Best Chocolate Recipes!

I like to include chocolate whenever possible in our breakfast menu. Today I thought I would give you two chocolate recipes that have been among my favorites for years. The first one is Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake. I cut the recipe out of the coupon section of the Sunday paper years ago. I had it in my recipe file for about five years before I finally got around to trying it. When I did, I was sorry I had wasted those five years! Not only is this cake moist and delicious, it will also keep for 2-3 days and it freezes well. A real winner.

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sour cream
powdered sugar

Topping:
½ cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tblsp. cinnamon

Combine butter and sugar until barely mixed. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla, flour, and baking powder alternately with sour cream. Mix 2 minutes with an electric mixer on medium speed. In a separate bowl, combine the topping ingredients.

Grease a 9×13 pan and spoon in half of the batter. Sprinkle with half the topping. Top with the rest of the batter and the rest of the topping.

Bake at 325° for 45–55 min. Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Today’s second chocolate recipe came from a newspaper article about Mrs. Field’s cookies. This is a copy of her recipe for Deadly Chocolate Muffins. If you are craving something really chocolately, this recipe is for you!

Deadly Chocolate Muffins
Makes about 16 regular-size muffins

2 cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate
1 stick butter
½ cup sour cream
1 cup flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
4 large eggs
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup chopped nuts (optional)
¼ cup white chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 350°. Line muffin cups with paper liners and spray the top of the pan with nonstick spray.
2. Melt the 2 cups of semisweet chocolate with the butter in the top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth. (Or heat in the microwave, in a microwave safe bowl, for 1 minute). Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream. Cool.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat eggs and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Add flour mixture and 1 cup of the semisweet chocolate chips.
4. Mix together the remaining ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and white chocolate chips.
4. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups until about ¾ full. Top evenly with the mixture of chocolate chips, ¼ cup nuts, ¼ cup white chocolate chips.

Bake 20–25 min., until centers are set.

I’ll be serving one or both of these treats for breakfast this weekend. There’s still time to make your reservations!  www.oliverinn.com

ArtsEveryWhere.com

Whether you are a resident or visitor to the South Bend area, you may not be aware of all the wonderful theatre, dance, music and art events there are to choose from. One of my favorite Web sites is ArtsEverywhere.com, the Greater South Bend region’s “ultimate guide to arts and culture.” Not only can you find something happening just about any day of the week, you can also find great deals by clicking on their eSavers link.

This weekend there are several things going on at the Morris Performing Arts Center, such as the South Bend Symphony performing “Broadway Rocks” on Saturday, Feburary 13, at 8:00. Experience the best of Broadway all in one evening! Join the South Bend Symphony and Capathia Jenkins, Julia Murney, and Gary Mauer, three of Broadway’s best singers for great moments from the hit musicals including The Phantom of the Opera, Tommy, Rent, Lion King, Mamma Mia, Jekyll and Hyde, The Wiz, Hairspray, Chess, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Dreamgirls. The background vocals for this concert will be provided by the IU South Bend University Chorus directed by Dr. Marvin Curtis.

Many other events are taking place this week all the way through the weekend. Check it out and treat your special someone to a night on the town. Remember to check back here tomorrow, too. All this week we’ll be offering last-minute ideas and recipes for Valentine’s Day.

Insanely Great Waffles

Well, it’s Monday—less than a week until Valentine’s Day.  Have you been thinking about something special you can do any other day this week?  Making homemade breakfast is always a treat for your family, but during the week you say you are too busy. So you usually buy the frozen toaster waffles. Well, I have just the answer for you. I call them Insanely Great Waffles.  They are really wonderful, super fast and easy, and they freeze well so you can have your own “frozen toaster waffles.” Serve them with fresh fruit or your favorite maple syrup, and your family will think they are something special. (I won’t tell them you really made them because you wanted them yourself!) This recipe is sure to become a family favorite.

Insanely Great Waffles

¾ cup flour

¼ cup cornstarch

½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 cup buttermilk or whole milk

1/3 cup oil

1 egg

1 tablespoon sugar

¾ tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the milk, oil, egg, sugar, and vanilla and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.

Preheat waffle iron. (No need to use nonstick spray; these will not stick.) Cook for 2 ½  to 3 minutes or until done.

Green Eggs and Ham Pizza

I mentioned a few days ago that I’m always searching for wonderful new recipes. One of the questions guests often ask is whether I make the same thing for breakfast every day, or if I have a specific menu for each day of the week. Absolutely not! I would get really bored making the same thing every day—or even rotating just a few menus. I admit I have a few favorites that I like to fall back on from time to time. But I love to try new recipes, and I love finding that new idea that turns out to be something my guests find irresistible. This breakfast pizza is one of those. When guests first see it, they are usually surprised. And then when they taste it and love it, I’m happy.

