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January 27, 2013

Chocoholic Cookies

2 cups rolled oats
12 oz. package semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (preferably Hershey's Premium European-Style)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 Tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
9 oz (3 3-oz bars) white chocolate (preferably Swiss White Confectionery Bar)
1 1/2 Tbsp Crisco

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter 2 cookie sheets. DO NOT alter the order in which the ingredients are combined. In a large bowl, combine the oats and chips; set aside. In another large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until creamy. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa and then add to the butter mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined. The batter will be very stiff. Stir the milk and vanilla into the eggs, then stir this mixture into the butter mixture until thoroughly combined. Add the chips and oats; stir until mixed well.

Using a 2-Tbsp. scoop, drop batter 2" apart on cookie sheets. Bake 9-12 minutes, until cooked through. Cool on pan 1 minute; transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Melt the white chocolate with the Crisco in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Holding a cooled cookie between your thumb and forefinger, dip the edge into the warm white chocolate to cover the top third of the cookie. Place on a rack over wax paper to dry completely. Store between layers of wax paper in an airtight container in a cool place.

Makes 5 dozen

Grilled Chicken A L'orange

MARINADE:

zest of 1 medium orange
juice of 1 medium orange (about 1/3 cup)
1 tsp dry mustard
tiny pinch of cumin, optional
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

SAUCE:
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp dry mustard
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups orange juice

In a 9x13 dish make the marinade by combining the zest, juice, mustard, cumin, if using, and vinegar. Whisk in olive oil. Spread out a sheet of plastic wrap about 2 feet long and place chicken breasts on it. Spread another sheet of plastic wrap over the chicken breasts. With flat side of a mallet, pound the chicken to an even 1/2- inch thickness. Remove plastic wrap and place chicken in marinade. Cover and allow to marinate 30 min. to 1 hour.

When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat the grill. Then prepare the sauce. In a wide skillet, melt the butter over low heat and stir in the flour. Cook this roux over low heat for a minute or two, until it bubbles. Add the sugar, cinnamon, mustard, and vinegar and stir until well combined.

Whisk in the orange juice, bring the heat up to medium, and stir until thickened. Lower the heat and cover the pan to keep the sauce hot while you grill the chicken.

Grill the chicken just until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Do not overcook the chicken. When serving, place the grilled chicken on a heated platter, pour some of the sauce over it, and pass the rest of the sauce.

Serves 4.

Chocolate Comfort Cookies

1 cup chopped hazelnuts
2 cups (11 1/2-oz pkg) chocolate chips (Nestle's mega-morsels preferred)
1/2 cup sun-dried cranberries
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 1/2 teas. vanilla
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups + 2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup marshmallow cream

Preheat oven to 325°. Roast hazelnuts by spreading on an ungreased cookie sheet and baking for 7-12 minutes, or until lightly browned with some skins loosened. Set aside to cool.

Grease 2 cookie sheets.

Combine cooled hazelnuts, chocolate chips, and cranberries and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat butter, sugar, cream cheese and egg until smooth and creamy. Beat in milk, vanilla, and melted chocolate. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder, then add to the butter mixture. Blend in marshmallow cream, stirring until combined. Add the nut mixture, and stir until well mixed.

Use a 1/4 cup measure and scoop batter 2" apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 13-17 minutes, until puffed and cooked through.

Makes 2 dozen.

January 22, 2013

Creamy Crockpot Tomato Soup

28 ounces diced or crushed tomatoes, undrained (fire-roasted, if available)
onion (optional)
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp sweet basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves
1 cup heavy cream

Combine the undrained tomatoes & chicken broth; still well and add oregano & basil.
Cook on high for 4-6 hours. Remove bay leaves. Use immersion blender to puree; then strain out seeds and chunks.

Add cream and heat through.