Chocolate Lava Cake for your Valentine!

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Chocolate Lava Cake is the PERFECT Valentine dessert.  Nothing melts the heart quite like the molten center of a rich chocolate cake! And a bonus, this recipe is simple to make, no mixer required. Just stir up the easy batter and fill your ramekins. Remember to chill the prepared cakes before baking as an insurance policy for those luscious liquid centers!

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Chocolate Lava Cake

1½ sticks butter

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

6 eggs

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

Butter 6 (6 ounce) ramekins well and dust with flour.  Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave in 30 second intervals stirring in between each heating and let cool.  In a bowl combine flour and sugar.  Add eggs to the chocolate mixture one at a time and incorporate well before adding flour and sugar.  Mix to combine.  Using a kitchen scoop, spoon batter into prepared dishes and place the dishes into the refrigerator to rest 1-2 hours or for up to 3 days.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Let rest 3 minutes before inverting dish onto a plate, dust with powdered sugar if desired.

For fabulous recipes and a great time, join me for an upcoming cooking class, Click Here for a full schedule of events.

Enjoy!

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A Cookie Exchange Party with Texasliving

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I opened my mailbox and look what was inside…

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My fresh copy of Texasliving!

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I was invited by the editor of Texasliving to write an article on how to host a cookie exchange party.  If you plan to have some friends over for holiday cheer this year, now is the time to get the snowball rolling!

I have copied the article below to make it easy to read AND below you will also find the recipe for my delicious Cookie Martini and my no fail Sturdy Sugar Cookie recipe.

Enjoy and Au revoir for now! Lorie

Host the Merriest of Cookie Exchanges!

Hosting a cookie exchange party is a fantastic way to have friends and neighbors for a few hours of festive fun. Entertaining with a theme lets you narrow the focus to organize a fabulous event, without a lot of effort.  When you bring cookies and friends together good things happen!

Follow a few simple steps and you will be on your way to the perfect cookie exchange for a sweet time had by all.

Invitations

Be a smart cookie, and secure the date.  This is a busy time of year, so to ensure a good turnout, send invitations 3 weeks early and lock your guests down.

Themed invitations are an excellent way to generate excitement and boost party attendance.  There are a multitude of printable options available on the web.  Feeling creative?  Bake a batch of cookies to hand deliver to guests along with their paper invitation.  For mailed invitations, think about adding a pinch of cookie sprinkles like confetti inside each card before mailing.

Be sure to include all of the normal party details, in addition, tell your guests to bring 2 dozen of their favorite cookies to share at the party.

Let’s Party

Elaborate party set up with trays of food and loads decorations are wonderful if you have the time and resources, otherwise, keep it simple.  Do plan to have at least a few savory tidbits to balance the sweets.

A beverage station allows party goers to serve themselves and is a huge time saver for the host.  A coffee and tea station work well for a cookie party.  If cocktails are more your style, look for cookie inspired recipes on line to carry the motif forward.  Mix drinks in advance and serve them from a decanter or pitcher to make party time a breeze and don’t forget to give your glasses a sprinkle rim!

Prepare a cookie table in advance. Furnish serving platters, jars or cake stands to display the baked goods, for an inviting table arrangement.  Prepare place cards to detail the cookie flavors.

Cookie Party Games

The BEST Cookie Contest! Organize a BEST cookie contest for an added layer of fun. Conduct the competition by cutting bite sized pieces of each cookie for the guests to taste.  Prepare ballots calling for the top 3 choices.  When the votes are tallied, give your BEST cookie winners a small prize such as cookie sprinkles, a pretty mixing bowl or holiday cookie cookbook.

Deck the Cookies Instead of providing a cookie of your own for the exchange, set up a decorating station.  Bake plain sugar cookies in a variety of shapes.  Make frosting in several colors and place it in piping bags or better yet, purchase decorating frosting ready to go.  Buy a few small holiday candies and sprinkles for more embellishing fun.  Provide pictures of decorated cookies for inspiration, you can copy these from cookbooks or download on line. 

Games and Grins Fill a jar with tiny store bought cookies and have a “guess how many are in the jar” contest.  The winner gets to take all the leftover cookies!

Goodies To Go

Supply guests with a container to pack and take their shared confections. Purchase paper cookie boxes or think outside the box.  Look for pails, tins, even a clay pot lined with tissue paper is a marvelous vessel to stuff with cookies to be taken home and enjoyed. 

