31 May 2009

Video: Paul Deen Shows Us Sweet Treats

From Denny: Paul Deen is always as entertaining as she is useful showing us how to make easy tasty recipes! Here she is demonstrating some of her desserts from her new cookbook. She tends to do a lot of versatile recipes, some of which I'm sure we could substitute chocolate if we desired - maybe white chocolate and lemon combinations would be interesting too! Take a look!

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30 May 2009

Recipe: Chocolate Whiskey Cake with Raspberries

Photo by sonicwalker @ flickr

From Denny: Here's an interesting one for all you vegans from the blog, Vegalicious! I found the awesome photo on flickr and below it was a recipe link, wow, yum! Practice this cake now for gift giving during any special holiday!

Serves: 8


For the cake:

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup whisky

3/4 cup chilled coffee

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

For the raspberry filling:

1/2 - 3/4 cup raspberry preserves or jam

For the chocolate-whisky glaze:

6 - 8 ounces dark vegan chocolate, melted in a bain marie (double boiler)

4 & 1/2 ounces vegan margarine

2 tablespoons whiskey

2 tablespoons powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Generously oil an 8-inch s round baking pan or spring form and dust with a little sifted cocoa, or line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar.

In another bowl, combine the oil, whisky, coffee and vanilla.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until well blended and smooth.

Add the vinegar and stir briefly.

The baking soda will begin to react with the vinegar right away, leaving pale swirls in the batter.

Quickly pour the batter into the baking pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.

Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the raspberry filing:

Make sure the raspberry filling is a spreadable mass.

If it is too thick or solid, either warm it in a saucepan, or add a bit of water and mix well.

You don’t want it too thin or it will soak into the cake, but if it is too thick, it might “tear” the cake as you spread it.

To assemble the cake:

Remove from the cake from the pan.

Carefully slice the cake in half.

Place the bottom half of the cake on a serving plate and put the raspberry filling on top.

Place the top half of the cake back on the cake.

For the chocolate glaze:

Melt the chocolate with the vegan margarine in a bain marie (double boiler over water).

Stir well to mix, remove from the bain marie and add the whisky and powdered sugar.

Add glaze the top of the cake, it’s fine if some of the glaze drizzles down the sides.

Garnish with a few pretty raspberries


The basic recipe for the cake can be found all over the net, on
http://www.post-gazette.com, or http://www.razzledazzlerecipes.com to name just a couple, however all are based on the Mossewood Cookbook recipe.

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29 May 2009

Recipe: Peppermint Patties Cookies

Photo by RICK EGLINTON @ Toronto Star

From Denny: This little recipe is from the Toronto Star.

Makes 24 cookies.

From Food Editor Kim Honey: "I used President's Choice milk-and-white chocolate chips for dipping, but you can substitute any chocolate. It will take an hour or two to firm up, though you can put it in the fridge for faster results.

Make sure the dough log and slices are measured or the yield will be off. Adapted from The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen by Teri Edwards and Serena Thompson."


10 tbsp + 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup icing sugar

1-1/2 tsp peppermint extract

1 tsp or more milk or light cream

2 cups chocolate chips


Cream 10 tablespoons butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium; add sugars and beat until fluffy. Beat in yolk and vanilla.

Add flour, cocoa powder and salt with mixer on low speed; beat until blended and dough is soft and pliable. Roll into 10-inch long log 2 inches in diameter. Cover in plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375F. Cut dough into 1/4-inch slices; place 1 inch apart on 2 cookie sheets. Bake until just firm to the touch, about 6 minutes, rotating pans halfway through to ensure even cooking. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Cream 4 tablespoons butter with icing sugar, peppermint and 1 teaspoon milk in small bowl. Thin with more milk until spreadable. Use 1 tablespoon sandwiched between 2 cookies.

Melt chocolate chips in small, deep microwavable bowl 30 seconds; stir. Repeat if necessary.

Dip each cookie halfway into chocolate; set upright on undipped edge on wax or parchment paper until firm.

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28 May 2009

Recipe: Chocolate Roulade

chocolate-rouladeAnother version of chocolate roulade Image by MadMan the Mighty via Flickr

From Denny: With warm weather coming, it's always nice to have on hand one of these cooling recipes that is easy to make for family and friends. Easy to make ahead, easy to keep in the fridge, not a fussy dessert at all. Enjoy!

Chocolate Roulade

From: “Mountain Measures,” Junior League of Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Serves: 8 - 10

The Cake:

5 Eggs -- separated

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar -- sifted

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

2 Tablespoons Flour -- sifted

4 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder -- sifted

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Cream Of Tartar

The Filling:

2 Unsweetened Baking Chocolate Squares

1 1/2 Cups Milk -- scalded

1/2 Cup Sugar

4 Eggs

1/4 Cup Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla

Powdered Sugar For Garnish


Beat egg yolks until creamy. Add powdered sugar gradually and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, flour, cocoa, and salt. Whip egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff but not dry. Fold lightly into cake batter. Line shallow 8 x 12-inch pan with greased heavy paper and spread dough to thickness of about 1/4". Bake in a 325° oven for about 25 minutes let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Reverse pan onto a clean towel that has been dusted with powdered sugar. Peel off paper. Trim off crust edges. Roll cake and dowel. When cool, unroll cake and spread with filling; then re-roll.


Grate chocolate and add to milk so that it melts while milk is scalding. Cream sugar and eggs until light. Add flour to this mixture, stirring gently. Add scalded milk gradually, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until it reaches boiling point, but do not let it boil. Add vanilla; strain and cool. Spread on cooled cake and re-roll. Dust roll with powdered sugar; slice, and serve.

