Tuesday, June 30, 2015

PEEPS Patriotic S'mores for Fourth of July!

Photo: PEEPS®
I love S'MORES, and these seasonal  PEEPS® Patriotic Vanilla Creme Marshallow Chicks are so cute! This photo and recipe are from my friends at PEEPS®Here's something fun for everyone at the Fourth of July barbecue or campfire: PEEPS Patriotic S'mores!

PEEPS PATRIOTIC SMORES!

Ingredients
PEEPS Patriotic Vanilla Creme Marshmallow Chicks
Graham crackers
Chocolate bars
Sprinkles (Red, White and Blue)

Directions
Break graham crackers in half, so you have two squares.
Melt PEEP over fire or low heat.
Layer melted PEEP over square of chocolate, with graham cracker square on bottom
Top S’more with second graham cracker square and drizzle melted chocolate on top
Add patriotic sprinkles, and top off with PEEPS Patriotic Vanilla Creme Marshmallow Chick

Celebrate Fourth of July!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Chocolate Almond Buttercrunch Toffee!

Today is Almond Buttercrunch Day. For me that means Chocolate Almond Buttercrunch Toffee. Food & Wine has the easiest recipe from Grace Parisi, and one you'll want to make. It does involve a candy thermometer, but it's worth it!

No time to cook? Grab a bar of Almond Roca or check out your local chocolatier for Almond Toffee.

CHOCOLATE ALMOND BUTTERCRUNCH TOFFEE

Ingredients
2 cups sweet butter 
1 1/2 cups sugar  
2 Tbsp water 
1 cup salted roasted almonds—3/4 cup coarsely chopped, 1/4 cup finely chopped  
1 Tbsp Madagascar vanilla extract 
1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt, crumbled  
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (Of course use the very best chocolate!)

Directions
Line 8-by-11-inch baking pan with foil. Spray foil with vegetable oil.

In heavy saucepan, melt butter. Stir in sugar and water and bring to boil. Wash down side of pan with moistened pastry brush. Cook over moderate heat, stirring with wooden spoon, until deeply golden caramel forms and temperature reaches 300° on candy thermometer, 15 minutes; if sugar and butter separate, stir vigorously to blend. Remove from heat and add coarsely chopped almonds, vanilla and salt. Scrape toffee into prepared pan; let cool for 10 minutes. 

Sprinkle half of chocolate over toffee and let stand until melted. Spread chocolate over toffee and sprinkle with half of finely chopped almonds. Freeze toffee for 10 minutes.  

Invert toffee onto foil-lined baking sheet and peel off foil backing. In microwave safe bowl, melt remaining chocolate. Spread melted chocolate over top of toffee and sprinkle with remaining finely chopped almonds. Let toffee cool, then break into shards. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

National Chocolate Pudding Day! Retro Ads & Recipes 1960s campaign!

Today is National Chocolate Pudding Day, and I just had to post these Retro Ads & Recipes from Jell-O Pudding. This was such a cool ad campaign. Of course, you can make your own pudding from scratch. I usually do. But it's amazing what an impact powdered chocolate pudding made on the American food landscape. 

According to Jell-O history, chocolate pudding was introduced into the Jell-O family early on but discontinued in 1927. In 1936, chocolate returned to the Jell-O lineup, this time as an instant pudding made with milk. Just an FYI, today there are several Jell-o chocolate pudding flavors including Devil's Food, Double Chocolate, Chocolate Fudge and Oreo Cookies 'n Creme.

Jell-O Pudding in the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s jumped on the advertising bandwagon of this easy yet versatile dessert. I was especially taken by the Jell-O Chocolate Pudding Ad campaign of the 60s. Do you think Don Draper had the account?

So for your pleasure on this yummy holiday, I give you the Jell-O "Now, pudding is..." Each advertisement includes a recipe, too. Advertisements appeared in Life Magazine. If you can't read the recipes, click on the photo. If you still can't read them, post a comment, and I'll post the recipe!

Happy Chocolate Pudding Day!

Now, pudding is cheesecake: May 26, 1967


Now, pudding is pop: June 23, 1967


Now, pudding is napoleons: April 28, 1967
 

Now, pudding is torte: September 15, 1967


Now, pudding is eclairs: January 19, 1968


Now, pudding is fudge: March 8, 1968


Now, pudding is Boston Cream Pie: March 29, 1968


Now, pudding is brownies: October 11, 1968


Now, pudding is Bavarian: July 12, 1968


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Chocolate Pralines: 3 Recipes

Yesterday was National Praline Day. There are so many variations of Pralines that I thought I'd post several recipes. Each one has its virtues, and none has any vices. I, of course, add Chocolate to my Pralines. No big surprise there! So all three recipes feature chocolate and nuts!

PRALINE:
1) a confection of nuts and sugar: as in almonds cooked in boiling sugar until brown and crisp
2) a patty of creamy brown sugar and pecan meats

If you associate Pralines with the South, you'd be right! The original praline was a sweet confection made of almonds and some sort of creamy sugary caramelized coating. Lots of stories about how the Praline came to New Orleans and the South. One is that Pralines were first concocted in the home of 17th century French diplomat Cesar du Plessis Praslin by one of his chefs. The name "Praslin" eventually evolved into "praline." I don't buy that story since they were already popular in Europe in a slightly different version. Another story is that pralines were brought over from France by the Ursuline nuns, who settled in New Orleans in 1727. This makes sense since Pralines were already in the French tradition. Almonds were in short supply, so cooks began substituting the nuts of the native Louisiana pecan trees, thus the modern pecan pralines were born. Praline pecans were known as individual pecans covered in the sugary coating. The new pecan pralines quickly spread throughout New Orleans and became a common confection in the area.

