Showing posts with label almonds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label almonds. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Chewy Almond Macaroons #CreativeCookieExchange

Chewy almond macaroons are super simple to make, delicious to eat, and beautiful on a platter for your tea party, brunch or shower. Made with whipped egg whites, they are simultaneously fluffy and chewy.

Food Lust People Love: Made with whipped egg whites and ground almonds, chewy almond macaroons are simultaneously fluffy and chewy. You can't eat just one!

If you ever make a custard dessert, like banana cream pie, that calls for only egg yolks, make sure to save the egg whites in an airtight container in your refrigerator. They are perfect for these macaroons!

This recipe is easy since, aside from whipping the eggs, the whole thing mixes in the food processor. I had them made, start to finish in under half an hour. Seriously. They are chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside and even a non-sweet lover like me couldn’t stop at just one. There is no higher accolade.

4 egg whites
8 oz or 225g ground almonds
10 oz or 280g sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
About 24-30 roasted, unsalted almonds

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C. Line your cookie sheet with a piece of parchment. I usually put a small shot of cooking spray between the parchment and the cookie sheet to help the parchment stop sliding around as you move the tray from counter top to oven. Learned that little trick the hard way. It wasn’t pretty.

Beat your egg whites with a whisk until they are nice and frothy.

Put your ground almonds in the food processor and add in one quarter of the egg whites. Eyeball it. No need to measure. Process it for a count of 10-ish.

Now add half of your sugar. Process again until thoroughly mixed. Scrape the sides down if necessary.

Add another quarter of the egg whites. Process again.

Now add the rest of the sugar. Process again.

The original recipe I was almost following said you should be able to form balls out of the dough so you should add just enough of the remaining egg white to get ball-making consistency. But, I’m telling you, this stuff was sticky and I could see that making balls would be an enormous mess.

So, I added enough egg whites to make the dough the consistency of a very thick butter cream icing, that is to say, one that would hold its shape but could still be put in a piping bag to be squeezed out of a large cake decorating tip. (I suppose you could also drop spoonfuls on to your cookie tray. They wouldn't be as pretty but they sure would taste the same.)

If you think that piping sounds like a good idea, add another 1/4 of the egg whites. Process again.

Add in the baking powder and pinch of salt. Process again.

Only you can judge so if you need to add the last quarter of the egg whites. I threw it away.
On your parchment covered cookie sheet, just squeeze out a circle of dough and then fill it in, finishing with a nice point in the middle.

Top each macaroon with a roasted almond.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden on the bottoms and around the top. You do not want them to dry out. The smell of baking almonds is heavenly.

Cool on a wire rack, although I defy anyone not to eat one warm. Can’t be done.

Chewy, moist, delicious. No kidding.

My kitchen helper. That's his intent look, following the macaroon from my plate to my mouth.
And no, I did not give him one. He got a puppy treat instead.

This month my Creative Cookie Exchange group is making meringues, or indeed any cookie that calls for whipped egg whites! Many thanks to Felice from All That's Left Are The Crumbs for handling the behind-the-scenes work this month. Check out all the lovely meringue-ish cookies we've baked for you! Yeah, okay, so mine are the only ones not named Meringue. I'm okay with that.

Creative Cookie Exchange is hosted by Laura of The Spiced Life. We get together once a month to bake cookies with a common theme or ingredient so Creative Cookie Exchange is a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts at The Spiced Life. We post the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

Pin it!

Food Lust People Love: Made with whipped egg whites and ground almonds, chewy almond macaroons are simultaneously fluffy and chewy. You can't eat just one!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Almond Pear Bread Pudding #BundtBakers

This Almond Pear Bread Pudding is a delightful twist on traditional pudding, made with thinly sliced crunchy pears and sweet almond croissants.

I’m just gonna put this out there. I don’t like pears. It’s not so much the flavor, which is nice, but the texture. Why would I eat gritty fruit when there is so much I can eat that isn’t gritty? When our Bundt Bakers host for this month proposed pears for our theme/ingredients, I groaned quietly to myself. Pears!

This was a job for The Flavour Thesaurus, (<affiliate link) a handy little book I got for Christmas last year. I flipped to Pears and there in the first paragraph, it said “Pear and Almond: A natural couple: classy and restrained. Save them from an excess of tastefulness by making an unctuous pear and almond croissant pudding.”

What a splendid idea! As you all probably know, almond croissants were originally created as a way for French bakers to offload day-old croissants by filling them with sweet almond paste, topping them with sliced almonds and syrup and baking them again. Which also makes them perfect for making bread pudding, a creation traditionally made from day old (or older) bread.