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27 May 2009

Chocolate Glossary Terms

Chocolate Photo from Wikipedia

From Denny: How many times do you run into those chocolate terms, scratch your head and wonder? Well, at this site, Chocolate Lover, they have compiled the following list. They have a lot of other goodies on this clever site too! Check out their recipes and just plain good attitude!

There are chefs' terms, agricultural, manufacturing, cultural and scientific. Take a look and use this reference whenever you need it!

"Alkalinisation In the early 19th century the Dutchman Coenraad Johannes van Houten discovered that the acid taste of cocoa was neutralized if he added alkali-potash to the nibs before they were roasted. Ever since the end of the 19th century all industrial chocolate makers have practiced this alkalization process to modify the flavor and the color of the final product. Another technical term for alkalization still used today is the ‘Dutch process’ or ‘Dutching’.

Artisanal Chocolate produced by a small maker (an artisan), usually from a unique blend of beans or a rare single type.

Bittersweet Bittersweet chocolate, not to be confused with unsweetened or semisweet chocolate, is primarily used for baking. A slightly sweetened dark chocolate, it has many uses such as making shiny chocolate curls as garnishes or rich, dense chocolate cakes. Both it and semisweet chocolate are required by the U.S. FDA to contain at least 35% chocolate liquor.

Brut (Bitter) In the U.S. the FDA describes this as chocolate that does not contain any sugar, though it may contain natural or artificial flavoring. This pure chocolate is intended for cooking as only real fanatics will enjoy this very bitter chocolate substance with a solid cocoa content in excess of 85%.

Cacao A term used for a cacao plant but also for the unprocessed product (pods) of the cacao plant.

Carraque Solid milk or dark chocolate pieces, which are sometimes topped with raisins, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts.

Chocolate Liquor Chocolate liquor is made up of the finely ground nib of the cocoa bean. This is technically not yet chocolate. This type of chocolate is also known as unsweetened chocolate and is also referred to cocoa mass or cocoa liquor.

Chocolate Lover One who appreciates the unique qualities of a truly fine piece of chocolate and feels that life would not be the same without gourmet chocolate.

Cocoa Beans Source of all chocolate and cocoa, cocoa beans are found in the pods (fruit) of the cocoa tree, an evergreen cultivated mainly within twenty degrees north or south of the equator.

Cocoa Butter Cocoa butter is a complex, hard fat made up mostly of triglycerides, it remains firm at room temperature, then it contracts as it cools and solidifies. It is ideal for molding.

Cocoa Mass Same as Chocolate Liquor.

Cocoa Pods Between the blossoms of the permanently flowering cocoa tree we can see fruit at various stages of development. The egg-shaped cocoa pods measure between 15 and 30 centimeters (between 6 and 12 inches) and hang from the trunk and the largest branches. Each fruit contains between 30 and 40 beans of about 1 cm (about 0.5 inch) in length.

Cocoa Powder The result of extracting cocoa butter from cocoa paste. Cocoa powder is used to prepare chocolate drinks or to sprinkle truffles and chocolate tarts.

Compound Coatings In chocolate flavored coatings and compounds, part of the cocoa butter may be replaced by vegetable fat. Also a whole range of whey powders, whey derivatives and dairy blends are permitted where milk powder is prescribed in milk chocolate. However, there is hardly any difference between the production processes of ‘genuine’ chocolate on the one hand and ‘chocolate flavored’ coatings and compounds on the other. Some ingredients not used in chocolate may require adjustments of the production processes. For chocolate flavored products containing sorbitol or xylitol the mixing, refining and conching temperature settings need to be adjusted.

Conching The processing step called ‘conching’ reduces the moistness of the cocoa mass and removes the volatile acids. At the same time, this step allows for specific aromas and smoothness to be associated with chocolate. Conching is the process where the chocolate is "plowed" back and forth through the liquid chocolate which smoothes the chocolate and rounds out the flavor, essential for the flavor, the texture and the overall quality of the chocolate.

Couverture Couverture is a term used to describe professional-quality coating chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa butter, at least 32%, and as high as 39% for good quality couverture. The extra cocoa butter allows the chocolate to form a thinner coating shell than non-couverture chocolate.

Criollo The best quality cocoa bean, but rare and harder to grow than others, with a lower yield per tree.

Dark Chocolate Dark chocolate must contain a minimum of 43% cocoa to be called "dark" according to European norms. A "70% cocoa chocolate" is considered quite dark while 85% and even 88% cocoa dark chocolates have become quite popular for dark chocolate lovers.

Devil's Food A chocolate flavored product that derives most of its flavor from cocoa butter rather than chocolate.

Dutching In the early 19th century the Dutchman Coenraad Johannes van Houten discovered that the acid taste of cocoa was neutralized if he added alkali-potash to the nibs before they were roasted. Ever since the end of the 19th century all industrial chocolate makers have practiced this alkalization process to modify the flavor and the color of the final product. Another technical term for alkalization still used today is the ‘Dutch process’ or ‘Dutching’.

Enrobing One of two chocolates-making techniques by taking the center of a certain chocolate or praline and covering it with a layer of outer chocolate by pouring liquid chocolate over it or by dipping the chocolate center by hand in liquid chocolate. (Contrasts with "molded" chocolates)

Fondant Fondant is the French word for dark or "Pure" chocolate. (Contrasts with milk chocolate or "Lait")

Fudge Fudge is a type of confectionery, usually extremely rich and often flavored with chocolate. It is made by boiling sugar in milk to the soft-ball stage, and then beating the mixture while it cools so that it acquires a smooth, creamy consistency.

