chocolate pudding cake that you need to make

My little sister Emily first started making this chocolate cake from the Betty Crocker kids cookbook when she was seven years old and I was impressed.  I have been a harsh judge of all cakes, cookies and pies that I have made since the beginning, since before I could see over the kitchen table to stir the batter, and even harsher about the cakes, cookies and pies being made in the seat next to me.  This was a clear winner though, and when it’s good it’s good no matter what I had to say from not quite over the kitchen table about the technique of never quite measuring, talking on the phone in the middle of the operation or eating generous portions of the batter before it got into the pan.  I could never promise that this is exactly how she did it, because she only ever does something the same way once, but it’s close.

Sift together 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 cup of sifted flour 2 teaspoons of baking powder and a pinch of slat.  Melt 1 1/2 ounces of best quality unsweetened chocolate with 2 tablespoons of butter in a heatproof bowl in the microwave, stirring every 10 seconds.  Add this to the flour mixture and blend well.  Mix together 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and stir this in.  Pour the batter into a buttered 8 inch pan.  In another bowl mix 1/2 a cup of brown sugar with 1/4 cup of granulated white sugar and 5 tablespoons of cocoa.   Sprinkle over the batter and then cover with 1/2 cup of cold espresso mixed with 1/2 cup of cold coffee, (or just 1 cup of strong cold coffee).  DO NOT MIX IN.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Garnish with unsweetened and every so lightly whipped cream.

For dinner have farfalle with peas, onion, fresh thyme and garlic (and pancetta if you have it).  Cook that garlic and those onions first like I told you yesterday, then add  the peas (four cloves of garlic, one onion and half a box of peas), save some cooking liquid from the pasta and add a drop or two at the end if you need it when you mix the pasta together with the peas.  If you are using pancetta, cut it fine and cook it with the onions.  If you are hungry enough for a second course, chicken breast cut in half cross wise and thrown in a pan with your best olive oil, a few whole cloves of garlic, and a sprig of rosemary is good if you cook it over medium heat without moving it and without crowding it, then flipping it over to do the same on the other side.  Don’t overcook.  When it comes out of the pan, add some red peppers in a large dice and a little more olive oil and stir those around over medium heat  until they are soft and just going brown at the edges, and if you like add a handful of olives.  Serve it with a nice hunk of ricotta salata on the side and dressed arugula leaves.

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