Sour Cream Chocolate Cupcakes

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Ingredients: Frosting,
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, divided
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sour cream

Ingredients: Cupcakes
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup hot coffee
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Easy Beef Stew

Olive Oil
1/2 medium onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced (or 1 tbsp of pre-minced garlic)
1 Cup (or more) mushrooms (any variety)
1 Cup (or more) carrots
3 Cups beef stock
1 can of beans (refried works well)
1 pound of lean stew meat
Salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste

Place carrots, mushrooms, and can of beans in crock pot or 5 qt. dutch oven or pot.  If using a
pot, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute onions and garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil for about 10 minutes or until onions are translucent. 
When onions and garlic are done, transfer to crock pot (or dutch oven).

With remaining tbsp olive oil, brown stew meat on all sides, do not cook meat all the way through.
Once meat is browned transfer to crock pot (or dutch oven)

Add in beef stock, salt, pepper, and any additional seasonings. Stir all ingredients well.

Cook in crock pot on high for 4-6 hours or on low 8 hours. If using 5 qt dutch oven, mix all ingredients

Citrus bars

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1 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
4 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Garnish: orange and lemon rind strips

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Beat until mixture forms a smooth dough. Press mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking pan.

Bake at 350° for 20 to 22 minutes or until lightly browned.

Whisk together remaining 1/4 cup flour, granulated sugar, and next 6 ingredients; pour over baked crust.

Bake at 350° for 28 to 30 minutes or until set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, and cut into bars. Garnish, if desired.

Yield:  Makes 2 dozen

Peanut butter cookies


Peanut Butter Cookies

The brilliance of these cookies is that they have include two different formats for peanuts–three if you use chunky peanut butter. They’re crisp on the outside, and almost cakey on the inside. Bake a batch and then hide the results in the furthest and most forgettable reaches of your kitchen. You’ll thank me later.

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (smooth is what we used, but I am pretty sure they use chunky at the bakery)
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon (for sprinkling) sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup peanut butter chips
½ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter chips. Place sprinkling sugar on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crissscross pattern (I used the back of a palette knife to keep it smooth on top), but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Finishing sauce to try


Shape, Dec 2007, pg 151

For interesting vegetables, cook until some crisp, then add a finishing sauce, such as a vinaigrette:

Whisk equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon each minced garlic and mustard. Sprinkle some fresh herb on top: basil, cilantro, chives.