Friday, May 6, 2011

Mom, You Are Sweeter Than Chocolate!

Happy Mother's Day!  I've gotten out my red special plate, getting ready to celebrate my mom!

This Sunday is Mother's Day (in case you missed the memo) and it is a special day to me.  I really love to be with my mother on Mother's Day.  Often times it doesn't happen because of circumstances and schedules, since we live in different cities. However, this year I pleaded for us to find a way to be together for Mother's Day!  I want to focus on being the daughter and honor my mother rather than being the mother, wishing my kids were honoring me!

I have to say, when it comes to mothers, I have been very blessed to have a mother that is a remarkable woman.  There is much I could say about my mom, and I already have.  Her mark is on so many of my posts.  But since this is Mother's Day weekend and since this blog is foodie,  I think I will focus my list of accolades for my mother in this direction.  My mother taught me (and continues to teach me) so much.  Here are just a few pieces of her philosophy on life that relate to the kitchen:

  •  "When you are feeling sorry for yourself, you should go do something for someone else (rather than having a pity party)."  I think my cookie-making skills are due to the enormous number of times I have made cookies as the remedy to my self pity throughout my life.
  • "Let the children help in the kitchen when they are too young to be good help.  They will slow things down and make messes, but it pays off."  You are able to capture them when their interest for cooking is great and they will help in the kitchen when they ARE able to be helpful.
  • "Many hands make light work" is a phrase she often quotes, and her involving others in the kitchen tasks are evidence that she believes it.
  • "Haste makes waste" is another quote she often states to try to slow herself down in chaotic moments in the kitchen.
  • "When life gives you lemons make lemonade" or in mom's case: when life gives you a dry cake or broken cookies make a trifle. 
  • "There should always be a "brown dessert" if you are serving more than one dessert (she is a self-proclaimed chocoholic).
  • "Don't forget to entertain strangers, for some have entertained angels unaware (Hebrews 13:2)." For my mom, it seems as though no one is a stranger!
  •  If there is no dessert in the house, chocolate chips from the pantry can inspire some great treats (like in a spoon with peanut butter, or as a s'more in the microwave).

This is just a sample of the wisdom that rings in my mind as I am in the kitchen and beyond.

When trying to decide what recipes to share on this Mother's Day post, I decided to post 2 chocolate recipes.  I felt it was the proper tribute to my Chocolate-adoring mother.  The first is a classic of hers: Homemade Hot Fudge and the other is one that she and I have made together recently: Chocolate Bark.

Elaine's Hot Fudge 
1 stick butter
1 16 oz. can Hershey's syrup (2 cups)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chocolate chips
a little milk to make the right thickness

Combine first 4 ingredients in bowl and microwave at least 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally, and continue cooking until completely combined and thickened. Add a little milk if needed to make the right thickness. Store unused portion in refrigerator until needed.

It is simple, rich, thick and wonderful! Perfect for banana splits, brownie sundaes and just about anything your finger.

Chocolate Bark (Homemade Candy Bars)

Recently I saw an ad in a magazine for custom handmade candy bars.  I loved the idea but am entirely too cheap to spend the money to indulge in that way (the website is really fun- but the candy bar I dreamed up would have cost $8 for a 3.5 oz. bar!).   I started thinking about how much I enjoy making Peppermint Bark at Christmastime and how simple it is.  I was inspired to make some Custom Chocolate Bark Candy Bars! So, when my mom was in town in February, my son, my mom and I did it.  It was fun and the options are limitless (you can find creative ingredient ideas from the Chocomize website).

Prepare Mix-ins (chop items, toast nuts/coconuts)
Melt chocolate of choice- as directed on package (we used white chocolate Ghirardelli bark and semi sweet chocolate chips)
Spread chocolate in thin layer on parchment lined baking sheet
Sprinkle toppings on top and gently swirl together or press in.
Drizzle some remaining chocolate over the top, to secure the goods on the chocolate and to add a flair.
Place in the refrigerator to harden.  
When hardened, break with hands into hunks the size of your liking.  

mix ins: toasted pecans & coconut, almonds & craisins

sprinkling the mix ins

Mom and me making chocolate bark- Asher photographing

swirled and chock-full, ready to cool

finished product- sampler platter

Over Easter weekend, after seeing a post about Easter Candy Bark from Gingerbread Bagels Blog, we decided we needed to try it and it was amazing. Ridiculous, actually.  I had to take it to work because I couldn't get my hand out of the dish!
The Easter Candy Bark

It was crazy good

Easter Candy Bark (Recipe adapted from Gingerbread Bagels blog)
8 ounces, weight Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
8 ounces, weight Milk Chocolate Chips
7 ounces, weight Vanilla Candy Melts, Any Color Is Fine- we used pink
½ cups of assorted Easter candy (including: Mini Cadbury Eggs, Cut In Half, Mini Robin Eggs/malt balls, Candy Corn, Peanut Butter M&Ms, Jelly beans, Oreos)

Measure out the candy and cookies. Set aside.
Put the semi sweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl. Melt the chocolate
chips in 30-second intervals, stirring in between each interval. Careful not to overheat the chocolate.
Spread the melted chocolate onto the parchment lined baking sheet.
In a microwavable bowl, melt the vanilla candy melts in the same manner you did above. (You can use
whatever color of vanilla candy you like.) Be careful not to overheat the candy melts. Drop the melted
candy on top of the chocolate bark.
Using a knife, swirl it up and down. Then swirl it back and forth.
Place the candy and cookies on the melted chocolate/candy melts. Press down lightly.
Place in refrigerator to harden.

So go eat some chocolate and honor a Mother in your life!  


  1. Great post to honor your mom! And you did a nice job of balancing the food groups on your blog (chocolate recipes after a post about veggies)! :-)

  2. Thank you sweet daughter! We do love to cook, and we do love our chocolate! One suggestion given to me once: When you make the hot fudge sauce, put it in a covered container, labeled Black Bean Soup. That keeps some of those fingers out of it!!! Thanks again for a dear post.

  3. Your mom is such a blessing to so many! I have always felt welcome in her home. I love you Mrs. Elaine! I'll have to add that chocolate sauce to my recipe book!

  4. Dang...I seem to have misplaced the thumbs up button.

  5. OH MY!!! The hot fudge sauce was a HUGE hit! Divine!
    How long do you think the leftovers might last in the fridge?

  6. The Hot Fudge sauce should last a few weeks if kept iin a closed container in the refrigerator..."if you can keep your spoon out of it!", as my mom says.