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German Chocolate Cake Brownies & Frozen Hot Cocoa

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What makes German chocolate cake so irresistible? The sweet Baker’s chocolate? Or the gooey frosting full of coconut and pecans? While I like cake, I must say I can never have enough frosting….well almost.

One time in junior high Grandma let my sister, cousin and I stay up until midnight and do anything. So we decided to raid the kitchen. My sister made a tin foil funnel hat coated with cheese. My cousin had coffee grinds smeared on her head and face, and I had a beard made of coconut pecan cake frosting.  By the stroke of 12:00 when we had to revert to our normal selves, my beard had been eaten down to a goatee, and I was rather sick of the sweetness and stickiness. I had had enough coconut pecan German chocolate cake frosting for a while. But that didn’t last too long and I regained my taste for it in time for my birthday the next year.

All this leads to today’s creations and recipes: German Chocolate Cake Brownies and Frozen Hot Chocolate.

German Chocolate Cake Brownie Recipe

Since my wife loves brownies and I love cake, I decided to marry the two together into German Chocolate Cake Brownies.

Mix half a box of German Chocolate cake with half a box of brownie mix. You’ll need to calculate the right egg ratio; in this box mix combination it ended up being just 2 eggs. Otherwise, you can just mix eggs together and divide them. For richer flavor, you can substitute milk or even chocolate milk for the water in the cake. Baking time varies but will lean more towards the brownie directions. When cooled, frost with canned or homemade coconut pecan frosting. Makes 9-12 brownies based on pan size.

Frozen Hot German Chocolate Cake Cocoa

Next comes the illusive chocolate drink: Frozen Hot Chocolate! One summer in the mid 90’s Dairy Queen came out with frozen hot chocolate. Both creamy and icy, you could scrape off the flavor with a spoon. I wanted to recreate the flavor experience and add German Chocolate. The result is delicious, but definitely not nutritious! Warning: Do not feed to young children unless you want to become a ringmaster of a circus of jumping kids.

1/2 oz. German chocolate  OR 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate plus 1/4 tablespoon sugar                  Hot German Chocolate Recipe
2-3 tsp cocoa mix or 2 tsp cocoa
1 1/4 cup 2% or whole milk
1/4 cup sweetened canned coconut milk OR 1/2 cup prepared coconut milk in carton
1 3/4 Tbsp sugar
2-3 cups ice (5-7 ice cubes)

  1. Combine both milks and sugar and microwave on low heat until it starts to dissolve.
  2. Add chocolate and cocoa to mixture. Stir every 30 seconds until they are incorporated. Cool.

  3. Take out ice cubes and let thaw slightly. Add prepare liquid to blender and gradually add the ice cubes. Use pulse  function to crush ice, then turn on milkshake/smoothie mode and beat until creamy.

  4. Pour into cup and place in freezer at least 4 hrs.

  5. Top with toasted coconut, pecans, and chocolate shavings, if desired.

If you’re really into the coconut and pecan taste, you can throw some into the blender along with the other ingredients.

Serves 1 person

All measurements serve as an estimate; you may want to add more sugar depending on taste. If you don’t know what you like, then just keep eating until you get it right ;-D

Let me know: Do you like frozen hot chocolate cocoa or other frozen drinks? How else do you use German Chocolate Cake mix or frosting?

 

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The White Stuff: How the Ghost of Mary Ann Taylor Haunts my Kitchen (Stuffed Vanilla Wafers – 1939)

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The wayback machine visits another cooking phenomenon of 1939: the Mary Lee Taylor radio show. I’d never heard of her before, but apparently it was the longest running cooking series in the U.S.  The show featured  not only cooking  lessons and tips, but also a mini soap opera drama that culminated with a helpful aphorism by Mrs. Mary Lee.

The show sounds rather comical by today’s standard. But in an age without the Internet to display the recipe, bakers needed the time to write it down. So Mary Lee repeats each ingredient. Each ingredient. Her monotonous but matronly voice reads the instruction and then pauses before beginning the cadence  again. The phrases “16 marshmallows” and  “18 vanilla wafers” still haunt my dreams.

In this episode Mary Lee offers a recipe for coconut vanilla wafers. It sounded somewhat appealing, so I tried to make it. But a historical recipes raised some issues:

  1. What were vanilla wafers at that time? Mary Lee’s instructions call for 2-inch wafers. Modern vanilla wafers are round and about one inch in diameter. Since I could not find any other types of vanilla wafers in the store, I just worked with what I had on hand: mini Vanilla Wafers.
  2. Mary Lee suggests a can of coconut for the filling or bulk coconut (but who buys coconut in bulk, unless you are making a tower of coconut macaroons?) The grocery shelf sold only bags, and those were all sweetened coconut flakes.

Other substitutions I made were 2% milk for PET whole milk (the show’s sponsor), as well as mini marshmallows for the equivalent standard marshmallows.

Despite these deviations I persisted in my quest for stuffed vanilla wafers.

Putting the filling together was not too hard. However, getting the mixture out of the double broiler and onto the wafers ended up being a blessedly sticky mess that took a while to clean up, especially after it got stuck in my hair somehow. :-s

The instructions said to spread the filling mixture evenly across the wafers. But that didn’t work too well on the rounded tops of the vanilla wafers. Turning them flat didn’t help much either since the batter just went in between the empty spots. So I decided to flip over both halves to make a cookie sandwich. wafer

Last came the tasting. The cookie seemed similar to a mild Almond joy. The shreds of sweetened coconut added texture to the smooth vanilla filling and the wafers’ crunch wrapped it all up. The moment was short-lived though. After sitting for an hour, the filling began to soak into the crackers and the coconut began to flake off too.

While sweet, the cookies lacked the full flavors of desserts today. Tastes were milder back then, maybe because ingredients like peanut butter and chocolate were not readily available. Or perhaps because desserts were not filled with supercharged chemical sweetness and preservatives we have become accustomed to enjoy.

Conclusion: Coconut vanilla wafers were pretty good for a sweet snack that night. But like Cinderella, they didn’t look so fancy the next day. With the original ingredients and measurements, I might make them again. Still, I’m not sure coconut vanilla wafers will make the holiday party list. But they were fun to try. 

Listen to Recipe

Stuffed Vanilla Wafers

From Pet Milk Kitchen

Ingredients :

2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs. flour
1/8 tsp salt
16 marshmallows
1 1/2 C. coconut
18 vanilla wafers

Directions

1. Melt over boiling water 2 Tbs butter
2. Blend in 2 Tbs flour
1/8 tsp salt (omit if salted)
3. Stir in slowly 1/2 cup Pet milk
4. Cook until thick and smooth; stirring constantly; add in 16 marshmallows
6. Continue cooking while stirring until marshmallows are melted
7. Remove from heat and fold in 1 & 1/2 c shredded coconut
Cool thoroughly
8. Cool onto 18 vanilla wafers, repeat other side w/ fat side on filling

Makes 6 Servings of  (5 each?)

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