Pralinières were women who used to sell pralines on the streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans during the mid-to-late 19th century, providing a unique entrepreneurial opportunity to les gens de couleur libres (free people of color). Not only was being a pralinière a source of income, it was a means of providing for oneself without any strings attached. This was a rare situation for economically less-fortunate, but resourceful women of that time period, who were often employed as indentured servants or forced by need and without choice into plaçage, as kept-women of wealthy businessmen. (Read more about Praline Sellers of Old New Orleans here)

Because New Orleans was a thriving port, people from all over the world came through, and the praline spread with them. Many people are unaware of the candy’s historical origin, and the praline is thought of as a southern confection not necessarily specific to New Orleans. Some believe the pecan praline is a Texan candy, whereas others assume it came from Savannah. The pronunciation of the candy is a bit of a point of contention as well. In New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast, where there are many communities settled by the French, the pronunciation is prah-leen, with the long aaah sound, which is closer to that of the candy’s namesake du Plessis-Praslin. Other regions of the country, including parts of Texas, Georgia, and New England have anglicized the term and pronounce it pray-leen. Other terms for pralines include pecan pralines, pecan candy, plarines and pecan patties.

Whatever you call it, you're going to love these recipes for Chocolate Pralines. They're simple to make. The first recipe doesn't call for a candy thermometer, but get one ready for the next two recipes. Candy thermometers are easy to work with, and if for some reason you don't have one, you can always use the water test.

This first recipe is adapted from a Sunset Magazine recipe.

CHOCOLATE PRALINES I


Ingredients
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp milk
1 1/2 tsp unsweetened DARK cocoa

Directions
Place almonds in 9-inch pie pan. Bake in 300° regular or convection oven, shaking pan once, until nuts are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Coat 12-inch square of foil lightly with vegetable oil (about 1 teaspoon).
In 8- to 10-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, combine sugar, butter, corn syrup, and milk. Stir occasionally until mixture is bubbly and golden, about 5 minutes. Add cocoa and stir until smooth, then stir in toasted almonds. Pour mixture onto oiled foil and spread about 1/4 inch thick. Let cool until solid, about 10 minutes. Break praline into 6 to 8 large chunks.

CHOCOLATE PRALINES II

Ingredients
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate (50-65% cacao)
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed firmly
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sweet butter
1 cup pecan pieces

Directions
In heavy saucepan combine the sugar and cream.
Heat to 240 degrees (115 C) on candy thermometer (stirring constantly).
Remove from heat, stir in butter and chocolate.
Cool mixture to 110 degrees F (43 C).
Stir in pecans.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper and allow to cool and harden.

Want a kick with your Chocolate Pralines?  Homesick Texan has a terrific recipe for Mexican Chocolate Pralines.  Here's her recipe, but be sure and read her post about her first attempts.. and to see her sensational photos. Yes, bacon can become an ingredient!

Mexican Chocolate Pralines 
(adapted from Aprovecho)

Ingredients:
1 disc of Mexican hot chocolate (Ibarra)
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
2 cups pecans, 1 cup chopped and 1 cup whole
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp fresh orange zest or 1 tsp dried orange zest
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
In oven set at 350 degrees, roast pecans for 10 minutes.
In large pot, melt together on medium heat chocolates, sugars, pecans, milk, butter, cinnamon, orange zest, Cayenne and sea salt, stirring occasionally. Place candy thermometer in pot to monitor heat. When it reaches 235 degrees, remove from fire and add vanilla and stir pot for two minutes. There should be bit of shine to the candy but candy will be a bit more thick.
Scoop pralines onto parchment paper. (If too stiff, add warm water to mixture.) Let cool for an hour and remove. They will still be a bit shiny but will lose that shine after a few hours. 

Note from Homesick Texan: If you want to add bacon to these, fry up four slices, crumble them and stir into praline when you add the vanilla.

These are unbelievably fabulous!!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Chocolate Pecan Sandies

Today is National Pecan Sandies Day. Pecan sandies are great shortbread cookies, and all I've done is add chocolate to make them all that much better. If you're a purist, check out the BrownEyedBaker's recipe for "non-chocolate" pecan sandies. It's great.

Pecan Sandies: A shortbread cookie with ground pecans added to the flour. The cookies are easy to make -- flour, butter, sugar salt, and vanilla--and the pecans. The name Sandie might have something to do with the color--or not. Urban myth? I have two suggestions for Chocolate Pecan Sandies. The first is the full recipe for  Chocolate Pecan Sandie Cookies. The second would be to use a 'regular' pecan sandie recipe and add chocolate chips.

Pecan Sandies are simple to make and taste delicious. Not too sweet.  Some people like to chop the pecans coursely, and that works, but you can also pulverize the pecans. To form the cookies, I use the drop method, but some people like to make logs and then slice them. Either way, they'll taste great!

Chocolate Pecan Sandies

Ingredients
1 cup sweet butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) ground pecans, divided use
1/2 cup unsweetened good quality DARK cocoa powder
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla until well blended.
Mix together flour, 1 cup ground pecans, and cocoa powder, then beat flour mixture into butter mixture.
Chill dough for 30 minutes.
Combine remaining 1/2 cup ground pecans and 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar in a bowl.
Form dough into 1-inch balls.
Roll in pecan sugar mixture (reserve any leftover sugar mix) and place on baking sheets.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool, then dip pecan sandy cookie tops in any remaining pecan sugar.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Shortbread Chocolate Chip Cookies

The other night my friend Sue Trowbridge made these fabulous Shortbread Cookies with Chocolate Chips. Sue found the recipe on the back of the packet of Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips. You can use Milk Chocolate Chips, but my favorite for Chocolate Chip Cookies is always Semisweet Chocolate Chips. Whichever you use, you'll love these cookies!

