Monday, November 20, 2017

Spicy Chocolate Turkey Rubs: Barbecued Turkey for Thanksgiving

I live in Northern California, and we barbecue turkey all year round, so it's not surprising that we also barbecue the turkey for Thanksgiving. I love the smokiness and flavor that the barbecue brings to the bird. Barbecuing the turkey also leaves the ovens free for all those side dishes and pies.

Several years ago we started barbecuing our turkeys with spicy chocolate rubs. Here are two great recipes. We've made some adaptations, but the first recipe for Spicy Chocolate Rub Recipe is adapted from  The BBQ Report. Just combine everything in the Cuisinart until finely ground and pat on turkey. Very easy!

This recipe is for chicken, so if you're planning a 20 lb. turkey, you'll need to increase the amounts.


1 cup natural unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tsp dried red pepper flakes, chopped fine
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 Tbsp granulated sugar

Want to get a little more sophisticated with the Rub? Kunde Family Estates (great wines to accompany your turkey) has a recipe for BBQ Turkey with Ancho Chile/Chocolate Rub. This recipe includes brining the turkey first. If you buy a kosher turkey it will already be brined. This recipe is for a 12-16 pound turkey, so if yours is bigger than that, you'll need to adjust the measurements.


3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp chile powder
1 Tbsp unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp chipotle chile powder
2 tbsp softened butter


In small bowl, combine all dry rub ingredients. Mix well. In another small bowl, mash butter together with 2 Tbsp rub – set aside.

Place turkey in large roasting pan. With fingers, gently loosen the skin over breast meat and insert butter/rub under skin; gently rub over breast meat. Rub the outside of bird well with olive oil; then sprinkle generously inside and out with rub. Loosely pack  cavity with lemon and orange slices. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen string. Place in refrigerator and let sit; uncovered, 5 – 6 hours, or until ready to cook.

When ready to cook, prepare grill. If using charcoal grill, prepare for indirect cooking. For gas grills, heat to medium high. Put turkey in roasting pan on grill; add 2 cups water; cover. Turn all gas setting to low. Grill-roast turkey, basting with pan juices and rotating pan 180 degrees every hour, for 3 hours. (If using charcoal grill, add briquettes or mesquite every hour to maintain an even temperature). After 3 hours, insert instant-read thermometer in fleshy part of inner thigh to check for doneness. Thigh meat should register 175° F and the juices should run clear when thigh is pierced. If not done, cover and continue to cook; checking every 20 minutes for doneness.

When done, transfer turkey to heated platter, cover loosely with foil and allow to sit for 20 minutes before carving.

Does Chocolate have a place at your Thanksgiving Table this year?

Cartoon of the Day: Beyond the Pumpkin Latte

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Chocolate-Glazed Maple Spice Cake

I'm not usually a maple spice cake person, but this Chocolate-Glazed Maple Spice Cake is terrific. My neighbor Chris Gold recently made it and brought over a huge piece. Chris usually makes new recipes several times until she feels she gets it right, and there were several versions of this recipe to try. Here's the final version that she tweaked from the original recipe she found in Family Circle. Here's the link to the original recipe. Chris's recipe is below. This cake would be great to serve at Thanksgiving dinner or have ready for the post-Thanksgiving feast! It's a touch of Fall!


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
3/4 cup maple syrup
3 eggs
1 teaspoon imitation maple flavor
3/4 cup milk

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon imitation maple flavor
1 1/2 - 2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 heaping Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp vanilla

Whole walnuts, to garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat three 8 x 2-inch round layer-cake pans with shortening; dust with flour, discarding excess.

Whisk flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in bowl.
Beat shortening in second bowl until smooth and creamy. Beat in sugar and maple syrup. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Add maple flavor; beat until smooth. On low speed, beat in half of the flour mixture, then milk, then remaining flour mixture.
Spread batter in prepared pans, dividing evenly.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 28 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in pans on rack 10 minutes. Remove cakes directly to rack to cool completely.

Beat cream cheese, butter, and maple flavor in bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat until good spreading consistency.
Place cake layer on serving dish. Top with 1-1/4 cups filling. Place second cake layer on top, then remaining 1-1/4 cups filling. Top with third layer.

In saucepan, heat cream just to a simmer. Pour over chocolate and cocoal in small bowl; whisk until smooth. Add vanilla and stir. Cool 5 minutes, until thicker but still pourable. Pour over cake, spreading to allow some to dribble down sides. Top with walnuts.

Refrigerate 15 minutes before serving.

For sparkly walnuts, brush with corn syrup; dust with gold sanding sugar, available at: 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Thanksgiving Pie-Ku

I love RhymeswithOrange:

Turkey Cakes and Turkey Cake Pans: Happy Thanksgiving

I've made a lot of Birthday and Holiday cakes in odd shapes, mostly without the use of wonderfully 'shaped' cake pans. Yes, Jonas, you might remember the Crab you wanted for your birthday one year, although I'm not sure why you wanted a crab. Wish I could find the photo. Lots of cutting up and piecing together with icing, but also lots of fun.

Thought it might  be fun to post some more specialty cake pans. Most of these are readily available at local shops and on Amazon and eBay. If you don't want to use a Turkey Cake Pan, you can always make your own cake and cut it and shape it and frost it to resemble a turkey! See the links below to some fabulous photos of "Turkey Cakes" with directions and recipes. Who says you can't have cake to end the Thanksgiving meal?


NordicWare Platinum Collection 3D Turkey Cake Pan

Check out Baking Bites finished Turkey Cake using the Nordicware 3-D Turkey Cake Pan 

CK Products Turkey Pantastic Plastic Cake Pan
Chicago Metallic Silicone Turkey Cakelet Pan with stencils
You can also make muffins in this pan and use them for place settings!

Wilton Thanksgiving Turkey Cake Pan 
(1979/Retired-but available on Amazon and eBay)

Want to make your own Turkey Cake? Chocolate, of course! Scroll down to see the Coolest Homemade Thanksgiving Cake Ideas on

Disney Family Fun has a great recipe for Turkey Cake and how to make it. The Body of the Cake is yellow cake with the 'drumsticks' a spice cake. I would do the drumsticks in chocolate cake for the dark meat, but then I'm all about chocolate.  Here's a link to this Turkey Cake Recipe.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Chocolate Pecan Pie Truffles for Thanksgiving

Here's a great recipe for Pecan Pie Truffles in case you don't have time to make a Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving. Recipe adapted from 2012 issue of Southern Living for Kentucky Derby Truffles! These are so easy to make and are delicious! They also make a great gift to take to your Thanksgiving dinner host. As always, use the very best ingredients for the best flavor!


