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I cook a lot - so it takes a truly extraordinary recipe for my husband to remember it and request them by name. Chocolate Lava Cookies are his favorite for many reasons. Just a hint of coffee flavor in a vanilla infused crispy yet also soft chocolate chip cookie. The recipe is a little time intensive - but is purposely built to just make a dozen cookies. Ingredients for Cookies • 1/3 cup salted butter • 1/3 cup light brown sugar packed • 3 tablespoons white sugar • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract • 1 large egg yolk • 3/4 cup white all-purpose flour NOT packed into the measuring cup • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda • 1/3 cup high quality milk-chocolate chunks or chips Ingredients for the Ganache • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into 3/4 -inch pieces • 1 cup heavy cream • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder • 1 1/2 tablespoons Kahlúa Instructions for Ganache Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until bubbles appear around the edge; remove from the heat. Add the espresso powder and stir to dissolve. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Stir the chocolate until melted and smooth. Stir in the Kahlúa. For easier spooning in this recipe don't let it cool to firm - I find that by the time I have the cookies made it needs stirring to be spoonable into the cookies Instructions for Cookies 1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, partially melt the butter in the microwave. (Just enough that you'll be able to easily mix it) 2. With a spoon or a whisk, whisk in the brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla extract (scale down or up to taste preference - I like a strong vanilla flavor) into the bowl of the butter. 3. Stir until completely smooth and then stir in the egg yolk. (The more yellow the yolk, the more flavor your cookies will have. Organic eggs are generally larger and more yellow which is what I used). 4. Measure the flour carefully making sure not to pack in the flour. 5. Stir in the flour and baking soda and mix well. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl. (If not, add a bit more flour until a good dough is formed). 6. Stir in the chocolate chips. Knead the chips into the dough. 7. Place the dough in an airtight container and in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour and preferably overnight (overnight will yield a greater flavor as the ingredients meld together). 8. When ready to bake, set the oven temperature at 350 degrees. 9. Roll a dozen balls of dough that are even (If you have a food scale, I get the best results from cookies that are 1.3 ounces.) 11. Using a nonstick cupcake tin - press one cookie's worth of dough into the bottom of each cupcake holder. Then spoon on top of the cookie, 1 rounded tablespoon of the ganache, then top the ganache with another cookie's worth of dough. Don't try to press it down to seal it in - or you'll get a ganache splatterathon. (not that I know this from experience or anything) 12. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top 13. Allow the cookies to continue to "bake" on the cookie sheet for 3 more minutes before removing to a cooling rack. As they cool they will "crater" leaving room for a perfect scoop of vanilla ice cream which I then drizzel with caramel sauce (caramel sauce is available in the caramel sauce aisle at your grocery)
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Glazed Lemon and Fruit Ricotta Cookies

Ingredients Cookies: 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 stick unsalted butter, softened 2 cups sugar 2 eggs 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese 3 tablespoons lemon juice 1 lemon, zested 1/4 cup of your favorite fruit jelly or preserve
Glaze: 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar 3 tablespoons lemon juice 1 lemon, zested Add Checked Items To Grocery ListDirectionsPreheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cookies: In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Put an indentation for the jelly or jam - being careful not to break all the way through the cookie. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the fruit jelly as a jewel center.
Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes. Glaze: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.
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Bob's Mole Style Stewed Chicken

  • 2 dried Ancho chilies
  • 3 dried New Mexico or Guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • One 1/2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 tablespoons lard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons raisins
  • 10 whole almonds
  • 2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 1/2 ounces Mexican chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 3-4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces each (or precut pieces from the grocery, I go boneless, but a lot of people like the extra flavor of bone in)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (for garnish)
  1. In a medium bowl, cover all of the chili peppers with hot water. Let them stand for 30 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet, combine sesame seeds with the anise, cumin, coriander, peppercorns and cinnamon stick. Toast over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool then grind the seeds and spices to a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
  3. Using the same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the lard over medium low heat. Stir in the raisins, almonds and cook the mixture until the almonds are toasted and the raisins are plump, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and reserve.
  4. Melt 1 tablespoon lard in skillet. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, onions and the spice powder and cook over medium high heat until just simmering, about 7 minutes. Add the drained chilies and the chicken stock, cover partially, and simmer for 1 hour. Remove from the heat. Working in batches, transfer sauce and chocolate to a blender and puree until smooth, if using a standing blender; if using an immersion blender, blend until smooth in skillet. Season to taste with salt and pepper. At this point you can refrigerate the mole for up to 10 days, or freeze.
  5. When you are ready to slow cook - here are the steps:
    1. a 1 pd bag of frozen chicken thighs or breasts in the crockpot
    2. 6 julienned shallots, in the crockpot
    3. 1 16 oz bag UNSALTED cashews in the crockpot
    4. The entire batch of mole sauce over all the ingredients and stir
    5. For extra richness, I add two cups of beef stock. but chicken stock or vegetable stock is more traditional.
    6. Cook on low in the crock pot for 7 hours - leaving on warm till you ready to serve
  6. I like to serve my chicken over butter noodles versus enchiladas or rice. I just like it that way! Traditionally this dish is served over rice or with tortillas.
  7. Cooking in the crockpot - the sauce is a little less thick than if we cooked it in the oven. If the sauce comes out too thin for your taste, you can always scoop out some of the sauce and reduce in a saucepan on the stovetop.
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Meringue cookies are my favorite "holiday potluck" dessert. There is a tidal wave of chocolate and nuts in every bite, and they turn out light and delicate. There is a reason the nickname of these cookies is "Forgotten Kisses" - probably because when you make them - you don't want to share them so they become forgotten. "Oh the potluck was today? oh darn, and I made meringue cookies" LOL! The best part of these is they come together VERY fast - and are absolutely delicious whether you dip them in chocolate or not. I add raspberry extract to mine just for that extra bit of layered flavors. They always turn out perfectly - and you can't really beat these for simplicity.   Ingredients
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2/3 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon raspberry extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy.
  3. Add the cream of tartar and beat until fluffy but not at all dry. (Be careful not to over beat.)
  4. Add the sugar gradually, about 3 tablespoons at a time. When 1/2 of the sugar has been added, add the raspberry extract.
  5. Continue beating and adding remaining sugar in batches, until all of the sugar is dissolved and the meringue is very shiny and tight.
  6. Gently fold in the half of the chocolate chips and half the chopped nuts. Working one teaspoon at a time, push a teaspoonful of meringue from the tip of 1 teaspoon with the back of another teaspoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving 1-inch of space between cookies.
  7. Place baking sheets in the preheated oven and turn the oven off. Leave the cookies (undisturbed) in the oven for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, or until cookies are crisp and dry.
  8. Using a double boiler - or metal bowl over a softly boiling pot of water, melt the rest of the chocolate.
  9. Dip dried meringues in the chocolate then roll them in the leftover walnuts and put on parchment to set.
Yield: about 4 dozen carefully measured cookies. I like mine a bit bigger - so the recipe nets two dozen.
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