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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Champagne Chicken

Champagne Chicken

This is not your average chicken dish. It may look fairly ordinary in the photos but this chicken is particularly royal. Drenched in a champagne mushroom sauce, it’s fit for a King…or a special occasion such as New Years. I would recommend making this with leftover champagne after new years but for many of us, “leftover” champagne is usually non-existent. In this case, get the party started early by opening that bottle while cooking new years eve dinner and toast to the chef.

This recipe comes from “The Art of Good Cooking” and can easily be halved. Sparkling wine may also be substituted for the champagne, making it a bit more the budget friendly. The chicken is actually cooked in the champagne (or wine) sauce, absorbing its sweet fruity tones. Mushrooms are added and the sauce is then thickened further with egg yolk and cream (substitute half and half if you would like). And since it wouldn’t be a Paula Peck dish without fresh parsley – the sauce is finished with chopped fresh parsley as well as tarragon. Simple yet deliciously rich, this chicken is the perfect side- kick for that champagne toast. Happy New Year!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
6 chicken legs, skinned
6 chicken thighs, skinned
1/2 cup chopped shallots
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
salt and pepper
2 cups champagne or sparkling wine (approximately)
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced and sauteed 2 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

Melt butter in a broad heavy pan over medium heat. Add chicken legs and thighs and sauté slowly, turning frequently, until chicken loses its pink color on the outside. Add shallots and continue to sauté until they are soft. Remove chicken and keep warm.

Stir flour into pan. Cook for a few minutes over low heat, stirring constantly. Add dried tarragon, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and whisk in champagne. Return chicken to sauce. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes, until chicken is just tender and juices run clear when pierced with a fork. Remove chicken pieces to a platter and keep warm.

Add sauteed, sliced mushrooms to sauce. If sauce seems thin, raise heat to reduce it a little, while stirring, being careful not to scorch the sauce. Remove from heat.

Whisk cream and egg yolks together. Stir this mixture into sauce. Replace over low heat, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens a little more. Add tarragon and half the parsley. Taste for seasoning and pour over chicken.

Adapted from “The Art of Good Cooking,” by Paula Peck.

 

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