Cafe Society

           BUTTER MAKE IT GOOD: Organized in 1921, Land O'Lakes began marketing its revolutionary "sweet cream butter" in 1924. It's been marketed ever since, and most recently with a contest. Ten "Camp Cookie" campers from across the country were selected from more than 3,500 children in grades three through six who competed by finishing the statement "I'm a Smart Cookie because..." The kids who best described (in 25 words or less) why they deserved to win received a trip to Camp Cookie to learn how to bake with the home economist "camp counselors" at the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchens and a $1,000 savings bond. The winning entries range from the tragic "I'm a smart cookie because I had just started to help my mommy bake, but she died of leukemia, but if I can learn better, my dad would be proud" to the snappy "I'm a smart cookie because my brain can hold a lot of cookies. Especially Camp Cookie cookies." A couple smell like they suffered a bit of parental assistance:

A Winning Recipe:

One cup of experience

One stick of education

One cup of excitement

Ten ounces of surprise

Two tablespoons of luckiness--Bake!"

Makes "Ten"nille dozen

           Come watch the kids unveil a giant map of the U.S. at the Mall of America on Wednesday, July 31, at 11:30 a.m. Your own kids--the, um, losers--can come down to the mall too and decorate their own butter cookies. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Camp Cookie Recipe Leaflet, P.O. Box 39104, Chicago, IL, 60639 or call 1-800-782-9602 and ask for the Camp Cookie Recipe Leaflet.

           PATRIOTIC NARCOTIC: I have been watching my roommate eat a bowl of jello with chocolate sauce every night for the past two weeks. While I admire his special ode to the joy of repetition, I can't help thinking that maybe this dessert lacks some imagination. I showed him pictures of the normal desserts--ice cream, cakes, and pies. It was the brownie, though, that classic American confection, that convinced him to give up his cherished bowls of jello and chocolate sauce. Here is the particular recipe that did it, direct from The International Dictionary of Desserts, Pastries, and Confections, by Carole Bloom (Hearst Books).

           Chocolate Fudge Brownies

twenty-five 1 1/2-inch square brownies

* 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter,
softened, for the pan

* 2 tsp. all-purpose flour,
for the pan

* 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

* 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted
butter, cut into small pieces

* 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

* 2 tsp. vanilla extract

* 1 Tbsp. instant espresso
powder dissolved in 1 tbsp. warm water

* 2 large eggs, at room

* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

* 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

           Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350° F. Generously butter the inside of an 8-inch square baking pan and a square of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom with the softened butter. Dust the inside of the pan with the flour, then shake out the excess. Line the bottom of the pan with the buttered square of parchment paper, buttered side up.

           Melt the chocolate and butter together in the top of a double boiler over hot, though not simmering, water, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula to ensure even melting.

           Remove the top pan from the double boiler and wipe it dry. Lightly beat the eggs with a fork and add them to the chocolate, mixing well. Stir in the sugar in three additions, blending thoroughly after each, then blend in the espresso and vanilla. Add the flour in three additions,mixing thoroughly each time. Stir in the walnuts.

           Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 35 minutes. The brownies will keep for up to four days in an airtight container at room temperature or for a week in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. The brownies can also be frozen for up to four months. If frozen, defrost them overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

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