Here’s what I discovered after baking this almond pear bread pudding.
1. I like cooked pears!
2. Pears and almonds are a natural couple.
3. I should have chosen a different Bundt pan in which to bake it. The swirly pan seemed to trap all the buttered almond slices in the little edges. Next time, I’m going to use my classic Bundt pan with the nice even, open curves and I suggest you do the same.
4. My husband's colleagues love almond pear bread pudding. I send food in with him All The Time. This bread pudding was the first time he forwarded me two emails thanking me!

4 large almond croissants
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup or 200g sugar
1 cup or 240ml whole milk
1 cup or 240ml whipping cream
5 small Coscia pears – about 12 3/4 oz or 365g whole - or sub your favorite pear
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

To prepare pan:
Light coating of butter or shortening applied with pastry brush
4 tablespoons melted cooled butter
1/4 cup or 20g finely sliced almonds

Slice the croissants in about 1 inch or 2 cm pieces.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your eggs and vanilla. Add in the cup of sugar and whisk again until the sugar starts to dissolve and the eggs lighten in color and get a bit frothy.

Add in the milk and cream and whisk again.

Add the sliced croissants to the egg bowl and push them down into the liquid.

Core and slice your pears thinly. Unless the peels are tough, there’s no need to remove them. A melon baller makes the coring much easier, if you have one.

Toss the sliced pears in a bowl with the 2 tablespoons of sugar, salt and Amaretto. Set aside.

Prepare your Bundt pan – preferably one without many nooks and crannies – by using a pastry brush to coat the inside with butter or vegetable shortening.

Drizzle the melted, cooled butter all over the pan and sprinkle in the thinly sliced almonds. Set aside.

Give the croissant bowl a gentle stir and add the pear slices to the top. Cover with cling film and put in the refrigerator for at least one hour to give the croissants more time to soak up the sweet egg mixture.

When your hour is about up, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Stir the pudding to mix in the pears. Spoon the pudding into the prepared pan. Butter the shiny side of a piece of foil and cover the Bundt pan tightly with it, buttered side down.

Put your prepared Bundt pan in a larger deep pan and fill the bottom pan halfway up with water.

Bake for 2 hours, checking occasionally and adding more water to the bottom pan, if necessary.

After 2 hours, remove from the oven and remove the foil. Return the Bundt pan to the oven, uncovered, without the pan underneath. Bake for another 30 minutes.

The almond pear bread pudding will puff up beautifully, high above the edge of the Bundt pan, but then will slowly sink back down as it cools.

Leave to cool for about 10 or 15 minutes on a wire rack. Use a non-stick surface safe spatula to loosen the bread pudding from the pan. If bits stick inside your pan, just scrape them off and sprinkle them back on top of the pudding.

Serve warm with a generous pour of thick cream. With a little more amaretto on the side, perhaps.


Many thanks to our host, Lauren of Sew You Think You Can Cook both for her behind-the-scenes work this month and for pushing me into realizing that I do like pears after all.

Check out all the other pear Bundts our Bundt Bakers are sharing this month:

Bundt Bakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the Bundt Bakers home page.

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Almond Raspberry Cake #FoodieExtravaganza

This almond raspberry cake has the most tender crumb imaginable, created by the perfect marriage of ground almonds and flour, plus plenty of butter. It goes great with a cup of tea or coffee as a mid morning snack but would be just sweet enough for dessert as well.

This month my Foodie Extravaganza group is serving up coffeecake along with our wonderful host Caroline of Caroline’s Cooking and we’ve got some beauties for you. The definition of coffeecake is broad but to me it usually means a one layer cake that is not super sweet. It wouldn’t be frosted, although a light sprinkling of powdered sugar or a simple glaze would be just fine. But, hey, I’m willing to be flexible, as long as a slice pairs well with a cup of coffee or tea.

Make sure you scroll on down to see the other wonderful coffeecakes we’ve baked for you today.

1 1/4 cups or 180g ground almonds
3/4 cup or 180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup or 180g sugar
1 1/2 cups or 180g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 3/4 oz or 360g raspberries

To decorate: 1-2 tablespoon demerara sugar - optional
To serve: Icing or powdered sugar - optional

Note: If you use metric measures, the amounts are ridiculously easy to remember. Then change out the berries for a fruit of the season or of your choice.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Spray your baking pan with non-stick baking spray or line the bottom with some baking parchment. Mine is 8 in or 20cm across.

Cut your butter into chunks then place all the ingredients except the raspberries in a mixer and mix till just combined.

Set aside a small handful of the raspberries and carefully fold the rest through the batter trying not to break them up too much. It’s an almost impossible task but try. You want speckles of pink, not homogeneous color.

Scrape the thick batter into your prepared pan and spread it around evenly.

Poke your reserved berries into the top of the batter. If you are sprinkling with demerara sugar, now's the time to do that.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes. Check it at around 25 minutes and cover it with foil if it is getting too brown.

