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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chocolate Almond Cups



These cookies are a fairly new addition to my holiday cookie tray and have made an appearance for at least four to five years. They have been a great addition since their shape is a little unusual for a cookie and more resemble little tarts.
This recipe was discovered in a Pillsbury soft cover cookbook, the kind that are strategically placed close to the check out counter at most grocery stores.
The price on the corner of the book always catches my attention as it reminds me that at one time these books could be picked up for as low as ninety nine cents.
This particular volume was purchased for the enormous price of one dollar and twenty five cents. Lately I've noticed that a dollar and twenty five cents just might cover the tax on the newer editions available today.
After making these cookies for the first time I realized that it required a little extra patience which made me rethink if they were really necessary to complete my holiday baking.
Over the years I've discovered a little shortcut here and there making the process simpler yet still producing a delicious presentable cookie fit for any assorted cookie tray.

Chocolate Almond Cups

Pastry

1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling

1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
confectioner's sugar for sifting over tops (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease bottoms and sides of miniature muffin cups (1 1/2 inch diameter) or very small tart shells .
  3. In large bowl beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  4. Mix flour and salt together then stir into butter mixture mixing well.
  5. Press rounded teaspoonfuls of dough in bottom and up the sides of prepared pans.
  6. Grind together almonds and chocolate chips ( a food processor will do the job) and set aside.
  7. In a small bowl beat egg and the 1/4 cup of sugar until thick and light coloured then fold in chocolate almond mixture
  8. Place mixture into dough-lined shells being careful not to overfill then bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until filling is set .
  9. Remove from oven and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes then remove from shells and cool on racks.
  10. Lightly sift confectioner's sugar over tops (optional)
  11. Makes about 40 cookies.












Notes, Tips and Suggestions
  • Be sure to use small tart shells or mini muffin tins for dainty cookies, you don't want to make these cookies too large.
  • Make the filling first and place it in the refrigerator before making the pastry. This will allow the filling to firm up a little making it easier to fill the cups.
  • Using a pastry bag and plain round tip to fill the cookies makes the job easier and neater although a teaspoon will also work.
  • These freeze very well.
  • Move over one bite brownies!


The Art of Re-purposing



So what is it? You can be sure that it will not be on the market any time soon and never featured as the gadget of the year.
The recipe for Chocolate Almond Cups originally called for using miniature tart shells of various shapes. This required some patience as the dough had to be pressed into each one evenly before filling.
One day I came across some tiny muffin tins in my pantry for which I had never found any use before. It looked like they just might be able replace the miniature tart shells I was using.
They proved to be a little easier to work with but I still had to press the dough in with my fingers which was very time consuming.
They say necessity is the mother of invention. As I scanned the kitchen for something that might make the task easier, my eyes came in contact with the lid of the cooking spray bottle sitting on the counter.
The rest is history. Just the perfect size for pressing the ball of dough evenly into and up the sides of each little tart even producing a neat little edge to hold in the filling (which by the way had a way of escaping over the sides of the little tart pans.)
Could I ask for anything more? It has since won a place among my most prized gadgets!




Retired Miniature Tart Shells


2 comments:

  1. the best daughter in the worldDecember 20, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    I think these are one of those cookies where I will just sit back and enjoy them in multiple servings knowing full well someone else did the work!

    Pour me a glass of soy-beverage and I'll be eating you out of house and cookie.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very clever, best daughter
    Except for the soy-beverage of course.
    I'll have to hide these away from you in a very good place.
    No samples either!

    ReplyDelete