Chocolate Walnut Pie

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Chocolate Walnut Pie

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Chocolate Walnut Pie

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 (12 oz.) package semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups walnut halves or pecan pieces
  • 1/2 (15 oz) package of refrigerated pie crusts

STEPS

Stir together first 5 ingredients until blended; stir in melted chocolate morsels and nuts. Fit piecrust into a 9 inch pieplate according to package directions. Fold edges under, and crimp. Spoon filling into piecrust. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Serve with ice cream, and , if desired, Java Chocolate Sauce.

INGREDIENTS FOR Java Chocolate Sauce

  • 1 (12 oz. ) package semisweet chocolate morsels

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee

STEPS FOR SAUCE

Heat chocolate morsels, cream, and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat until chocolate and butter melt, stirring often. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth. Remove from heat; stir in coffee. Serve warm.

Yield: 1 1/4 cups.

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White Chocolate Cheesecake

Prep Time: 20 minutes  Cook Time: 60 minutes  Serves: 10-15

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ stick butter, melted
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 24 ounces creme fraiche, room temperature
  • 9 ounces white chocolate (good quality), chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

1. To make crust: combine cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in bowl.

2. Press into 8 inch springform pan on bottom and up sides, about one inch.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

4. To Make Filling:

5. In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar until very smooth (about 3 minutes).

6. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until smooth and scraping down sides of bowl.

7. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt and beat until incorporated.

8. Melt white chocolate over double boiler or in microwave oven. If using a microwave, melt it very slowly, stirring every 15 seconds.

9. Add cooled chocolate to filling mixture. Add creme fraiche and beat until just blended.

10. Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Bake 45 minutes.

11. Turn off oven without opening the door and let cake cool for 1 hour.

12. Remove from oven and cool at room temperature 1 hour.

13. Cover and refrigerate over night.

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Triple Chocolate Cookies

THESE ARE THE BEST CHOCOLATE COOKIES I’VE EVER EATEN! I’VE BEEN MAKING THEM FOR YEARS, AND THEY HAVE NEVER FAILED. THEY MAKE ONLY A COUPLE DOZEN LARGE COOKIES (ABOUT 40 SMALL ONES), BUT IT’S WORTH USING REALLY GOOD QUALITY CHOCOLATE. I’VE ALSO MADE THEM WITHOUT THE NUTS, AND THEY TASTED GREAT. THESE ARE THE COOKIES TO MAKE WHEN YOU WANT TO MAKE A BIG IMPRESSION!

Prep Time: 20 minutes  Cook Time: 15 minutes  Serves: 3 dozen

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt butter, bittersweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate in a small saucepan set over low heat. Stir occasionally, watching carefully to make sure the chocolate does not burn. Remove the pan from the heat to cool.

3. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl on medium speed about 3 minutes, until fluffy.

4. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate. Beat on a medium speed about 2 minutes, until the dough is thick and glossy.

5. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the chocolate mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips.

6. Scoop dough into mounds on greased cookie sheet, spacing 1½” apart.

7. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the tops begin to crack and look glossy. Cool cookies ten minutes before removing them from baking sheet.

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Cherry Galette

The galette may look and sound like a fancy dish, but with its free-form shape, it’s really very easy! For this particular dessert, the cherries bring a brilliant tartness which is softened with a bit of sugar within the filling and in the crust. Serve this cherry galette as a sweet treat, or even as a breakfast dish.

Make this recipe work for you: use the crust recipe to swap out the filling for another sweet ingredient, or something savory!

Prep Time: 25 minutes  Cook Time: 40 minutes  Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • Crust:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, cut up
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • Cherry Filling:
  • 2 cups tart cherries (frozen or 2 cans)
  • 3⁄4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract
  • 1½ tbsp. cornstarch
  • ½ tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 egg white, beaten

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and butter in a medium mixing bowl. Blend in the butter until the mixture resembles corn meal. Slowly add the cold water and mix with a fork. Form dough in a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, mix all the filling ingredients together. On a floured surface, roll out the cold dough into a circle ⅛" thick. Place dough circle on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Pour filling in the middle of the circle, leaving a 2-inch border of pastry dough around edges. You may have filling left over. Don’t put too much filling on dough! Fold pastry edges up over the fruit and pleat the dough to cover the outside edges of the fruit. Using a pastry brush, brush the edges of dough lightly with egg white. If desired, you can sprinkle crust with sugar. Place pan in preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until pastry is golden. Let cool 20 minutes or more and cut into wedges. It is also very good served at room temperature.

