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Neil Gaiman is a favorite author of mine. His latest book, The Graveyard Book, tells the story of a boy raised by dead people in a graveyard. The blog NeedCoffee.com issued a challenge to create a Graveyard Book inspired dessert. I decided to build part of the graveyard out of cake, because I watch too much Ace of Cakes.

The Egyptian Walk

Click this link to see many more pictures and read about the process and the design. )
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Xocolatl de David manufactures a "Raleigh Bar" containing pecan, nougat, bacon, caramel, and sea salt. It is amazing and exquisite.
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I made the brownies that were such a hit at Christmas, and added about 3/4 teaspoon Mayan Cocoa to the frosting in addition to the 3 tbs regular cocoa. I might add a full teaspoon or more next time, but it gave a beautifully piquant edge to the chocolate.

I borrowed an "edge pan" from a friend and it worked quite well. These brownies don't rise much, and it could have used a little less volume, but they tasted delicious. The frosting was taller than the brownie all the way through the batch.
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Chewy Chocolate Cookies, from the Jan/Feb 09 issue of Cooks Illustrated.

I used agave sweetener instead of corn syrup, as I always do now (thank you TJ!). I also used turbinado sugar instead of brown sugar. I weighed the dry ingredients, creamed the hell out of the sugars and butter, and discovered I had only 1/5 cup agave instead of 1/2. Unexpected grocery run!
I used three squares of semisweet baking chocolate (which was so old the fat had bloomed on the surface. I'd never seen bloom before, but it doesn't affect the taste.) and a few tablespoons of chocolate chips (whatall was left in the package). It wouldn't hurt to chill them a bit longer, but they shaped all right even mostly warm. They are delicious, although I don't think the texture is quite what CI had in mind--the turbinado is quite different from regular brown sugar in terms of moisture content. I am most concerned that my food tastes good; whether it resembles some ideal is not my affair.

These were made to go with my "Come to the dark side, we have cookies... --V" shirt.
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one from 1997 JOY with melted chocolate, cocoa, and cinammon, frosted with mocha icing from the same edition. The rocketship cookie cutters work best with slightly thicker dough, and chilling it helps.
one made at 4:30 in the morning without mechanical assistance. I’m doing it with a  mixer next time, if I get that recipe.

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