tests clean (they're like small cakes). Remove cookies to rack to cool.

Black and White Icing: 
In medium bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar, 3 Tbsp milk, and vanilla until smooth but thick enough to coat cookie.
Set aside 1/2 cup icing in small bowl; stir cocoa powder and remaining 2 tsp milk into bowl until smooth.
Turn over cookies.
Spread white icing over half  (or as much as you'd like to frost to represent the eclipse) of each cookie, and chocolate icing over the rest.
Let stand at room temperature until set, about 1 hour.

Cartoon of the Day: Doughnuts


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Chocolate Pecan Pie: Recipe Round-Up

Today is National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day. I associate Pecan Pie with Thanksgiving and the Kentucky Derby, but I'm o.k. with a third holiday, especially this is specifically Chocolate Pecan Pie.

Here's a Mini Round-up of Recipes for Chocolate Pecan Pie. Be sure and check out the following Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipes before making your decision of which to make. And, if you don't have a lot of time, I've added two more Easy Chocolate Pecan Pie recipes below and the Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum Pecan Pie in the recipe on the left.

Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie for Mardi Gras
Kentucky Derby Chocolate Bourbon Nut Pie
Kentucky Derby Bourbon Chocolate Pie Recipe Round-Up
Fudge Brownie Pecan Pie
Kentucky Chocolate-Nut Pie Mix in a Jar  
Chocolate Pecan Torte
Frozen Chocolate Pecan Pie 
Chocolate Pecan Pie Truffles
Chocolate Pecan Pie Fudge

1. EASY CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE 

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups sugar
Dash of Salt
4 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa
2 large eggs
1/2 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla
1/2 can (6 ounces) evaporated milk
4 Tbsp sweet butter
3/4 cup toasted pecan halves
1 unbaked deep dish pie shell (make yourself or prepared--prepared is faster!)

Directions
Mix sugar, salt, and cocoa together.
Whisk together eggs, vanilla, and milk; stir into dry ingredients.
Add melted butter and stir until totally blended.
Sprinkle toasted pecan halves in pie shell.
Pour filling over pecans.
Bake at 350° for 45 to 55 minutes, or until filling is set and center is just slightly jiggly (don't overbake).

2. EASY CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE

Ingredients
1 unbaked pie shell (I like Trader Joe's pie dough, but you can make your own or buy a different pieshell)
3 eggs
1 cup light or dark corn syrup
1 cup sugar (can be 1/2 brown & 1/2 granulated)
2 Tbsp sweet butter
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup Pecans
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or 4 ounces chopped dark chocolate

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, salt and vanilla in large bowl using spoon (not in mixer). Fold in pecans and chocolate.
Pour into pie shell.
Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until top is slightly puffy.
Cool completely before serving.



Saturday, August 19, 2017

Chocolate Eclipse Cake!

Unless you've been living in a vacuum, you know that North America will experience a total Solar Eclipse on Monday, August 21. Yes, the path of totality will differ in different areas, but unless you're sleeping, you can't miss it. The moon will cover the sun, and you will be able to see the corona. Remember to wear special glasses!

What better cake to celebrate the Solar Eclipse than Mollie Katzen's Eclipse Cake! It's a big chocolate pudding cake that feeds a lot of people, so if you're having an Eclipse Party, it's perfect! It's fun to make..and watch come together..and it's delicious. Note: This cake tastes better the longer you wait to eat it, but I know that might be difficult. Your kitchen will smell divine! Try to wait at least 1/2 hour. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Molly Katzen's Chocolate Eclipse Cake
from Mollie Katzen's Still Life with Menu Cookbook

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate
2 cups buttermilk*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
21/2 cups unbleached white flour
21/4 cups (packed) brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
21/2 cups boiling water

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
Melt  butter and chocolate together.
In separate saucepan, heat buttermilk gently until just a little warmer than body temperature (don't boil or cook it). Remove from heat, and combine with chocolate mixture and vanilla.
In large mixing bowl combine flour, 1 cup of the brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well (use your hands, if necessary) to break up any little lumps of brown sugar, making as uniform a mixture as possible.
Stir in chocolate chips, if desired.
Pour in wet ingredients, and stir until well combined. Spread into prepared pan.
Combine remaining 11/4 cups brown sugar with the unsweetened cocoa in a small bowl. Sprinkle this mixture as evenly as possible over the top of the batter. Pour on the boiling water. It will look terrible, and you will not believe you are actually doing this, but try to persevere. Place immediately in the preheated oven.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Invert each serving on a plate so that the fudge sauce on the bottom becomes a topping. Serve hot or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream.