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Italian Cream Cake

I’VE NEVER HAD THE PATIENCE TO MAKE “BEAUTIFUL” CAKES, BUT TO ME IT’S THE INSIDE THAT COUNTS THE MOST. THERE ARE TWO CAKES THAT ARE CONSISTENTLY DELICIOUS AND CROWD PLEASERS, THIS RECIPE AND MY WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE. AND THEY WOULD BE PERFECT FOR YOUR VALENTINE! I’VE POSTED THE WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE RECIPE BEFORE, BUT IT’S WORTH ANOTHER TRY. CLICK HERE TO GET THAT RECIPE. THE ITALIAN CREAM CAKE IS FANTASTIC WHETHER YOU DECORATE WITH BERRIES, CHOCOLATE, TOASTED COCONUT, OR JUST DOUSE IT WITH FROSTING.

Prep Time: 20 minutes  Cook Time: 60 minutes  Serves: 12-15

INGREDIENTS

  • Cake:
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup corn oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 5 stiffly beaten egg whites
  • Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 2 8-ounce pkgs. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter, oil, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and mix until combined. Combine flour and soda. Whisk together until well combined. Add to butter mixture. Add buttermilk, coconut, and pecans. Fold in egg whites last. Divide batter between three, greased and floured 8” cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes or until done. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes. Turn out on to wire racks. Cool completely.

2. For frosting: Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and spread on cake.

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Blueberry Bread Pudding

WHAT CAN GO WRONG WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY BREAD PUDDING? NOT A THING, IF YOU USE THIS RECIPE. I’VE BEEN MAKING IT SINCE 2005, AND I’VE SERVED IT FOR BREAKFAST, BRUNCH, DESSERT, AND EVEN DINNER! I GIVE EMERIL ALL THE CREDIT FOR THIS FANTASTIC RECIPE, AND I ENCOURAGE YOU TO TRY IT. IT IS THE MOST REQUESTED RECIPE I HAVE EVER MADE!

Prep Time: 20 minutes  Cook Time: 60 minutes  Serves: 12-15

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 6 cups ½-inch cubes day-old bread
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup dried blueberries
  • Amaretto Cream Sauce:
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ cup Amaretto liqueur
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

1. For the bread pudding, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10X14” baking dish. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the cream, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Add the bread, chocolate, blueberries, and dried blueberries and stir well. Mix in the melted butter. Let sit for 30 minutes so the bread will absorb the egg mixture.

2. Pour into the prepared dish. Bake until firm when pressed in the center, about 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack until just warm, about 20 minutes.

3. For the Amaretto cream sauce: in a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the Amaretto and whisk until smooth. In a medium saucepan, scald cream over medium heat. Add the Amaretto slurry to the hot cream and whisking constantly, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook, whisking for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and add sugar, whisking until dissolved. Let cool to room temperature before serving with the bread pudding.

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Apple Strudel

TODAY IS MY TENTH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY TO MY WONDERFUL HUSBAND, PHIL! ON OUR HONEYMOON, PHIL TOOK ME TO VIENNA, AUSTRIA WHERE I VISITED THE CITY IN WHICH I SPENT A SEMESTER OF COLLEGE. VIENNA IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE CITIES IN THE WORLD! IT HAS GORGEOUS ARCHITECTURE, FANTASTIC MUSEUMS AND PALACES, BEAUTIFUL ART AND MUSIC, AND THE FOOD AND COFFEE ARE LIKE NONE OTHER! AS A TRIBUTE TO THAT TRIP TEN YEARS AGO, I MADE APPLE STRUDEL (FOR THE FIRST TIME!) FOR OUR ANNIVERSARY DESSERT. IT WAS SO EASY, AND TASTED EVEN BETTER THAN WHAT I ATE IN VIENNA SINCE WE ATE IT JUST OUT OF THE OVEN! PICTURED WITH THE STRUDEL IS A STERLING COFFEE POT I BOUGHT IN AN ANTIQUE SHOP IN THE CITY CENTER, AND AN ESPRESSO CUP WITH THE PAINTING OF MY FAVORITE VIENNESE PAINTER, GUSTAV KLIMT. I ENCOURAGE YOU TO TRY THIS RECIPE AND LET ME KNOW HOW YOU LIKE IT! MEANWHILE, I’M THINKING I’LL MAKE WIENER SCHNITZEL TOMORROW!

