Chocolate Stuffed Almond Cookies

Chocolate Stuffed Marzipan Cookies

Chocolate Stuffed Marzipan Cookies

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.

Chocolate Stuffed Almond Cookies

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

1 dozen

Ingredients

5 ounces almond paste
½ cup butter, softened (1 stick)
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 oz of your favorite Dark Chocolate (recommended: Dove)

Instructions

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

Almond Chocolate Cookies

Looking for a great charity to donate to this season? Check out Cookies for Kids Cancer

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Shortbread Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shortbread Bars | ImPECKableeats.com

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shortbread Bars

Chocolate and peanut butter is a recent classic American dessert combination. By recent, I mean it seems to have surged in popularity in the last 10-15 years or so even though the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup was first introduced back in 1928 (per Wikipedia). We just can’t seem to get enough of this perfect pair. Although it existed when the likes of my grandmother, James Beard, Julia Child, and other great American foodies were making their mark, there seem to be few recipes that utilize this mix of sweet chocolate and nutty creamy peanut butter from that time. Perhaps this was due to the emphasis on sophisticated French desserts and the reputation of chocolate and peanut butter as a simple candy combination with little depth or complexity in flavor. Whatever the reason, that lack of old fashioned recipes has delayed my use of this amazing match on this site and I’m happy to finally introduce it in this simple indulgent bar that still includes a blast from the past.

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Mocha Torte

Mocha Torte

Mocha Torte

The holidays are good excuse to eat cake. Personally, I will eat cake anytime anywhere, but for those of us that are a bit more health conscious, an actual reason or occasion maybe required to eat cake. Although fancy holiday flavors like ginger, pumpkin, and apple maybe the more obvious choice – sometimes you just want something rich and chocolaty to finish of that holiday meal. This mocha torte fits the bill. With a layer of apricot preserves, it resembles the famous Viennese Sacher Torte that my grandmother worked so hard to perfect later in her career. However, these cake layers are composed of Paula Peck’s famous genoise and then smothered with a velvety mocha buttercream that is so good it’s hard not to eat by spoonful. And unlike the Sacher Torte, which is finished with a chocolate glaze, this torte is garnished with semi-sweet chocolate discs that melt in your mouth.

You may be thinking that this cake sounds like a lot of work. Afterall, making a cake can be somewhat of daunting task. There are, of course, ways to simplify the process. You can always skip the chocolate rounds and you can even skip the apricot preserves (the chocolate/fruit preserves combination tends to lack in popularity with younger generations these days). No need to worry about pastry bags or making a mess with a piping bag, the cake can simply be frosted with a spatula. The mocha buttercream with its hint of coffee that brings out the chocolate flavor in the moist cake, will speak for itself.

Ingredients:

1 recipe (two 9-inch layers) Chocolate Genoise
1/4 cup cognac (optional)
2/3 cup apricot jam or preserves
1 1/2 cups Speedy Mocha Buttercream
16 thin 2-inch chocolate rounds (recipe follows)

Sprinkle cake layers with cognac, if using. Sandwich them together with apricot jam or preserves. Spread sides and top smoothly with buttercream, reserving some for decoration.

Arrange chocolate rounds next to each other flat against side of torte. Save 3 chocolate rounds to cut into quarters (optional). Set quarters flat in the butter cream around the top of the cake. Decorate the torte with remaining buttercream pressed through a medium star tube.

Chocolate Rounds

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vegetable shortening

Melt chocolate over hot water. Stir in shortening. Spread chocolate thinly on cooky sheet lined with wax paper or parchment paper. Chill in refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes or until chocolate just begins to set.

Cut out rounds using a cookie cutter or the top of a water glass. Place back in refrigerator until chocolate is completely firm. Peel chocolate off paper.

Adapted from “The Art of Find Baking,” by Paula Peck

Mocha Torte Slice

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Crackled Chocolate Drops

Crackled Chocolate Drops

Chocolate Crackled Drops

A simple chocolate cookie can be the perfect crave-worthy treat. Using ingredients you probably already have on hand, these Crackled Chocolate Drops are quick, easy, and best of all chocolaty. I still get excited about making recipes by my grandmother that contain chocolate. With the number of recipes in “The Art of Fine Baking,” the chocolate ones are surprisingly few and far between. Much of her baking from the early 1960’s was European inspired. Classics like Genoise, French-style Fruit Tarts, Strudel, and Danish Pastry allowed little room for chocolate. Also, chocolate with varying degrees of cocoa butter content were not nearly as accessible at the time as they are now. I like to think that as the popularity of chocolate and its availability grew, my grandmother would have eventually come up with a book full of chocolate recipes to die for. Her Brownie recipe has always been a favorite and in my opinion these crackled chocolate cookies aren’t far behind.

The majority of this recipe is just chocolate and ground almonds. The original recipe called for grated almonds, which most of us don’t have time for. If you prefer a lighter, fluffier cookie and your purse strings are a bit looser, you can use Almond flour. The high egg yolk content then keeps the center of the cookie moist and chocolaty. As the smell of melted chocolate and almonds permeates your kitchen, these crackled drop cookies will barely make it out of the oven before they’re half gone.

Ingredients:

8 oz semisweet chocolate
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup ground almonds or almond flour
7/8 cup sifted flour pinch of salt

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Grease and flour a baking sheet (or line with parchment paper).

Melt chocolate over over a double boiler. While chocolate is melting, beat egg yolks and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Stir in melted chocolate, grated almonds, and flour mixed with salt.

Drop or pipe small rounds of batter on prepared cookie sheet, leaving 1 inch between cookies. Bake about 25 minutes, or until cookies are crackled and dry.

Yield: about 30

Adapted from “The Art of Fine Baking,” by Paula Peck.

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Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Ring

Gluten Free Chocolate Almond Cake

Gluten Free Chocolate Almond Cake Ring

Yes, Paula Peck made a gluten-free cake. She may not have realized it since gluten-free diets were unheard of 50 years ago but this cake recipe qualifies for the popular health trend. Ground almonds are used instead of flour, resulting in a nutty texture and nutritious flavor. If it weren’t for the number of eggs (I said it was gluten-free not vegan), and the lovely chocolate whipped cream frosting, this cake could almost pass as healthy. Whipped cream flavored with vanilla extract and cocoa powder makes a surprisingly delicious frosting. It can also be stabilized using gelatin (see whipped cream frosting recipe for Chocolate Velvet Cake). As you can probably tell from the photo, I might have gone a little heavy on this whipped delight – having a little cake with my chocolate whipped cream :)

I’ve been fairly busy with various projects lately so I haven’t been posting or writing as much. I hope to be up to speed soon but wanted to share this past-meets-present quick GF delight.

Ingredients:

6 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely ground almonds or almond flour
7 tablespoons dark, unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
4 tablespoons cognac

Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting
2 cups heavy cream
3-4 tablespoons sugar
3-4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch tube pan.

In a large bowl, stir eggs and sugar together for 1 minute. Set bowl on a saucepan of warm water and heat, stirring constantly. When eggs are warm, beat them until they are cool, fluffy, and tripled in bulk. Beat in vanilla.

Combine ground nuts with cocoa. Sprinkle on top of beaten eggs. Fold in gently, adding the cooled melted butter at the same time. As soon as there is no further trace of butter, pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 50-60 minutes or until top of cake is springy. Let ring cool before removing it from pan. Sprinkle with cognac.

While cake cools, whip heavy cream until thickened. Add sugar, cocoa, and vanilla while continuously beating until cream is stiff. Frost cake liberally.

Adapted from “The Art of Fine Baking,” by Paula Peck.

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