* No buttermilk in the fridge? Mix 2 cups whole milk with 2 tsp vinegar

Friday, August 18, 2017

Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Pie: Retro & Modern Recipes

Today is National Ice Cream Pie Day! I love Ice Cream Pie! Here's a Retro Jell-O Chocolate Ice Cream Pie Ad & Recipe from Good Housekeeping, 1959. O.K. this is not how I make Ice Cream Pie.  Why not just use some chocolate ice cream? Scroll down for an easy recipe for a more 'modern' Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Pie!



'Modern' Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Pie

Since I'm all about Chocolate, the pie shell can be made with chocolate wafers or oreos.. either works well.

To make the crust, crumb up the wafers or oreos either by putting them in a plastic bag and running a rolling pin over them or by whirling them in your food processor. Add 1/2 stick of melted butter (or a bit more) and press into a 9" pie plate, going up the sides. Bake for 5-10 minutes at 350 -- or not. Since this is an ice-cream pie, it's not really going to matter if you bake it or not!

Next, spoon in the softened chocolate ice cream. Now here's where you can get creative--either a chocolate or a chocolate brownie ice cream such as Haagen Daz Chocolate or Ben & Jerry's Chocolate or Chocolate Fudge Brownie would be perfect! Then freeze!  
Helpful hint: make sure to position the pie flat in your freezer.

And finally, top with Hot Fudge Sauce!

Want to make your own Chocolate Ice Cream for this Chocolate Ice Cream Pie?

Epicurious has a wonderful recipe for Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream by Fergus and Margot Henderson that appeared in Bon Appetit. For the recipe, go HERE.

Or make Alton Brown's Chocolate Ice Cream.

What's your favorite chocolate ice cream? What's your favorite recipe? Add a comment and/or link below! 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

1958 Brownies & Variations: Retro Recipes

I love Retro Recipes. Here are some wonderful recipe variations for Brownies (under Bars & Squares) in Good Housekeeping's Book of Cookies (1958). Brownies, after all, are a type of Bar Cookie!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mocha Rum Cake: National Rum Day

Today is National Rum Day! I love this holiday. Feel free to celebrate with your favorite Rum Drink or have a piece of Bacardi Rum Cake. But, since this is a Chocolate Blog, make this easy and terrific Mocha Rum Cake. Argh, Matey!

Mocha Rum Cake!

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3⁄4 lb bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1⁄3 cup dark rum
2 cups strong brewed full-bodied coffee
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Sweetened whipped cream
Cocoa powder, for dusting 

Directions 
Preheat oven to 300°F
Butter 12-cup bundt pan. Dust with cocoa powder, knocking out excess.
In bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
In large metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth.
Remove chocolate from heat and stir in rum, coffee, and granulated sugar.
With electric mixer, beat in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down sides, and beat in eggs and vanilla until batter is combined well.
Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake cake in middle of oven until tester comes out clean, about 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Let cake cool completely in pan on rack, then turn out onto rack.
Dust cake with confectioners' sugar and serve with whipped cream.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Easy Lemon Meringue Chocolate Pie

Today is National Meringue Pie Day and what could be better than a Lemon Meringue Chocolate 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 -or make your own (Here's a link to a great recipe for Lemon Curd), and a pre-made pie crust (I use Trader Joe's pie dough). O.K. you'll be making the meringue, but that's o.k. this recipe is fun and fast.

