Sunday, April 22, 2018

EARTH DAY BROWNIES

One more recipe to celebrate Earth Day. These Earth Day Mint Brownies are delicious, and with the green center, they're great for Earth Day!

EARTH DAY BROWNIES

Ingredients 

Brownies
3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 cup DARK cocoa
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups oil
3/4 cup milk

Mint Layer
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2 Tbsp milk
Dash of salt
Natural green coloring

Chocolate Glaze Layer
2 cups chopped dark chocolate
6 Tbsp unsalted butter

Directions

Brownies
Combine all ingredients in an large bowl and beat or whisk till smooth.
Pour batter into well greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350° for about 20-25 minutes. Cool completely.

Mint Layer
Beat till smooth and spread evenly over cooled brownies. Chill in refrigerator while you make the chocolate glaze layer.

Chocolate Glaze Layer
Melt butter and chocolate in saucepan over saucepan filled with water on simmer until combined. Let cool for 5 minutes. Spread over mint layer, smoothing as you go. Return to refrigerate for at least an hour.

Allow to come to room temperature before cutting into squares.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

CASHEW CARAMEL BROWNIES: National Chocolate Covered Cashew Day

You can never have too many Brownie recipes. Since today is National Chocolate Covered Cashew Day, I thought I'd pot this easy recipe from Betty Crocker for Cashew Caramel Brownies. As always, use the very best ingredients. You can use a box mix or you can make your own brownie recipe and follow the directions for the cashews and caramel. If you're making brownies from scratch, be sure to add dark chocolate chips.

CHOCOLATE CARAMEL BROWNIES

Ingredients
1 box Betty Crocker triple chunk Premium brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil, and egg called for on brownie mix box Save
2/3 cup salted dry roasted cashews, chopped
2 candy bars (1.76 oz each) dark chocolate-covered nougat and caramel candy, each cut lengthwise in half, then chopped (about 2/3 cup)

Directions
Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Line bottom and sides of 9-inch square pan with foil, leaving foil overhanging on 2 opposite sides of pan. Spray foil with cooking spray.
In medium bowl, stir brownie mix, oil, water, and eggs until well blended. Stir in 1/3 cup of the chopped cashews and 1/3 cup of the chopped candy bars. Spread evenly in pan.
Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup cashews and 1/3 cup candy bars evenly over batter.
Bake 35 to 38 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
Remove brownies from pan, using foil to lift.
Cut into squares.

Friday, April 20, 2018

CRACKED EARTH FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE for EARTH DAY

Earth Day! As many of you know, I blog about mystery/crime fiction at Mystery Fanfare, as well as about Chocolate. I'm also the Editor of the thematic review Mystery Readers Journal. A few years ago, we had an issue (Volume 29:1) that focused on Environmental Crime Fiction/Mysteries. In addition I compose lists of themed crime fiction. Have a look at my Environmental/Ecological Crime Fiction list on Mystery Fanfare.

I don’t know of a good crime novel that involves the chocolate trade. That’s a theme ripe for a good mystery. Something to think about while you enjoy “Cracked Earth Flourless Chocolate Cake” from the recipe below.

I've posted many flourless chocolate cake recipes, but this cake, adapted from Tyler Florence of the Food Network, is one of my favorites. Cracked Earth Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Cracked Earth Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
1 pound organic fair-trade dark chocolate (65-85% cacao), chopped into small pieces
8 Tbsp unsalted butter
9 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
2 cups heavy cream, cold 

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter 9-inch springform pan.
Put chocolate and butter in top of double boiler over simmering water until melted.
Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks with sugar in mixing bowl until light yellow in color.
Whisk a little of chocolate mixture into egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs - this will keep eggs from scrambling from heat of the chocolate; then whisk in rest of chocolate mixture.
Beat egg whites in mixing bowl until stiff peaks form and fold into chocolate mixture.
Pour into prepared pan (spray bottom with nonstick spray) and bake until cake is set, top starts to crack, and toothpick inserted into cake comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it, 20 to 25 minutes (and then check every five minutes after that--don't overbake).
Let stand 10 minutes, then unmold.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

AMARETTO TRUFFLES: National Amaretto Day

Today is National Amaretto Day. Amaretto is a sweet, almond-flavored Italian liqueur. Interestingly enough it isn't always made from almonds. It's primarily made from apricot pits and spices. The original version was made in Saronno, Italy. Amaretto is Italian for "a little bitter." Here's a link to Homemade Amaretto at Chow.com.

AMARETTO TRUFFLES

Ingredients
10 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup Amaretto
1 cup blanched almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

Directions 
In food processor with knife blade attached, blend both kinds of chocolate until finely ground. In 1-quart saucepan, heat cream to boiling on medium-high. With food processor running, add hot cream, butter, and liqueur to chocolate, and blend until chocolate mixture is smooth.
Grease 8" by 8" metal baking pan; line with plastic wrap. Pour chocolate mixture into pan; spread evenly. Refrigerate chocolate mixture until cool and firm enough to handle, at least 3 hours, or freeze 1 hour.
Place chopped almonds in small bowl; place cocoa in another small bowl. Invert chocolate block onto cutting board; remove and discard plastic wrap. Cut chocolate block into 8 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 8 squares. (To cut chocolate block neatly and easily, occasionally dip knife in hot water and wipe dry.)
One at a time, roll half the chocolate squares in chopped almonds to coat; roll remaining squares in cocoa.