Friday, February 24, 2017

Chocolate: A Night at the Movies

Sunday night I'll be watching the Academy Awards, and I started to think about all the great movies that involve Chocolate. No time for a detailed post, but thought I'd do a short list. There are a lot of movies with Chocolate in the title that have nothing or little to do with chocolate, so I've skipped those. Enjoy! Make some Chocolate Covered Popcorn to watch! Recipe at the end of this post.

Chocolat.  2000. A woman and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a small French village that shakes up the rigid morality of the community. Based on the book by Joanne Harris with Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Alfred Molina.

Like Water for Chocolate. Como agua para chocolate. 1992. Based on the novel by Mexican author Laura Esquivel.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. 1971 with Gene Wilder. Based on the book by Roald Dahl. The Best of the Willy Wonka movies.

Consuming Passions. Cioccolato Bollente. 1988 in Italian, made in the UK. Black Comedy about a young executive who tries to modernize a chocolate factory.

Bread and Chocolate Pane e cioccolata. 1973 Italian film about an Italian immigrant in Switzerland trying to make a better life for himself while dealing with increasing bigotry and bad luck.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 2005. Johnny Depp. Based on the Roald Dahl book, but no where as good as the first movie.

Milton Hershey: The Chocolate King (documentary). 1995

Kings of Pastry.  (documentary) 2009. Sixteen French pastry chefs gathered in Lyon for three intense days of mixing, piping and sculpting everything from delicate chocolates to six-foot sugar sculptures in hopes of being declared one of the best. Prestigious Meilleurs Ouvriers de France competition. Not just chocolate, but there's a lot of chocolate!

EASY CHOCOLATE COVERED POPCORN

1. Make a bag of popcorn (buttered or plain) and pop it according to the directions.
2. Put the popped popcorn into large bowl or flat baking pan (for more even distribution).
3. Melt dark or white chocolate or both (in separate bowls) in top of double boiler (or in microwave).
4. Drizzle chocolate on popcorn. You can always add more chocolate, but you can't remove it, so use sparingly.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Chiquita Banana, Carmen Miranda, & Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I've always loved Chiquita Bananas, especially the logo with Chiquita and her Fruit Hat that was popularized by Carmen Miranda. There was something so foreign and exotic about Chiquita -- and Carmen Miranda.  I was so taken by all the Carmen Miranda Hollywood productions that when I was in Rio several years ago, I made a pilgrimage to Carmen Miranda's home on Avendida Rui Barbosa. Very fun!

So in honor of Carmen Miranda and for National Banana Brad Day, I'm reposting two  recipes for Banana Bread. These are from Chiquita Bananas. I added chocolate chips to both of the following recipes because I love chocolate and bananas. You can also add nuts. And, the second recipe is gluten free! Be sure to scroll down to Carmen Miranda in the" Tutti Frutti Hat." Here's the 1940s "Chiquita Banana" song!

THE CHIQUITA BANANA SONG



Best Chiquita Banana Bread
adapted from Chiquita Bananas

Ingredients
4 whole Chiquita Bananas
1 cup All-purpose flour
1 cup Unprocessed wheat bran
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Brown sugar
3/4 cup Chocolate chips
1 cup unsalted Butter, soft
2 whole Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Walnuts
1 Tbsp Local Honey

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease large 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Whip 2 Chiquita Bananas and sugars until mix is creamy (about 3 minutes).
Add butter, eggs, and vanilla and whip until smooth.
Mix in all dry ingredients until blended.
Fold in walnuts and Chocolate Chips.
Slice two Chiquita Bananas and toss with honey until Chiquita Bananas are well coated.
Pour mix in loaf pan and place honey coated bananas on top.
Bake in oven for 60 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes then place plate on top of pan and flip pan upside down so loaf falls onto plate.

Gluten Free Banana Bread 
with Chocolate Chips
adapted from Chiquita Banana Bread, recipe idea Alisa Bennett

Ingredients
3 large Chiquita bananas
3 large Eggs
1/4 cup Coconut oil (melted)
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract
2 cups Almond meal
2 Tbsp Coconut flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions
Puree egg, oil, vanilla, and bananas in blender.
In separate bowl, blend dry ingredients.
Add banana and egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix well.
Fold in chopped walnuts and chocolate chips.
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes.

