Monday, October 16, 2017

How to Make Chocolate Liqueur: National Liqueur Day!

Today is National Liqueur Day!

What exactly is liqueur? FYI, it's not liquor. In different places in the U.S. liqueurs may also be called cordials or schnapps. The word liqueur comes from the Latin liquifacere which means to liquefy. A liqueur is an alcoholic beverage made from a distilled spirit flavored with fruit, cream, herbs, spices, flowers --or in the case of this blog--Chocolate--and bottled with added sugar or other sweeteners. Liqueurs are not aged long and are usually sweet.

For National Liqueur Day, here's a recipe for How to Make Chocolate Liqueur. Chocolate liqueur is simple to make, and you should try it. Of course you can always buy Chocolate Liqueur, and I'll have to admit that Godiva has an awesome dark Chocolate Liqueur. You might also want to try Mozart Black Chocolate.

But if you want to make your own, try one of the following two recipes for Making Chocolate Liqueur.

As always, use the best cacao nibs or cocoa, vodka, and vanilla. You won't have the results to taste today, but it will be worth the wait! Great for holiday presents, too!

How to Make Chocolate Liqueur

1. CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR
The recipe is from Serious Eats, one of my favorite sites.

Ingredients
 2/3 cup cacao nibs
1 1/3 cup vodka
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract

Directions
Combine cacao nibs and vodka in sealable glass jar. Shake and let steep for 8 days.
After initial steeping period, bring sugar and water to a boil. Let syrup cool, then add to jar along with vanilla extract. Let steep an additional day.
Strain out nibs through sieve and filter through a coffee filter into bottle or jar. Store in this jar.

II. CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR
This Recipe from Creative Culinary uses Scharffen Berger Cocoa Powder. 

Ingredients
1/4 cup unsweetened good cocoa powder (Scharffen Berger)
1 cup boiling water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup vodka

Directions
In bowl, dissolve cocoa powder in boiling water.
In saucepan, bring sugar and water to simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Add sugar syrup to cocoa syrup.
Strain through fine-mesh sieve into jar with lid.
Add vodka, cover and refrigerate for one week.
To serve, stir well and strain again through fine-mesh sieve.
 
These two recipes should get you started. Want to try some variations? Use less sugar and maybe add almond extract--or use rum instead of vodka. Experiment!

You can drink your Chocolate Liqueur straight, use it to make truffles, or make a martini.

Have a wonderful National Liqueur Day. Make it Chocolate!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

The leaves are starting to turn, and pumpkins are everywhere, so for today's post, here's an easy recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins from allrecipes.com.

I use a natural pumpkin puree that I always have in the pantry for doggie stomach upsets (pumpkin is good for dogs), but use Libby's if that's what you have..or pumpkin puree you make yourself if you've already started carving your pumpkins.

As always, use the best chocolate chips--and make sure your oil is fresh. These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are a great way to start the day on a brisk morning!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips 

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners.
Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water.
In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.
Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Cartoon of the Day: Waffling


Chocolate Cricket Chip Cookies: National Chocolate-Covered Insects Day

Today is a holiday worthy of Halloween. October 14 is National Chocolate-Covered Insects Day.

I've posted several examples of chocolate covered insects before: Chocolate Scorpions and other chocolate covered insects, but here's a recipe from Weird-Food.com for Chocolate Cricket Chip Cookies. They put the crunch into the cookie. O.K. it's weird, but Frank spent 3 years in Cote d'Ivoire, and it doesn't seem weird to him at all. Dry-roasted Crickets add protein and crunch. Luckily, I do all the baking at home. I've seen a different version of these Chocolate Chip Cricket Cookies with whole crickets in them. Too much for me! Declaration: I've never made these, and I never will. I'm definitely not a bug person. But because of the holiday, I thought I'd share the following recipe.

Chocolate Cricket Chip Cookies

Ingredients
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 12-ounce chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup dry-roasted crickets

Directions
Preheat oven to 375.
In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In large bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla; beat until creamy.
Beat in eggs.
Gradually add flour mixture and Crickets, mix well.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded measuring teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Photo: Chocolate Chips not Crickets. I just couldn't.