12 ounces dark chocolate (70-85% cacao), chopped
1 -1/2 Tbsp unsalted cold butter, cubed
2 tsp vanilla extract
9 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup good Kentucky Bourbon
1 (5.3 ounce) package pure butter shortbread cookies, crushed (I use Walker's)
2 cups finely chopped roasted, salted pecans

Combine first 3 ingredients in large glass bowl. Cook cream and bourbon in small saucepan over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture is hot but not boiling. (Mixture will steam, and bubbles will form around edge of pan.) Pour cream mixture over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute.

Stir chocolate mixture until melted and smooth. (If mixture doesn't melt completely, microwave on HIGH 30 seconds.) Stir in crushed cookies. Cover and chill 3 hours or until firm.

Shape into 1-inch balls (about 2 tsp per ball). Roll in chopped pecans. Place on wax or parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Chill 1 hour. Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to 5 days.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake for Thanksgiving

Want an alternative to pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving? Why not celebrate with this fabulous Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake? You can serve it at Thanksgiving Dinner or the next morning for breakfast. It tastes great toasted with fresh butter or cream cheese. Bundt cakes always look pretty, too! Be sure to scroll down for the recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake.

According to NordicWare, the original makers of the Bundt Pan, "If there is a kitchen in the home, there is a Bundt pan." Even if there's not, I think my kitchen makes up the difference. I have all kinds of bundt pans. I find the shapes so versatile and fun. Bundt cakes always look so special. I'm always buying unique bundt pans at the Flea Market or White Elephant Sale.

Here are some Nordic Ware Pumpkin Bundt Pans for Thanksgiving:

Nordic Ware: Great Pumpkin Bundt Pan
Love this go-to recipe from Sunset Magazine (Charity Ferreira: 2003) for Chocolate Pumpkin Marble Bundt Cake. This marbled bundt cake features two separate batters: chocolate and pumpkin. The original recipe calls for a chocolate glaze, but that's optional. The cake is rich enough as it is. I rarely glaze a Bundt Cake.


1-1/2 cups (3/4 lb) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin (I use an all natural canned pumpkin but Libby's works well, too)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup buttermilk

In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Scrape half mixture into another bowl.

To make pumpkin batter:
Beat pumpkin into half butter mixture until well blended.
In another bowl, stir together 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and beat on low speed or fold in with flexible spatula just until blended.

To make chocolate batter:
In another bowl, mix remaining 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cocoa. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the other half of the butter mixture (starting and ending with flour mixture), beating after each addition just until blended.

Spoon half pumpkin batter into buttered and floured 12-cup bundt-cake pan. Drop half chocolate batter by spoonfuls over (but not entirely covering) pumpkin batter. Repeat to spoon remaining pumpkin and chocolate batters into pan. Gently run blade of butter knife around center of pan several times, then draw knife across width of pan in 10 to 12 places to swirl batters.

Bake in 350° regular or 325° convection oven until wood skewer inserted into center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cake cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto rack, lift off pan, and cool cake completely.
Nordic Ware: Turkey Bundt Pan

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding for Thanksgiving!

I love Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding. It's perfect for Thanksgiving or any time! As an extra bonus it's dairy and egg free, so you'll feel you've indulged, but you won't least not all that much. Recipe is from Chloe Coscarelli and appeared in the NYT in 2010. I have posted other Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding recipes, all of which include a thick sauce. This recipe is much lighter.

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding

1 cup coconut milk
1 15-ounce can organic pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
10 cups cubed day-old bread of your choice (about 10 to 12 slices of sandwich bread, depending on the thickness of slices)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (Guittard and Ghirardelli are nondairy)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 14 4-ounce ramekins (single-serving ceramic dishes) or a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish.
In blender, process coconut milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, and spices until smooth.
In large bowl, toss bread cubes with pumpkin mixture and chocolate chips until each bread cube is coated.

If using ramekins:
Evenly sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar into the bottom of each greased ramekin. Fill each ramekin to the top with the mixture and lightly press it down with the back of a spoon.

If using 9-by-13 baking dish:
Fill baking dish with mixture and lightly press down with back of spoon. Evenly sprinkle about 2 tablespoons brown sugar over the top of the bread pudding. The brown sugar will help the pudding to caramelize on the edges.
(Steps 1 through 3 can be done up to three days in advance; store covered in the refrigerator.)
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until top is lightly browned.

If using ramekins:
Let pudding cool a few minutes, then carve around edges with knife to loosen and unmold.
Garnish with powdered sugar if desired and serve warm.

If using  9-by-13 baking dish:
Let pudding cool a few minutes before serving. Cut into portions, then garnish with powdered sugar if desired and serve warm.

The pudding can be baked right before serving or earlier that day and then reheated for 8 to 10 more minutes right before serving.

San Francisco Fall Holiday Chocolate Salon


Sunday, November 19, 2017, 10:00am-5:00pm
San Francisco County Fair Building Auditorium
Golden Gate Park
1199 9th Ave at Lincoln Way
San Francisco, CA 94122

Discover, taste and savor the finest in artisan, gourmet and premium chocolates & confections for the Season and the Holidays friends 

Chocolate lovers, en garde!

The Holiday and Seasonal chocolate show for the San Francisco Bay Area takes place at the Fall Holiday CHOCOLATE SALON.

Chocolate aficionados, fanatics, lovers and addicts can taste & experience the finest in artisan, gourmet & premium chocolate in one of the world's great culinary regions.

The Fall Holiday CHOCOLATE SALON participants include over 28 chocolatiers, confectioners, and other culinary artisans.

An intimate setting, the Fall Chocolate Salon is the perfect place to find the perfect gift, while tasting and savoring the chocolate lovers experience.



Salon highlights feature chocolate tasting, demonstrations, chef & author talks, plus a Chocolate Movie screening of “Semisweet:Life in Chocolate".

