Have you ever thought of food as a relationship builder? Cooking together can help bond relationships with family, friends and your significant other. If you don't have a lot of time to cook together on a regular basis, reserve a Sunday during the month to prepare a dish or a whole meal from scratch with someone special in your life. This recipe was provided by Maria Liberati, author of "The Basic Art of Italian Cooking."

Here is one of my favorite recipes to make with special friends or family. It is an Italian version of the American brownies.

Tortini di Cioccolato
(Italian Style Brownies)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup European butter
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 fresh orange
  • 2 tablespoons butter to butter pan
  • 2 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs


Directions:

  1. Soften butter in bowl until it cuts into small pieces.
  2. Break egg, separating the white and egg yolk in two different bowls.
  3. Break chocolate into pieces and place in glass bowl.
  4. Place glass bowl in microwave for 30 seconds, or until melted (all microwave times vary, so leave on for 15-30 seconds first).
  5. Place softened butter and sugar in another bowl. Mix until comes to a smooth mixture. Add in egg yolk and continue to mix. Add in melted chocolate, a little at a time until totally mixed in.
  6. Add in flour a small spoonful at a time, continually mixing until totally blended in.
  7. Grate 1/2 of orange and add in peel and chopped nuts. Mix well.
  8. Beat egg white until peaks have formed and gently fold into chocolate mixture.
  9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  10. Butter round cake pan or cover with baking paper.
  11. Dust bottom with plain breadcrumbs.
  12. Pour in batter and bake in oven for 30 minutes.
  13. To be sure it is done, place toothpick in center, it must come out dry. If necessary cook for 5 minutes more.
  14. Dust serving plates with powdered cocoa.
  15. Cut cake into squares; serve with thin slice of orange.

Copyright, Maria Liberati, 2005, 2006, 2007, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking.

Maria Liberati is a celebrity chef, bestselling author and healthy cooking expert. Her first book, "The Basic Art of Italian Cooking" met rave reviews. Her next book entitled "The Basic Art of Italian Cooking - Holidays and Special Occasions" will be released in late 2008. You can find out more about Maria from her website at marialiberati.com or her blog at mariaandco.blogspot.com.

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