Prep Time: 30 minutes  Cook Time: 35 minutes  Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 package of filo dough
  • 6 ounces butter, melted

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Thaw the filo dough in the refrigerator or on counter for a couple of hours.

3. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of apple cider and the corn starch. Stir to blend. Set aside.

4. In a large skillet, melt butter and add apples, sugar, raisins, pecans and cinnamon. Add 1 cup apple cider. Cook over medium heat until apples are soft. Add cornstarch mixture and bring to a soft boil. Let mixture thicken. Take off heat and let cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, melt 6 ounces of butter in a small bowl.

5. Carefully remove one layer of filo and lay on a baking tray. Brush with butter. Repeat with four more layers of filo and butter. Carefully pour the cooled apples onto the filo, leaving a one inch border of filo on all sides.

6. Roll the filo with the apple filling very slowly, tucking in the sides. Brush entire roll with more butter and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

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Coconut Macaroons

THESE COOKIES ARE AMAZING!  THE RECIPE IS FROM JOANNE CHANG’S COOKBOOK “FLOUR”.  YOU NEED 28 OUNCES OF COCONUT TO MAKE THEM, BUT IT’S WORTH THE TIME AND EFFORT.  I ALSO LOVE THAT YOU CAN MAKE THE BATTER AND SAVE IT IN YOUR REFRIGERATOR FOR UP TO 5 DAYS BEFORE BAKING.  THEY TASTE BEST THE DAY YOU MAKE THEM, SO SAVING THE BATTER IS A GREAT IDEA!

Prep Time: 20 minutes  Cook Time: 35 minutes  Yield: 4 dozen

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • Two 14-ounce bags sweetened shredded coconut
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a small saucepan, scald the milk over medium-high heat (bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan, but milk is not boiling). While the milk is heating, in a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended, then slowly whisk in the flour mixture. The mixture will thick and pasty. Remove the milk fro the heat and slowly add it to the egg-flour mixture, a little at a time, whisking constantly. When all the milk has been incorporated, return the contents of the bowl to the saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk continuously and vigorously for a minute, or until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Let mixture thicken, and remove from heat. Add vanilla. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, placing it directly on the surface of the cream, and let cool completely.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or butter it well. In a large bowl, combine the coconut, egg whites, sugar, salt, and pastry cream. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. (the dough can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)

3. Using a cookie scoop, form the dough in rounded mounds onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown all over. Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 20 minutes.

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Chocolate Silk Pie

I LOVE THIS PIE FROM THE SMITTEN KITCHEN COOKBOOK!  I’VE MADE IT SEVERAL TIMES, AND THERE IS NEVER A PIECE LEFTOVER.  MAKE SURE YOU BEAT A FULL FIVE MINUTES AFTER ADDING EACH EGG, SINCE THAT’S WHAT MAKES IT SO SILKY!

Prep Time: 45 minutes  Cook Time: 10 minutes  Serves: 8

INGREDIENTS

  • Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 tbsp. butter, melted
  • Filling
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Garnish
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • chocolate curls shaved from a bittersweet chocolate bar

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together cookie crumbs, sugar, and salt. Stir in melted butter until evenly dispersed. Press crumbs evenly across bottom and up sides of a standard 9 inch pie dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then let cool completely.

2. Make filling: In a large stand mixer, whip butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. While mixer is running, drizzle in melted chocolate. Add eggs one at a time, beating mixture at medium speed for five minutes after each addition, and scraping down the bowl. Add the vanilla, and blend well. Spread chocolate filling in prepared crust, and smooth the top. Set pie in the fridge until fully chilled, at least 6 hours.

3. To finish: Just before serving, beat cream with sugar until just holds soft peaks. Spoon onto pie and garnish with bittersweet chocolate shavings.