Ganache A Ganache is a rich, silky chocolate mixture made by combining chopped semisweet chocolate and boiling cream and stirring until smooth. (Sometimes butter can also be added) The proportions of chocolate to cream vary, depending on the use of the ganache and can be flavored with fruits spices and different liquors. The result is a harmonious balance between the smoothness of the flavor and the intensity of the chocolate.

Gianduja Gianduja is a delicious mixture of emulsified hazelnuts and cocoa mass, cocoa butter and sugar. Originally this was an Italian specialty.

Lecithin A natural product extracted from the soy bean that is used as a thinner in chocolate. During the manufacturing of chocolate, lecithin controls flow properties through the reduction of viscocity.

Low Fat Cocoa Cocoa powder containing less than ten percent cocoa butter.

Malitol Maltitol is a natural sugar-substitute based on a Malt-extract, which allows chocolate to keep a sweet taste without containing sugar. Maltitol has become a popular sugar substitute in many chocolate couvertures, especially Belgian chocolate sugar-free products.

Marzipan Marzipan is a thick paste achieved by skillfully mixing melted sugar with finely chopped ground almonds. The outer shell of a marzipan is an envelope of milk, white or dark chocolate. The Lubecker method (known to be the world's best Marzipan) means that only pure almond and sugar are used, thereby delivering the fullest almond taste.

Medium Fat Cocoa Cocoa powder containing between ten and twenty-two percent cocoa butter.

Milk Chocolate The best known kind of eating chocolate. Milk chocolate is made by combining the chocolate liquid, extra cocoa butter, milk or cream, sweetening, and flavorings.

Moulding Another technique for making chocolate consists of placing chocolate in molds to obtain a molded chocolate "shell" that is then filled with one or several unique fillings before being seals with another layer of chocolate. The typical Belgian Praline is produced by pouring a hazelnut praline filling in molded shapes.

Nibs The kernels of coca beans are usually called ‘nibs’ and are the basic ingredient of which chocolate is made, Sometimes, the original dark and rich nibs are used to add texture to chocolate bars or chocolate deserts.

Nougatine Nougatine is achieved by heating sugar until it caramelizes and mixing finely crushed roasted hazelnuts or almonds . Once this paste is achieved, it is put on a caramel roller and crushed into little pieces. Nougatine pieces are used as filling in certain chocolates and chocolate bars.

Organic The word ‘organic’ refers to how these food products are produced. Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes the fertility of the soil. Organic foods are produced without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. They are processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives or irradiation. Organic chocolate contains a minimum of 95% naturally grown and certified raw materials.

Pâte de Fruits Pates de fruits are composed of sugar pulps and apple pectin. The fruit percentage is more than 50% of the total component.

Pods Between the blossoms of the permanently flowering cocoa tree we can see fruit (pods) at various stages of development. The egg-shaped cocoa pods measure between 15 and 30 centimeters (between 6 and 12 inches) and hang from the trunk and the largest branches. Each fruit contains between 30 and 40 beans of about 1 cm (about 0.5 inch) in length.

Praliné Praliné is composed of richly flavored chocolate to which caramelized sugar (hot caramel), well-roasted, finely-ground hazelnuts (or almonds) and vanilla have been added. The praliné flavor is typical in many Belgian chocolates or "pralines."

Semi-sweet chocolate chipsImage via Wikipedia

Semisweet Chocolate Semi-sweet chocolate is created by blending chocolate liquid with varying amounts of sweetening and extra cocoa butter. Flavorings may be included. Semi-sweet chocolate is available in bar form, but is usually sold in pieces or chips. Semi-sweet contains between 15% and 35% chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin, and vanilla. It may be used in recipes that call for bittersweet or sweet chocolate, but is not interchangeable with milk chocolate. Also Known As: Semi-sweet blocs, squares, bits, chocolate chips, morsels.

Sheen The pleasant shine on couverture and eating chocolate. High-quality chocolate usually has a bright sheen. A chalky face may be an indication of poor quality. But it may also mean the chocolate has been exposed to extreme temperatures - from hot to cold to hot - which causes cocoa butter to separate and rise to the surface. This does not affect the taste.

Sweet Chocolate This is similar to semisweet, but has more sweeteners and only has to have at least 15% chocolate liquor. It can often be interchanged with semisweet or bittersweet chocolate.

Tempering Tempering is the process of bringing the chocolate to a certain temperature whereby the cocoa butter reaches its most stable crystal form. There are several forms in which the butter can crystallize, only one of which ensures the hardness, shrinking force and gloss of the finished product after it has cooled. If the chocolate is melted in the normal way (between 40 and 45°C) and then left to cool to working temperature, the finished product will not be gloss. Proper tempering, followed by proper cooling produces a nice shine and good eating properties.

Theobroma The botanical description for cocoa. The name "Theobroma," comes from the ancient Greek words for "god" (Theo) and "food" (Broma).

Truffle A confection made of chocolate (ganache), butter, sugar, and sometimes liqueur shaped into balls and often coated with cocoa. Truffles are made by heating a rich blend of butter, cream, chocolate, and often a flavoring, delicately shaping it, and enrobing it with chocolate couverture.(milk, dark or white) Different truffle textures can be created by rolling the center ganache in cocoa powder, powdered sugar, or finely chopped nuts. Truffles, originally named after the exotic French mushroom because of its visual resemblance, are either hand-rolled chocolate or domed with a piped center.

