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Posts Tagged ‘almond’

Hello my dear readers! I hope all is well with you. I’m sorry that I haven’t been active on my blog for over a year. I have been shifting my time heavily towards my family, kids especially and their schools (from 0–>100% involvement), and thus I had to set aside my blog temporarily.

To make up for my negligence is this toffee that I just tried for holiday treats. I am not into sweets typically but toffee with dark chocolate is an exception! My whole family actually love it. This recipe I found on the web is pretty easy to follow– they even have a quick video of making it.

Here’s some tips for success~ Heavy saucepan, cook to temperature 315 degree, stir occasionally, medium heat.  About the temperature, I tried it at 285 degree as suggested by the website, but found my toffee was not brittle enough with a bit of chewiness stick to my teeth. So I increased to 315 degree (by chance!), and the nrittle texture is just right for me. Now toffee is definitely on my holiday treats and giveaway list.

Merry Christmas to you and your family, and may your holiday season filled with love, warmth and peace!

Toffee with Dark Chocolate and

Toffee with Dark Chocolate and Almonds

Dark Chocolate Covered Toffee (adapted from AllRecipes.com: Best Toffee Ever- Super Easy)

Ingredients:

2 cups unsalted butter– cut into pieces
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
15 oz (1 1/2 package) bittersweet chocolate chips
3 cups finely chopped almonds– toasted

Method:

  1. Put butter, sugar and salt in a heavy saucepan at medium heat. Stir in one direction until butter melts. Bring it to a boil. Cook until the mixture turns dark amber color, and candy thermometer reads 315°F. Stir occasionally.
  2. While the toffee is cooking, line a large baking pan (18 x 13 x 1 inch) with parchment paper. Leave some overhang parchment paper on both ends for easy lifting toffee later. Sprinkle 1 cup of chopped almonds on the parchment paper.
  3. When the toffee reaches 315°F, pour onto lined baking pan. Carefully spread to an even layer, covering all the chopped almonds on the pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips over toffee, wait 1-2 minutes for chocolate to melt. Spread chocolate into a thin layer with a spatula.
  4. Sprinkle chopped almonds over chocolate, press in gently with a spatula or hand.
  5. Chill toffee in the fridge until it is firmed. Break or cut into pieces. Store in air tight container.
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I meant to make this cookies for Chinese New Year, but didn’t get to it until now. This was my first time making it, and they turned out pretty good. The mixing part was pretty easy, although spreading the batter to a thin layer took a little time. The cookies aren’t too sweet, and the toasted coconut flakes on the top added some coconut flavor to the cookies. Next time I make it, I want to coat the bottom with some dark chocolate sauce… yum!

Almond Crisps-- The thinner the crisper. Mine are about 2-3 cm thick.

Almond Crisps– The thinner the crisper. Mine are about 2-3 mm thick.

Almond Crisps (makes about 120 pieces)

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter– softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 egg whites
2 cups flour
1/2 salt
6 oz (about 2 cups) sliced almonds

crumbled toasted coconut flakes for sprinkle

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 335°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla extract and egg whites, mix to blend well. Sift in flour and salt, mix well. Stir in sliced almonds.
  3. Scoop some batter (about 1/2 tbsp for each cookies, leave some space between each) onto lined baking sheet. Use the back of the spoon to spread the batter to a thin layer (about 2-3 cm thick). Sprinkle some toasted coconut flakes on the top.
  4. Bake at preheated oven for 10-13 minutes (depending on the thickness of the cookies). Remove from the oven and cool completely on rack. Store cookies in air tight container.

Regina’s Note:

  • If the bottom of almond crisps is still a little soft, return to the oven and bake a little further.
Almond Crisps-- bottom side is golden brown.

Almond Crisps– bottom side is golden brown.

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Almond (Ice Box) Cookies

Almond (Ice Box) Cookies

I learned this super easy quick cookies from my friend Angela. It has very few ingredients and no tools is needed other than your hands, which means you just clean the bowl afterwards– That’s IT!! Better yet, the dough can be made ahead of time and chilled until ready to bake (I tried chilling mine 2 days in the fridge but you can freeze it for a longer life). Although the look is not as fancy as cut-out cookies, but ice box cookies really save lots of time and none of the dough goes to waste! The flavor is rich, buttery and yet fluffy at the same time… what a perfect match with a cup of tea!  If I were having a tea party, this irresistible cookies is definitely on my menu.

Almond Cookies Recipe (makes 40 pcs)

Ingredients:
8 oz (2 sticks) butter at room temperature
1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup ground almond (orig. recipe calls for 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Method:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, add butter and vanilla extract. Use both hands to rub butter into flour mixture to form a dough (do not knead!). Shape the dough into cylinder, wrap up and chill in the fridge to harden. (This will make it easier to slice the cookie dough and also prevent the cookies from spreading out too much during baking. Alternatively you can use cookie cutter to cut out the dough).
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Unwrap cookie dough and slice into 1/4 inch thickness. (Feel free to brush egg wash or make impression on the top). Line on cookie tray and bake for 20-22 minutes, or until lightly brown. Leave cookies in tray for 2 minutes before transferring onto cooling rack. Store in air tight container.

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Tarte aux Noix

Tarte aux Noix

Yes, I made this again with some changes–  increasing ingredients portions to1.5 times of original recipe to fit my tart pan. I also remembered to toast the ground almond this time; it does make a difference. I found the tart tastes much better the next day with the rum adding depth to the flavor.