Shortbread Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips

Directions
Whip butter and sugar together with hand mixer.
Add gradually: 2 cups flour
Dough will be crumbly!
Add 1 cup Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Chips (or any large chocolate chip)
Form into 1 inch balls on non stick baking sheets (or whatever you like to use)
Bake for 13-15 minutes. Cookies will be light in color when baked.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Easy Mini Eclairs: National Eclair Day!

Today is National Eclair Day. My favorite eclairs are not the long thin "traditional" hotdog shaped eclairs (although I like them), but rather, the mini-eclairs. They're easy to make using Pâte à choux.. little puff pastry. I've been making them for years.

I've posted about this recipe before, but it's always worthy of a repost. These eclairs are so easy and yet look so beautiful and taste fabulous! Hope you enjoy making these as much as I do!

I've adapted this recipe for Mini Chocolate Eclairs from Paula Deen. This is one of my favorites because it's easy and fabulous! I never use margarine, so I've dropped that alternative from the recipe. Real butter is always best. As always, I use the very best dark chocolate for the topping. I've changed a few measurements and directions in the recipe for the novice Eclair Chef. If you're a purist, just click on Paula Deen's recipe above.

Because these eclairs are so small, feel free to have 3 or 4. :-) Yield depends on how small you make them, but I usually get about 40 small eclairs from this recipe. They're great for a crowd!

Want to make these even more chocolate-y? Add a handful of chocolate chips to the egg cream filling or fill with chocolate cream instead: just add 1/4 cup dark cocoa to the dry ingredients. To fill the eclairs, I use a pastry bag, but if you don't have one, you can always fill a Ziploc bag and cut the tip off to pipe the filling into the eclair.

You will probably have some extra icing. Half the recipe if you ice sparingly. I'm for more chocolate, so there's never much left.

MINI CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS

Pastry:
1 cup water
8 Tbsp butter
1 cup sifted flour
3 eggs

Filling:
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla

Icing:
3 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Heat water and butter to boiling point. Add flour and stir constantly until mixture is smooth and forms a ball when tested in cold water. Remove from heat and let cool. Beat in 3 eggs, one at a time. Drop dough from teaspoon, elongate slightly to form small eclairs (or drop in 'puffs'), onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until light brown. Set aside to cool.
3. Prepare filling by mixing all dry ingredients. Very slowly add milk over low heat and cook until mixture thickens (don't let heat get too high), so you don't have any lumps. Then pour this custard  into beaten eggs, stirring quickly (so eggs don't cook). Cool and add vanilla.
4. With serrated knife, slice pastry puffs lengthwise (or if you have puffs make a hole), but not all the way through. Pipe custard mixture into center.
5. Melt chocolate for icing, add sugar and cream. Cook over medium heat until soft ball stage. Let cool and beat until smooth. Ice tops of eclairs.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Chocolate Dessert Barbecue Sauce

I know this is called a Chocolate Barbecue Sauce, but I need to point out that it's a dessert barbecue sauce. It goes really well on cookies, berries, marshmallows and more. This is a great BBQ sauce for Father's Day desserts. The recipe was sent by celebrate Patissier Francois Payard. There are only 6 ingredients, and it takes about 10 minutes to make! You can dip chocolate cookies (macarons), fresh berries, or marshmallows into the barbecue sauce, or try drizzling if over ice cream or chocolate cake. it has a zing! This recipe will revolutionize your favorite desserts and give your barbecue party a serious upgrade!

Chocolate BBQ Sauce

Ingredients
8 ounces (250 grams) 61% or 72% chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp (12 grams) light corn syrup
1 cup (250 grams) heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
4 Tbsp your favorite BBQ sauce
2 dashes of Tabasco

Directions
Place chocolate and corn syrup in medium bowl.
Pour heavy cream and milk into small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to boil. Pour hot cream and milk mixture over chocolate, and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Strain mixture into a bowl.
Add 4 tablespoons of your favorite BBQ sauce and 2 dashes of Tabasco to chocolate mixture.
Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats. Dip cookies, berries, or marshmallows into chocolate BBQ glaze and place on lined baking sheets. Allow chocolate BBQ glaze to set and then enjoy.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Kladdkaka: Swedish Sticky Chocolate Cake for a Midsummer Celebration

Photo: Allrecipes.com
I love Midsummer! June 21 is the longest day of the year, and I love those extra hours of sunshine. I can only imagine what it's like in Sweden, Land of the Midnight Sun. Here is a traditional Swedish recipe to celebrate Midsummer (Midsommar). Chocolate may not be native to Sweden, but this chocolate treat is celebrated there. Chocolate is global!

Kladdkaka--Swedish Sticky Chocolate Cake

Kladdkaka is a gooey Swedish chocolate cake, and it's simple and quick to make. You'll love it. Add some whipped cream and raspberries or strawberries (wild strawberries? channeling Ingmar Bergman) or other summer berries, and you're good to go! Be sure not to overbake the cake and cool before cutting. This recipe is adapted from several different recipes. Kladdkaka is similar to Mudcake or Lava Cake...do not overbake.