Varietal Describes the type of bean, such as criollo, forestero or trinitario, used in the chocolate. Varietal chocolates are those made from a single type of bean.

Viscosity The measure of the flow characteristics of a melted chocolate.

White Chocolate White chocolate is not considered real chocolate, because although it has cocoa butter (at least 32% to be considered of good quality), it does not have chocolate liquor. White chocolate is made from cocoa butter, milk, sugar and vanilla.

Xocoatl Xocoatl is the original name the Aztecs, Toltecs, Mayas and Incas gave to a stimulating drink they brewed from cocoa beans. It was a mixture of cocoa, maize (Indian corn) and water."

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26 May 2009

Recipe: Triple Chocolate-Cookie Trifle Pie

From Denny: Here is a fun chocolate version of the trifle that is kid-fun and kid-friendly! Try this decadence on your family, friends and company who come to visit. They will be impressed at the presentation. Get the kids to help you decorate with the cookies. The recipe uses my favorite chocolate: Ghiradelli!

From: Southern Living Magazine, a fabulous recipe database.

Prep: 25 min., Cool: 20 min., Chill: 8 hr.


3 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided

1 1/2 (4-oz.) bittersweet chocolate baking bars, chopped

1 (4-oz.) white chocolate baking bar, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (12.5-oz.) package assorted cookies

2 tablespoons mocha liqueur (optional)

2 (6-oz.) containers fresh raspberries

Raspberry Glaze


1. Microwave 1/2 cup cream at HIGH 30 seconds to 1 minute or until hot (do not boil). Place bittersweet chocolate in a large bowl. Pour hot cream over chocolate, and stir until smooth. Repeat procedure with 1/4 cup cream and white chocolate. (If chocolate does not melt completely after stirring, microwave at HIGH for 10-second intervals just until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.) Stir 1/2 tsp. vanilla into each chocolate mixture until well blended. Cool 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, let 2 1/2 cups cream stand at room temperature 20 minutes.

3. Beat 1 1/2 cups cream at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until medium peaks form. Gently fold one-fourth of whipped cream into cool bittersweet chocolate mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining whipped cream.

4. Beat remaining 1 cup cream at medium-high speed until medium peaks form. Gently fold one-fourth of whipped cream into cool white chocolate mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining whipped cream.

5. Crush 6 to 7 cookies to equal 1/2 cup crumbs. Sprinkle on bottom of a lightly greased 9-inch springform pan. Spread half of bittersweet chocolate mixture over crushed cookies in pan. Arrange cookies around sides of pan (about 19 cookies). Spread white chocolate mixture over bittersweet chocolate mixture.

6. Crush remaining cookies, and sprinkle over white chocolate mixture in springform pan. Drizzle with liqueur, if desired. Spread remaining bittersweet chocolate mixture over crushed cookies. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.

7. Remove sides from pan. Mound raspberries in center of trifle; brush with Raspberry Glaze. Serve immediately.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Bars, Ghirardelli White Chocolate Baking Bar, Pepperidge Farm Distinctive Entertaining Cookie Collection, and Godiva Mocha Liqueur.

Raspberry Glaze: Combine 3 Tbsp. seedless raspberry jam and 2 tsp. water in a small glass bowl. Microwave at HIGH 10 to 15 seconds or until smooth.

Yield: Makes 10 to 12 servings

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25 May 2009

Memorial Day Poems

From Denny: These are a selection from many wonderful poems written with heavy hearts and great sincerity about the reality of how war affects us all. The old men who send young men to war rarely stop long enough - or at all - to consider their haste to anger and action affects the entire nation for generations to come.

The following are not glory poems but rather the perspectives of those involved in war be they one soldier, a POW, a mother, a daughter, a citizen who knew none of them but felt a duty to pray for them constantly, knowing the personal cost war would bring to all. They span several wars from the Civil War to WWII, the Korean War and today's Iraq and Afghanistan War.

These poems came from the comprehensive Memorial Day site where there is much more than poems to view. Please take a look today as you remember those who came before us.

For the link to the Memorial Day Poems post at my poetry blog, The Social Poets, go here.

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Recipe: Grilled Shrimp with Chocolate Mole Poblano Sauce

From Denny: We love seafood because it is quick to prepare. Here's a new twist; pair grilled shrimp with a chocolate mole sauce! Anything chocolate works for me!

From: Southern Living Magazine, a wonderful resource recipe database.

Southern Living, "This recipe offers a creative savory use of Andrew Weil's "perfect" food: dark chocolate. The chocolate adds richness to the mole, a traditional Mexican sauce. Prepare the sauce a day ahead, and refrigerate so the flavors have time to develop. Store the mole poblano, covered, in the refrigerator for up to three days, or freeze for up to two months."


2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 cups Mole Poblano (recipe follows)


Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.

Pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Combine shrimp, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Thread the shrimp onto 6 (8-inch) skewers. Place skewers on grill pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Serve with Mole Poblano.

Note: Nutritional analysis includes 1/3 cup Mole Poblano per serving.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 skewer and 1/3 cup mole poblano)

CALORIES 230 (25% from fat); FAT 6.5g (sat 1.5g,mono 2.1g,poly 1.2g); IRON 3.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 230mg; CALCIUM 79mg; CARBOHYDRATE 10.1g; SODIUM 556mg; PROTEIN 32g; FIBER 1.3g


Mole Poblano

If needed, add more water during the final 18 minutes of cooking to achieve the desired consistency.
This recipe goes with Shrimp with Mole Poblano


2 ancho chiles, seeded

2 mulato chiles, seeded

1 pasilla chile, seeded

2 plum tomatoes

2 (6-inch) corn tortillas

1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

Cooking spray

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 soft black plantain, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/4 cup sliced almonds

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/4 cups water, divided

2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

3/4 teaspoon salt


Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ancho, mulato, and pasilla chiles; cook 1 minute on each side. Place chiles in a medium bowl; cover with hot water. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes; drain.