Tarte aux Noix Recipe (makes 1 tart of 9.5 inch diameter)

Ingredients:

Tart shell:
1 cup cake flour
5 tbsp ground almond (with skin)– toasted
3 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp unsalted butter (room temp.)
2 tbsp beaten egg (see note below in almond cream ingredients)

Almond cream:
2 tbsp cake flour
1 cup ground almond(with skin)– toasted
1/2 cup brown sugar
9 tbsp unsalted butter (room temp.)
1 1/2 beaten egg (I beated 2 eggs in a bowl, scooped 2 tbsp for tart shell and used the remaining for almond cream)

4-5 tbsp raisin– soaked in rum, drained but keep the rum
4-5 tbsp chopped walnuts– toasted
2 tbsp rum (I used the ones that I soaked the raisin with)
extra almond flakes to sprinkle on top

apricot jam for glazing

Method:

Make tart shell:

  1. Combine cake flour and ground almond then set aside. Using a whisk, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Slowly add beaten egg, whisk to combine.
  2. Sift in 1/3 of flour mixture. Using a spatula gently mix the flour on the top, then press down the flour to the bottom of the bowl to combine. Repeat with the remaining flour in 2 batches. When all mixture starts to form a dough, take it out and shape it to a ball with both hands (avoid kneading the dough!).
  3. Put the round dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, roll it out large enough to fit tart pan. Remove plastic wrap and transfer the dough to tart pan and fold inwards any extra dough so all sides have same thickness.
  4. Brush the edge with egg wash, prick the bottom of tart and blind bake at preheated 350°F oven for about 15 minutes. Cool the tart in the tart pan.

Make Tarte aux Noix:

  1. Cream butter and brown sugar with a whisk until fluffy. Slowly add beaten egg and whisk to combine.
  2. Add ground almond. Using a spatula, mix until all incorporated. Sift in cake flour and mix gently until just combined.
  3. Add raisin, walnuts and rum and mix gently.
  4. Pour filling into baked tart shell. Smooth the surface and sprinkle almond flakes on the top.
  5. Bake at preheated 350°F oven for 40 minutes until almond cream is nicely browned. Cool in the pan on the rack. When completely cool, glaze tart with apricot jam.

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Tarte aux Noix

Tarte aux Noix

I searched tarte aux noix online but couldn’t find out much about it because a lot of search results show the websites are not written in English. All I know is that it is a French tart. A lot of pictures online shows the tart is made with walnuts, but the recipe I followed uses almonds. Maybe there are several versions of tarte aux noix??…

Anyway, this recipe is from one of my cookbook titled “Oishiixtu!! Yakikashi” by Ikuko Omori (mine is Chinese version). When I was making the tart shell, I made a boo boo: I thought all tart pans are pretty much standard size, it’s only until I rolled out the dough that I realized my tart pan is quite larger than the suggested 18cm diameter by the recipe. Since the dough could barely cover the bottom of my large tart pan, I opted to use 2 small personal size tart pans instead. Next time when I make it again, I will increase the original recipe portion by 1.5. One thing worth mentioning: the tart shell recipe is very easy and doesn’t require chilling at all, and yet it is crispy and full of almond flavor even the next day. I think I might keep it as my default tart shell recipe.

Tarte aux Noix

Tarte aux Noix

Tarte aux Noix Recipe (makes 1 tart of 18cm diameter, or 2 small personal tarts)

Ingredients:

Tart shell:
2/3 cup cake flour
3 tbsp ground almond (with skin)– toasted
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter (room temp.)
1 tbsp beaten egg

Almond cream:
1 tbsp cake flour
2/3 cup ground almond(with skin)– toasted
1/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter (room temp.)
1 beaten egg

2 tbsp raisin– soaked in rum, drained
2 tbsp chopped walnuts– toasted
1 tbsp rum
extra almond flakes to sprinkle on top

apricot jam for glazing (I didn’t have apricot jam, so I brushed the tart with remaining beaten egg from tart shell before baking)

Method:

Make tart shell:

  1. Combine cake flour and ground almond then set aside. Using a whisk, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Slowly add beaten egg, whisk to combine.
  2. Sift in 1/3 of flour mixture. Using a spatula gently mix the flour on the top, then press down the flour to the bottom of the bowl to combine. Repeat with the remaining flour in 2 batches. When all mixture starts to form a dough, take it out and shape it to a ball with both hands (avoid kneading the dough!).
  3. Put the round dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, roll it out large enough to fit tart pan. Remove plastic wrap and transfer the dough to tart pan and fold inwards any extra dough so all sides have same thickness.
  4. Brush the edge with egg wash, prick the bottom and side of tart and blind bake at preheated 350°F oven for 10-12 minutes. Cool the tart in the tart pan.

Make Tarte aux Noix:

  1. Cream butter and brown sugar with a whisk until fluffy. Slowly add beaten egg and whisk to combine.
  2. Add ground almond. Using a spatula, mix until all incorporated. Sift in cake flour and mix gently until just combined.
  3. Add raisin, walnuts and rum and mix gently.
  4. Pour filling into baked tart shell. Smooth the surface and sprinkle almond flakes on the top. (I brushed the top with remaining egg wash before baking since I don’t have apricot jam for glazing)
  5. Bake at preheated 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes until almond cream is nicely browned. Cool in the pan on the rack. When completely cool, glaze tart with apricot jam.

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