A Day Trip to Abiquiu, New Mexico

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Since my college days, I have had a fascination with the artist, Georgia O’Keeffe. Already an accomplished artist, O’Keeffe moved from New York to New Mexico after visiting and becoming enamored by the place during the 1940s. I get it, the landscapes are breathtaking and the colors of the mountains change constantly depending on the season or time of day. Here are just a few shots from my day trip.

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Hazelnut-Brown-Butter Brownies

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Why not use nut flour to make gluten-free brownies? These are delicious!

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Ingredients

7 oz. hazelnuts
1 cups Unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp. Unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
3 cups sugar
1 lb. unsalted butter
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate (70 percent)
6 large eggs
1 tbsp. tablespoon instant coffee

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with foil, pressing it into the corners and leaving overhang on the 2 short sides.

2. Spread the hazelnuts in a pie plate and toast for 15 minutes, until fragrant and the skins blister; transfer to a kitchen towel to cool slightly, then rub off the skins. Let cool completely. Transfer the nuts to a food processor. Add the cocoa, salt, and 1/2 cup of the sugar and pulse until finely ground.

3 In a large saucepan, cook the butter over moderate heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until nutty-smelling and golden and the foam subsides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate; let stand until melted, about 2 minutes. Whisk the butter and chocolate until smooth, scraping up any browned butter solids from the bottom of the pan. Let cool slightly.

4. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the remaining 2 1/2 cups of sugar and the coffee until tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Beat in the chocolate-butter mixture. Add the cocoa-hazelnut mixture and beat to combine, scraping down the bowl. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, until the top is glossy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the brownie cool completely on a rack, then refrigerate until chilled.

5. Lift the brownie out of the pan and peel off the foil. Cut into 20 pieces and serve.

Il Diplomatico Chocolate Cake

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This coffee-soaked dessert is often made with shop-bought Madeira cake, so feel free to take the short cut if time’s tight. To intensify the coffee hit you may add espresso to the chocolate mousse filling and the cream topping too – it’s not strictly traditional, but it’s delicious. You’ll need to begin this recipe 2 days ahead.

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Ingredients

250 ml espresso-strength coffee
50 ml golden rum
100 gm caster sugar
450 gm dark chocolate (60-65% cocoa solids), finely chopped
700 ml thickened cream
3 cups thickened cream
4 eggs
To serve:chocolate-coated coffee beans, coarsely crushed (optional)

Madeira Cake

175 gm softened butter
155 gm caster sugar
Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
3 eggs
250 gm (1 2/3 cups)plain flour, sieved
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk

Directions

1. For Madeira cake, preheat oven to 160 C. Beat butter, sugar and lemon rind in an electric mixer until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes). Scrape down sides of bowl and add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in flour, cinnamon and baking powder to combine, then add milk and lemon juice and stir until smooth. Spoon into a greased 8 cm x 22 cm loaf tin lined with baking paper, smooth top and bake until cake is light golden and a skewer inserted withdraws clean (45-50 minutes). Cool completely, then turn out and stand, uncovered, for 24 hours to dry out.

2. Stir 150 ml espresso, rum, 1½ tbsp sugar and 50 ml water in a bowl until sugar dissolves and set aside.

3. Slice Madeira cake width-ways into 5 mm- thick slices and line base and sides of an 8 cm x 22 cm loaf tin lined with plastic wrap (let plastic wrap hang over sides of tin), trimming cake to fit and filling all gaps (set aside remaining cake). Brush generously with espresso mixture and set aside.

4. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (3-4 minutes), then set aside. Whisk 400 ml cream in an electric mixer until soft peaks form (4-5 minutes), then refrigerate until required. Whisk eggs, remaining sugar and 50 ml espresso in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until thick and pale (3-4 minutes), remove from heat and fold in melted chocolate, then whipped cream. Spoon into cake-lined tin, smooth top, then cover mousse with remaining cake slices, trimming to fit. Brush with espresso mixture, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours or up to a week. Whisk remaining cream and remaining espresso to soft peaks. Invert cake onto a platter, top with whipped cream, scatter crushed coffee beans over and serve.

Sunday Refections

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Wishing all the fathers a happy Father’s Day!! Have an amazing Sunday and a blessed week.

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Introducing Muffin Bath & Body Basics

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I am thrilled to introduce my friend’s new bath and body line, Muffin Bath & Body Basics. The products are a variety of with natural scents, 100% certified organic and hypoallergenic. Feel free to visit her website: http://www.muffinbathbodybasics.com.

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