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08.09.

Secret Recipes: Breadsticks From Olive Garden

Ingredients:
For the Dough:
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour,plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons unsalted butter,softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fine salt

For the Topping:
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter,melted
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• Pinch of dried oregano

Directions:
Make the dough: Place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a mixer; sprinkle in the yeast and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, butter, sugar, fine salt and 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water; mix with the paddle attachment until a slightly sticky dough forms, 5 minutes.

Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until very smooth and soft, 3 minutes. Roll into a 2-foot-long log; cut into 16 1 1/2-inch-long pieces. Knead each piece slightly and shape into a 7-inch-long breadstick; arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make the topping: Brush the breadsticks with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt with the garlic powder and oregano. Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with the flavored salt.

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07.23.

Secret Recipes: Molten Chocolate Cake From Chili’s

Ingredients:
For the Cakes:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 tablespoons melted, 4 tablespoons at room temperature)
1/2 cup natural (not Dutch-process) cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Fillings and Toppings:
• 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
• Caramel sauce, for drizzling
• 1 pint vanilla ice cream

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make the cakes: Brush four 1 1/4-cup brioche molds (or use 10-ounce ramekins or jumbo muffin cups) with the 2 tablespoons melted butter. Dust the molds with cocoa powder and tap out the excess.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Bring the milk and 3/4 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat; set aside.

Combine the vegetable oil, 4 tablespoons room-temperature butter and the sugar in a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl and beater as needed. Add 1/2 cup cocoa powder and the vanilla; beat 1 minute on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl. Add 1 egg and beat 1 minute on medium-low speed, then add the remaining egg and beat 1 more minute.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the flour mixture, then the hot milk mixture. Finish mixing the batter with a rubber spatula until combined. Divide the batter evenly among the molds, filling each slightly more than three-quarters of the way.

Transfer the molds to a baking sheet and bake until the tops of the cakes are domed and the centers are just barely set, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack; let the cakes cool until they pull away from the molds, about 30 minutes.

How To Assemble the Cake:
Make the Filling: Microwave the chocolate, cream, butter and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring each time, until the chocolate starts to melt, 1 minute, 30 seconds. Let sit 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Reheat before using, if necessary.

Use the tip of a paring knife to gently loosen the cakes from the molds, then invert the cakes onto a cutting board.

Use the knife to cut a 1 1/2-inch circle on the top of each cake, cutting almost to the bottom.

Hollow out the cake with a spoon; save the scraps. Wrap the cakes with plastic wrap and microwave until steaming, 1 minute.

Drizzle plates with caramel, then unwrap the cakes and place on top. Pour about 3 tablespoons filling into each cake.

Plug the hole with a cake scrap. Save or discard any remaining scraps.

Top each cake with a scoop of ice cream. Spoon more chocolate sauce on top, spreading it thin so it hardens into a shell.

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07.17.

Secret Recipes: Maple-Butter Blondies From Applebee’s

Ingredients
For the Blondies:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature,
plus more for the pan
1 cup walnut pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
6 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks

For the Topping:
• 1/3 cup maple syrup
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1/4 cup heavy cream
• Vanilla ice cream, for serving
• 1/2 cup walnut pieces

Directions:
Make the blondies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter the foil. Pulse 1/2 cup walnuts in a food processor until almost fine (do not overprocess). Whisk the ground nuts, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat 10 tablespoons butter and the brown sugar with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the vanilla. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the white chocolate and the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake until the blondies are light brown around the edges and spring back when pressed, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly on a rack.

Meanwhile, make the topping: Place the maple syrup and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the mixture bubbles and thickens, swirling the pan, about 6 minutes. Add the cream and continue to cook until the mixture is the consistency of caramel.

Use the foil to lift the blondies out of the pan, then cut into large bars. Serve warm topped with ice cream, the maple-butter sauce and the walnuts.

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07.12.

Secret Recipes: Chocolate Mousse Cake From LongHorn Steakhouse

Ingredients
For the cake and mousse:
1 18.25-ounce box devil’s food cake mix (plus required ingredients)
14 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced
1/4 cup strong coffee
10 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups plus 6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold heavy cream

For the shell and sauce:
• 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
• 3/4 cup heavy cream
• 5 tablespoons light corn syrup
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

To serve:
• 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 pint vanilla ice cream

Directions:
Make the cake: Prepare the cake mix as the label directs for a 9-by-13-inch cake. Bake; cool slightly in the pan, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.

Clean out the cake pan and line it with plastic wrap. Cut the cake in half lengthwise, then in thirds crosswise to make 6 rectangles. Using a serrated knife, slice each rectangle in half to make two layers. Arrange half of the pieces snugly in the cake pan. Crumble the remaining pieces and press tightly into 6 small balls; arrange 1 cake ball in the center of each cake rectangle in the pan.

Make the mousse: Heat the chocolate, butter, coffee and 1/4 cup water in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water), stirring, until melted. Remove the bowl from the pan; stir until cool. Reserve the simmering water. Fill a large bowl with ice water.

Whisk the egg yolks, 1 1/2 cups sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a separate large heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and whisk until pale yellow, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the chocolate-coffee mixture and the vanilla and whisk until combined, about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pan and set in the bowl of ice water; whisk until slightly cool but not thick, about 4 minutes.

Beat the egg whites and salt in a bowl with a mixer until foamy. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until almost stiff; gently fold into the chocolate-yolk mixture to make a dark chocolate mousse. Spread 5 cups over the cake and cake balls. Freeze until firm on top, about 30 minutes.

Beat the heavy cream and the remaining 4 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form; fold into the remaining mousse. Remove the cake from the freezer; spread with the light chocolate mousse, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Make the chocolate shell: Stir the chocolate, heavy cream and 4 tablespoons corn syrup in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water) until melted. A spoonful at a time, spread half of the shell mixture over the frozen mousse. Return to the freezer.

Make the chocolate sauce: Add the remaining 1 tablespoon corn syrup and the butter to the remaining chocolate shell mixture. Microwave 30 seconds, then stir until glossy.

To serve the cake, beat the heavy cream with a mixer until foamy. Add the sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Remove the cake from the freezer; invert onto a baking sheet and unmold, then invert again onto a platter, chocolate shell-side up.

Cut the cake in half lengthwise using a warm knife, then cut into thirds crosswise to make 6 rectangles; cut each rectangle in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. Top each triangle with whipped cream, ice cream and the prepared chocolate sauce.

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