I love the chocolate espresso cookies at Pane Rustica. Does anyone have a recipe?
Adele Solazzo, Palm Harbor
Lyn Wood of St. Petersburg thinks her Nutty Chocolate Espresso Cookies come close to the Tampa restaurant's offerings. When I tested the recipe, an enticing aroma filled the house. The end results is deeply chocolate and chewy. The nuts add crunchy, and the powdered sugar dusting adds a sweetness. While this recipe uses instant coffee granules, you could substitute espresso powder. The coffee taste is virtually nonexistent but contributes to the kicked-up chocolate flavor. Take your time melting the chocolate. Low to medium-low heat is best. I prefer to use a rubber spatula when melting chocolate, because if you use a wooden spoon with a crack there's a chance there may be dampness in the crack which could seize your chocolate. This is a fairly wet cookie dough because there's not a lot of flour in it. I used a 1-inch scoop to drop the cookies onto the parchment so they were even. Ten minutes baking time was sufficient in my oven. The cookies stuck to the parchment a bit, not enough to break or leave any cookie behind, so don't skip this step. To keep the mess down, keep the cookies on the cooling rack and place a cookie sheet under it. Dust with confectioners' sugar and most of it should fall onto the sheet rather than your counter. Use a small fine-mesh sieve for dusting.
Clearwater beach resident Vicki Jackson is looking for a coconut cake recipe that was on the back of the Baker's Corner brand coconut bag. The brand is Aldi's store brand and is sold seasonally. She tried contacting the company, but they have since changed distributors and were unable to help. It was a simple cake using a cake mix and baked in a 9- by 13-inch pan. The coconut was only used in the topping, which included a pound of confectioners' sugar. Vicki says it was similar to a gooey butter cake but much less gooey.
Recipes tested by Times correspondent Ellen Folkman unless otherwise noted. Send requests to You Asked For It, P.O. Box 1159, Crystal Beach, FL 34681 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, city and phone number.