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CHOCOLATE WEEK: DARK CHOCOLATE LAVA DROPS

There are people -- the author of this recipe newsletter among them -- who feel that dessert is not worth the trouble or calories if it does not involve chocolate. In honor of those people, we offer a week of indulgent chocolate recipes. This one is from a recipe flyer distributed by Land O Lakes butter.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup Land O Lakes butter

3 (1-ounce) squares bittersweet baking chocolate

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

32 dark chocolate kiss-shaped candies, unwrapped

1/2 cup sparkling sanding sugar or sugar

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter and bittersweet chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high (100 percent power), stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth (1 to 2 minutes). Cool 10 minutes.

Add 3/4 cup sugar and egg to melted cooled chocolate mixture; beat at medium speed until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and salt. Continue beating until well mixed.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Press 1 chocolate candy into each ball; form dough around candy to completely cover.

Place 1/2 cup sugar in small bowl; roll balls in sugar. Place 1 inch apart onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet. Serve warm.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Shape cookies; roll in sugar. Place in container with tight-fitting lid. Store at room temperature up to 2 hours or refrigerate until ready to bake.

REHEATING TIP: Place 2 cookies onto microwave-safe plate. Microwave on HIGH (100 percent power) until centers are melted (15 to 30 seconds). Do not over-heat.

Yield: 32 cookies

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