Give it a try, and let me know how your family likes it!

Green Eggs and Ham Pizza
(4 servings)

1 lb. pizza dough (make your own, or buy premade dough from the grocery store or your local pizza parlor)
½ cup pesto
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
sliced deli ham, cut into thin strips
4 eggs

1. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each one into a 7-inch circle (or for Valentine’s day you could make a heart shape). Put them on a cookie sheet and roll up the edges to create a crusty edge.
2. Spread each crust with 1-2 tablespoons pesto.
3. Top each pizza with about ¼ cup mozzarella cheese.
4. Place 4-5 strips of sliced ham on each pizza.
5. Bake at 500 ° for about 5 min.
6. Crack a whole egg in the middle of each pizza and continue to bake for 5-7 min. longer.

Serve immediately!

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake Muffins!

I love to cook. I am always reading recipes and looking for my next favorite. Most of the time for our candlelight breakfast here at the Inn, I like to make small portions of different breakfast treats. These Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake Muffins are an exception. You can make them as regular size muffins, but they are best when you make them jumbo size. Usually my guests say, “Oh, those are so big! I’m just going to eat half of one.” But by the time breakfast is over, all that remains are a few crumbs. (If you do have any leftovers, I suggest you microwave them for about 10 seconds to give them that just-baked warmth.)

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake Muffins

1½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¼ stick margarine
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
½ cup sugar
½ cup milk
1 egg

Topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 tblsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

1. Spray 6 jumbo muffin cups (or 12 regular muffin cups) with nonstick vegetable oil spray.
2. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the margarine until crumbly.
3. In another bowl, mix the sour cream (or yogurt), ½ cup sugar, milk, and egg. Add to the flour mixture and stir just until combined.
4. In another bowl, stir together the topping ingredients.
5. Spoon half the batter into the prepared muffin pans. Sprinkle with half the topping. Top with remaining batter and then remaining topping.

Bake at 350° for 25 min. or until a toothpick comes out clean. (If making 12 regular-size muffins, bake at 400° for 15–18 min.)

I hope you love these muffins as much as I do!

The Wedding Singer

Nominated for five Tony Awards® including Best Musical, The Wedding Singer brings the sweet and funny Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore movie to heart-warming life as a wonderful new Broadway musical. When the guy who brightens up every wedding can’t find true love himself, fate steps in and lends its musical hand. Three weddings, a bar mitzvah and a wild trip to a Vegas “Chapel of Love” keep things hopping in this affectionate look back at the 80s-big hair and all!
Event times: 9 Oct 2009 (Fri)
8:00 PM

10 Oct 2009 (Sat)
2:00 PM
8:00 PM
Ticket Information:
TICKETS ON SALE NOW!

Tickets can be purchased at the Morris Box Office or over the phone at 235-9190 or (800) 537-6415. The Morris Box Office is open regular business hours Monday – Friday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM and Saturday 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Tickets can also be purchased online 24 hours a day at www.MorrisCenter.org. Tickets can be purchased at Morris Ticket Outlet: Super Sounds Catalog Center located within TG Music, 123 South Main Street, Goshen, IN.

Mention that you are coming in for the show and receive 20% off your stay at The Oliver Inn this weekend!

The Oliver Inn – “Best of The Midwest!”

The Oliver Inn - Selected as "Best of the Midwest" for 2009/2010

The Oliver Inn - "Best of the Midwest" for 2009/2010

The Oliver Inn has just been selected as “Best of The Midwest” by BedandBreakfast.com for 2009-2010, based on the excellent reviews posted by guests just like you during the last year.  The BedandBreakfast.com team read through thousands of reviews and carefully chose The Oliver Inn for “Best of the Midwest” based on the detailed descriptions provided by reviewers in their comments.  This is just another in a long line of accolades for The Oliver Inn!  Visit our web site (www.oliverinn.com/about) to read about some of the other awards we have received, or click on the review links on the left side of this page to read what guests are saying about The Oliver Inn.  Better yet, come for a visit, and see for yourself!  Experience the elegance of The Oliver Inn this fall.

Mystery at The Mansion!! Friday, October 2nd and 9th – Tours start at 5:30

Dillinger’s Dastardly Deeds…Based on the true story of John Dillinger’s robbery of a South Bend bank in 1934, This mystery needs all of your investigative skills to track down a secret accomplice in the heist. Travel back in time to hear accounts from those involved and cast your vote for the person who helped “Public Enemy Number One”. Tickets are limited. Advance tickets are available and strongly recommended to guarantee a place on a tour. The Northern Indiana Center for History. http://www.centerforhistory.org.   Call 574-235-9664, ext. 232 for details. Coming in from out of town? Complete your “mystery” weekend with a stay at The Oliver Inn. Rooms are still available for the weekend of the 9th.