chocolate walnut cinnamon torte

Greetings from the Maine woods (I love saying that!),
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This is my first post since I’ve started cooking at Little Lyford Lodge. I’m still with the Appalachian Mountain Club, but have traveled a few miles down the road to be the head cook over here. I’ve been settling in quite nicely here at Little Lyford. I was a bit worried that after loafing around at home for a month I might be a little rusty coming back, but the opposite occurred. The month at home allowed me the chance to recharge my batteries, and I came back swinging. It feels like I have more energy than ever and have happily been flipping classics like blueberry pancakes; while coming up with spins on others, like banana battered french toast. Dinners have included new creations like southwestern fish cakes, and of course the classic anytime chicken. I’ve also been baking bread like it’s my job (oh wait, it is!).
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In between I’ve been exploring the new area. When I arrived and left the Maine woods back in December and March respectively, they were covered in snow. Snow was all I knew! When I returned at the beginning of May the snow was gone, for the most part. When I was cooking at Gorman Chairback Lodge, I’d make breakfast for the guests and then on my break cross-country ski over to Little Lyford for lunch,  before skiing back in time to fix dinner. As much as I liked that and snowshoeing, I am happy to be able to just go for a walk without a winter jacket. I’ve discovered ponds, and mountains, and a few unexpected things along the way.
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My days have gone quickly since I’ve been up here; between pots of strong coffee and zucchini basil muffins for breakfast, venturing up Indian Mountain, kneading dough for eight loaves of bread, browning butter, canoeing, making a soufflé for the first time (a corn one to go along with chimichurri roast turkey), hearing a bittern’s gutteral call rattle from the pond, and many other meals and adventures, I’ve only just realized that if I don’t start writing about it this season will pass me by like the last with only a few peeps posted here and there. So here is the first peep about chocolate, in hopefully a string of peeps.
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One of my favorite desserts to come out of my kitchen is this Chocolate Walnut Cinnamon Torte. Several people have asked for the recipe, and I finally took the time the other day to write it down. I make it relatively often up here, and it just happens to be gluten-free. The original is scribbled on a chocolate stained 2 x 2 scrap of paper with little explanation, and I tinker with it each time I make it. I’ve dusted it with powdered sugar, dressed it up with chocolate ganache, birthday’ed it up by layering whipped cream between two cakes and then topping it with more chocolate ganache. In those iterations I made it with almonds, but this is by far my favorite one. The toasted walnuts add depth to the chocolate flavor, and the small slump that occurs in the cake as it cools begs to be filled with whipped cream and more walnuts. I wrote the recipe out at the request of a young guest, and when I handed it to her she exclaimed, “It’s HANDWRITTEN!” Her excitement made me smile. So I hope you don’t mind, but in the spirit of her exuberance at receiving it, here is a copy of those very pages.
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Handwritten recipes and many adventures to you,
Amy

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