We just finished the coldest Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on record here in New York City so that means it’s now officially the holiday season and COLD. I haven’t posted in just about 2 years but something about this fall meets winter time of year gets me in the baking and sharing mood. So to break my hiatus, I’m sharing these easy yet crave-worthy super soft Chocolate Stuffed Almond Cookies.
Cookies are probably the easiest dessert to bake and share with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and really anyone during the holiday season. They are the classic go-to for festive baking and it seems very few people will turn down a good cookie. Even that friend that’s constantly on some new healthy diet will make an exception and at least break off a little piece of one. Then there are those of us who have a hard time stopping at 2 or 3 cookies, especially ones that contain gooey chocolate and almond paste, a taste commonly associated with Marzipan this time of year. The almond paste makes these chewy delights just festive enough to pass as holiday cookies but not so festive that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy a batch whenever you please.
You’re probably more accustomed to seeing marzipan in the shape of fruits or maybe occasionally stuffed in chocolate, especially in Germany or perhaps Belgium. But these Chocolate Stuffed Almond Cookies offer a fluffy chewy texture that is often lacking in plain sugary marzipan sweets. Fresh out of the oven, these have that same lovely almond flavor associated with marzipan, but a more balanced sweetness and light almost cake-like exterior that hides a gooey chocolate surprise.
Happy Cookie Baking! And Eating!
Chocolate Stuffed Almond Cookies
5 ounces almond paste
½ cup butter, softened (1 stick)
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 oz of your favorite Dark Chocolate (recommended: Dove)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Break or chop the almond paste up into small pieces. Mix the almond paste with the butter in a large mixing bowl until combined.
Add sugars and mix until creamy. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Add to the butter sugar mixture and stir until just combined.
Chill 15-30 minutes. Meanwhile break the chocolate into roughly ¾-1 inch pieces.
Take a heaping spoonful of dough and flatten in the center. Place a piece of chocolate in the center of the dough ball and fold the dough over the top to completely cover the chocolate. Place onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are just turning golden brown on the edges and just starting to turn golden on top but still appear soft.
Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Serve warm!
Makes about 1 dozen
Looking for a great charity to donate to this season? Check out Cookies for Kids Cancer
Thanksgiving is almost here and what better way to celebrate than with Maple Bourbon Crème Brulee. It may sound fancy, and taste fancy, but this perfect party dessert is much easier to make than it looks. Maple syrup and bourbon whiskey are the two key ingredients here. The sweet and subtle flavors add just enough complexity to make this crème brulee standout in any crowd of desserts.
People often find French desserts intimidating and sometimes old fashioned. Souffles, Crème Brulee, Pot de Crème, Tart Tatin are just a few that often sound more sophisticated and difficult than they actually are. Many of these desserts utilize classic techniques that allow for creative modern twists. Crème Brulee is just a baked cream mixture but the caramelized/brulee top provides a slight bitterness that compliments the sweet cream. This brulee or caramelization is often the scariest part about re-creating this restaurant favorite at home, but a top broiler or culinary torch makes it super simple. So fear not! This fancy French dessert is at your fingertips (quite literally).
Although I’ve posted about Crème Brulee previously, this recipe is very loosely adapted from “Baking,” by Dorie Greenspan. It’s unusual that I post two recipes in a row that are adapted from the same cookbook but I’ve been diving into this 500 page all-encompassing baking book and fresh ideas keep coming. Maple and bourbon are such comforting fall flavors, I couldn’t resist pairing them with the rich heavy crème.
I mentioned that this is a great autumn party or holiday dessert. But I should also note that this is a wonderful dessert to make if you’re home alone, stressed, sad, or just need a sweet pick-me-up to finish the day. Just halve this recipe to make around 3 servings and caramelize the sugar on each crème as you’re ready to eat it (this is a little easier to do with a culinary torch). Voila! Maple Bourbon Crème Brulee is a dessert worth enjoying with friends, alone or just because.
Maple Bourbon Creme Brûlée
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¼ cup whole milk
4 egg yolks
½ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoons fine granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Place molds on a baking sheet with 1-inch high sides.
Bring the cream and milk just to a boil.
In a 1 or 2 quart glass measuring cup or in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, maple syrup, vanilla, and bourbon until well blended but not airy. Still whisking, drizzle in about one quarter of the hot liquid – this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the cream and milk. Give the bowl a good rap against the counter to d-bubble the custard, then strain it into the baking dishes.
Using hot water from the tap, pour enough water into the baking sheet to reach halfway up the sides of the molds.
Bake the custards for 40 minutes, or until the centers are set – tap the sides of the dishes, and the custards should hold firm. Lift the dishes onto a cooling rack and let the custards cool until they reach room temperature.
Cover each custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably longer. For the sugar to be successfully caramelized, the custards need to be thoroughly chilled.
When ready to serve, Place the molds on a clean baking sheet. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the sugar over the top of the custards. It is important to spread the sugar evenly. Torch or place under broiler until sugar is caramelized. Serve immediately.
Happy Fall! I should explain why I haven’t posted in almost 6 months but instead of boring you with excuses of being busy, starting a new job, and visiting China, lets just move on to the good stuff: these tasty Pumpkin Banana Cream Pie Bars with Marshmallow Topping. Sound like a mouthful? It sure is.
The onset of Spring usually means time to make carrot cake. Unfortunately, I don’t always have the time to make my favorite traditional carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (hoping to get the recipe up here soon). So in a pinch, I made these quick carrot cake cookie bites. They aren’t exactly the same as the cake but still have the familiar carrot and cinnamon flavors and an icing drizzle adds a similar cream cheese frosting sweetness.
Traditional Irish soda bread just got a lot more fun with this hidden shamrock version. I’m not even Irish nor do I join in the festivities of St. Patricks day but this peek-a-boo pound cake soda bread is a reason to celebrate.
I had to wiki Irish Soda Bread because I wasn’t aware of it’s history or why we see it every year in grocery stores and bakeries around St. Patricks Day. There doesn’t seem to be any specific relationship between soda bread and St. Patricks Day other than being Irish. It seems Soda bread is just one of the most famous Irish specialties so what better time to eat it than an Irish holiday. Of course, Classic Irish Soda bread is now even more fun with this hidden burst of green shamrock.