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Modica's Chocolate Cookies

Makes 5-1/2 dozen
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Ingredients

PASTRY DOUGH

3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2  cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1/2  cup Crisco or lard

1  large egg, lightly beaten with a fork

1/2  cup Marsala wine

2  tablespoons water

FILLING

1 1/2  cups sliced almonds

3 1/2  ounce bar bitter (85%) dark chocolate

1  teaspoon cinnamon

1/8   teaspoon salt

1  cup sugar

1  tablespoon grated lemon zest

1/4  pound lean, very finely ground veal

2  large egg whites

Confectioners’ sugar

Directions

PASTRY DOUGH

Add the flour, sugar, salt and Crisco or lard to the bowl of a food processor and pulse three or four times.  Add the egg through the feed tube with the 1/2  cup of Marsala wine and process until a ball of dough begins to form; add the water and continue processing.  If the mixture seems dry, add additional water until the dough is moist but not sticky and holds together when squeezed between your fingers.  Wrap the dough and refrigerate it for an hour

FILLING

Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and grind them until fine but not powdery.  Transfer the almonds to a bowl.

Break up the chocolate and add it to the food processor and process until the chocolate is in small pieces.  Transfer it to the bowl with the almonds.  Add the cinnamon, salt, sugar and lemon zest to the almond mixture and stir to combine.  Set aside.

Cook the meat in a medium size non-stick sauté pan until it turns gray.  Transfer the meat to a food processor and pulse until it is very fine.  Return the meat to the sauté pan.

Add the almond mixture to the meat and cook over low heat just until the chocolate begins to melt and the mixture is well coated with the chocolate.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form; fold the egg whites into the cooled almond and meat mixture until well blended and the mixture looks shiny.  Set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE THE COOKIES

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Roll dough out to a thickness of about 1/8th inch.  Use a 3-1/2 inch round cookie cutter to cut circles.  Place a generous tablespoon of the filling in the center of each round.  Moisten the edges with a little water.  Fold in half to make a turnover and pinch the edges closed.  Place the cookies on parchment lined baking sheets.  Use a scissors to make a slit in the center of each one.

Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool completely and dust the tops with confectioner sugar.

This recipe is featured on show 2811 – Modica’s Cookie Secret.

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