Remove from the oven, cool slightly then loosen the edges with a knife and turn out onto a serving plate.

Serve warm or cold, sprinkled with powdered sugar, if you chose that option. With a hot cup of your favorite brew.


Pour yourself a cup and have a slice of these:

Foodie Extravaganza celebrates obscure food holidays or shares recipes with the same ingredient or theme every month.

Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook group Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you!

If you're a reader looking for delicious recipes, check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out here.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Gingerbread Biscotti #CreativeCookieExchange

All the spicy flavors of gingerbread, ramped up a notch or two with the addition of chewy crystallized ginger and crunchy toasted almonds, are represented in these very dunk-able biscotti, decorated with the requisite royal icing. They are perfect to enjoy on a winter morning with a hot cup of something special, or to wrap up as gifts. 

When my girls were growing up and we neared Christmas on the calendar – we lived far too near the equator for the other usual harbingers of the season like falling leaves or a nip in the air – I often baked gingerbread for their after school snacks. And we always made some gingerbread men together as a weekend project, decorating them lavishly with royal icing. The smell as the gingerbread bakes is heavenly!

Yes, somehow gingerbread and the Christmas season just go together. How could I resist turning gingerbread into biscotti for this month’s Creative Cookie Exchange? And don't forget, being twice baked and crunchy, biscotti are very good travelers, in case you need a homemade gift for someone far away.

Many thanks to Laura from The Spiced Life for organizing us each month and for coming up with this great theme!

This recipe is adapted from one at Christmas Cookies.

Ingredients for about 55-60 biscotti
For the biscotti dough:
1 cup or 150g almonds, blanched
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
1/2 cup or 113g butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup or 120ml dark molasses
3 eggs
3 cups or 375g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 75g candied ginger, coarsely chopped

For the royal icing:
1 1/2 cups or 190g icing sugar
1 egg white (Do not serve raw unpasteurized eggs to persons with compromised immune systems.)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and line two cookies sheets with baking parchment or silicone baking mats.

Toast your almonds for about 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven using a small baking pan where they can fit in one layer. Keep an eye on the almonds and shake or stir the pan at about the five-minute mark to make sure they aren’t scorching on one side. You are looking for a nice golden color.

Let the almonds cool, chop them very coarsely, and set aside. Turn your oven temperature down to 300°F or 149°C.

In large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugar, butter and molasses until smooth.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Your batter may look a little curdled at this point but it's nothing to worry about.

In another mixing bowl, sift together your flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and salt.

Add the candied ginger to the dry ingredient bowl and use your fingers to separate the pieces and coat them with the dry ingredients so they don’t stick together again.

Add in the almonds to the dry bowl and mix well.

Tip the dry ingredients into the egg mixture; mix well to combine. The dough is going to be quite sticky.

Divide your dough up into four equal pieces and wrap each in a large piece of cling film. Use the cling film to shape the dough into four flat loaves, about a 1/2 in or 1 1/4cm thick and 2 inches or 5 1/2 cm wide.

Turn your dough loaves out on to your prepared pans, leaving plenty of room between them for expansion as they bake.

Dampen your hands with water so they won't stick to the dough and to pat the loaves into shape, if necessary.

Bake in your preheated oven until browned at edges and springy to touch, about 25 minutes. Depending on how well your oven circulates, you might need to rotate the pans midway though the baking time so everything gets evenly browned.

Leave the loaves to cool for about 15-20 minutes on the baking sheets.

Remove the loaves to a cutting board and use a serrated bread knife to cut them into long, 1/2-inch or 1 1/4cm thick diagonal slices.

Return the slices to the baking sheets, with one of the cut sides down.

Return to the oven and bake about 15 to 18 minutes longer, turning the biscotti over once halfway through the baking. Once again, rotate the pans if necessary to get an even bake. They should be slightly more brown around the edges.

Transfer biscotti to racks and let cool completely.

To make the royal icing, sift your sugar into a small bowl, then add the pinch of salt, the lemon juice and the egg white. Mix together until smooth.

Spoon the icing into a piping bag and use a small tip to decorate the biscotti.

Serve, or store in an airtight container of up to 1 month; wrap well and freeze for longer storage.

So much gingerbread biscotti! 

Biscotti (or mandelbrot or any other twice baked cookie by any other name) are one of the perfect Holiday tin cookies! They last forever, and there are so many ways to make them festive. So Creative Cookie Exchange has got you covered--sweet, savory, low fat, loaded with decadence, you name it, we’ve got it! Happy Holidays!

Creative Cookie Exchange is  a great resource for cookie recipes! Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). We post together the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

Looking for more gingerbread deliciousness?

Check out my Rich Gingerbread Muffins with Honey Ginger Glaze

Or my Dark Chocolate Gingerbread Muffins. Both perfect for a special tea or breakfast!