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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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December 01, 2008

Chocolate-Walnut Shortbread Tart

Chocolate-Walnut Shortbread Tart
(From USA Weekend; Pam Anderson)
Serves 12

1/2 c. walnuts, plus 16 walnut halves for garnish
1/2 box (1 sleeve) Lorna Doone cookies
2 T. sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375. Toast walnuts over medium heat in a small skillet, shaking occasionally, about 5 minutes. Mince all but 16 halves in food processor, then add the cookies and sugar and process til finely ground. Drizzle in butter; pulse until just incorporated. Transfer mixture to an 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom; tamp crumbs into pan bottom and up the sides. Bake until fragrant and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

1-1/2 c. heavy cream
12 oz. semi- or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
3/4 tsp. instant espresso or coffee

Place cream, chocolate and espresso in a 1-quart microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high power until cream is not and chocolate has started to melt, about 3 minutes. Then stir until remaining chocolate is thoroughly incorporated. Pour into shell and refrigerate until firm or for up to a day ahead. No more than 2 hours before serving, bring tart to room temperature. Garnish with walnut halves, slice and serve.

NOTES: First note - I LOVED this! And everyone else seemed to also.

I don't like coffee at all or anything flavored with coffee, so I substituted cinnamon. Wasn't sure how much to use and could have used more. I didn't measure, just sprinkled and I think next time I would try 1/2 tsp. Also, before I poured the filling in the crust, I sprinkled cinnamon sugar over the crust, again not very much, but every now and then I got a taste of that and it was nummy.

I didn't use walnut halves for garnish - didn't halve that many halves and served it with whipped cream beside each piece, not on top, and everyone liked that real well.

Also, I don't have a food processor so minced the nuts in my mini mincer and then broke up the cookies and ground them in the mini mincer too. Put it all in a bowl, and then stirred in the butter with a fork.

And, final note - I just used a 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips. And I didn't do a full 3 minutes on my microwave.

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