Sunday, November 9, 2008

Good Things at Goodwill

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I drive by a Goodwill drop off a few times a week. Every time I pass, I think, "Dang, I have 7 bags of clothes in the garage". It took me months to summon up the strength to clean out all of Nic's stuff, and I can't seem to move them out of the garage. One of these days I'll remember to bring them and accept the fact that he is in uniform pretty much from here on. Last week as I passed, I noticed Goodwill had opened a bookstore. Wow! What a find!

It's a small store, clean and very organized. The clerk knew everything she had. Because of our proximity to Oxford, MS, there was a huge selection of Grisham books in hardcover, some rare books behind glass, and a section devoted solely to my favorite past time...cooking.

Most were give away books from food manufacturers, and a lot of collections from Time Life, Bon Apettit, and Southern Living to name a few. Tucked on one of the shelves was a Biscotti cookbook. It is by Lou Seibert Pappas, and having been at Williams Sonoma for 11 years, I can tell you she writes a lot of books. They are very specific cookbooks, Fondue, Crockery Cooking, Ice Cream, Pumpkins, to name just a few, but I had never seen this book. It was published in 1992, and has the most adorable hand drawings by Piet Halberstadt.

I looked it up on Amazon to see if it was available, and found one used copy for $20. I guess that makes my $2 book a great bargain! The original retail price was $10. I have to wonder, did paper prices explode over the last 15 years? Why are cookbooks so expensive? I wouldn't think twice about picking up books on a whim if they ran $10-$15 each. Almost every cookbook I have looked at recently is at least $35.

The book includes baking tips and about 28 recipes. Virtually every one calls for almonds which happens to be the nut I don't have on hand. So today we improvised the Double Chocolate Decadence recipe and used walnuts. The result is fabulous. I changed a few things and it is my revised recipe that follows. I can hardly wait to try another!

Double Chocolate Decadence
2/3 cup walnuts
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons strong brewed coffee
1 teaspoon good vanilla
2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons flour (I used King Arthur's white whole wheat)
1/3 cup Pernigotti cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate

Toast the walnuts in a small fry pan over medium heat moving constantly to prevent burning. When the walnuts are fragrant and toasted set aside to cool.
Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until fluffy. Add eggs, coffee and vanilla. Mix well. Add all dry ingredients and mix until they are incorporated. Fold in the chocolate and walnuts and distribute evenly.
Form 2 logs on a Silpat covered cookie sheet. The logs should be a few inches apart and extend the length of cookie sheet.
Bake at 325 for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and slide Silpat onto cooling rack. Allow logs to cool for 5 minutes or so. Slice the logs on a cutting board at a 45 degree angle and place back on cookie sheet. Bake again for about 5-10 minutes or until they are nicely toasted.
Enjoy!

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