Go here for Tickets and Info

Monday, November 13, 2017

German Chocolate Brownie Pecan Tarts

Here's a great Retro recipe for Mini-German Chocolate Brownie Pecan Tarts --perfect for Thanksgiving--that originally appeared in Woman's Day in 1965. Use the very best chocolate and other ingredients for updated flavors!

German Chocolate Brownie Pecan Tarts

2 refrigerated rolled pie crusts
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate  (I use very dark chocolate and cut down on the sugar)
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
8 tart pans with removable bottoms

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place tart pan upside down on piece of paper and draw circle 1 inch larger than the pan; cut out.
Roll each pie crust into 12 1/2-inch circle. Using stencil, cut 4 rounds from each crust, chilling and re-rolling scraps as necessary. Fit rounds into  bottom and up sides of tart pans. Cut away any overhanging dough and place pans on baking sheet. Using fork, prick bottoms of crusts, and bake until just cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Cut 6 tablespoons butter into small pieces and place in microwave-safe bowl. Add chocolate and microwave on high for 1 minute, then stir. Repeat at 30-second intervals until melted and smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla on high in large bowl until pale, about 3 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture. Reduce speed to medium and add flour mixture, mixing just to combine.

Divide mixture among the tart shells. In medium microwave-safe bowl, melt remaining tablespoon butter. Whisk in corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, remaining 2 eggs, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in  pecans and coconut. Spoon mixture over brownie batter and bake until brownie is cooked and pecan filling is just set, 25 to 30 minutes.

Let tarts cool 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: The Coffee Cake

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake: National Sundae Day!

Yesterday was National Sundae Day! For me, there is only one sundae--a hot fudge sundae!

The classic Hot Fudge Sundae is a creation of vanilla ice cream,  hot chocolate sauce ("hot fudge"), whipped cream, nuts, and a single maraschino cherry on top. A Hot Fudge Sundae can be made with any flavor of ice cream, but vanilla is preferred!

There are many variations about the origins of the Hot Fudge Sundae. According to Wikipedia, a frequent theme is that the dish arose in contravention to so-called blue laws against Sunday consumption of either ice cream or ice cream soda (the latter invented by Robert M. Green in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1874). The religious laws are said to have led druggists to produce a substitute for these popular treats for consumption on Sunday. According to this theory of the name's origin, the spelling was changed to sundae to avoid offending religious conventions. Since I grew up in Philadelphia, I remember the Blue Laws, although at that time they pertained to alcohol and not ice cream.

In support of this idea, Peter Bird wrote in The First Food Empire: A History of J. Lyons and Co. (2000) that the name 'sundae' was adopted as a result of Illinois state's early prohibition of ice cream consumption on Sundays, because ice cream with a topping that obscured the main product was not deemed to be ice cream. However, according to documentation published by the Evanston, Illinois Public Library, it was the drinking of soda, not the eating of ice cream, that was outlawed on Sundays in Illinois.

Other origin stories for the sundae focus on the novelty or inventiveness of the treat or the name of the originator, and make no mention of legal pressures.

You don't really need a recipe for a hot fudge sundae. I gave the ingredients above. However, like anything else, it's all about the quality of the ingredients. Hot Fudge Sundae Cake is a great variation on this traditional treat, and it can be made in a pan in the oven or in a Slow Cooker. See recipe HERE.

Following is a recipe adapted from Betty Crocker for Hot Fudge Sundae Cake in a pan. It's an easy one bowl/pan recipe. What's especially delicious about this cake is that as the cake bakes it separates into a chocolate cake and a dark fudgy sauce. Now that's what Hot Fudge Sundaes are all about! Add the ice cream and you're all set.

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons DARK unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa
1 3/4 cups very hot water
Vanilla Ice cream

Heat oven to 350ºF.
Mix flour, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, baking powder, and salt in ungreased square pan, 9x9x2 inches. Mix in milk, oil, and vanilla with fork until smooth. Stir in nuts. Spread in pan.
Sprinkle brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa over batter. Pour water over batter.
Bake about 40 minutes or until top is dry.
Spoon warm cake into dessert dishes. Top with ice cream. Spoon sauce from pan onto each serving.

Rather have Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes? Check out Joy the Baker's recipe and photos.

Want Hot Fudge Sundae Macarons? Barbara Bakes has the perfect recipe!

Cake photo: Betty Crocker

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Wartime Chocolate Cake: Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day (aka Remembrance Day, Armistice Day). My father was a decorated Veteran of WWII, so today I'm posting a recipe from that era. Times were hard during the War, on the battlefield and on the Homefront. This recipe is for Wartime Chocolate Cake. I think it was slightly easier to get sugar and cocoa in the U.S. than other countries, although I've seen several versions of War Time Chocolate Cake in various British war time cookbooks. Milk and eggs were rationed, too, so this cake, which is quite spongy, does without.

During the Second World War, you couldn't just walk into a store and buy as much sugar or butter as you wanted. You were only allowed to buy a small amount (even if you could afford more) because these items were rationed. The government introduced rationing because certain items were in short supply.

Some things were scarce because they were needed to supply the military - gas, oil, metal, meat and other foods. Some things were scarce because they normally were imported from countries with whom we were at war or because they had to be brought in by ship from foreign places. Sugar and coffee were very scarce. Coca-Cola even stopped production during the war because sugar in great quantities was not available.

Everyone was given a ration book that contained ration stamps for different items. Grocers and other business people would post what your ration stamps could buy that week, but it was up to the individual to decide how to spend the stamps and possibly save up the items for a cake like this.

Support our Veterans!


1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon white vinegar
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

In large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt.
Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Pour the cold water over the mixture and stir until moistened.
Pour into 8 x 8-inch pan.
Bake at 350°F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it springs back when touched lightly.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Bundt Cake: Greek Yogurt Day!

Today is Greek Yogurt Day. Greek Yogurt is great in baking because it gives a bit of a tangy taste to cakes, muffins, and breads. I often substitute Greek Yogurt for sour cream in recipes. You'll love this Greek Yogurt Chocolate Bundt Cake.

Greek Yogurt is not necessarily from Greece. Greek yogurt refers to a yogurt making process. It's different from regular yogurt in that the whey is strained off in the process. Consequently it contains less sugar, fewer carbs, and a lot more protein. Real old fashioned Greek yogurt is made with goat's milk, while much American Greek-style yogurt is made from cow's milk. You can try either in the following recipe. As always, choose a good quality Greek yogurt, as you would a good cocoa.

