Pat’s Pantry: For the love of chocolate

I had that “I want something chocolate” to snack on the other night, and it prompted me to go in search of a recipe. I couldn’t pass up this hot fudge cake recipe because it is made in a crock-pot and i didn’t have to heat up my kitchen. Then I needed ice cream to go with it. It doesn’t get any better than this. – Pat

Hot fudge cake

1-¾ cups packed brown sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons baking cocoa, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons salt
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1-½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
1-¾ cups boiling water
Vanilla ice cream

In a bowl, combine 1 cup brown sugar, flour, 3 tablespoons cocoa, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine the milk, butter and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until combined. Spread evenly into a 3-qt slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. In a bowl, combine the remaining brown sugar and cocoa; stir in boiling water. Pour over batter (do not stir). Cover and cook on high for 4 to 4-1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted near the center of cake comes out clean. Serve warm with ice cream. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Chocolate crunch ice cream

1-½ cups milk
¾ cup sugar, divided
4 egg yolks
2-½ teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 cups 60 percent cocoa bittersweet chocolate baking chips, melted and cooled
1-½ cups heavy whipped cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
¾ cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup milk chocolate toffee bits

In a large saucepan, heat milk to 175 degrees; stir in ½ cup sugar until dissolved. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks and remaining sugar. Stir in coffee granules and bittersweet chocolate. Whisk in a small amount of hot milk mixture. Return all to the pan, whisking constantly. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches at least 160 degrees and coats the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the heat. Cool quickly by placing pan in a bowl of ice water. Let stand for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer to a bowl; stir in cream and vanilla. Press plastic wrap onto surface of custard. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; spread melted semisweet chocolate to 1/8-in. thickness. Refrigerate for 20 minutes; chop coarsely.  Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer two-thirds full with custard; freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Stir in some of the chopped chocolate, almonds and toffee bits. Refrigerate remaining custard until ready to freeze. Stir in remaining chocolate, almonds and toffee bits. Allow to ripen in ice cream freezer or firm up in the refrigerator freezer for 2-4 hours before serving. Yield: 1-1/2 quarts.

Best loved chocolate bars

1 package (18-1/4 oz) chocolate cake mix
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 16 squares)
½ cup peanut butter
1 egg
3 tablespoons half-and-half cream
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 jar (11-3/4 oz) hot fudge ice cream topping
1 package (11-1/2 oz) milk chocolate chips
1 cup salted peanuts

In a bowl, combine the dry cake mix and cracker crumbs. Cut in peanut butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a bowl, whisk the egg and cream. Add to the crumb mixture just until moistened. Set aside 3/4 cup for topping. Press the remaining crumb mixture into a greased 13 x 9 x 2-in pan. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add fudge topping; mix well. Spread over the crust. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, peanuts and reserved crumb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack. Cover; refrigerate at least 4 hours. Cut into bars. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 2 dozen.


• When serving fruit juices, lemonade or punch, try making ice cubes from the drinks. These will keep the drinks from becoming watered down.
• Dripped coffee has almost twice the caffeine as instant.

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