Ingredients 
14 Tbsp sweet butter, cut into chunks
1 cup bittersweet chocolate
4 large eggs
1 cup caster sugar (if you don't have any, whirl some granulated sugar in the blender and remeasure)
2  cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Whipped cream
Fresh berries

Directions
Preheat oven to 425°F and grease 9-inch springform pan.
In  small saucepan, melt butter. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until smooth. Set aside to cool.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until foamy. Check that chocolate is cool, then whisk into egg mixture.
Fold in flour and baking powder until incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 12 minutes (don't overbake).
Cool completely before serving.
Top with whipped cream and berries!

Dagwood's Chocolate Sandwich for Father's Day!

What is more fitting than Dagwood's Chocolate Sandwich for Father's Day. My Dad used to make Dagwood Sandwiches... those were the sandwiches that contained every thing but the kitchen sink. FYI: My father never added chocolate. 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 good 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 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 there's a lot of sugar. I think there's a mistake in the first recipe. Add no more than 1 cup and probably more like 1/2 cup! I like the second recipe, too!



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Cherry Tart Ice Cream: Retro Ad & Recipe!

Today is Cherry Tart Day! I recently posted a recipe for a Rustic Cherry Tart that's easy and delicous! But here's something fun and Vintage for the day from Elsie the Cow. Celebrate Cherry Tart Day with this Retro Ad for Cherry Tart Ice Cream from Borden's.  
"Steal a heart with new Borden's Cherry Tart Ice Cream!"



Add Chocolate Sauce to keep with the theme of this blog! :-)

Want to make your own "Tart" Cherry Ice Cream? Try this recipe from King Arthur's Flour. Fab!



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Father's Day Chocolate Chip Blondies aka Scotch Bars

The other day I posted a recipe for Father's Day Chocolate Cake. The Baker's Retro Ad had a second treat: Scotch Bars! They're really Chocolate Chip Blondies! Mix up a batch for Dad this weekend!

"Completely different! a new kind of Cookie that's like a Blonde Brownie! Crunch and delicious -- chock-full of chopped nuts and sprinkled with delicious ... Chocolate Chips."

Chocolate Chip Blondies aka Scotch Bars

Ingredients
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F.
Line 9-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Spray with cooking spray. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder and salt; mix well. Stir in chocolate and nuts. Spread onto bottom of prepared pan.
Bake 20 to 25 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Do not overbake.) Cool. Use foil handles to lift dessert from pan before cutting into 32 bars to serve.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fudge Recipe Round-Up: National Fudge Day

National Fudge Day: What a great day to celebrate! My Aunt Annie made the best Fudge in the world, but now that I know more about candy nomenclature, I think she really made truffles. They were dark chocolate balls rolled in cocoa. I'll always remember her truffles as fudge.

However, I had my first taste of 'real' fudge down the shore in Atlantic City. Fudge was sold along with Salt Water Taffy at many of the Boardwalk candy shops.

History of Fudge: Fudge was supposedly invented in the U.S. in the late 1880s. Historians believe the first batch of fudge resulted from a bungled batch of caramels, as in "Oh, Fudge." I don't think so... According to Wikipedia, the main component of Fudge was similar to the traditional recipe for Scots Tablet found in The Household Book of the Lady Grisell Baillie (1692-1733).

One of the first documented examples of American fudge (containing chocolate!) was found in a letter written by Emelyn Batersby Hartridge, a Vassar College student, who wrote that a friend's cousin made fudge in Baltimore in 1886 and sold it for 40 cents a pound. Hartridge asked for the fudge recipe, and in 1888 made 30 pounds of the fudge for the Vassar Senior Auction. In The Candy Book (Alice Bradley, 1929) an entire chapter is devoted to fudge.

Fudge is a crystalline candy, which means that, unlike lollipops, caramels, and taffy, crystal formation is the key to making great fudge. Tiny microcrystals of sugar in fudge give fudge its firm but smooth texture. The secret to successful fudge is getting these crystals to form at just the right time. Fudge is one of the rare exceptions to the rule that sugar crystals are not desirable in candy. Tiny microcrystals in fudge are what give it its firm texture. When the crystals are small enough, they don’t feel grainy on your tongue, but smooth.

While you ultimately want crystals to form, it's important that they don't form too early. Now this is where it gets tricky! The key to successful, non-grainy fudge is in the cooling, not the cooking. If you disturb the cooling fudge during this cooling phase, you increase the potential for larger crystals (seed crystals) of sugar to form too early and thus a grainy fudge results.

O.K. this is too much for me to take in, not being a candy maker. So how to make fudge relatively easy?

I've posted many fudge recipes over the past five years, so today I'm doing an updated round-up of some of those fudge recipes. I'm  also re-posting the recipe below for Philly Fudge! I'm from Philly, and I grew up with Philadelphia Cream Cheese. The Philly Fudge recipe is an adaptation of the famous uncooked fudge recipe developed by Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese.  It became popular right after World War II. It really is foolproof.