Host with the Most

Keep a few additional things in mind for hosting a terrific event.  Bake several dozen extra cookies just in case you need a few more.

As your friends RSVP, ask for their cookie recipe and organize a packet for each guest. Or think about a themed party favor, like an oven mitt, a cookie cutter or even a cute holiday dishtowel.

Most of all don’t crumble under the pressure of hosting; remember, if you are relaxed, your guests will be too.  So keep calm and cookie on!

Cupcake Martini

 

Cupcake Martini

Cocktail

2 parts vanilla vodka

1 part Amaretto

1 part whole milk

2 parts club soda

Garnish

Vanilla cake frosting

Sprinkles

To garnish glasses, pour sprinkles into a shallow dish.  Rub the edge of each glass with a small amount of frosting, press glass rims into the plate with the sprinkles. Shake all cocktail ingredients with ice and strain into prepared martini glasses.

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Sturdy Sugar Cookie

1 cup butter

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients together. Cream butter and sugar together using an electric mixer until mixture is pale and fluffy.  Continue to beat and add eggs one at a time.  Next, add extracts.  Add dry ingredients slowly until combined. Separate dough into 2 gallon zip locks.  Flatten dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Turn dough out on to a floured surface and roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness.  Cut out shapes and bake on greased baking sheet for 13-15 minutes.

 

Flower Power

Flowers have powers!  In these troubling times, take time to stop and smell the roses.   Sometimes it’s the little things in life that can bring us the most joy.  For that reason, I beleive flowers have healing powers.

I picked up a bunch of these gorgeous light yellow roses that paired perfectly with several stems of blue hydrangeas.  I always craft simple flower arrangements in my crystal rose bowls. They are low and have a wide mouth making it easy to cut stems short and stuff the bowl full! One little trick I’ve learned to keep the stems steady is to secure them with a rubber band.

If hydrangeas get wilted, revive them by cutting about 1/2 inch of the stems off.  Then gently run cold water over the blooms from the back side.  Let the water drain well before placing the hydrangeas back in the bowl with clean water.

Enjoy!

Lorie

Join me for

3 Day French Workshop  September 13th-15th 10:00-1:30- 3 seats OPEN!

I am planning an extraordinary week for 10 class participants. Join me for my 3 Day French Workshop.   Immerse yourself in the French culture as we prepare 3 meals a day including 2 French sauces..  French cooking is the gold standard and when you master these skills, they apply to all types of cooking.  In French Food Workshop you will travel the country of France as we prepare time honored classics.   We will cook and enjoy breakfast and lunch together and a single portion of the dinner offering will be packed home to enjoy in the evening hours.

Two of the five French mother sauces, Hollandaise and Veloute are included in this workshop, three timeless and irresistible desserts as well as French Bread and fresh churned European style butter.   We will make our own Herbs de Provence to be used in our recipes.  Class is limited to 10 participants.  Class Fee $232.00

Day 1  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and ours will be puffy golden brown Pain Perdue served with freshly made sweet Strawberry Jam.  Tomato Basil Soufflés will rise to amazing heights for lunch along with a Fall Salad made from the perfect combination of pears blue cheese and walnuts.  For dinner we will prepare rich and satisfying Daube de Boeuf Provencal a lovely hearty beef stew.  For dessert we will concoct dreamy Coconut Crème Brulee.

Day 2  We will start our day with the tasty simplicity of Cherry Clafouti.  For lunch we will learn to make the perfect Buckwheat Crepes and luscious Hollandaise Sauce; they come together to create Asparagus and Ham Crepes. We will head to the Basque region of France to concoct a dinner that is sure to become a favorite recipe.  Bell pepper, onions and tomatoes are slow cooked with chicken to become Poulet Basquaise.  For dessert Strawberry Jam will be used to fill sweet and crumbly Gateau Basque

Day 3  Breakfast will be extraordinary Soufflé Omelet with herbs and Gruyere cheese.  We will enjoy fresh baked French Bread and Churned Butter with lunch of my all-time favorite Coquilles Saint Jacques.  For Coquilles we will learn the second of our sauces, Veloute.  Dinner will be slow cooked, satisfying Cassoulet with Kielbasa Sausage and Bacon.  As a celebration of our last day together we will prepare and enjoy the gorgeous Apple Almandine Tart.