"THE LADY IN THE TUTTI-FRUTTI HAT" from Busby Berkeley's Welcome to Banana Island

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Flourless Chocolate Margarita Cake

Today is National Margarita Day, and I like to eat my drinks! You're going to love this Flourless Chocolate Margarita Cake! It's a great Gluten-Free chocolate cake recipe--aka a Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake with Margarita Cream. I originally found this recipe at the Nigella site, but then again on the BHG site. Very similar. As always, use the very best ingredients. I have easy access to almond flour, but you can always make your own. I do love chocolate and citrus, and this recipe "takes the cake!"It's great for Passover, too, so be sure and bookmark this page!

Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake

Ingredients
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
6 eggs
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar*
1 cup almond meal/flour
4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 lime, zest and juice
Confectioner's sugar to dust (optional)

1 recipe Margarita Cream (recipe below)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, and butter sides of pan.
Melt chocolate and butter together either in a heatproof bowl suspended over a saucepan of simmering water or in a microwave 30 seconds at a time until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.
With electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar together until about tripled in volume, pale, and mousse-like. Mix almond meal with the cocoa powder. Gently fold into egg mixture, followed by the slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Fold in lime zest and juice.
Pour and scrape into prepared pan.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes.
Cake will be just firm on top but still have a bit of a shake below.
Remove from oven.
Cool cake in pan on a wire rack.
Once slightly cool, drape clean kitchen towel over cake to stop it from getting too crusty, though a cracked and cratered surface is to be expected.
When completely cool, loosen cake edges from pan using a metal spatula or knife.
Unmold and dust with confectioner's sugar.
Serve with Margarita Cream.

Margarita Cream 

Ingredients
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon tequila
1 tablespoon Triple sec or Cointreau
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 cup heavy cream

Directions 
Whip heavy cream in separate bowl until it holds its shape. Whisk in margarita mixture and keep whisking until mixture is light and aerated.
Stir lime juice, tequila, and triple sec or Cointreau together in large bowl. Whisk in confectioner's sugar and let it dissolve in the liquid.

*Superfine sugar is not powdered sugar. It's granulated sugar that is ground even finer than regular sugar. It's also known as castor sugar. To make your own, put the amount of granulated white sugar called for, plus 2 extra tsp, in the recipe and put in food processor. Process for 1-2 minutes until it feels like fine sand. Be sure and let it rest before opening your food processor.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Chocolate Chip Blueberry Pancakes

Today is Pancake Day. There are actually two or three pancake days on the calendar, but let's celebrate today! Enjoy Chocolate CHIP Blueberry Pancakes--two ways-- to celebrate this fun food holiday.

This first recipe is from Cooking Light for Perfect Buttermilk pancakes. I've added blueberries and chocolate to tweak the recipe! I usually have fresh blueberries around, but if you don't, you can use frozen blueberries. Trader Joe's has great wild blueberries that go great in this recipe. The second recipe is for Blueberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes in a Jar.

BUTTERMILK BLUEBERRY CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES

Ingredients
1 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 cup Blueberries (less if frozen.. I like the frozen Wild Blueberries from Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate chips

Directions
Spoon flour into dry measuring cup; level with knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (flour through salt) in large bowl, and make well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk, oil, and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring until smooth.
Spoon about 1/4 cup batter onto hot nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray.
Fold in Blueberries and Chocolate Chips. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges seem cooked.
***

So that's what you'll make fresh today! I'm also fond of Mixes in a Jar. Here's a quick and delicious recipe for Chocolate Blueberry Pancakes in a Jar. You can have this on hand or to give as a gift. One helpful hint, when making mixes in a jar, really pack the ingredients in. Use a tamper, if you have one...except for the dried blueberries and chocolate that you'll put on top.

CHOCOLATE CHIP BLUEBERRY PANCAKES IN A JAR

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup dried Blueberries
2/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Layer flour, then sugar, then baking powder mixed with baking soda and salt in 1-quart wide-mouth jar.
Add blueberries, then chocolate chips.
Seal Jar.
Cover jar with burlap or other fabric and tie with raffia or a bow.

Attach gift tag with the following instructions:

Chocolate Blueberry Pancakes 
Makes 25 pancakes
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1-1/2 to 2 cups whole milk (or buttermilk)

Mix eggs and melted butter in large bowl. Add contents of jar. Stir until well blended. Add 1-1/2 cups milk. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened.
Heat griddle or skillet.
Pour batter onto hot griddle 1/4 cup at a time.
Cook pancakes until golden on both sides.