FUDGE RECIPE LINKS 

S'mores Fudge: 2 Recipes

Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge

Granny Hollin's Peanut Butter Fudge

Penuche (Creamy Praline) Fudge

Layered Mint Chocolate Fudge

Five Minute Dark Chocolate Coffee Fudge

Candy Cane Fudge

Retro Marshmal-O Fudge

Fanny Farmer Fudge

Triple Chocolate Honey Fudge

Marshmallow Fluff Fudge: 2 Vintage Ads & Recipes

Retro Ronrico Rum Fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge

Six Vintage Holiday Fudge Recipes

Cinderella Pink Fairy-Tale Fudge

Double Layer Fudge

Nutty Fudge (3 recipes)

Goldie's Fudge

Vanilla Macadamia Nut Fudge

Nigella's Chocolate Pistachio Fudge

Creamy Chocolate Fudge

Chocolate Coffee Fudge

Ruth Jordan's Busy Lady Fudge

Foolproof Dark Chocolate Fudge

Easy Million Dollar Fudge

PHILLY FUDGE

Ingredients
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 - 8 ounce package Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
2 Tbsp milk or cream
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Dash of salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
  
Directions
Butter 8 inch baking pan well; set aside.
Melt chocolate in double boiler over hot, not boiling water.
Mix cream cheese and milk (or cream), beating on high speed until smooth.
Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at time, and beat at low speed until creamy.
Blend in melted chocolate, vanilla, and salt. Beat until smooth.
Stir in pecans or walnuts, but not both.
Press mixture into pan, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight or until firm.
Cut into 1 1/4-inch squares.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Father's Day Chocolate Cake: Retro Ad & Recipe

Father's Day is coming up this Sunday. What are you making? Here's a great Father's Day Retro Ad that recommends baking him a cake! I'm posting below an easy one bowl chocolate cake recipe -- better than a mix. Dad will love it, and you will, too! Recipe adapted from Baker's Chocolate One Bowl Chocolate Cake.


FATHER'S DAY CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients
7 ounces Dark Chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup sweet butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour, divided
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups water

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted (I usually melt my chocolate in a double boiler or a saucepan over another saucepan over simmering water--if you do this--remove from heat before you add the rest of the ingredients). Stir in sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating with electric mixer on low speed after each addition until well blended. Add vanilla; mix well.

Add 1/2 cup of the flour, the baking soda, and salt; beat until well blended. Add remaining 2 cups flour alternately with water, beating until well blended after each addition.

Pour evenly into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min.; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

For the Father's Day version of this cake as mentioned in the Ad:

Frosting: Use your favorite chocolate frosting. Add 1/4 cup chopped nuts to 1/2 cup of the frosting. Spread between layers. Frost top and sides with remaining frosting, sprinkle top with nuts. (I use chopped walnuts)

Cartoon of the Day: Brownies

From Rhymes with Orange, the Ultimate Temporary Relief


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Chocolate Strawberry Flag Shortcake

Today is a Double Food holiday, at least for me.. It's National Strawberry Shortcake Day, and it's Flag Day. Why not whip up a Flag Cake made with Chocolate Shortcake and topped with Whipped Cream, Blueberries and Strawberries?

So here's what you do. Bake a chocolate short cake (or a chocolate sponge cake) in a 9 x 13 rectangular pan. Here's a link to a great Chocolate Shortcake. When the cake is cool, cover with a thick layer of whipped cream. For the stars, use blueberries, making a small square in the upper left hand corner of the cake. Place the blueberries in rows for best results. Leave some room between blueberries (the stars). For the stripes, cut the strawberries in half and put them flat side down to make stripes. Press gently into the whipped cream. Although there are 13 stripes on the flag, you don't need to have that many on your cake (and you won't have room). It's about aesthetics more than veracity. The bottom stripe of the flag is red, so that's a good place to start.

Don't want to make a chocolate short cake or sponge cake? Make your favorite chocolate cake and follow the decorating instructions. Or, you make a white chocolate sponge cake! Fabulous.

Happy Flag Day! Happy Strawberry Shortcake Day!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies

Yesterday was Peanut Butter Cookie Day, but it was also Cachaca Day, and I opted to post a recipe for Cachaca Brasileiros. But I think it's not too late to make a batch of these great Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies. They're easy and terrific and great for the weekend!
Recipe from Sunset Magazine originally.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER THUMBPRINT COOKIES

Ingredients
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup sweet butter, cut into chunks
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Directions
Put chocolates and butter in top of double boiler or in saucepan over saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until melted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in eggs and sugar, mixing until combined. Then whisk in flour, baking powder, and salt.
Chill dough, covered, until firm, about 2 hours.
Take dough out and let sit at room temperature 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Scoop 1 Tbsp portions of dough, rolling each into a ball, and put onto sheets 1 inch apart.
Press your thumb into center of each cookie ball, making a small well.
Fill a resealable plastic bag with peanut butter. With scissors, snip off 1 corner of bag and squeeze about 1/2 tsp peanut butter from bag into each well.
Bake cookies until they no longer look wet on top, about 8 minutes.
Let cool on baking sheets.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Cachaça Brigadeiros: International Cachaca Day!

Today is International Cachaça Day! Now here's a beverage I can get behind. Caipirinha, the traditional Brazilian drink, is made with cachaça. Cachaca is a liquor made from fermented sugarcane, and is the most popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Brazil. So to celebrate, I'm definitely having a Caipirinha, and if you want to have something chocolate, you can make the traditional Brazilian candy--Brigadeiros but add cachaça for a kick!

I first tasted cachaça in Brazil when I was there on a Fulbright. What a great liquor.. a bit like rum.. but not. In my search for the very best pinga, as it's colloquially called, we found ourselves one day in the back country at a large still. Surely we had wandered into the back hills of Kentucky. The men operating the still, probably not a legal endeavor, had the wild look of way too much alcohol of way too high a percentage. Nevertheless, the many memorable cachaça drinks I enjoyed in Brazil stayed with me, and now I find cachaça at bars and liquor stores in the U.S.