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Lemon Cheesecake

THIS WAS MY HUSBAND’S BIRTHDAY CAKE THIS YEAR. THE CHOCOLATE CRUST TASTES DIVINE WITH THE CREAMY LEMON CHEESECAKE FILLING. AND WHAT A BEAUTIFUL CAKE TO TAKE TO A PARTY!

Prep Time: 25 minutes  Cook Time: 60 minutes  Serves: 15

INGREDIENTS

  • Crust:
  • 6 tbsp. flour 
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter 
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup golden brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Filling:
  • 5 8-ounce pkgs. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest 
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Topping:
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • bittersweet chocolate curls or shavings 
  • 1 lemon, sliced

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray inside of 9” Springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Whisk flour, cocoa, and salt in small bowl; set aside. Combine chocolate and butter in medium glass bowl. Heat in microwave in 30 second increments until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds. Let cool about 10 minutes. Whisk eggs and vanilla into chocolate mixture. Fold flour mixture into chocolate mixture and spread into springform pan along bottom and up 1” on the sides of pan. Bake crust until top looks slightly cracked, about 20 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack to cool to room temperature.

3. Filling: Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and mix until thoroughly combined. Add flour, lemon peel, and lemon juice; beat until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until incorporated after each addition. Beat in 1/2 cup sour cream and whipping cream. Pour filling over cooled crust in pan; smooth top. Place pan on a baking sheet and place in oven. Bake until puffed, light golden, and set around edges, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove cake from oven, but maintain oven temperature. Spoon 1 cup sour cream over top of cake and spread with an offset spatula. Return cake to oven and bake 5 minutes. Turn off oven and let cake cool down with oven door closed for 30 minutes. Remove cake from oven and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold; top cake with chocolate curls and lemon slices.

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Lemon Pound Cake

THIS SUMMER DESSERT IS PERFECT FOR ANY PICNIC OR AFTERNOON SNACK!  SERVE IT WITH FRESH FRUIT, CHOCOLATE, OR A DUSTING OF POWDERED SUGAR.  IT ALSO FREEZES WELL FOR ANOTHER DAY.

Prep Time: 30 minutes  Cook Time: 90 minutes  Serves: 12

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), softened
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 6 large eggs 
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted cake flour 
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest 
  • 1 tsp. pure lemon extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan. In a large bowl, cream the butter and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Add eggs, one at a time and beat just until blended. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the milk in batches. Stir in 1 tbsp. of the lemon zest, lemon extract, and vanilla. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tsp. lemon zest, and the lemon juice to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Turn the cake out onto the rack and immediately brush the hot syrup over the hot cake. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

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Mile High Biscuits

Prep Time: 20 minutes  Cook Time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder 
  • 1 tbsp. sugar 
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • ½ tsp. baking soda 
  • 4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes 
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. 

2. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda in large bowl. Mix well. Cut butter cubes into flour mixture with pastry blender until mixture resembles a course cornmeal. Add buttermilk and combine with a fork. Turn dough out on a floured surface, and work the dough into a flat rectangle, about ½” thick. Do not work the dough too much! Fold the dough over on each side to the center and press entire rectangle to about ¾ “ thick. Cut into squares or circles with a biscuit cutter, and place on a greased pan, about 1” apart. Brush biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan 2 minutes and serve.

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Rich Chocolate Cream Pie (adapted from Flour by Joanne Chang)

Prep Time: 60 minutes  Cook Time: 30 minutes  Serves: 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 9” pie crust
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt 
  • 3 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar 
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch 
  • 4 inch slab milk chocolate, at warm room temperature, for shaving as decoration

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Bake the pie crust in 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle 1 ounce of the bittersweet chocolate on the bottom of the crust and return to oven for about 1 minute. Remove from oven and using the back of a spoon, carefully spread the melted chocolate on the bottom and sides of the crust. This will protect the crust from becoming soggy when you pour in the chocolate filling. Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the half and half with 1 cup of the cream and scald over medium-high heat (bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan, but the liquid is not boiling). Meanwhile, place the remaining 5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave oven, 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each, until melted. Add the chocolate to the cream mixture (off the heated burner) and whisk until thoroughly combined.

3. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl, and slowly whisk in the granulated sugar. Slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the egg-sugar mixture, a little at a time, whisking constantly. When all of the cream-chocolate mixture has been incorporated, return the saucepan to medium-low heat. Cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon and making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan often to prevent scorching, for 6 to 7 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon thickly. When the custard is ready, immediately strain it through a fine-mesh sieve into a heat-proof pitcher or bowl, and stir in the vanilla and salt. Pour the filling into the chocolate-lined crust and refrigerate, uncovered for about 2 hours. Refrigerate for another 4 hours, or until chilled and set. Whip the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream, the confectioners sugar and cornstarch until stiff peaks form. Pile the whipped cream onto the pie and spread with a knife. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the milk chocolate onto the top of the pie. Serve

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Chocolate Fudge Cake

HERE IS THE CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE I’VE PROMISED.  IT’S MY DAUGHTER’S FAVORITE CAKE, AND I RECENTLY MADE IT FOR HER 20TH BIRTHDAY.  IT’S EASY BECAUSE YOU MAKE IT IN ONE PAN, BUT YOU’LL WANT TO SAVE A SPOONFUL OF BATTER TO ENJOY WHILE THE CAKE IS BAKING!

INGREDIENTS

  • Cake: 
  • 2 sticks butter 
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder 
  • 3/4 cup water 
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 cup buttermilk 
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla extract 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • chocolate glaze: 
  • 1 stick butter 
  • 1/4 cup whole milk 
  • 1/2 cup cocoa 
  • 2 cups powdered sugar 
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” bundt pan with non-stick spray. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Whisk in cocoa until smooth. Add the water and whisk. Remove saucepan from heat and let cool for five minutes. Add the sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla to the warm cocoa mixture all at once; whisk until smooth. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Beat with a hand mixer until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated. There will still be a few small lumps in the batter, and that’s ok. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, until done. Meanwhile, make the glaze. Melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. Add the milk, cocoa, and powdered sugar and whisk until glossy. Remove from heat and add vanilla and salt. When cake is completely cooled, overturn it onto a platter. Spoon the glaze over the cake, covering it thoroughly

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Pecan Bars

Prep Time: 30 minutes  Cook Time: 60 minutes  Serves: 30

INGREDIENTS

  • Crust: 
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temp.
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 4 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • Filling: 
  • 8 large eggs 
  • 6 cups packed golden brown sugar 
  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted 
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla 
  • 1 cup all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut 
  • 2 cups pecan halves

INSTRUCTIONS

1. To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12X17 inch baking pan with butter or cooking spray. Using a mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl on medium speed about one minute, until fluffy. Add the flour and salt, mix on low speed until evenly incorporated but still crumbly. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until it has darkened to a deep golden brown. Leave the oven at 350 degrees.

2. To make the filling: Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until blended. Stir in the butter, vanilla, flour, and salt, then the coconut and pecans. Pour the filling over the crust, spreading evenly (you may have too much filling….don’t overfill, even though it won’t rise). Bake until set, 25-30 minutes. Cool thoroughly, at least 30 minutes, before cutting into squares.

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Coconut Cream Pie

Prep Time: 45 minutes  Cook Time: 25 minutes  Serves: 

INGREDIENTS

  • 9” baked pie crust, cooled 
  • 2/3 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 cup corn starch 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 3 cups whole milk 
  • 4 egg yolks 
  • 2 tbsp. butter 
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract) 
  • 1 cup sweetened and flaked coconut (plus more for garnish, if desired) 
  • sweetened whipped cream to top the pie

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Place egg yolks in a 4 cup measuring bowl and set aside. In a 1 1/2 quart saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Place pan over medium-high heat and add the milk, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Boil and stir for one minute. Take off heat and using a ladle, pour a small amount of hot liquid into the egg yolk, whisking very quickly so the yolks don’t cook. Keep adding small amounts of hot liquid into the yolks until more than half has been added, stirring the entire time. Add the stirred mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot liquid and stir. Bring to a boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and pour through a sieve into a large bowl, pressing mixture with a wooden spoon into the sieve. This will remove any egg particles that may have curdled. Stir in the vanilla, butter and coconut. Pour into pie crust and cover with plastic wrap, letting it cling to the surface of the filling. Refrigerate at least two hours until set. Remove plastic wrap and top with whipped cream that has been flavored with 1 tsp. of vanilla paste. Top with toasted coconut, if desired.