While chiles soak in hot water, place tomatoes in pan, and cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan. Add tortillas to pan, and cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place drained chiles, tomatoes, tortillas, and broth in a blender; process until smooth.

Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Add chopped onion, and sauté for 3 minutes. Add plantain, and sauté for 3 minutes or until browned. Add almonds and garlic; sauté for 1 minute. Stir in unsweetened cocoa, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves; sauté 15 seconds. Place onion mixture and 1/4 cup water in blender with chile mixture; process until smooth.

Place chile mixture, 1 cup water, and chocolate in pan; cook over medium heat, partially covered, 18 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in lime juice and salt.

Wine note: The complex flavors of moles are a big challenge when it comes to wine. One style I like is fruity but dry rieslings. These have crisp acidity to counterbalance a mole's intense flavor, plus a touch of fruitiness that plays perfectly off the chiles. A great example: Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling Cold Creek Vineyard 2003 from Washington's Columbia Valley ($17). -Karen MacNeil

Yield: 4 cups (serving size: 1/3 cup)

CALORIES 80 (30% from fat); FAT 2.7g (sat 1.1g,mono 0.7g,poly 0.4g); IRON 0.6mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 23mg; CARBOHYDRATE 13.8g; SODIUM 219mg; PROTEIN 1.9g; FIBER 1.8g

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24 May 2009

Recipe: Chocolate-Tipped Butter Cookies

From Denny: Found this easy and kid-friendly recipe from the food archives of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It does contain hydrogenated vegetable shortening which tells me it's an old recipe. Though I haven't tested this recipe yet I'd prefer to use clarified butter which gives it loads of flavor and kills the cholesterol problem. As far as sweets go this recipe is also listed as low calorie at 107 calories per cookie! The sodium level is respectably low too.

Chocolate-Tipped Butter Cookies

Hands on time: 25 minutes
Total time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Serves: Makes about 3 dozen


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 (6-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels

1 tablespoon hydrogenated vegetable shortening


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With electric mixer, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla. Gradually add flour, mixing well with a wooden spoon or the hands. Dough will be dry. Shape dough into sticks about 2 1/2 inches long, 1/2 inch wide and 1/2 inch deep (thick). Place on ungreased cookie sheets about an inch apart. Flatten 3/4 of each cookie lengthwise with fork to 1/4 inch thickness, leaving the patterns of the fork tines in the dough.

Bake 10-12 minutes, or until set but not brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Combine chocolate morsels and shortening in microwaveable dish; microwave on high (100 percent power) 45 to 60 seconds, or until melted. Or melt in top of double boiler or in a heavy-bottom pan.

Put melted chocolate in a small, deep glass. Dip the thick, plain end of each cooled cookie in chocolate mixture and let excess drip back into the glass. Place cookies on wax paper until chocolate is firm. Store in airtight containers between layers of wax paper for 3 days or freeze.

Notes: Total time includes cooling and firming time.


Per cookie:
107 calories (percent of calories from fat, 59), 1 gram protein, 10 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 7 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 14 milligrams cholesterol, 1 milligram sodium.

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23 May 2009

Video: Beautiful Fruit and Floral Cocktails Served with Chocolates!

From Denny: This NBC video was developed for Valentine's Day but these cocktails are good year 'round. The one demoed in the video is most unusual and refreshing for the summer season.

Where's the chocolate? Not in the cocktails but I'd definitely serve these cocktails with a side dish of your best dark chocolates to complement the fruit and floral tastes.

Here are the recipes:

L’Amour de Fleur

Michael Cecconi



• 1 ounce pink peppercorns

• 1 ounce kosher salt

• 2 ounces sugar

For the drink

• 2 ounces gin

• 1 ounce fresh lime juice

• 1 ounce simple syrup

• 1/2 ounce Rothman and Winter crème de violette (Available at Astor Wines and Morrell)

• 4-6 mint leaves

• 1 pinch dried lavender flowers (available at Dean and DeLuca and Kalustyan’s); give them a good crush before you drop them in the shaker

• Edible pansy flowers (optional; available at Kalustyan’s)


For the drink’s spice rim: Coarsely grind pink peppercorns in either a spice grinder, mortar and pestle, or mini-processor; mix with salt and sugar in a bowl, then pour onto a plate. Moisten a rocks glass with simple syrup, then dip it into the spice mixture. (There should be enough spice mixture left over for several cocktails.)

For the drink (serves 1): Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker; add ice, shake, and then pour through a julep or other fine strainer into an ice-filled, spice-rimmed rocks glass. Garnish with an edible flower sprinkled with a bit of the spice mixture.