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Bundt Cake

1 cup unsalted butter, plus more for bundt pan
1 cup water
1/3 cup DARK cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1  3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
Optional: Confectioners Sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 10- or 12-cup Bundt pan.
Put butter, water, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter has just melted and mixture is combined. Set aside.
Whisk together flour, sugar, and baking soda in large mixing bowl. Add half butter mixture and whisk to combine. Add remaining butter mixture, and whisk until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in Greek yogurt and vanilla.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes.
Invert cake onto wire rack and cool completely.
Optional: Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Cappuccino Cheesecake with Oreo Crust: National Cappuccino Day

Today is National Cappuccino Day. I'm not a regular coffee drinker, but that doesn't keep me from having a mocha every once in awhile. Chocolate and coffee go so well together, and I often add coffee or espresso to brownies, cakes, and cookies. So in honor of the holiday, here's a recipe adapted from Philadelphia Cream Cheese for Cappuccino Cheesecake. The actual cheesecake does not contain chocolate, but with an oreo crust, you'll get your 'jolt' of chocolate!


16 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp Instant Coffee (I use Starbucks VIA ready brew)
1 Oreo Pie Crust - see below

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; mix just until blended.
Microwave milk in small microwaveable bowl on high 15 seconds. Add coffee granules; stir until dissolved.
Add to batter; mix well.
Pour into crust.
Bake 40 minutes or until center is almost set.  (do not overbake)
Refrigerate several hours or overnight.  

Oreo Pie Crust
24 Oreos (or Trader Joe's JoeJoes)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

In medium-sized bowl or food processor, add Oreo cookies and blend until texture of coarse meal or crumbs. Add melted butter and blend until combined. Put ground crumb mixture into 9 - or 10 - inch deep-dish pie pan and press evenly on bottom and up sides  (about 1/8 inch around).
Refrigerate crust for hour+ before adding filling to prevent crumbling when you serve.

National Cappuccino Day: Cappuccino Chocolate Truffle Pie

Today is National Cappuccino Day, and here's an awesome Cappuccino Creme Chocolate Truffle Pie to celebrate.This recipe is adapted from the Hershey's Kitchens.


1/2 cup DARK Cocoa
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Chopped Dark Chocolate (70-85% cacao)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
9-inch baked pastry crust (prepared or make your own)
CAPPUCCINO CREME (wait until ready to serve): In mixer, combine 1 cup (1/2 pint) whipping cream, 1-1/2 teaspoons powdered espresso, 2 teaspoons DARK Cocoa and 3 tablespoons powdered sugar; beat until stiff. About 2 cups.

Heat oven to 350°F.
Melt butter over low heat. Stir in cocoa and sugar. Add sweetened condensed milk, chocolate and eggs; stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Pour into crust.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes - until center is almost set. Cool completely.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Just before serving, prepare and top with Cappuccino Cream.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Chocolate Meringue Cookies: Guest Post by Bobbi Mumm

My mystery and chocolate worlds collide again! I guess lots of mystery readers and writers love chocolate! Today I welcome back Bobbi Mumm who answers the age old question of what to do with all those egg whites! Bobbi is a married mother of four children, a university administrator, and an occasional mystery writer. She’s excited to be going to China next month for two weeks and is expecting dynamite writing inspiration.

Bobbi Mumm:
Chocolate Meringue Cookies 

Every few months, after making puddings or custards, I find myself with unused egg whites. I’m not fond of scrambled egg whites so I tend to use them in baking. My family loves these cookies. They have a chewy, chocolatey centre that makes them irresistible. I also appreciate them for the fact that they are gentle on the waistline.
How do you like to use egg whites?


• 3 large egg whites (at room temperature)
• ¼ tsp cream of tartar
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1 cup sugar
• 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
• 3 tbsp semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 250F.
2. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt at high speed of a mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.
3. Sift cocoa over egg white mixture; fold in. Fold in chocolate chips. Don’t worry if you can still see some cocoa powder.
4. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls (they're small!) onto prepared baking sheets. They can be close together as they will not spread much with baking.
5. Bake at 275F for 45 minutes. Use two large baking sheets and bake them all at once.
6. Yield: 40-45 small cookies.

Cartoon of the Day: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Monday, November 6, 2017

Chocolate Peanut Nachos! National Nachos Day

Today is National Nachos Day. Nachos: a Tex-Mex dish from northern Mexico. Nachos are usually comprised of tortilla chips covered with melted cheese and jalapeno peppers and served as a snack. Sometimes salsa or guacamole is served with Nachos. But this is a Chocolate Blog, so to celebrate today's holiday, make this great dish of Chocolate Nachos. I found this recipe on the Omni Hotel site. Remember, there are some great recipes at Brand hotels, and sometimes Brands you haven't thought about such as hotels! This one was created by the chefs at the Hotel Chain to celebrate the Texas Rangers kick off weekend a few years ago (and so patrons can celebrate at home). This is a great snack just about any time. Love the salty and sweet!

Chocolate Peanut Nachos  

2 cups fried corn chips (salted)
1/2 to 3/4 cup chocolate sauce
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter chips
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
3/4 cup marshmallows
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400F. Put chips on an oven proof plate, pour on warm chocolate sauce, spread chocolate and peanut butter chips evenly. Top with the peanuts and finish with marshmallows. Bake until marshmallows are melted and brown. Dust with powdered sugar.

Photo: Omni Hotels

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Black Currant Tea Chocolate Truffles: National Candy Day

Photo: Maura McEvoy
Today is National Candy Day and for me that means Chocolate Truffles. I've posted many truffle recipes on, but you can never have enough recipes. They're all slightly different and that makes for great truffle experiences!

I have a favorite site on Facebook... well, I have several favorite sites, but I really love Great British Tea Party. A few years ago I was skimming the page when I cme across this wonderful recipe for Black Currant Tea Chocolate Truffles. This recipe can be made with any 'flavored' black tea. The original recipe is adapted from Mary Jo Thoresen in The Oprah Magazine Cookbook (2008), via Delish. Photo: Maura McEvoy.