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Thumbprint Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) salted butter (I prefer European butter) 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 2 1/2 cups flour 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 4 tbsp. seedless raspberry preserves 
  • 4 tbsp. peach or apricot preserves

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until very pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt. Add to butter mixture and slowly mix until just combined. Do not over-mix. Form dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for one hour or overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into balls about the size of golfballs. Flatten to no less than 1/2” thick. Place on baking sheet about 1” apart. Using the handle of a large wooden spoon, press into the center of a cookie and twist gently. Repeat with remaining cookies. Using a small spoon, place the raspberry preserves into the indention of half the cookies. Use the peach or apricot preserves for the remaining cookies. Bake for 13 minutes until cookies are cooked through and slightly browned on the edges. Cool completely. Makes 3 dozen

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Roasted Banana and Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Cream

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large bananas, unpeeled
  • 1 1/2 cups flour 
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves 
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 2 eggs, beaten 
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter 
  • 1/4 cup cream 
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest 
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Mascarpone Cream:
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone 
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lime zest 
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

INSTRUCTIONS

1. cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9X13 inch baking pan. Put bananas on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in oven for 35 minutes, until skin is very dark. Let cool, then scoop pulp into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Using a hand mixer, beat the bananas with the sugar until smooth; then add eggs and continue beating. In another bowl, stir the buttermilk with the baking soda and add to the banana mixture. Add the flour mixture and stir with a large spoon until all dry ingredients are incorporated. Stir in butter, cream and orange zest. Fold in walnuts. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for one hour. If the top of the cake gets too browned, cover with foil halfway through cooking. Let the cake cool down until just warm and serve with mascarpone cream dolloped on top and a dusting of cinnamon.

2. Mascarpone Cream: combine all ingredients except whipping cream in a small bowl. In another bowl, whip the cream until it is soft peaks. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture.

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Cherry Hand Pies

Prep Time: 30 minutes  Cook Time: 30 minutes  Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • Cherry pie filling:
  • 1 can pitted tart cherries, drained 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/3 cup flour 
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • In a small bowl, combine all pie filling ingredients
  • Pastry dough:
  • 1 ½ cups flour 
  • ½ tsp. salt 
  • 1 stick butter, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup ice cold water

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Combine flour and salt in bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles corn meal. Slowly add water and stir with fork until a dough forms. Do not add too much water and do not over-mix or the crust will become tough. Form dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes until cold. Unwrap and roll on a floured surface into a circle about 1/8” thick. Use a hand-pie heart mold or cut out heart shapes, about 4” wide, using a paper template. Place 2-3 tablespoons of cherry filling onto the center of half of the heart shapes. Brush the remaining heart shapes with water along the edges. Place these shapes onto the shapes with filling and press around the edges to seal (don’t use much of the liquid from the filling). Use a fork to press even more, sealing in the cherry filling. In a small bowl, gently beat an egg, and brush on the tops of each pie. Sprinkle with a little sugar and bake for 25-20 minutes, or until golden.

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Chocolate Ganache Tarts

Prep Time: 40 minutes  Cook Time: 20 minutes  Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • Tart crust: 
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1 tsp. sugar 
  • 1 stick butter, cold and cut into 1/4” pieces
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • Tart filling:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream 
  • 16 ounces bittersweet (or semi-sweet) chocolate, chopped 
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla or other liquour (amaretto, chambord)
  • Cream topping: 
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream 
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla or flavored liquor

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Prepare crust: In a medium size bowl, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add the chopped butter and cut into the flour with a pastry blender or use a food processor and pulse about 20 times. Slowly add the cold water and stir until dough comes together. Form into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and roll out onto a floured board until dough is approximately 1/8” thick. Cut circles with a knife, the size of the tart tin plus 1” diameter. Place each circle into the tart tins and press, removing excess from the fluted edge of tart tin. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool

2. Make filling: In a saucepan, heat cream until just simmering (not a boil). Remove from heat and pour over chopped chocolate in a blow. Stir until all chocolate is melted and smooth. Add liquor and stir. Spoon into the cooled tart tins and refrigerate until set.

3. Make Whipped topping: In a medium size bowl, whip the cold cream until just getting thick. Add the powdered sugar and liquor and continue to whip until it reaches soft peaks. When tarts are cold and set, top with a dollop of whipped cream. Dust with cocoa, if desired, and serve.

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