For the recipe today, I decided not to post a cocktail recipe, although there are many chocolate cachaça drink recipes, but instead to post a Brazilian treat--Brigadeiros (link to the non-alcoholic ones from Jane Vana Bishop). But here is a great chocolate 'adult' version of this fudgy truffle candy. This recipe is from Luxury Experience using Leblon Cachaca. The Leblon distillery is in Patos de Minas in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The area has a great microclimate and high altitude and produces taller and juicier sugar cane. What makes Leblon Cachaca different from other cachacas is that Leblon uses XO Cognac casks to 'rest' the liquor for up to six months to smooth and round out the flavors. Leblon Cachaca is 40% alcohol.

The following recipe is easy--and delicious. Of course you can use any brand of cachaça you have!

CACHACA CHOCOLATE BRIGADEIROS

Ingredients 
1 14 ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2/3 can Milk (use Sweetened Condensed Milk can as measure)
1/3 can Leblon Cachaça (use Sweetened Condensed Milk can as measure)
2 Tbsp Dark Cocoa
1 Tbsp sweet Butter
1 Jar Chocolate Sprinkles (Jimmies)

Directions 
In medium pan, add sweetened condensed milk, butter, cocoa and milk, and stir well to combine. Cook over medium heat stirring with long handled wooden spoon until mixture starts to thicken approximately 10 minutes, and then add Leblon Cachaça.
Continue stirring while cooking until chocolate mixture comes away from sides of pan and starts to look dry-- approximately 13 minutes.
Pour into bowl and let cool.
When completely cool, butter your hands, use teaspoon amount of chocolate and roll into ball, and then roll ball in chocolate sprinkles.
Complete process until all chocolate is used.
Put candy in paper cups (or on parchment paper), and set in refrigerator until ready to eat.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

German Chocolate Cake Truffles

Today is National German Chocolate Cake Day. I've done several posts about German Chocolate Cake, a cake that is not German at all. The following is an easy recipe for German Chocolate Cake Truffles. Officially these could also be called Cake Balls, especially if you put them on a stick. They're made of cake, after all.

I'm not sure where I found this recipe, so I did a search and found the same recipe popped up in lots of places on the Internet. One source was Southern Living 2011 Christmas Edition, but a similar recipe is everywhere. I use the Duncan Hines German Chocolate Cake Mix, but Betty Crocker or whatever you have will work too. And, remember, it's the quality of the chocolate..and fresh toasted pecans that make it special. This recipe is great and easy and delicious!

GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE TRUFFLES

Ingredients
1 (18.25 ounce) box German Chocolate Cake mix
1 (16 oz) can German Chocolate cake frosting
2 cups toasted coconut, divided
Melted Milk Chocolate
1 3/4 cups toasted chopped pecans, divided
24-28 ounces milk chocolate, chopped

Directions
Mix and bake cake as directed on box. Cool.
Put cake in bowl and crumble with fork.
Mix in half (or more) of can of frosting.
Sprinkle with 1 cup of coconut and 1 cup of pecans.
Stir gently.
Roll into balls or use cookie scoop.
Place balls on cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
Cover and chill balls up to 2 hours.

Combine remaining cup of coconut and 3/4 cup pecans. Stir.
Melt milk chocolate.. in small amounts.
Dip balls in melted chocolate with two fork method or dipping fork. Let excess drip off.
Put coated truffles on wax paper lined cookie sheet and sprinkle tops with coconut pecan mixture.
Chill 30 minutes.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Black Cow Day: Add Root Beer

Today is Black Cow Day. You can go out and give Bossy a pat, but really this holiday is about a different type of black cow. A black cow aka a root beer float is made with root beer, chocolate syrup, and vanilla ice cream. Have one at your favorite Ice Cream Fountain or make one today. So easy!

The history of the Black Cow From Leites Culinaria:
The first true black cow day seems to have occurred on August 19, 1893. That’s when the notion of combining root beer and ice cream into a frothy concoction is rumored to have occurred to Frank Wisner, owner of a soda fountain as well as a mining company in Cripple Creek, CO. Although soda fountains were rampant at this point in our country’s culinary evolution, iced cream sodas didn’t yet contain ice cream. Instead, they were commonly made from either syrups combined with cream and cold soda water or cream mixed with flavored syrup. As the story goes, on that particular moonlit night, Wisner was gazing at the dark Cow Mountain when its snow-capped peak inspired him to float a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of his Myers Avenue Red root beer. Sure enough, he swapped root bear for cola, and ice cream for cream, and called the sweet creation “Black Cow Mountain.” It proved immensely popular, not just with the town’s children, but their mothers and the miners whom one might expect to find elsewhere—say, in a saloon or worse. Regulars promptly shortened the title to “Black Cow,” and since then, the term has been used interchangeably to describe root beer floats both with and without a dose of chocolate sauce. Consider trying it both ways before passing judgment.

BLACK COW

Ingredients
10 ounces root beer
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
1 Tbsp chocolate syrup
1 1⁄2 ounces whipped cream
 maraschino cherry

Directions
Pour root beer over ice cream and chocolate syrup in a large glass.
Top with whipped cream and maraschino cherry.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust

Today is National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day. Strawberry and Rhubarb go together like Peanut Butter and Jelly. Here's my favorite Strawberry Rhubarb Pie recipe! Strawberry Fields Forever! Of course I make this pie with a Chocolate Cookie Crust.

A little info on rhubarb: In culinary use, fresh raw petioles (leaf stalks) are crisp (similar to celery) with a strong, tart taste. Most commonly, the plant's leaf stalks are cooked with sugar and used in pies and other desserts. Rhubarb is usually considered a vegetable. In the United States, however, a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. And, a warning: Do not eat or use the leaves.