Black Currant Tea Chocolate Truffles

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp crème fraîche
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp unsalted butter
1/2 ounce black currant tea (approximately 2 Tbsp loose tea or tea leaves from 6 tea bags)
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Unsweetened cocoa

In small saucepan, combine crème fraîche, butter, and 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add tea. Cover and let steep 5 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan.
Put chocolate into medium-size bowl. Bring crème fraîche mixture to a boil again and pour over chocolate. Stir gently until all chocolate is melted (do not whisk).
Pour into 9-inch baking pan and spread evenly. Chill until firm.
Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. Using melon baller (or small spoon), scoop chocolate to form balls about 3/4 inch in diameter, then roll gently into balls using palms.
Place truffles on lined cookie sheet; cover and chill just to set, about 1 hour.
Put cocoa in pie pan. Add several truffles one at time to cocoa and swirl. Place on pan.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: The Dark Side of Cookie Cutters


What is more fitting than Dagwood's Chocolate Sandwich for National Sandwich Day. I believe that Dagwood probably would have added lots of other ingredients such as bananas and peanut butter, and that would be great, but how can you go wrong with chocolate, butter, and bread?

I've posted several Chocolate Sandwiches over the years,  so today I turn to my "Tie-In" Cookbook collection and specifically Blondie's Cook Book for today's recipe. Dagwood is the iconic King of Sandwiches. My Dad used to make Dagwood Sandwiches... they were sandwiches that contained every thing but the 'kitchen sink'. FYI: My father never added chocolate.

Dagwood Bumstead, in case you don't know, is one of the main characters in comic artist Chic Young's long-running comic strip Blondie. He first appeared in the U.S. sometime prior to February 1933.

What's Cooking America defines the Dagwood Sandwich as a multi-layered sandwich with a variety of fillings. The term is used to denote a sandwich put together so as to attain such a tremendous size and infinite variety of contents as to stun the imagination, sight, and stomach of all but the original maker. Dagwood sandwiches is a term so well-known that it's in the Webster's New World Dictionary.

According to the creator of the comic strip, Murat Bernard “Chic” Young (1901-1973), the only thing that Dagwood could prepare in the kitchen was a mountainous pile of dissimilar leftovers precariously arranged between two slices of bread. Dagwood became known for his huge sandwiches he created on evening forays to the refrigerator. The comic strip is produced today under the direction of the creator's son, Dean Young, the strip has continued to keep up with the times.

Blondie's Cook Book: Chic Young's Classic Cook Book with New Comic Art Selections by His Son Dean Young (Gramercy Books, New York 1947, 1996)

This Comic says it all:

CHOCOLATE SANDWICHES RECIPE: Not sure how many sandwiches (or layers) this is supposed to make, but that's a lot of sugar, even if the chocolate is probably sugarless. I've never followed this recipe, so I'm thinking the amount of sugar might be a mistake.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

A Deadly Eclair: Guest Post by Daryl Wood Gerber

I love when my Mystery and Chocolate worlds cross. Today I welcome back Agatha Award-winning Daryl Wood Gerber who writes the brand new French Bistro Mysteries as well as the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries. As Avery Aames, she pens the popular Cheese Shop Mysteries. A DEADLY ÊCLAIR, the first French Bistro Mystery, comes out this month. Daryl also writes stand-alone suspense: DAY OF SECRETS and GIRL ON THE RUN. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl appeared in “Murder, She Wrote.” She loves to cook, and she has a frisky Goldendoodle named Sparky who keeps her in line!  

Daryl Wood Gerber:
Mystery Food, um…no, that’s not quite right… 

To be honest, I had no idea that as a mystery writer I would need to be a “foodie”, let alone a cook. Luckily, I am both!

After writing the Cheese Shop Mysteries and the Cookbook Nook Mysteries, I realized that writing mysteries with recipes is part of my “brand,” and so I continue with the French Bistro Mysteries.

Why did I choose to write about French food? I’m not French. I can barely speak French, although I did play a chanteuse on stage, way back when. Plus I’m not a chef by any stretch of the imagination. However, I am a pretty good cook and, honestly, I love a challenge.

I’ve set my new series in a darling French bistro, similar to a place my husband and I frequented when we first started dating. My protagonist’s name is Mimi Rousseau. Her mother and father are based on the two people who ran this lovely restaurant. Ah, yes. Writing this series has brought back fond memories!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought French food was difficult to make. Not true. There are some very basic, easy recipes. The five “mother” sauces are quite simple. Béchamel, Velouté, Hollandaise, Tomato, and Espagnole are their names. Four require roux—roux is typically made with flour, though Tomato, as created by Italians, does not use roux. Hollandaise sauce is egg-based.

Though French food might not be “difficult,” because it does use flour, and I need to eat gluten-free, it’s hard! However, like I said above, I like a challenge.

You’ll note that the title of my new mystery is A DEADLY ÉCLAIR. Yes, I did make an éclair for this book. Because this is a chocolate blog, I must share it with you.

And it’s gluten-free!! Can you believe it? The pastry was deliciously delicate. Note: you’ll want to eat the éclair the same day you make it. If you don’t want the pastry, the custard is terrific all by its lonesome. So is the chocolate glaze, which would be terrific on top of ice cream.

Gluten-free version (Makes 8-10) 

Custard filling:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

1 stick unsalted butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour (Cup for cup GF flour mixture * see below)
4 eggs, room temperature

Chocolate Glaze: 
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons butter

To make the filling: 
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside to let the vanilla’s richness infuse the milk.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain.

Add in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture and whisk until incorporated. Add in the remaining hot milk mixture and whisk. Reserve the saucepan (don’t wash).

Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Slowly boil until it thickens up.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cold unsalted butter. Let the mixture cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap. Lightly press the plastic against the surface so a skin won’t form.

Chill the custard at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. You can make this a day ahead. Remove from refrigerator for about an hour before using.

To make the pastry: 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the boil butter, sugar, water and salt to a roiling boil. Remove from heat, and add gluten-free flour and stir briskly for 1 minute. It will become sleek and glossy.

Place dough in bowl of stand mixer (or hand mixer) and beat at medium speed for 1 minute. Then, while mixing, add 4 eggs one at a time. Let each egg absorb fully before adding the next. Keep mixing until the dough is smooth and sticky. It shouldn’t look lumpy.