EASY LEMON MERINGUE CHOCOLATE 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!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Orange Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today is National Creamsicle Day. I haven't had a Creamsicle in years, but I did occasionally buy one from the Good Humor Truck. My cousin Herbie was a Good Humor Man in the summers. I loved to hear the Good Humor bell. We all came running.


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. 

But since this is a chocolate blog, I thought I'd post a recipe for Orange Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies are soft and moist. With the addition of orange zest and orange extract, you'll taste the tartness of the citrus as it combines with the sweetness of the white chocolate chips. These cookies definitely have the flavors of a Creamsicle.

Orange Creamsicle White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp orange extract
2 Tbsp orange zest
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and orange extract until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and white chocolate chips.
Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies.
Put in refrigerator for 30 minutes (do not skip this step). This will prevent spread, and that's important to these cookies which are soft and puffy.
Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Do not overcook! Cookies will be fat.
Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Aunt Sylvia's Brownies

My Aunt Sylvia passed away yesterday, at the age of 96. She was the last of my aunts...the last of that generation. In honor of Aunt Sylvia, I thought I'd repost this entry from 2009. Aunt Sylia was always baking -- brownies, toll house cookies. I loved visiting her. Rest in Peace, Aunt Syl!

***

I was rummaging through old recipes the other day, and I came across an envelope labeled Recipes in my mother's handwriting. There were several hand-written recipes, some in my Mother's writing, some in mine (when I was younger as the penmanship was much better), and some I wasn't sure about. However, in the envelope was the elusive recipe for my Aunt Sylvia's Brownies. I read through the recipe, and it just seems so simple, yet her brownies were always the BEST! Chewy, not cakey, crunchy on the top. Yum.

My Aunt Sylvia lived about 100 miles from us, so visiting was a whole day or overnight affair. I can still see her in her dress, high heels, and apron, pulling these brownies out of the oven in her state of the art 1950s kitchen in her just built mid-century modern ranch house. Shades of Mad Men. The family room and sun room had beautiful knotty pine panelling, the kitchen had dark green (not avocado but dark green) accents, with a glass kitchen table, with wrought iron base and padded wrought iron chairs. Maybe I'm confused on the details of that house on Green Street, but I can still remember the taste of those sensational brownies. They were a real treat!

AUNT SYLVIA'S BROWNIES

1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
{cream together}
4 eggs
1 cup Flour
2 tsp vanilla
4 sq chocolate (unsweetened) melted
1 cup Walnuts (optional)

There were no directions on how to mix anything together, but I think that was obvious.
The only direction was: Pour in Buttered Pan for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

These are Killer Brownies!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Cooking with Disney: Marble Cheesecake

Here's a Retro Recipe for Marble Cheesecake from the cookbook Cooking with Mickey Around Our World that appeared in The Ladies Home Journal in 1986. According to the article, in 1986, this was one of the "most requested desserts from the chefs at Walt Disney World." It's an easy and delicious recipe. Sweet Temptations, indeed!


Thursday, August 10, 2017

S'mores Truffles: National S'mores Day


Summer is S'mores time, and as much as I love S'mores on the Grill, sometimes I like to plan and make a different version of S'mores ahead of time. Since today is National S'mores Day, I thought I'd post my favorite recipe for S'mores Truffles. I found this one  on food.allwomenstalk.com. Original recipe from CenterCutCook. As always, the quality of your chocolate will make a difference. I use dark chocolate from different purveyors, but then I always have extra chocolate around. I love to change it  up.

S'mores Truffles

Ingredients
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 to 1 - 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
30-35 mini marshmallows

Directions
Pour heavy cream into sauce pan over medium heat. Heat heavy cream until scalded. Remove heavy cream from stove right before it starts to boil. Pour into large bowl. Add chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate) to bowl of cream, and allow to sit for a few minutes. The warm cream will begin to melt the chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate).
Use whisk to combine chocolate into heavy cream. Whisk until well combined. Place mixture in refrigerator for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Pour graham cracker crumbs into shallow dish.
When chocolate mixture has thickened to pudding consistency, begin forming truffles. Use 1 tablespoon scoop (cookie dough scoop or melon baller) to create each truffle. Press mini marshmallow into the center of each truffle, then use hands to cover marshmallow with chocolate. This is a messy process.
Drop truffle into pan of graham cracker crumbs, and completely coat truffle. After you’ve coated all truffles, repeat process so each truffle has been coated twice with graham cracker crumbs.
Put truffles in refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving.