The following recipe is easy and great. Most people do a two crust pie.. the top crust being a lattice; however, I don't think this works with a chocolate crust. You can always do a crumble on top! Or make a traditional pie crust and add a lattice crust on top. As always, it's your choice! Enjoy and celebrate the day!

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE WITH CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST

Chocolate Cookie Crust

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

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

Filling
3-1/2 cups rhubarb stalks, in 1/2 inch slices
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup cornstarch
Dash of salt
3 1/2 cups strawberries, cleaned, hulled, quartered  (or thinly sliced)

Directions
Combine filling ingredients in bowl and toss well. Spread into prepared crust and bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees or until rhubarb is tender and filling is bubbly.

So easy! Make this today!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Cake: National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Especially if it's chocolate!

Today is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day! So to celebrate, here's a recipe adapted from Silvana Nardone's recipe on Rachael Ray Everyday for Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Cake.

Whatever you do, you won't go wrong if you use chocolate ice cream! I adapted the following recipe by using Ben & Jerry's Brownie Batter & Chocolate Fudge Brownie, mainly because you can never have enough chocolate. Another possibility is to make your own Chocolate Pound Cake. Here's a link to a favorite chocolate poundcake recipe. Marble pound cake works, too!

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM CAKE

Ingredients
1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy cream
12 ounces dark chocolate --70% cacao, chopped
1 12-ounce marble pound cake, such as Entenmann's, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (or your own chocolate pound cake)
1 pint Ben & Jerry's Chocolate ice cream, softened
20 chocolate wafers, plus 4 crushed wafers
1 pint Ben & Jerry's Brownie Batter or Chocolate Fudge Brownie, softened

Directions:
1. In small saucepan, bring heavy cream to boil over medium-high heat. Put chopped chocolate in heatproof medium bowl and pour boiling cream over chocolate. Let sit until chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Stir mixture with fork until ganache is smooth.
2. Line nonstick 9 x 5 x 3 3/4 inch loaf pan with 2 overlapping sheets of plastic wrap, allowing 4-inch overhang on all sides.
3. Pour half of ganache (1 cup) evenly into lined pan and spread to cover base. Cover ganache with single layer of tightly packed cake slices; be sure layer is flat and even. Working quickly, spread first chocolate ice cream evenly over pound cake. Cover ice cream with layer made of half of the chocolate wafers. Spread remaining ganache evenly over wafers, then top ganache with another layer, using all of remaining wafers, and place cake in freezer for about 30 minutes to chill and firm up.
4. Remove cake from freezer and spread second chocolate ice cream over wafers. Top with another flat, single layer of tightly packed slices of pound cake, trimming 1 or 2 slices to fill in gaps (there might be a few slices left over). Cake may be slightly higher than pan. Cover cake completely with plastic overhang and freeze until firm, at least 5 hours or overnight.
5. To loosen ice cream cake from pan, open plastic wrap and invert pan over flat serving platter. Remove plastic wrap. Scatter crushed chocolate wafers over ice cream cake, slice, and serve immediately.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Chocolate Applesauce Bundt Cake

Today is Applesauce Day, and I have a favor recipe for Applesauce Cake...that's Chocolate Applesauce Cake, of course. This recipe is from Kristin Donnelly and was in Food and Wine in 2007. I love it because it's a one bowl cake, and when it's made in a bundt cake, it's pretty, as well as easy. Applesauce cakes are usually spice cakes, so this recipe may remind you of the holidays. Nevertheless, it's great all year round, and today on Applesauce Day, you can make it to celebrate!

I used to make my own applesauce from my Gravenstein apple trees, but over the last few years, Topper and Rosie, my golden retrievers, have 'retrieved' the apples before they were quite ripe. Some years, I've picked up a flat or bushel along the road in Sebastopol in Sonoma county, famous for its Gravenstein Apples. But lately I've been buying my applesauce from Trader Joe's. They sell First Press Gravenstein applesauce. How great is that?

In this recipe I use chocolate chunks instead of chocolate chips, but use what you have and what you like. I always have good chocolate around, so I tend to chop it up and use it in cakes and cookies. It changes things up in terms of taste! Also, always make sure your spices are fresh.

CHOCOLATE APPLESAUCE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cups unsweetened applesauce  (applesauce from Gravenstein apples- my favorite!)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 stick usweet butter, melted
10 ounces dark chocolate, chopped or a 12-ounce bag semisweet-chocolate chips
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Crème fraîche, for serving

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour 12-cup Bundt pan.
In large bowl, whisk flour withgranulated sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, cloves and pepper. Whisk inapplesauce, eggs, oil and melted butter. Fold in chocolate chunks or chips.
Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until oothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached.
Transfer pan to a rack and let tcool for 10 minutes, then invert onto rack and  cool completely, about 20 minutes. Sift powdered sugar over cake, slice and serve with crème fraîche.

Make Ahead 
Cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Doughnut Day: Retro Ads & Recipes

National Doughnut (Donut) Day falls on the first Friday in June. That's today! Doughnut Day was created by The Salvation Army in 1938 to honor the women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I.

Many American doughnut shops offer free doughnuts on National Doughnut Day. Check out your local donut shop for deals!


In honor of the holiday, and I do appreciate a good doughnut, I'm posting several Retro Ads from the 40s, 50s and 60s for Donuts (however you spell it)! Scroll down for a Crisco Sugar Donut recipe from the Crisco Cookbook.



Thursday, June 4, 2015

Chocolate Egg Cream: National Egg Day!

Despite its name, the Egg Cream contains neither eggs nor cream. I think it's the perfect recipe, though, today for National Egg Day! LOL!!!