The Honeysuckle Rouge

From: Michael Cecconi


For spiced red wine and honey syrup:

• 2 bottles inexpensive red wine

• 3 star anise pods

• 2 cardamom pods

• 2 bay leaves

• 2 cinnamon sticks

• 5 cloves

• Zest of 1 orange*

• Zest of 1 lime*

• Zest of 1 grapefruit*

• Zest of 1 lemon*

• Pinch of salt

• 2 cups honey

• 1 cup hot water

For the drink

• 2 ounces Anejo Tequila

• 2 ounces Spiced Red Wine and Honey Syrup

• 1/2 ounce lemon juice

• Thin round of lemon for garnish in cocktail


For the Spiced Red Wine and Honey Syrup:
Combine all the ingredients, except for the honey and hot water, in a large pot, bring to boil and reduce to roughly 1 pint (about 25 minutes at a hard boil). Pour through a fine strainer and set aside. Stir honey and water together until fully mixed. Combine one pint of the spiced red wine with one pint of the honey syrup. The spiced red wine and honey syrup will keep in a refrigerator for a week and freezes well, too.

*Save fruit for juicing or eating.

For the drink (serves 1): Combine tequila, spiced red wine and honey syrup, lemon juice, and ice in cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass, then garnish with a thin slice of lemon.

Sparkling Sunset

From: Michael Cecconi


For the pomegranate syrup

• 2 cups sugar

• 1/4 cup water

• 1 quart pomegranate juice*

For the drink

• 3/4 ounces pomegranate syrup

• 1 ounce fresh orange juice

• 1 ounce Plata (silver) tequila

• 2 ounces dry sparkling wine


For the Pomegranate Syrup:
Combine sugar and water in a medium-size pot over high heat, and boil until the syrup thickens and uniform bubbles appear on top (around 15 minutes; do not allow syrup to caramelize). Reduce the heat to low, and slowly, carefully add the pomegranate juice, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat, cool, and refrigerate. The Pomegranate Syrup will keep for a week and freezes well.

*Juice fruit like you would a grapefruit: Cut it in half and then use a countertop citrus juicer to extract the juice.

For the drink (serves 1): Pour pomegranate syrup into a flute. Combine tequila, orange juice and ice in a cocktail shaker, then shake. Using the back of a spoon, strain the liquid into the flute, on top of the pomegranate syrup. Top with the sparkling wine, then serve to guests with a small spoon and encourage them to stir the ingredients together.

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22 May 2009

Recipe: Chocolate Pound Cake

From Denny: Awesome cake! You could bake this up, cut into fourths, freeze most of it, enjoy the rest baked fresh! Make the glaze as you need it. Something easy to keep on hand for unexpected guests or some cake required for your child's school function - just slice, glaze and arrange on a wonderful paper doily and disposable paper plate! What could be easier and more delicious?

Chocolate Pound Cake

Prep Time: 30 min
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hr 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 10 min
Level: Intermediate
Serves: 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients Cake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 large eggs, at room temperature

2 egg large yolks, at room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

12 ounces unsalted butter (3 sticks), room temperature

2 1/2 cups sugar

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

Chocolate Glaze:

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)

1 tablespoon honey

Equipment: 10 cup bundt pan


Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour the bundt pan.

Sift the flour, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk the eggs, yolks, vanilla, and espresso powder together into a bowl and set aside.

In a heavy duty mixer, beat the butter with the paddle attachment, on medium speed for 1 minute, or until smooth. Gradually pour in the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until the butter begins to lighten, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat, on medium-high, until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes more.

Adjust the mixer's speed to its lowest setting. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture and mix until completely absorbed before adding the rest. Scrape down the sides of the mixer then beat on medium-high for 30 seconds more.

Adjust again to low speed and add half the egg mixture, mix until blended and smooth. Add the remaining egg mixture and beat until almost blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and fold in the chocolate by hand. Take care not to over mix the batter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool the cake in the pan, on a rack for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out of the pan, and cool right side up on a rack. If not serving the same day, wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Glaze just before serving. Cake can be frozen for 1 month.

For the glaze: Put all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue heat until completely melted, about 1 minute more. Remove from the microwave and whisk until fully combined, smooth and glossy. While warm, pour glaze over cooled cake and do not spread. Serve as desired.

Copyright (c) 2007 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved

© 2009 Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

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21 May 2009

Video: Foolproof Easy Chocolate Souffle

From Denny: Mark Bittman, food writer at the New York Times, shows us how easy it is to make this female favorite! This video was done for Valentine's Day but my opinion is that chocolate souffle should be available year 'round! :)

Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Soufflé

From: Mark Bittman

Time: About 45 minutes


• About 1 tablespoon butter for the dish

• 1/3 cup sugar, plus some for the dish

• 2 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, melted

• 3 eggs, separated

• Pinch salt

• 1/4 teaspoon tartar


1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter two 2-cup or one 4-cup soufflé or other deep baking dish(es). Sprinkle each with sugar, invert it, and tap to remove excess sugar.

2. Whisk the egg yolks with the all but 1 tablespoon of sugar until very light and very thick; the mixture will fall in a ribbon from the ends of the beaters when it is ready. Mix in the melted chocolate until well combined; set aside.

3. Beat the egg whites with the salt and tartar until they hold soft peaks; continue to beat, gradually adding the remaining tablespoon of sugar, until they are very stiff and glossy. Stir a good spoonful of the whites thoroughly into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it; then fold in the remaining whites, using a rubber spatula. Transfer to the prepared soufflé dishes (at this point you can cover and refrigerate the soufflés until you're ready to bake them).

4. Bake until the center is nearly set, 20 minutes for individual soufflés and 25 to 35 for a single large soufflé. Serve immediately.

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20 May 2009

Recipe: German Chocolate Cake

Ancestral Memory - Michael Lewis Miller - Germ...Image by Marshall Astor - Food Pornographer via Flickr

From Denny: Here is another goodie from the folks over at Best Chocolate Recipes.