How easy is this?

Photo: CenterCutCook

S'mores Poke Cake: National S'mores Day

Today is National S'mores Day, and if you follow this blog, you know I post 2-3 S'mores recipes a month. I love S'mores. So for today's holiday, I thought I'd post a really easy recipe for S'mores Poke Cake. A poke cake is basically a sheet cake in which you 'poke' holes after baking and then pour in some kind of flavored liquid or filling. In the case of this cake, marshmallow fluff. Easy and fun and delicious!

S'mores Poke Cake

Ingredients 
1-16 ounce chocolate cake mix (for this recipe, more of a milk chocolate cake mix than a dark chocolate)
1- 7 ounce jar Marshmallow Fluff or Marshmallow Creme
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 package graham crackers, crushed  (about 1 - 1/2 cups)

Directions 
Prepare cake according to box's instructions and pour into 9"x13" pan. Bake for 35-37 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Let cake cool for 15-20 minutes, then use back of wooden spoon (or another utensil) to poke holes (about inch apart) throughout.
Remove lid and packaging from Marshmallow Fluff (or Marshmallow Creme) and microwave for 30 seconds. Add milk and microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Pour over top of cake, filling all holes.
Let sit for 20 minutes to give Marshmallow Fluff time to slowly seep into cake.
Top with another layer of Fluff, then sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and crushed graham cracker pieces.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours to overnight, giving cake time to absorb more of Fluff.
Torch the marshmallow fluff areas lightly before serving (to give it that burnt look) .

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Chocolate Rice Pudding: National Rice Pudding Day!

1899 Chocolate Ad
Today is National Rice Pudding Day, and of course, it's Chocolate Rice Pudding at my house. The following recipes are completely different, so try both and see which you flavor you favor! Remember the final results will only be as good as your ingredients. Use the best! Both can be topped with fresh whipped cream.

I. DARK CHOCOLATE RICE PUDDING

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/3 cup sugar
dash of salt
1 cup uncooked rice
3/4 tsp Madagascar vanilla
3 ounces dark chocolate (75-85% cacao), finely chopped

Directions
Over low heat, bring milk, half and half, sugar, and salt to nearly scalding temperature. Hint: Milk will not simmer, but it will steam when stirred at the near-scalding point.
Add rice to milk and continue cooking over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 22 minutes, until rice is creamy and slightly soft.
Add vanilla and chopped dark chocolate to hot rice and stir until chocolate melts and becomes part of pudding.
Divide pudding into 4 ramikins or casserole dish and serve warm or chilled.

II. CINNAMON CHOCOLATE RICE PUDDING

Ingredients
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup DARK cocoa
1/4 cup cold milk
1- 1/2 cups hot milk
1 cup hot cooked rice
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Directions
Beat eggs slightly.
Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, & cocoa and slowly beat into eggs.
Stir in cold milk. Add hot milk and rice.
Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
Stir in vanilla.
Pour into ramikins or put into casserole dish.
Serve warm or cold.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

KAHLUA ZUCCHINI CHOCOLATE CHIP BREAD: National Zucchini Day

Zucchini is one of those vegetables that seems to proliferate when you're not looking. If you don't check under the leaves every day, you'll find yourself with a gigantic marrow! And that not withstanding, even the small ones seem to multiply overnight. So for today's food holiday: National Zucchini Day, here's a wonderful way to use up some of that zucchini bounty. I love this recipe for Kahlua Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread.

This is, of course, a treat for adults. And, if you're so inclined, you can make your own Kahlua. It will have to sit for a month, so if you want to make this Kahlua Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread today, use store bought Kahlua. Scroll down for the Homemade Kahlua recipe.

