Friday, May 26, 2017

Double Chocolate Wine Cherry Cookies

Today is Cherry Dessert Day and yesterday was Wine Day. Why not celebrate both of these food holidays this weekend by making these fabulous Double Chocolate Wine Cherry Cookies. I always have dried cherries on hand (they keep well in the refrigerator). What could be better than chocolate, cherries, and wine! This is a recipe adapted from one I found on the Foodnetwork.com. It will be a huge hit at your Memorial Day BBQ or any time. As always, use the very best chocolate!

Double Chocolate Wine Cherry Cookies
 
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup good quality dark cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup dry red wine, Zinfandel (I've used Cabernet and Merlot)
10 ounces dark chocolate (65-75% cacao--the best you can find), chopped in small chunks or chocolate chips
1- 1/4 cup dried tart cherries (unsweetened are more tart but use what you have)

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda in bowl.
In bowl of an electric mixer, or with a handheld mixer, combine butter and sugars until fluffy.
Add egg, vanilla, and wine, and combine.
Slowly in batches, add flour mixture until just combined.
Fold in chocolate and cherries.
On nonstick cookie sheet, place heaping tablespoon of dough for each cookie about 2 inches apart.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until tops are still soft looking but edges look firm.
Cool on sheet for 5-8 minutes.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Chocolate Red Wine Bundt Cake

Today is National Wine Day. Thought you needed a special day for wine? Here's a link to the American History Museum and an explanation of National Wine Day. Today is the 41st Anniversary of National Wine Day, and it all started with a Paris Tasting. 

I've posted many Chocolate and Wine recipes, but this is a favorite. You're going to love this perfect Chocolate Red Wine Bundt Cake!

The taste will improve with good quality dry red wines (I like Zinfandel but Merlot works well, too) and the quality of the cocoa!

Want to decorate this cake for the upcoming Memorial Day Holiday? Fill the center with whipped cream and top with strawberries and blueberries.

CHOCOLATE RED WINE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sweet butter, softened
1-3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup dry red wine
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions 
Preheat oven to 350°
Butter and flour 12-cup bundt pan.
In bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In large bowl, using hand-held electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Add eggs, one at time, and beat until incorporated. Add vanilla and beat about 2 more minutes.
Work in two batches, alternately fold in dry ingredients and wine, until just incorporated.
Scrape batter into prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cake cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack; let cool completely.
Dust cake with confectioner's sugar.

Chocolate and Wine: A Great Pairing

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Red White & Blue Star Brownies for Memorial Day!

Photo: Betty Crocker
Love this recipe from Betty Crocker. I've made it a bunch of times. You can always substitute your own brownie recipe or another brand of brownie mix, but here's the original easy recipe.

If you don't have Betty Crocker Decorating Decors stars or icing (or you think it would be too sweet), use Red, White, & Blue Holiday M&Ms. Just press them gently into the batter before baking. These Brownies are perfect for Memorial Day!

Red White & Blue Star Brownies

Ingredients 
1 box (1 lb 2.4 oz) Betty Crocker™ Original Supreme Premium brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on brownie mix box
1/2 cup Betty Crocker™ Whipped fluffy white frosting (from 12-oz container)
Betty Crocker™ Decorating Decors stars

Directions 
Heat oven to 350°F. Line 9-inch square pan with foil so foil extends about 2 inches over sides of pan. Spray foil with cooking spray.
Make and bake brownies as directed on box. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove brownies from pan by lifting foil; peel foil from sides of brownies.
Using 2 1/2-inch star-shaped cookie cutter, cut brownies.
Squeeze frosting on star-shaped brownies.
Sprinkle with decors.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Fralinger's Paddle Pops: National Taffy Day

Today is National Taffy Day, and I just want to mention my favorite taffy: Fralinger's Molasses Paddle Pops! 

I grew up in Philadelphia, and every summer we went down the Shore to Atlantic City, Margate, or Ventnor. These are names you'll recognize if you've ever played Monopoly. One of the big attractions for me as a kid was salt water taffy. I loved it, and I remember thinking at the time that my friend Margie had the best and most glamorous job in the world--she sold salt water taffy at Fralinger's on the Boardwalk. In retrospect, it probably was not an easy job, but all I could think of was access to all that salt water taffy and candy!

My favorite candy at Fralinger's was the Molasses Chocolate Covered Paddle Pop. Essentially it is Fralinger's fabulous molasses salt water taffy covered in delicious dark chocolate and shaped into a Paddle Pop! These Paddle Pops now come in other flavors, but Molasses was the original. I hadn't thought of this 'retro' treat in a long time, but I saw these Fralinger's Molasses Paddle Pops at the Fancy Food Show a few years ago. Not going down the Shore this summer? These candy treats are available online. Yum!

One caveat: Hold on to your teeth.. this is like a hard taffy pull... the chocolate is easy.. the taffy is challenging, but it's worth the effort. Of course you can lick it. It is a pop, after all, but then you wouldn't enjoy the chocolate with the molasses. Technique is up to you!

I couldn't find a recipe that replicated Molasses Paddle Pops. Let me know if you have one. Maybe sometimes, you just can't make it at home.


A little history from the Fralinger's website:

While the origins of Salt Water Taffy remain a mystery, one thing is for certain. No one did more to promote this popular confection than Joseph Fralinger.

A former glassblower and fish merchant, Joseph returned from Philadelphia to his Atlantic City roots in the mid 1880s. After taking a job with a bricklayer, he earned enough money to open a small concession on the Atlantic City Boardwalk from which he sold fruit, soda, and the latest summer sensation, "lemonade."

By 1884, Joseph was approached to take over a taffy stand on Applegate Pier. He agreed and began to perfect his own recipe for Salt Water Taffy, introducing his first batch of molasses taffy in 1885. Throughout the years he developed a number of new flavors, eventually offering Atlantic City's largest selection with 25.

As Fralinger's grew to six locations, he decided that Salt Water Taffy should return home with resort visitors. Using experiences from his fish merchant days, he packed one pound oyster boxes with Salt Water Taffy, making it the first "Atlantic City Souvenir." The one-pound box still remains the most popular souvenir over 125 years later. And by 1899 Salt Water Taffy had become a household word across America!