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!



Monday, May 22, 2017

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies: Perfect for Memorial Day

"Rosemary is for Remembrance"-- so this recipe for Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies is perfect for Memorial Day. I grow a lot of rosemary in my garden that I use it in baking and grilling. It's a very versatile herb. There are several varieties, and they flower, so it's also quite pretty -- and deer resistant. Rosemary is also very aromatic. And, a little goes a long way.

The phrase "Rosemary is for Remembrance" comes from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember.” 

Even before Shakespeare's era, many cultures assigned meaning to this herb. It was often used in funerals or in the care of the dead. But also, at one time, it was the fashion for brides to wear wreaths of rosemary. Rosemary was also thought to repel evil spirits and cure thievery. 15th and early 16th century statesman and writer, Sir Thomas More, tied rosemary to memory in his writing. He wrote fondly of it “running” about his garden without cultivation because: “it is the herb sacred to remembrance, and therefore, to friendship…” And for my mystery friends, an Agatha Christie novel, published as both Remembered Death and Sparkling Cyanide, uses the Shakespeare quotation.

ROSEMARY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients 
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups Chocolate Chips
1 cup pecans, chopped
2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl.
Beat butter, both sugars, and vanilla in large mixer bowl until creamy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually beat in flour mixture.
Stir in Chocolate Chips, chopped Rosemary, and pecans.
Drop by rounded tablespoon onto un-greased cookie sheets.
Bake 9-10 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Build a Chocolate "Campfire Cake"!

Here's a great "Campfire Cake" you can make ahead for a picnic, barbecue, or camping trip. Serve this Chocolate Campfire Cake on a wooden plank/log for effect...but a wood cutting board or plate will do, too. I first saw this Campfire Cake in 2015 in  CountryLivingMagazine, but now it's all over the Internet. Lots of variations. Such fun! This would be great for Memorial Day. Bring the great outdoors into your backyard.

Here's what to do: Make your favorite two layer Chocolate Cake and your favorite Chocolate Frosting. Buy some rolled wafer cookies (I like Pepperidge Farm Pirouette Rolled Wafers) and red and orange hard candy.

HARD CANDY RECIPE

Preheat oven to 375.
Put red and orange hard candies on parchment-lined cookie sheet; put in oven.
Once candies have melted (about 10 minutes), remove from oven.
While still liquid, use a skewer to marbelize the colors.
Set aside and let cool.
Once hardened, peel from liner and break into triangular shapes.

Decorate top of cake with rolled wafer cookies and candy flames when you're ready to serve.
Tip: Do not put the candy flames in the refrigerator of they will soften up and lose their shape.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Strawberries Stuffed with Chocolate Cream: Strawberry & Cream Day

Tomorrow is National Strawberries and Cream Day! I knew I had to find a way to add "chocolate" cream. Strawberries can be stuffed with all kinds of things that make them even more wonderful. I posted a recipe for Strawberries stuffed with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cheesecake, Tiramasu or Marscapone all of which also included dipping the strawberries in chocolate first. So for Strawberries and Cream Day, I thought Strawberries with Chocolate Cream Stuffing would be perfect. I've made these many times, and there are lots of variations, of course, depending on the chocolate you choose and if you use Kahlua or Cream (or another liqueur). This recipe is adapted from both  RecipeZaar and Yummly,  two great sites for you to check out!

STRAWBERRIES STUFFED WITH CHOCOLATE CREAM

Ingredients
24-36 strawberries
1 cup dark chocolate (65-75%), chopped
2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream or kahlua
4 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
14 cup powdered sugar

Directions
Wash berries, cut off stems and hollow out a bit to resemble a small cup.
Place chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips, if that's what you have) and Cream or Kahlua in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds on high. If not melted continue for 10 seconds each time until melted.
Set aside until cooled just a bit.
In separate bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until fluffy.
Add chocolate mixture to cream cheese mixture and beat until combined.
Put finished mixture into a Ziploc or pastry bag and fill strawberries. Heap chocolate onto top a bit and finish with a swirl :-).
Put strawberries in refrigerator for at least an hour.

Photo: Yummly