Kahlua Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread
This recipe makes one loaf, but it can easily be doubled. You can also substitute oil for the butter.  I love quick breads. They're fast and easy, and you only use one bowl!

Ingredients
2 cups flour (all-purpose, but you can use 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup all purpose)
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup Kahlua
1 cup shredded zucchini
3 ounces chocolate chips (or more)

Directions
In medium bowl, sift flour with soda and salt. Set aside.
In large bowl of electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then Kahlua. (Don't worry if it seems curdled). Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until blended. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips to distribute evenly.
Pour into greased and floured 8-1/2 × 4 inch loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F, about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until wood pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pan 10 minutes.
Turn out onto wire rack and cool completely.

***
Homemade Kahlua

Ingredients
4 cups water
4 cups sugar
2 ounces instant coffee
1 vanilla bean
Fifth of vodka or bourbon

Directions
Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add the 4 cups sugar and cook until dissolved. Add the instant coffee. Simmer slowly - do not boil!
Add vanilla bean and 1/5 vodka or bourbon.
Bottle and cap. Leave for a month or more!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Cookies


Frozen Custard Day: History, Retro Ads & Signs, Recipes 8/8

Tomorrow is National Frozen Custard Day, so I thought I'd get a head start on the holiday. Frozen custard has always meant soft serve ice cream to me -- the kind that comes swirling out of a metal dispenser. Frozen Custard was never a substitute for ice cream for me. It was just different.

So today, in honor of the holiday, I thought I'd post some Retro Ads and Signs for Tastee Freez & Dairy Queen. And, if you scroll down there's a recipe for Cheater Chocolate Frozen Custard.

The big question is what's the difference between ice cream and frozen custard? Ice cream is made from milk, cream, or a combination of the two, while frozen custard is made from milk, cream, and egg yolks. Also, while the machine used to make ice cream churns air into it to make it have a light mouthfeel, frozen custard is produced in a machine that barely incorporates air into it, which means it's denser.

History of Frozen Custard

From eHow:

The Dairy Queen Story 
According to the book The Cone with the Curl on Top, a history of Dairy Queen, J.F. McCullough and his son, Alex, opened an ice cream shop in 1927 in Davenport, Illinois. In the early 1930s, they moved to an ice cream factory in Green River, Illinois, and decided to find out if customers preferred ice cream before it was completely frozen, which was how they liked it best. The colder ice cream had less flavor than the softer version, they felt. After an experimental, all-you-can-eat sale in Kankanee, Illinois, where they found the softer ice cream was a success, they bought a machine from a street vendor in Chicago in 1939, had a machine company tweak the design, and sold their frozen custard exclusively to a store run by Sherb Noble in Joliet, Illinois, in 1940. They nicknamed the store Dairy Queen. They bought a second store in 1941, and a third that spring.


Carvel's Story 
According to National Geographic and The Nibble magazine, Carvel's sold ice cream on the street in New York. After a flat tire in Hartsdale, New York, caused his ice cream to begin to melt, he sold the partially melted product as a new treat---and his customers loved it. He opened Carvel Frozen Custard in Hartsdale in 1934 and began to build a series of frozen custard shops along highways. He built a soft-serve machine in 1939.

The McCulloughs continued to improve the design of their soft-serve machine and expand their business. Carvel continued to expand its chain aggressively, too, as did another competitor, Tastee-Freez. By 1956, soft-serve ice cream consumption was increasing 25 percent every year, according to the U.S. Department of agriculture.

That same year, Tastee-Freez had 1,500 stores, and Carvel had 500.

Carvel was a true innovator: he was the first to offer “buy one, get one free”; the first to franchise an ice cream store; and his patented glass building was copied by McDonald’s. Dairy Queen opened its first soft-serve ice cream store in Joliet, Illinois in 1940. Carvel’s Flying Saucer sandwich was introduced in 1951. 

