Darlene Shearrer of McHenry, Ill., was looking for a recipe for a chocolate cookie that is one of her husband's favorites from his childhood. She said her husband's mother, who was from Italy and died when he was 11, used to make the rich chocolate cookie that was flavored with coffee and glazed after baking. They have searched but not been able to find a similar cookie in any bakeries.
Chloe Bailey from Northampton, Mass., sent in a recipe that she thought sounded like what they might be looking for. She said that this recipe for Italian chocolate cookies comes from her copy of the "Wellesley Cookie Exchange Cookbook," 1986, edited by Susan Mahnke Peery. In this recipe, the coffee and the citrus act to enhance the chocolate flavor and the chocolate frosting adds to the cookie's decadence. If you prefer, you certainly could omit the frosting, as I did with about half the batch, and still end up with a very good cookie. I know I'll be adding this one to my list of favorites.
Edith Lynch from Abingdon is looking for the recipe for the seafood bisque that was served at an affair she attended at Martin's West in the spring of 1994. She said the soup was served piping hot in a goblet with a crust over the top.
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Italian chocolate cookies
Makes: About 75 cookies
1 1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
6 ounces chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup cold, strong coffee
Grated rind of one lemon
Grated rind of one orange
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 cup toasted almonds or walnuts, chopped
3/4 pounds confectioner's sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 tablespoons softened butter
1/4 cup milk (approximately)
Beat eggs, sugar and oil together. Add chocolate, coffee, and lemon and orange rinds. Stir in dry ingredients and the nuts. Chill dough until firm, for several hours or overnight. Shape into balls the size of walnuts and bake on greased cookie sheets at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes. Cool, and then frost.
To make frosting: Stir confectioner's sugar and cocoa together; add vanilla and butter and mix well. Add 1/4 cup milk, more if needed to reach spreading consistency, and beat until smooth. Spread a thin layer of frosting on cooled cookies.