This is where it gets messy! If you’re not a pro, don’t worry. Enjoy the fun. Put the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe out the dough into logs on the parchment paper. The logs should resemble hot-dog buns. Leave two inches between them.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 20 minutes longer, until light golden brown. If they’re turning too brown around 15 minutes, turn off the oven but let them remain in the oven for the full time.

Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet. Pierce a few holes in the éclairs to let the steam out. Cool at least 10 minutes.

To make the chocolate glaze: 
Set the chocolate in a small bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on medium for 30 seconds. Stir then melt again on medium for about 15 seconds. If necessary, melt again for another 15 seconds. Do not overcook!

Add in the butter and stir until melted.

To assemble: 
Cut éclair pastry shells in half, lengthwise. I like to use pastry scissors for this.

Pour chocolate mixture onto a flat plate. Dip the top of the shell in chocolate. If necessary, use the back of the spoon to smooth the chocolate. Set the top half on a piece of parchment paper, chocolate side up, to cool. Chill 1 hour to set the glaze.

When ready, spoon the custard into the bottom half of the shell and place the chocolate shell on top!

Enjoy! If you like, you can wrap each individually, tightly in plastic wrap, insert into a freezer bag, and freeze. Defrost by letting them stand at room temperature.

Don’t own a pastry bag? That’s cool. Place the dough in a large Ziploc baggie and cut the corner to pipe. 

Dough too sticky? Put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes for better handling. 

FYI, pastries and cream can be made ahead of time, but éclairs should be assembled just before you eat them. 


Makes 4 cups:
2 cups sweet rice flour
1 ¾ cup tapioca flour
¼ cup whey powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Stir together and store in a container; use as necessary in recipes. Replenish, as necessary.


Mimi Rousseau is throwing the bistro’s first wedding—the nuptials of a famous talk show host. She is sure things will go awry when the bride’s father shows up drunk to the out-of-towners’ dinner. By the end of the evening, things look sweet again…until the next morning, when her benefactor is found dead at the bistro with an éclair stuffed in his mouth. All fingers point at Mimi, whose loan is forgiven if he dies. It’s up to her to éclair—er, clear—her name before the killer turns up the heat.

Want to stay in touch with Darryl?


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: The Injustice of October 31

DAY OF THE DEAD: Mexican Hot Chocolate & Pasilla Chile Chocolate Cake

Day of the Dead focuses on gatherings of family and friends who pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd in connection with the Catholic holiday of All Saints Day which occurs on November 1st and All Souls Day which occurs on November 2nd. Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased, making sugar and chocolate skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts.

Many cultures and countries celebrate Day of the Dead, but in Mexico and parts of the U.S and Canada it's tied to an historic Meso-American holiday that originated with the Aztecs 3000 years ago or earlier. When the Spanish Conquistadors landed in what is now Mexico 500 years ago, they found the natives practicing this ritual that seemed to mock death. It was a ritual the Spaniards tried unsuccessfully to eradicate. Although the ceremony has since merged with Catholic theology, it still maintains the basic principles the Aztecs intended, a view that death is the continuation of life. Life was a dream and only in death does one become truly awake.

Many people believe that during the Day of the Dead, it's easier for the souls of the departed to visit the living. People go to cemeteries to communicate with the souls of the departed, and build private altars, containing the favorite foods and beverages, as well as photos and memorabilia, of the departed. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so that the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. Celebrations can take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed.

Skulls are a major symbol of the cycle of death and rebirth. The Aztecs and other Meso-American civilizations kept skulls as trophies and displayed them during the ritual to honor the dead and exalt the sphere of death and rebirth.

Although sugar skulls are more common, chocolate skulls and coffins have become de rigueur. Celebrate Dia de los Muertos with three solid chocolate skulls sparkling with black salt eyes, in 3 chocolate flavors: Barcelona, Red Fire & Blanca. Day of the Dead Chocolate Skulls from Vosges.

Want to make your own? Mexican Chocolate Skulls sells skull molds. Their chocolate molds can be made with tempered chocolate, candy coating wafers, or melted chocolate chips. Their mold designs were inspired by the Mexican woodcut artist, Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852 -1913). Here's a link to recipes using candy coating wafers, chocolate chips, or tempered chocolate with these molds.

Last week I posted a recipe for Chocolate Skull Cakes. Love the Wilton Skull Cakelette pan.

Mexican hot chocolate is one of my favorite ways to celebrate. In Oaxaca during the Day of the Dead (and other times), the many chocolate shops serve hot chocolate that is a mix of cocoa beans, cinnamon sticks, almond and sugar ground together into a paste, then grated down and mixed with steaming milk. You can make a similar version easily at home. As always use the very best chocolate.

Day of the Dead Mexican Hot Chocolate

2 tsp good-quality ground cocoa
1 tsp sugar, plus extra to taste
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground almonds. You can add more if you want a thicker texture
1 cup whole milk

Mix all ingredients, except milk, together in an empty, clean glass jar. Shake until completely combined.
Heat milk in pan and add chocolate mix. Bring to boil and reduce heat.
Simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly; use small whisk to froth milk. Serve hot.

And, for the Bakers out there, Sunset Magazine has a wonderful Pasilla Chile Chocolate Cake recipe for The Day of the Dead.

Day of the Dead Pasilla Chile Chocolate Cake

2 1/2 ounces dried pasilla chiles (chile negro) or 2 1/2 ounces dried ancho chiles plus 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (see notes)
1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
5 large eggs, separated
2 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar or finely crushed piloncillo sugar (see notes)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Powdered sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp Mexican vanilla or 1 Tbsp coffee-flavored liqueur such as Kahlúa

Lay chiles in single layer on 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Bake in 400° oven just until pliable, about 2 minutes. Wearing rubber gloves, break off stems, shake out seeds, and break chiles into small pieces, dropping into small bowl; discard stems and seeds. Cover chiles with warm water and let soak until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain chiles and put inblender with 1/3 cup water; whirl until smooth, adding 1 more tablespoon water as needed to make thick paste. Push purée through a fine strainer; discard residue. You need 1/3 cup chile purée. If using ancho chiles, stir cayenne into the chile purée.

Line bottom of 9-inch cake pan (sides at least 1-1/2 inches tall) with parchment.

In large bowl over saucepan of simmering water (water shouldn't touch bottom of bowl), combine chocolate and butter. Stir occasionally just until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 8 minutes. Remove from over water and whisk in 1/3 cup chile purée, the egg yolks, vanilla, and flour until mixture is blended.