CHEATER CHOCOLATE FROZEN CUSTARD
technique adapted from John T. Edge's The Truck Food via Oprah 
Makes one quart

Ingredients 
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups chocolate ice cream, softened

Directions
Using a handheld electric mixer, whisk cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla and continue whisking to make stiff peaks, about 30 seconds more.
Using a rubber spatula, stir in ice cream until well combined.
Transfer mixture to a large, resealable freezer bag and freeze until semi-firm (like frozen custard), 4 to 6 hours.
When ready to serve, remove ice cream from freezer and, if needed, knead bag until uniformly soft, about 30 seconds. (Cover bag with a towel to protect your hands from the cold.)
Snip off a corner of the bag to pipe ice cream into a cone, or simply scoop and serve.

Dairy Queen Cones

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Brownie Icebox Cookies: Retro Ad & Recipe

Here's a quick Retro Recipe from Betty Crocker for Brownie Icebox Cookies. This Retro Recipe  uses a brownie mix, but you can also make these using your favorite 'from scratch' brownie recipe.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Colonel Mustard in the Kitchen! Chocolate Merlot Mustard Brownies

Today is National Mustard Day. Not only is there a national holiday, but there's also a National Mustard Museum, the home of the world's largest collection of Mustards and Mustard Memorabilia.

According to the National Mustard Museum website, in 1992, Barry Levenson left his job as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Wisconsin to open this museum. There are more than 5300 mustards from all 50 states and more than 60 countries. For the collector in me, there's the Gibbons Collection of mustard pots, antique tins & jars and vintage advertisements. Located on Hubbard Avenue in the heart of downtown Middleton, Wisconsin, the National Mustard Museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm, seven days a week — except New Years, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The online store never sleeps. Middleton neighbors Madison to the west, is only a 45-minute drive from Wisconsin Dells, just 2-1/2 hours from Chicago, and a mere 6,978 kilometers from Dijon, France.


But this is a Chocolate Blog, so why Mustard? Because Chocolate and Mustard go great together! I've posted a Spicy Chocolate Mustard Cookie recipe from Colman's Mustard. Add Merlot, and you're really speaking my language. What a wonderful blend of flavors.

The Napa Mustard Company has a wonderful Noyo Reserve Merlot 'n Chocolate Mustard.
It's great on pretzels and with sandwiches or just spread it on a piece of crunchy sourdough. It's sweet, salty, and tangy!

Hop Kiln, one of my favorite wineries in Sonoma County, makes their own Merlot & Chocolate Mustard. It has a lovely smooth taste. Use as above.

And adapted from a recipe from the National Mustard Museum,  here's a recipe for Chocolate Mustard Brownies created by Marliss Levin for  National Mustard Day celebration several years ago at The Mustard Museum. Mustard actually intensifies the taste of chocolate!


CHOCOLATE MERLOT MUSTARD BROWNIES

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Chocolate Merlot Mustard
1 tsp fresh ground espresso
1/2 lb unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate or very dark chocolate (85% or higher), chopped
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs
2 Tbsp Vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips or 1 cup of chunks of dark chocolate
Sifted powdered sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix ground espresso in mustard and set aside.
Melt butter and chocolate together in top of double boiler or a pot on top of another with simmering water. Cool slightly.
Add brown sugar to chocolate mixture. Blend well.
Add flour and mix well.
Add eggs and mix until blended.
Stir in vanilla; add mustard/coffee mixture. Mix until well blended.
Fold in chocolate chips or chunks.
Spread in greased 13" x 9" pan.
Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool and cut into squares.

Friday, August 4, 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

Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Chocolate 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

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Malted Milk Balls: Malted Milk Ball Ice Cream Pie

If you're like me, you've always wondered about Malted Milk Balls. What are they really?

Lots of companies make them now, but when I was growing up, I only remember one: Hershey's Whoppers Malted Milk Balls. But there are other "old fashioned' brands such as Maltesers.  Maybe they weren't available at my candy store? Ghirardelli  makes Milk Chocolate Malt Balls. (There's also a Kittymalt Hairball remedy that I have, but I won't go there).