German Chocolate Cake


1 package (4-oz.)sweet baking chocolate

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup shortening

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk

1 recipe Coconut-Pecan Frosting


In a small heavy saucepan, or better yet a good double boiler, heat chocolate and water over low heat till chocolate is melted, stirring to blend. Cool.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.

In a small mixing bowl stir together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat sugar and shortening on medium speed of an electric mixer till fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat on low speed till combined. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed. Beat in chocolate mixture. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk or sour milk, beating on low speed after each addition just till combines.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pans. Bake at 350 about 30 minutes for 9 inch pans; 35 to 40 minutes for 8 inch pans, or until toothpicks inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes on wire racks. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.


Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread half of the Coconut-Pecan Frosting on top; repeat layers. If desired, frost the sides with Chocolate Butter Frosting. Store in the refrigerator till ready to serve. Makes 12 servings.

Coconut Pecan Frosting

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter -- 18 tablespoons

17 ounces evaporated milk

6 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups chopped pecans -- toasted

10 1/2 ounces sweetened coconut flakes -- toasted

12 pecan halves -- for garnish


Remove 1/2 cup of the toasted pecans and 2 tablespoons of the toasted coconut and set aside for garnish.

In a sauce pan on medium heat, mix evaporated milk and 2 1/4 sticks butter. Whisk and melt until thoroughly blended. Add sugar and whisk to blend and cook down the sugar. Whisking briskly so as not to cook the egg, add egg yolks one at a time.

Add vanilla and mix well. Cook over low-medium heat for about 12 minutes to cook it down and until it has a rich caramel color. Cool slightly. Stir in the coconut and toasted pecans; blend well.

Assemble Cake

Stack layers, using your frosting as filling. Frost top and sides. Use remaining pecans as garnish.

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19 May 2009

Recipe: Smores Chocolate Brownies

From Denny: The weather is heating up and because nearly everyone is watching their budget, family vacations will be low-key this summer and maybe a retro return to camping in a state park. The first camp food that comes to mind are those gooey Girl Scout S'mores! Definitely kid food but adults like to indulge once in a while on the sly...

From Food Network comes this recipe, enjoy those fond childhood memories and share them with a favorite child!

S'more Brownies

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: hr min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Level: Easy
Serves: about 12 (2-inch) squares

Ingredients Crust:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch fine salt


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

4 large cold eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour


4 cups large marshmallows


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 by-8-inch square baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch.

For the crust: Lightly butter the foil with some of the melted butter. Stir the rest of the butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the brownie. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir, and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. Alternatively, put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl.

Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl on the pan without touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted. Stir the light brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs and beat vigorously to make a thick and glossy batter. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and carefully position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer marshmallows across the top and toast under the broiler until golden, (keep an eye on it, it can go quick), about 2 minutes. Cool on a rack, gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps. Carefully separate any marshmallow from the foil and fold away. Cut into 12 (2-inch) squares.

Copyright 2007 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved

© 2009 Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

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18 May 2009

Video: Paul Deen Previews Latest Kitchen Trends

From Denny: From the Comfort Food Queen of Southern Food herself, Paul Deen, reviews the latest season's kitchen gadgets, colors and other offerings from the trade show. Items for your grandchildren as well as the family pets! Interesting to hear the latest trends.

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17 May 2009

Video: NY Times Food Writer Mark Bittman and Freezer Food Tips

From Denny: These guys on the Today Show segment are funny in this video while they give you a run-down on what, how and why to use your freezer to help your busy life AND eat healthy. Great pointers here for the novice cook and a good reminder list for the experienced cook too. New York Times Food Writer Mark Bittman gives gread advice.

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15 May 2009

Recipe: Chocolate Cornbread Pudding

From Denny: Here is an unusual recipe using chocolate in a pudding! What a delightful site: best-chocolate-recipes.

It's well known often the best cooks for centuries have been the African-Americans of the American Deep South. Sadly, this wonderful tradition of soul cooking was born out of slavery. The best of those tragic times endures, coming down to us through history. What endures is their sense of innovation, trying unusual combinations and perfecting those recipes for home cooking, becoming family favorites.

This Chocolate Cornbread Pudding is served with Whiskey Sauce.

Tip: For a healthier, and lighter pudding, use two cups of milk instead of half and half.


4 beaten eggs

1 cup of brown sugar

1 cup milk

1 cup cream

1 tablespoon vanilla

6 pieces day-old cornbread cut into cubes

1 cup mini chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 325 F.

Mix all ingredients together, but save 2/3 cup of chocolate chips. Allow mixture to sit for half an hour until the liquid has softened the cornbread. Pour into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle the remainder of the chocolate chips on top. Bake until firm. Check after about 40 minutes.

Whiskey Sauce

½ cup melted butter

1 cup sugar

1 well beaten egg

1 ½ cups heavy cream

¼ cup whisky, or more as desired

Melt butter and sugar in saucepan over low heat. Stir often. Add one beaten egg. Stir. Remove from heat and cool. Add whisky and cream. Beat until light. Chill for one hour before serving.

Serve chocolate cornbread pudding recipe soul food warm or cold, with sauce. Enjoy.

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14 May 2009

New Link Pages: List for Fav Bloggers and Fav Links!

Big Faves and Model Shoot Links SetLinks Image by cobalt123 via Flickr

From Denny: Hi, everyone! Been busy on the blog's housekeeping and you all know how much I don't like (OK, despise) housework...