Pour brown sugar into small bowl and stir or whisk to break up lumps and loosen. In large bowl, with electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until very frothy and foamy. Gradually add brown sugar to whites, beating until stiff, moist peaks form. With whisk, fold third of beaten whites into chocolate mixture until well incorporated. Then fold in remaining whites just until blended. Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake in 425° regular or 400° convection oven until set and center barely jiggles when pan is gently shaken, about 15 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack for about 15 minutes. Run a knife between cake and pan rim, then invert onto  serving platter. Lift off pan and peel off parchment. Let cake cool about 30 minutes, then chill until firm and cold, at least 4 hours; cover cake once completely chilled.

For best texture, let cake come to room temperature before serving, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Sift powdered sugar lightly over cake (for pattern, lay stencil on cake before sifting sugar, then carefully lift off).

In bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Stir in vanilla. Cut cake into wedges and serve each with dollop of whipped cream.

NOTES: Dried long, dark, skinny chiles labeled pasilla or chile negro give this dark chocolate cake a subtle fruit flavor with a hot finish. If these are not available, use dark, blocky chiles labeled ancho, which are sweet and fruity with little heat, and add cayenne to boost spiciness. Both pasilla and ancho chiles are available in Hispanic markets. To use piloncillo sugar (also available in Hispanic markets), put it in a heavy zip-lock plastic bag, cover it with a towel, and pound it with a mallet or hammer until finely crushed. You can make this cake up to 2 days ahead; chill airtight.

No time to bake? 

Want a quick chocolate Day of the Dead fix? 


When I was growing up Halloween was my favorite holiday of the year. I'd choose what I'd want to be early and make sure my seamstress grandmother had time to complete it. I never wanted store-bought costumes. I had to have an original. I would design it, and my Bubby would sew it, and I'd be there every step of the way watching her and learning sewing techniques. Project Runway contestant in the making?

On Halloween night, all the children on my block were out. We had no safety worries. We knew every single house on the street would have a treat, almost always candy. There was always the disappointing small box of raisins, but that was o.k. After we moved to the suburbs, the ante went up with whole candy bars and more expensive loot.

Needless to say, there was always a lot of candy left over. I mean, how much could one child eat? We weren't allowed to keep our stash in our rooms (the reason given by my mother -- to protect against bugs and mice), so all the candy was relegated to the kitchen. My sister and I noticed it being depleted, but usually too late. Most of it found its way into my pediatrician father's waiting room. Other kids who didn't walk those mean streets, knocking on doors, and yelling 'trick or treat' benefited from the fruit of our labors.

Now as an adult, I buy candy for trick or treaters. Every year that candy sits in a bowl by the door -- unloved, uncalled for. We don't get a lot of Trick or Treaters where I live. Maybe it's the times; maybe it's the Hills. Several years ago, I started buying only candy that I liked. Who wants to be stuck with candy you'll never eat? So there's usually a lot of leftover candy at my house. I'm sure there is at yours, too, particularly if you have very few goblins and ghosts and superheroes who made the Halloween pilgrimage. Here are several ways to turn that left over candy into culinary delights or needed donations.

1.  Use chopped Candy Corn or chopped Candy Bars in place of chocolate chips in cookies or brownies. (or use both as in this recipe for Candy Corn & Chocolate Chip Cookies from Christina Tosi at NYC's Momfuku)

2. Use Candy and Candy Bars can also be used as toppings for ice cream sundaes or over yoghurt.

3. Freeze the candy for another time when you get the munchies.

4. Make homemade flavored vodka. It needs some time to infuse, but experiment with different flavors.

5.  Make Trail Mix with chocolate candy, raisins, peanuts and any other soft chewy candy.

6. Mix up a batch of biscuits and fold in some chopped Tootsie Tolls or Peanut Butter Cups.  

7. Add chopped candy corn to candied yams.

8. Make a Cookie Dough Pizza.  
Betty Crocker recipe: Mix 1 pouch of peanut butter cookie mix with 1/3 cup vegetable oil and an egg until soft dough forms. Press dough into ungreased 12-inch pizza pan. Sprinkle with your choice of toppings such as candy corn, candy bar pieces and nuts. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle 1 cup miniature marshmallows on top. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until marshmallows are lightly browned and cookie is set at edge. Cool completely in pan.

9. Pudding/Candy Parfait: Layer instant pudding with candy.

10. Use the candy to decorate your Holiday Gingerbread House.

11. Keep some in the car or your purse for emergencies (probably not chocolate which melts).

12. Donate: Nursing homes, doctor's offices, women and family shelters will take wrapped candy. Check first. There's a real need, especially after all the disasters this year.

13: Donate: Operation Gratitude ships candy to U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East for Christmas time. (chocolate is more perishable)

14. DonateRonald McDonald House will accept donations of wrapped Halloween Candy in many locations. Check first.

15. Make a Candy Massacre Pie (recipe from Cakespy).

16. Blend Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cups with soy and rice wine vinegar and serve as a Satay over rice and stir-fried veggies.

17. Here's a new one to me, and it's to die for. Almond Joy Candied Bacon.

And three more recipes in case you haven't baked enough for Halloween:


1 angel food cake, crumbled
1/2 cup sweet butter
4 egg yolks
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
16 ounces Cool Whip, thawed slightly
8 large Butterfinger candy bars

Freeze Butterfinger candy bars in wrappers for at least two hours.
Crush bars (while in wrappers) using rolling pin.
Cream butter, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla and add Cool Whip.
In a 9 x 13 inch pan layer half of angel food cake; layer half of Cool Whip mixture; then layer of half of crushed candy bars; repeat. Keep refrigerated.


Adapted from M&M/MARS. You can substitute other candy in place of Milky Way Bars.. depending on what you have left over.

1 to 2 Tbsp vegetable shortening
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts
15 bite-size (mini) Milky Way bars
1 cup low-fat buttermilk, plain yogurt or sour cream, divided
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs

5 bite-size Milky Way bars
2 Tbsp sweet butter
2 tsp water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12-cup Bundt pan or 10-inch tube pan with shortening. Sprinkle coated pan with nuts; set aside.
In heavy medium saucepan over low heat, melt candy bars with 1/4 cup of buttermilk, stirring often until mixture is smooth.
In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. In large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add flour mixture alternately with remaining 3/4 cup of buttermilk, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Then, blend in melted candy bar mixture until thoroughly incorporated.
Spoon  batter into prepared Bundt pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from toven and cool 10 minutes. Invert onto wire rack and cool completely.