Thanks to Whatscookingamerica.com for the history of the Egg Cream. 

In the beginning, it was a soda produced almost exclusively in New York (particularly Brooklyn). The basic ingredients are milk, seltzer, and chocolate syrup. It is traditionally made in a small Coke-style glass.

True New Yorkers insist that it is not a classic egg cream without Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Syrup. It is perfectly proper to gulp down an egg cream. In fact, egg cream will lose its head and become flat if it is not enjoyed immediately.

For many years, the egg cream remained a product sold only through New York soda fountains because bottled versions were hard to replicte. The cream, chocolate, and soda had a tendency to separate and to go bad after a couple days at best, and efforts to pasteurize or preserve the product ruined the taste. Today, Egg Cream drinks are bottled by a few small companies.

According to The Brooklyn Cookbook by Lyn Stallworth and Rod Kennedy Jr., "You absolutely cannot make an egg cream without Fox's U-Bet." The cookbook quotes Fox's grandson, David, for the story of the syrup's name:


"The name 'U-Bet' dates from the late-'20s, when Fox's grandfather got wildcatting fever and headed to Texas to drill for oil. 'You bet' was a friendly term the oilmen used. His oil venture a failure, he returned to the old firm, changing Fox's Chocolate Syrup to Fox's U-Bet. He said, 'I came back broke but with a good name for the syrup.'



Chocolate Egg Cream

Ingredients
Approximately 1/2 cup cold whole milk (Skim or 2% milk won't foam as well)
1 cup bottled seltzer
2 Tbsp chocolate syrup (Fox's U-Bet Chocolate Syrup)

Directions
Pour 1/2 inch of cold milk into a tall soda glass. Add seltzer or club soda to within 1 inch of the top of the glass; stir vigorously with a long spoon (this will cause it to become white and bubbly with a good head of foam).
Very gently pour 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup slowly down the inside of the glass; briskly stir with a long spoon only at the bottom of the glass where the chocolate sits. The resulting drink should have a dark brown bottom and a 1-inch high pure white foam top (if you mix it too much, the foam disappears).

NOTE: Do not let Egg Cream sit for a long period of time-5 minutes or more; it will go flat.


The Original Brooklyn Egg-Cream

Take a tall, chilled, straight-sided, 8oz. glass
Spoon 1 inch of U-bet Chocolate syrup into glass
Add 1 inch whole milk
Tilt the glass and spray seltzer (from a pressurized cylinder only) off a spoon, to make a big chocolate head
Stir, Drink, Enjoy

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Best Ever Gluten Free Brownies: Guest post by Laura-Kate Rurka

Today I welcome back one of my favorite bakers. My two worlds collide again--mystery and chocolate. I met Laura-Kate Rurka at Left Coast Crime  several years ago. We found we had a lot in common--crime novels, molas, and chocolate--but her baking was an added bonus! Laura-Kate often attends Literary Salons I host at my home for visiting and local mystery writers -- and she usually bakes something fabulous, often featuring chocolate. In between bouts of baking and ferrying her three children from one activity to another, Laura-Kate carves out a little time to work on her novels. Thanks, Laura-Kate, for  bringing these fabulous brownies to the Colin Cotterill Lit Salon last week--and for sending this post!

Laura-Kate Rurka:
Best Ever Gluten Free Brownies

I don’t even want to tell you the secret of these brownies. I’m afraid if I do, some of you will turn away in disgust. Instead, let me tell you how good they are, melt-in-your-mouth, almost more of a truffle than a brownie and so rich, the smallest square will do, even for a dessert fiend like me. Are you cranking up the oven yet? Yes? I can tell you the secret then; they’re gluten free, but trust me, you won’t miss the flour. As a bonus, they’re also unleavened, perfect for Passover, or anytime really. Nigella serves them with a hot chocolate sauce, which to be honest, I’ve never tried. It’s hard to imagine making them any more decadent than they already are. Still, I’ve included the recipe in case you’re feeling wicked.

Recipe from Nigella Lawson

BEST EVER GLUTEN FREE BROWNIES

For the brownies:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa solids minimum)
2 sticks of butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup caster’s (baker’s) sugar (I’ve made them with regular granulated sugar and it worked just fine) 3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups almond meal (I use Bob’s Red Mill, but I believe Trader Joe’s carries a version. Just make sure it’s made with blanched almonds)
1 cup chopped walnuts (I prefer mine without, but the original recipe does call for them)

For the Hot Chocolate Sauce: 
3 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp instant espresso powder
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp golden syrup or light corn syrup (you can find Lyle’s Golden Syrup in some areas of the U.S., but I’m sure corn syrup will work just as well)

For the brownies:
1 Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3/325ºF. Melt the chocolate and butter gently over a low heat in a heavy-based saucepan.
2 Take the pan off the heat, mix in the vanilla and sugar, and let it cool a little.
3 Beat the eggs into the pan along with the almond meal and chopped walnuts. Turn into a 24cm / 9 inch square baking tin or, most sensibly, use a foil one. (I like to line the bottom of the pan with parchment so I can remove them after they’re cool and cut them neatly on a board).
4 Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, by which time the top will have set but the mixture will still be gooey. Once cooler, cut carefully, four down, four across, into 16 squidgy-bellied squares.

For the sauce:
1 Break up the chocolate and put into a heavy-based saucepan.
2 Dissolve the instant espresso powder in the water and add this, along with the remaining ingredients into the saucepan, then place the pan over a gentle heat and let everything melt together.
3 Once everything has melted, stir well, take off the heat and pour into a jug to serve.