Valentine’s Day Chocolate Bag of Treats

chocolate bagsHere is one of the all-time great Valentine’s Day recipes (and it’s not really a recipe…more like a really impressive technique). I actually made these for the first time years ago, long before I really got into cooking, so although it might look like it’s hard to prepare, it really isn’t…and it’s a lot of fun!

1. Get a few coffee-bean bags from your grocery store. You need bags that are lined with a plastic coating so after being painted with chocolate, you can peel them off easily. Cut the coffee bags so they are about 3-5 inches tall.

2. Then, in a double boiler over low heat, melt 2-3 cups of semisweet chocolate morsels.

3. Lay the bag on its side and with a pastry brush, starting at the bottom, paint the melted chocolate over the entire interior of the bag. Use plenty of chocolate to get a nice thick coating, which will make it less likely for the chocolate to break when peeling off the bag.

4. Stand the bags up and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. They can be left in there until you need them.

5. When the chocolate is nice and hard, starting in one corner, gently peel away the bag. Use a scissor to cut the paper off as you peel it…it just makes it easier.strawberries and bags

6. Melt some more chocolate and dip strawberries, sliced bananas and whatever else your significant other loves into the melted chocolate. Lay them down on waxed paper to dry and harden. As very cool added touch, you can also melt some white chocolate and use that to drizzle designs on the dipped treats.

Then just fill the bags with the treats and your favorite candies and you have an incredibly impressive presentation for your loved one on Valentine’s Day. It sure sealed the deal for me!

Oven Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings – A Great Super Bowl Party Recipe

Buffalo Chicken WingsOne more great Super Bowl Party Recipe repost…but first, the backstory. Back in 1976, I was working at The Foundry restaurant in DC and one of the waiters, Michael Murphy, who happened to be from Buffalo, told us of the amazingly simple way they prepared, of all things, chicken wings, up there at a place called the Anchor Bar. We started giving away the Buffalo Chicken Wings during Happy Hour and immediately the place became packed each day at around 4:45 pm with everyone waiting for the wings to come out of the kitchen…and the rest is culinary history. It seems that every bar today has chicken wings on the menu, and for good reason…when they’re made right, they’re incredibly and addictingly (if that’s even a word) good! They’re actually very simple to make…cut 12 wings into three pieces at the joints (discard the wing tips or keep them for preparing stock) and just deep fry the flats and drummettes for 10-12 minutes in 375 degree oil (preferably peanut) until they’re crispy and golden brown, toss them in Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and serve with celery and bleu cheese dressing…that’s it…nothing else is needed. The problem is that it’s really a pain (and a greasy mess) to deep fry at home, so here is the secret to the best way to avoid that mess, while still getting that great Buffalo Chicken Wing crunch and flavor… Read More …

Super Bowl Special – GIANT Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I’m reprising this post because this is a great recipe for a Super Bowl party…slow cooked, pulled pork sandwiches topped with my grandmother’s amazing Cole Slaw. The best thing about this pork recipe is it’s done in a slow cooker. The prep is really simple, the cooking is low and slow (it can be done overnight), the resulting flavors are incredible and, best of all, it makes dozens of sandwiches with very little effort…perfect for a party. And if any pork is left over (not likely) just divide it up into serving size portions (4-6 oz each), wrap in plastic wrap and freeze them. When you get that irresistible craving for a pulled pork sandwich,  just pop one in the microwave, top it with some bbq sauce, put it in a steamed bun, slap on some cole slaw and, in minutes, I guarantee you’ll be wallowing in the throes of pulled pork nirvana!

Click here for Cookhacker’s printable Pulled Pork recipe.

Click here for Grandma Molly’s Legendary Homemade Cole Slaw recipe.