I'm unsure why tomorrow is declared Drink Wine Day in the US of A. Why is tomorrow so special? It can't have anything to do with the harvest, me thinks. Perhaps it's a way to fight the mid-winter doldrums. I think you'd stand a better chance of raising spirits (ha!) with a Chocolate Day, or a Eat Cake While Wearing Jammies Day, but maybe that's just me.
Here's the link to the official DWD website if you want to check it out. Yummy looking wine cocktail recipes in the side-bar that I may have to investigate further.
In other news, I baked these blueberry muffins yesterday. The recipe is my go-to muffin recipe from Alton Brown. I adapted it by using one cup of frozen blueberries from the stash in my deep freezer. I buy many pounds of wild blueberries every summer and divvy them up into one cup portions, which are a convenient amount for most recipes.
Yes, the recipe makes a dozen muffins, and yes, there is one missing from the photo. That's because it was in my tummy as soon as it was cool enough to eat. Son1 and his partner arrived about an hour later and each ate a muffin as an afternoon treat. Breakfast this morning took care of a few more. I think I'll be baking another batch fairly soon.
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The most wonderful day of the year – Chocolate Cake Day!!!
There are other cakes worth celebrating, of course. Spice cake with maple frosting, vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, or lemon cake with a lovely tart glaze, but in my mind, chocolate cake can’t be beat.
I’ve baked many versions of chocolate cake over the years. A popular one in our house is a three-layer confection filled and frosted with the most amazing cocoa frosting. An old stand-by is a venerable family recipe for chocolate cake baked in a tube pan and slathered with vanilla frosting. Yum!
Chocolate cake has been around for over 150 years and I think that deserves – cake! So here’s the recipe that I turn to more often than not when I have a hankering for chocolate cake.
Aunt Hilda’s Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
½ cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup sour milk (milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cocoa, dissolved in 1 cup very hot water
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and dust with cocoa a Bundt pan, tube pan, or two 9-inch layer pans.
Sift together flour, soda, baking powder and salt. Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and beat until well combined. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk and cocoa water. Mix until well blended (mixture will be very wet).
Pour into pan, or pans, and bake for 45 – 50 minutes. (25 - 30 minutes for layer pans). Tester inserted near centre should come out clean.
Cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes. Turn out and cool completely.
Do you have a favourite chocolate cake recipe?
Today is National Cheese Lover’s Day and I’m super excited!
Hm…not really. I’m of two minds, or two tastes, when it comes to cheese. Offer me a hunk ‘o cheddar and I’d say a polite “no thank you”. (As compared to my childhood response of “eww…gross”. I like to think I’ve matured since I was seven.) Uncooked, i.e. raw, unadulterated, naked, as it were, cheese is not appealing to me and never has been.
Offer me a plate of hot, gooey macaroni & cheese (homemade, of course) and I’ll dive right in. I’ll gladly consume any other baked dish that contains cheese like lasagne or cheese soufflé. And I love freshly grated Parmesan sprinkled liberally atop pasta.
Geez, I’m getting hungry.
So far my only caveat to my personal ban on raw cheese is a cheese ball appetizer I made over the holiday season. Oh my goodness gracious, it was divine and won rave reviews from all our guests. Here’s the link to the recipe. I promise you will not be disappointed. The recipe makes a goodly amount so I divided it into two portions, formed into log shapes and wrapped in plastic before refrigerating.
Ooh, this would be perfect for that large televised sporting event, that football one, the one that’s coming up in a couple weeks. (Hubby is a Packer’s fan, i.e. a Cheesehead – oh, ha! – so we don’t really care what happens in that “super” game.)
Just when you thought this third Sunday in January couldn’t get any more exciting – what could top cheese? Well, hold on to your hat – or feathers – because today is also Penguin Awareness Day! So as you go about your day, be aware of any penguins who might cross your path, like this cutie.
A few weeks ago I was a guest on Love Romance Reads sharing my favourite Christmas cookie recipe (you can read it here) in which I mentioned the difficulty I had in choosing a favourite candy bar. I’m a firm believer in the use of rewards and chocolate is my go-to reward for achieving a writing goal. Or as comfort should I receive a four-page, single-spaced editing letter for my latest romance novel.
If I could have only one specific chocolate bar for the rest of my days, it would be a Nestlé Coffee Crisp.
No, wait, I’d choose a Cadbury Fruit & Nut bar.
I tell a lie, I’d pick a Lowney Cherry Blossom.
I think you see my problem.
Thinking of that last one, the Cherry Blossom, reminds me that I do have a firm favourite within a box of chocolates. If you were to share from your box of chocolates, perhaps that box of mixed chocolates you bought just in case guests dropped in as they are wont to do this time of year, and if the variety contained a chocolate covered cherry, be assured that I would choose the chocolate covered cherry. Every. Time.
Certainly, I enjoy the pecan clusters, and the toffee, and the hazelnut thingies, but my first love in the boxed chocolate world is the chocolate covered cherry.
Now I must confess to a bit of skulduggery.
If the box of chocolates is one of those with two layers, as most are, and the chocolate covered cherry has already been eaten from the top layer, I’ve been known to sneak into the second layer, before the top layer is completely eaten, and take the chocolate covered cherry. I know this breaks a long-held tenet of boxed chocolate eating etiquette but I can’t help myself.
Perhaps this requires a public service announcement.
If I’m anywhere near your box of chocolates, and if, upon exposing the second layer for the first time (or so you think) you discover the chocolate covered cherry is missing, be assured it was not an error in the packaging. DO NOT send an angry email or letter or telegram to the chocolate company demanding a refund or some other form of redress.
Also, if chocolate covered cherries are your favourite you might consider removing them from the box of chocolates, both layers, before offering the box to me.
What is your favourite candy bar? Or if you no longer eat sugary treats, which treat do you fondly recall from your childhood?
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