Malt balls (interchangeable with malted balls but not moth balls!) are also available in a variety of flavors: There are pumpkin spice malted milk balls, dark chocolate milk balls, mint malted milk balls, cookies and cream malted milk balls, peanut butter malted milk balls and yogurt malted milk balls, and many other varieties.

Want to just have the Malt Ball center only? Nuts on Line sells them for $3.99 a pound. These malt ball center only candies can be enrobed in the very best chocolate. You can do it yourself in the same way you make chocolate covered nuts. Just melt some chocolate and dip. I use two forks to make it easy. Dry them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

But what is a malt ball? wiseGeek (clear answers for common questions) has the answer
Malted milk balls are chocolate-coated candies often sold in milk carton packaging to promote their association with flavored milk and malted milkshakes.

The flavor of malted milk balls is often described as nutty or distinctively hearty, much like a grain cereal. The reason for this unusual flavor is the use of a grain treatment known as malting. Barley grains are allowed to germinate after harvest, which changes the sugar composition of the grain, in the same sense that germinated corn becomes more suitable for distillation. The malted barley grain is carefully dried and ground into a powder for confectionery use.

Want a fabulous use for Malted Milk Balls? Well, besides eating them at the movies? Sunset Magazine had a great recipe a few years ago for Malted Milk Ball Ice Cream Pie. I definitely love using candy in pies and cakes. This ice cream pie has crunchy malted milk balls on the bottom, malt ice cream above it, and a layer of dark chocolate frosting. Add some whipped cream and sprinkle with chopped and whole malted milk balls when you serve, and you're good to go.

MALTED MILK BALL ICE CREAM PIE

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups malted milk balls, divided
Cookie Crust, using chocolate wafers and a 9-in. cheesecake pan with removable sides (I've posted this recipe before)
1 3/4 quarts vanilla ice cream, softened
3 Tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups malted milk powder (Malted milk powder is made from milk, barley malt, and wheat; don't confuse it with Ovaltine, which has other ingredients added. Find it next to the chocolate milk powder in well-stocked grocery stores)
1 cup whipping cream, divided
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Preparation
Arrange a tight layer of malted milk balls (3 cups) over crust. Stir ice cream with cocoa powder and malted milk powder until smooth. Spoon into crust, set on plate, and freeze 5 hours.
Heat 1/2 cup cream meanwhile until simmering. Put chocolate in small metal bowl, pour in cream, and let sit until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let cool completely.
Smooth chocolate ganache over top of pie and freeze until set, about 15 minutes.
  
To serve:
Whip remaining 1/2 cup cream and swirl onto pie. Chop some malted milk balls and drop onto pie; add a few whole balls. Remove rim and serve immediately.
 
Tips: 
Let the pie soften for 5 minutes at room temp to make slicing easier.
If you're having trouble free-ing your pie from its pan, set it over  bowl of hot water for a couple of minutes and then slide a thin knife between pan edge and crust. It should pop right out.
Make ahead: Once pie is fully frozen through step 3, it keeps for up to 4 days, double-wrapped in plastic wrap. Top it just before serving.

Photo: Malted Milk Ice Cream Pie: Yunhee Kim; Styling: Karen Shinto

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches: Ice Cream Sandwich Day

I've subscribed to Sunset Magazine forever. I love this 'Western' magazine for its home and travel tips and, of course, for the recipes! Over the years the recipes have changed from using heavy ingredients to producing lighter, healthier fare. Chocolate has been a constant, and the writers and editors at Sunset are always discovering new and delicious combinations.

So, since today is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, I thought I'd post this fabulous twist on the ice cream sandwich from Sunset -- Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches. You can even freeze these for up to a week. If you plan to make brownies anyway, this is a great way to elevate them!

Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Brownies

Ingredients
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt

1 pint ice cream, softened (any flavor you like--I love Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia, but vanilla is great, too)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°.
In medium pot, bring 1 inch water to simmer. Put chocolate and butter in medium metal bowl and set bowl over pot, being careful not to let bottom of bowl touch water. Heat until chocolate is almost completely melted, then add sugar and eggs and mix thoroughly. Sift together flour, cocoa, and salt, then add to chocolate mixture, stirring well. Pour batter into a greased 10 x 15 inch baking pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely.
Invert brownie sheet onto work surface and cut into 1 1/2 inch squares; arrange on pan.
Freeze brownies 30 minutes.
During last 10 minutes, remove ice cream from freezer to soften.
Working in batches, scoop 1 heaping Tbsp ice cream onto half of brownie squares. Set remaining squares, shiny side up, on top of ice cream and press gently.
Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.
Straighten tops of brownies and trim oozing ice cream with paring knife if you like.
Freeze, covered, up to 1 week.

Photo: Sunset Magazine, Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Karen Shinto

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

How to Store Chocolate: Tuesday Tips

Welcome to Tuesday Tips. Today's Tip is on How to Store Chocolate. First off, why are you storing chocolate? If you have truffles or bonbons, eat them as soon as possible. They have a shelf life.

Let's start off with one of the most important concepts. The fresher the chocolate is, the better it will taste. Buy chocolate in amounts you will consume. That being said, sometimes you're given chocolate, or you buy in bulk for baking or candy projects. You might have some left over. So what to do?

The most important thing about storing chocolate is to keep it in a cool, dry place. If you have chocolate bars or chocolate for baking, wrap the chocolate in plastic wrap, ziploc bag, or plastic storage containers and put it in a dark cupboard or pantry. The ideal temperature is between 60-75 degrees. I usually just stack the bars in the pantry, but my pantry stays cool.

Stored improperly, chocolate can develop bloom (a whitish tint on the chocolate). Bloom appears when chocolate becomes too warm, causing the cocoa butter to separate out, or because condensation has taken place, melting sugar in the chocolate's surface. Don't fear, though. If bloom appears, the chocolate will be o.k. for baking, but for eating, it might not have the same mouth-feel.

How to Store different types of chocolate. First off, I have to say that high end artisan chocolate is different from baking chocolate or commercial chocolate. I personally NEVER store any chocolate in the refrigerator or freezer. I remember giving a good friend 10 fabulous artisan chocolate bars as a gift, only to see her toss them in the freezer for later consumption. No bag, no plastic wrap. I fear that by the time she got to them, they weren't very tasty at all. But a gift is a gift, and I knew the recipient would not take my advice on how to store. I had to let it go.

So if you intend to store chocolate, here are more tips and info:

Since Chocolate keeps best between 65 and 75°F, away from direct sunlight, and protected from moisture, storing in a dark pantry or shelves is best. Then consume the chocolate as quickly as possible.

If you do decide to refrigerate or freeze chocolate, make sure to seal the chocolate in an airtight container (Ziploc baggies are great). Start by storing in refrigerator and then move to freezer. Make sure to take out as much air as possible to avoid freezer burn -- and don't leave the chocolate in the fridge/freezer too long. Tip: Always thaw frozen chocolate in the refrigerator. If it goes straight from the freezer to room temperature, condensation will form and alter the appearance and texture.

A wine refrigerator is perfect. You can reset the temperature and keep bloom off the chocolate. Still, keep your chocolate wrapped up.

Going to use it from the regular refrigerator? Allow chilled chocolate to come to room temperature before eating or baking with it. Tip: You might want to wrap it in a dishcloth after taking it from the fridge .. in order to let it reach room temperature a bit slower.
Truffles (or bonbons): OK, I NEVER store truffles in the refrigerator or freezer. I suggest you consume them as quickly as possible. Lots of artisan truffles and bonbons will have a use-by-date. There's a reason for this. Although, some ganache centers are o.k. if frozen; most cream and caramel centers will become grainy when stored in the refrigerator or freezer. If you must put them there, make sure they're wrapped up tightly, and defrost slowly (in refrigerator as above) before eating. 

If you have a lot of chocolate, here are some Ultra-Cool (and efficient) Ways to Store Chocolate from  the Candy Blog. I think you'll love the ideas here. Ice packs and thermoses and more!

What questions or tips do you have about chocolate storage?