To Prepare Glaze: Melt candy bars with the butter and water until mixture is smooth. Drizzle glaze over cooled cake.

recipe from TasteofHome

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans, divided
2/3 cup milk chocolate M&M's, divided
2/3 cup chopped candy corn, divided
2/3 cup coarsely chopped miniature pretzels, divided
2/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2/3 cup butterscotch chips, divided
1 jar (12 ounces) hot caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven to 375°.
Line13 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper, letting ends extend up sides; grease paper. In large bowl, beat melted butter and brown sugar until blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
In large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to brown sugar mixture, mixing well. Stir in half of pecans, M&M's, candy corn, pretzels, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
Spread caramel topping over bars; sprinkle with remaining pecans, M&M's, candy corn, pretzels, chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.
Lifting with parchment paper, remove from pan. Cut into bars.

Still want to make something? Cakespy suggests Deep Frying your Halloween Candy... be still my heart. Literally!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Dogs, Chocolate, and Halloween: A Deadly Combination

It's Halloween, and if you're like me, there is a lot of chocolate in the house. Now you might be wondering why I am highlighting Topper, my golden retriever, on a Chocolate Blog, but there's a good reason. I've posted before that chocolate is dangerous for dogs. I'm careful when I cook and bake with chocolate, because golden retrievers -- well, most dogs -- will eat anything that drops on the floor. I only bake with good dark chocolate and that's exactly what can make Topper sick or worse.

Hills Pet Company has a very good article on Chocolate and Dogs that I want to share. I'm also reposting a Chocolate and Dogs Question &Answer about Halloween Candy. It's all good information for Dog Owners (Guardians) who also happen to be Chocoholics. Be safe!

Is Chocolate Bad for Dogs?

Chocolate is poisonous to dogs; however, the hazard of chocolate to your dog depends on the chocolate type, the amount consumed and the dog's size. In large enough amounts, chocolate and cocoa products can kill your dog.

Why not chocolate?
  • The toxic component of chocolate is theobromine. Humans easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up toxic levels in their system.
  • A large dog can consume more chocolate than a small dog before it suffers ill effects.
  • A small amount of chocolate will probably only give your dog an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhea.
  • With large amounts, theobromine can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack. The onset of theobromine poisoning is usually marked by severe hyperactivity.
A single piece of chocolate should not be a problem. A single piece doesn't contain a large enough theobromine dosage to harm your dog; however, if you have a small dog that has eaten a box of chocolates, you need to go to the veterinarian immediately.

Different chocolate types have different theobromine levels. Cocoa, cooking chocolate and dark chocolate contain the highest levels, while milk chocolate and white chocolate have the lowest. If you’re dealing with any quantity of dark or bitter chocolate, err on the side of caution. The high level of theobromine in dark chocolate means it takes only a very small amount to poison a dog. Less than an ounce of dark chocolate may be enough to poison a 44-pound dog.

The usual treatment for theobromine poisoning is to induce vomiting within two hours of ingestion. If you are worried that your dog may have eaten a large quantity of chocolate, call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Of course, never consider chocolate as a reward.

And here's another article on Chocolate and Dogs and Halloween: 

It's a Q &A between Neenda Pellegrini and Dr. Sheppard Thorpe, an emergency veterinarian at Puget Sound Veterinary Referral Center in Tacoma about Halloween and Pets that appeared in the Seattle Times.  Read the entire article HERE.

Pet ingestion of Halloween treats can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, pancreatitis, heart arrhythmias, seizures, liver disease, kidney disease, gastrointestinal obstruction and even death.

Dangerous or even fatal chocolate toxicity is rare because knowledgeable owners usually get their chocolate-eating pets into the clinic within a few hours of ingestion. Once the pet arrives, we do what is called "decontamination" -- vomiting is induced and then activated charcoal is administered.

We also see pets with general vomiting and diarrhea from gastrointestinal upset after they've eaten candy, wrappers and holiday decorations. This can be very serious if the pet develops pancreatitis or if the pet becomes very dehydrated.

A quick and timely response makes the treatment much easier on your pet and your wallet.

Question: Why is chocolate dangerous? Is some chocolate -- dark or bittersweet chocolate -- worse than others, such as milk or white chocolate?

Answer: Chocolate contains an active ingredient called theobromine, which is toxic to pets. Theobromine is a stimulant that pets are more sensitive to than people and can cause hyperactivity, elevated heart rate, twitching and tremoring, vomiting and diarrhea and, worst of all, seizures.

Dark chocolate is more potent, having a higher concentration of theobromine, and, therefore, is more toxic. All chocolate (cakes or brownies, milk chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate syrup, cocoa powder) is considered "rich." Although not as serious as theobromine toxicity, foods with high sugar and fat contents can cause serious stomach and bowel problems. Decontamination and quick treatment is key.

Question: What harm can one little candy bar do?

Answer: It depends on the size of your pet, the presence of any underlying conditions and the amount of chocolate your pet has ingested.

A Hershey's Kiss is safe for a 70-pound Labrador retriever to eat but harmful to a 3-pound Chihuahua.

Another problem with "just one little treat" is that dogs can develop a liking to chocolate and soon may be climbing on the table to help themselves to that whole bowl of Halloween candy.

The power of the dog nose can also help them find that wrapped box of chocolates under the Christmas tree or hidden away for Valentine's Day. I know one Beagle who learned to open the pantry, and he loved to eat the brownie mix.

Question: What should I do if my pet accidentally eats chocolate? What symptoms should I watch for?

Answer: Call your regular veterinarian or local emergency/referral veterinary hospital for recommendations.

It helps to have the candy wrapper with the list of ingredients and percentage of cacao or cocoa in the product.

Monitor your pet for hyperactivity, elevated heart rate, vomiting/diarrhea, tremors, twitches and seizures although preventive treatment long before any of these symptoms is the best approach.

Check out and look up chocolate toxicity. This website has an excellent chart comparing the number of ounces of chocolate a pet would need to ingest for toxicity. READ MORE HERE.