The Social Poets has become a bit of the Wild Wild West. Read that as too much overwhelming info on one page. Too much on one page has really slowed down the final load time of this blog too. Surely you find it as annoying as I do! So, something had to be done and two more blog pages were born:

The Social Poets Fav Bloggers

The Social Poets Fav Links

OK, so I'm one of those people who enjoys a clean house, everything in its place, neat and orderly - I just don't like the effort it takes to do it! (Hmmm... TMI...)

Seriously though, if you are a blogger or are thinking about starting a blog, maybe try out the same idea for your convenience. For both content and link worthiness it's a great idea to have links to other blogs and sites. I just choose to do so by fitting it into my niche because I'm a total information junkie. Sigh... TMI yet again... :)

Actually, I've been wanting to expand on finding additional blogs to fit my categories and have been limited - until now. I really see the potential for how I could create additional interesting pages/related blogs!

Currently, on The Social Poets Fav Bloggers there are blogs on general musings, poetry blogs, writing blogs, political and social issues, creativity blogs, and more will be added. If you have some interesting blogs or sites you have run across (or your own) you think warrant as an addition, feel free to drop me an email with the link and I'll be glad to consider it! (Always looking for new talent as life is a team effort.)

On the links list page, The Social Poets Fav Links, there are links to my original poems (parked in various places so required a link page area), links to my friends who write poetry (let me know if you want to add your poetry page, be glad to do so to help promote fellow poets), writing sites (let me know your contribution to helping others develop their writing skills and be glad to include your site), poetry sites, music and more.

For your convenience the new links are located right before the day's post. The link pages also have a link to navigate you back to the home page of The Social Poets blog too.

Blogging is a lot of fun! Always learning how to solve "all the problems of the world." Now if world politics and world peace were just this easy...

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13 May 2009

Recipe: Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

From Denny: OK, I'm a total foodie for macaroons, send me to some addict's group... :) One of the best flavor combinations on the planet is coconut and chocolate! Here's an easy quick recipe from the Kraft Foods folks that only requires a mere 7 ingredients.

Prep Time: 15 min

Total Time: 1 hr 5 min

Makes: Makes 3 doz. or 36 servings, 1 cookie each


1 pkg. (14 oz.) BAKER'S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut

2/3 cup sugar

6 Tbsp. flour

1/4 tsp. salt

4 egg whites, lightly beaten

1 tsp. almond extract

1 pkg. (8 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate


HEAT oven to 325°F. Combine coconut, sugar, flour and salt. Add egg whites and extract; mix well. Drop by tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto greased and floured baking sheets.

BAKE 20 min. or until edges are golden brown. Transfer to wire racks. Cool.

MELT chocolate. Dip cookies halfway into chocolate. Let stand until chocolate is firm.

Storage Tip:

Store in tightly covered container at room temperature up to 1 week.

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12 May 2009

Recipe: Chocolate Pine Bark

From Denny: People are always looking for recipes that are easy to do, take little time AND are crowd pleasers! This is one of those popular recipes.

Pine Bark

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Prep Time: 15 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Level: Intermediate
Serves: 35 squares


35 saltine crackers

1 cup butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

5 (4-ounce) milk chocolate bars, broken into pieces


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a 15 by 10 by 1-inch jelly roll pan with tin foil. Lightly spray foil with a non-stick cooking spray.

Place saltine crackers, salty side up, in prepared pan. In a saucepan, boil butter and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Pour mixture over crackers and bake for 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven, top with candy bars, and spread evenly as chocolate begins to melt. Cool slightly and transfer onto waxed paper. Allow to cool completely.

© 2009 Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

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11 May 2009

Chocolate Bar as...

Chocolate Bar
Originally uploaded by Pink Sushi
Boyfriend replacement! :)

"Lollllll! omipoo got me the adoriest chocolate bar with attitude from london ! hahaha isn't it the bomb ALLL hail The FEMINIST league! loll i thought it was hilllarious! u rock gurlllll! www.boyfriendreplacement.com

Uploaded by Pink Sushi on 8 Sep 05, 11.50PM CDT".

Recipe: Marcarpone Chocolate Toffee Bars

Semi-sweet chocolate chipsYum! Ghiradelli double chocolate chips Image via Wikipedia

From Denny: We watch a lot of Food Network's Giada at our house and we thought this an awesome recipe!

Mascarpone Chocolate Toffee Bars

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Prep Time: 18 min
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hr 25 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 21 bars


Vegetable cooking spray

1 pound refrigerated sugar cookie dough (recommended: Pillsbury)

2 (1.4-ounces) chocolate-toffee candy bars, coarsely chopped, divided (recommended: Skor)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (recommended: Ghirardelli)

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted * see Cook's Note


Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 7 by 10 3/4-inch nonstick baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. Lay a 6 by 18-inch piece of parchment paper in the pan, allowing the excess paper to overhang the sides. Spray the parchment paper lightly with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the cookie dough, 1/2 of the chopped chocolate-toffee candy pieces and vanilla extract. Using damp fingers, gently press the dough into the prepared pan. Using the tines of a fork, prick the dough all over. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until the crust is lightly browned. Cool for 15 minutes.

Place the chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a medium bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted. Cool the chocolate mixture for 10 minutes. Whisk in the mascarpone cheese until the mixture is smooth. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate mixture over the cooled crust. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate-toffee candy pieces and sliced almonds over the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until the chocolate layer is firm.

Peel off the parchment paper and cut into 1 1/2 by 2-inch bars. Serve at room temperature.

*Cook's Note: To toast almonds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned.

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