Tuesday, January 16, 2018

CHOCOLATE COVERED DRIED FIGS: National Fig Newton Day

January 16 is Fig Newton Day! My Dad was a huge Fig Newtons fan. Me, not so much. However, I love figs, and I'm using this food holiday as a jumping off point for Chocolate Covered Figs. Before I embark on recipes for Chocolate Covered Dried Figs, just wanted to let you know that Vice Chocolates' Dark Chocolate Bar with Fig &Anise is one of my favorite chocolate fig combinations!

Following are two recipes for Chocolate Covered Dried Figs (not Fig Newtons!). The first is alcoholic, because who doesn't love a drunken fig? The second recipe calls for stuffing the dried figs with walnuts, but contains no alcohol. Actually you can mix and match these recipes to come up with whatever you think is perfect for you! As always, use the very best chocolate and figs! Different chocolate, different figs, different tastes!

And if you want a recipe for Chocolate Covered Fig Newtons, check out Cakespy's post for Chocolate Covered Fig Newtons on a Stick.

Want to make your own Fig Newtons? Try this recipe for Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Figgy Newtons.

And, just as an FYI. The original Fig Newtons are now called just Newtons.

Chocolate Covered Dried Figs

Ingredients
20 dried figs
Rum
10 ounces 70-85% dark chocolate, chopped fine
1/4 cup unsalted butter
pinch of sea salt

Directions
Put figs in bowl and cover with rum. Let soak, covered, overnight in refrigerator.
Next day, drain well and pat dry.
Put chopped chocolate into top of double boiler, stirring. Add butter, stirring until smooth. 
Take figs by stems and dip in chocolate several times, covering completely.
Put figs on rack over cookie sheet to catch drips.
When finished dipping, chill figs in refrigerator.

Non-Alcoholic Chocolate Covered Figs Stuffed with Walnuts

Ingredients
9 figs, dried
9 walnut halves
5  Tbsp dark chocolate (60-75%), chopped

Directions
Make small incisions in bottoms of 9 dried figs and stuff each with a walnut half.
Melt chocolate in double boiler until smooth.
Holding the stem, dip stuffed figs into chocolate.
Let them drip from rack over cookie sheet, or place on plate or wax paper.
Put chocolate covered figs on plate or waxed paper in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or more until chocolate hardens.

Monday, January 15, 2018

EASY STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM SANDWICHES: Strawberry Ice Cream Day!

Today is Strawberry Ice Cream Day. Now this may seem like January 15 is an odd day for it--at least in the Northern hemisphere, but everyone now eats ice cream all year round. Here's an easy recipe for Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches with Chocolate Cookies.

Easy Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich with Chocolate Cookies

Freeze 12 Big Chocolate chunky cookies (I use Pepperidge Farm Brownie cookies) that you've frozen at least a day ahead of time or some of your own chocolate fudgy cookies.
Lay out 6 of the cookies, flat side up.
Scoop softened strawberry ice cream (use the very best) onto the cookies.
Using a butter knife gently spread ice cream to the edge.
Layer fresh strawberries cut into small pieces onto the ice cream
Cover with another cookie, flat side down.
Press down lightly. Repeat with other cookies.
Spread chocolate chips or small pieces of broken chocolate on a plate.
Roll the sides of the sandwich in the chocolate chips until covered.
Wrap each sandwich and freeze.

So none of this is really home-made, although you always have that option. These taste treats are fast, easy and delicious. The chocolate 'chips' I add are premium high end dark chocolate from the best chocolate makers! Really adds to the taste.

Yum!!!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

English Toffee Hot Chocolate

The other day was English Toffee Day. I'm quite the toffee-holic. I've even judged Toffee at the San Francisco and International Chocolate Salons. Toffee is great by itself, but sometimes it's great to pair it with Hot Chocolate! And, today is the perfect day for it! It's so blustery here at the Beach. The waves are high, too, and I suspect the Mavericks surfing competition will take place tomorrow. Always exciting. But too cold for me. Here are two ways to keep warm. English Toffee: English Toffee Hot Chocolate.

Although you can make your own Toffee, you can just use your favorite store-bought English toffee in these recipes! Just be sure to chop it up!

1. English Toffee Hot Chocolate

Ingredients
4 cups milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
1 tsp Madegascar vanilla extract
1/4 cup English toffee, crushed (I use Toffee Talk Crumble Mumble)
Whipped cream
Unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions
Combine milk, water, and sugar in saucepan and sttir over medium heat until just boiling.
Remove from heat, and stir in chocolate and vanilla.
Beat with whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is frothy.
Pour hot chocolate into 2 big mugs.
Top with whipped cream and crushed English toffee. Sprinkle with cocoa powder.

2. English Toffee Hot Chocolate

Ingredients 
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
6 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
2 ounces butterscotch chips
Whipped cream
1/4 cup English Toffee, crushed

Directions
Heat milk, water, sugar to boil.
Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate and butterscotch chips until they combine with milk.
Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream and crushed toffee.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

Today is National Gluten-Free Day! I'm always looking for Gluten Free Recipes for my friends, and this recipe for Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Brownies is a winner. Recipe adapted from Reese's. You can use Reese's Pieces, if you chop them up, but the Reese's peanut butter chips are easier.

GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CHIP BROWNIES

Ingredients
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose baking mix (King Arthur Flour or your favorite)
1/2 cup unsweetened HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips (or chopped Reese's pieces)

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F.
Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
Combine butter, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl. Add eggs; beat well with spoon.
Stir together baking mix and cocoa; gradually add to egg mixture, beating until well blended.
Stir in peanut butter chips (or chopped Reese's Pieces).
Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.
Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
Cut into bars.

NOTE: Always read labels of each ingredient to ensure that it is gluten-free prior to use. Some ingredients will surprise you.