Bittersweet Chocolate

Almond Liqueur Tart

Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Liqueur Tart

November 7: National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

Islander’s brother, Kahuna, discovered Highlander’s stash of dark chocolate-covered almonds in our house and could not resist eating them! He felt so guilty afterwards that he went to the grocery store to replace them before Highlander got home from work. Later, when Highlander wanted to snack on them, he noticed his candy did not taste quite right. They were milk chocolate instead of the darker flavor! As a “peace offering,” Kahuna bought another BIGGER bag of bittersweet chocolate almonds so they can both enjoy them together.

Amused by this incident between her husband and only sibling, Islander made a bittersweet chocolate almond tart when the candies were eaten up. Both Highlander and Kahuna liked it—but still prefer slices of this decadent dessert to be garnished with the dark chocolate-covered almonds.

Those who are nuts about dark chocolate and almonds ought to try the tart version. Bittersweet chocolate almond tart is a terrific treat for National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Raleys)

For the crust

  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar, granulated white
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 1 egg

Directions

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and cocoa powder. Cut in pieces of cold butter with a pastry blender or fork. Stir in the egg until dough is well blended.

Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Liqueur Tart

Press into a 9-inch tart pan (with a removable bottom) on the bottom and sides. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Prick the bottom and sides with the tines of a fork. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Make the filling.

Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Liqueur Tart

For the filling

  • 1 bag (10 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips (we used Ghirardelli brand)
  • 1 container (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 4-6 tablespoons amaretto (almond liqueur)
  • dark chocolate-covered almonds, slivered blanched almonds or whole roasted almonds (optional garnish)

Directions

In a bowl, microwave the bittersweet chocolate chips until melted. Stir until smooth. Cool for about 5 minutes. Fold in the mascarpone cheese. Stir in the amaretto.

Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Liqueur Tart

Smooth the filling into the crust. Refrigerate for at least an hour to set. Push the bottom up to release the tart from the whole pan. Slice and serve. Garnish with dark chocolate-covered almonds, slivered blanched almonds or whole roasted almonds.

Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Liqueur Tart

Notes

  • Slice the tart into small wedges as this is a rich dessert. Servings may also be topped with whipped cream or berries.
  • Search our blog for other recipes containing chocolate and/or almonds.

Amaretto Cupcakes

Amaretto Cupcakes

April 19: National Amaretto Day

A business associate once gave Highlander’s office a bottle of Amaretto as an appreciation gift, but none of his co-workers really drank almond-flavored liqueur. So Highlander took it home and asked if Islander could cook something with it since we don’t imbibe much either. She had found a recipe for Amaretto cake in one of her cookbooks, “The Cake Mix Doctor,” and used the booze in the batter and for the icing on the cake. Highlander then took it to work the next day and everyone was pleasantly surprised with the resulting sweet treat. With such positive feedback, Islander was encouraged to experiment with baking with other liqueurs. Since that very first Amaretto cake—and subsequent Amaretto cupcakes—our pantry has become a stock for spirits. Although it looks like our house can be a bar, we still swear that we aren’t alcoholics!

Recipe

(Adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn)

Amaretto Cupcakes

  • 1 box (18.25 ounces) yellow cake mix (we recommend Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Classic Yellow Cake)
  • 1 package (5.1 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
  • ½ cup water
  • ¾ cup amaretto
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract

Directions

Line muffin tins with cupcake papers.  In a large mixing bowl, put in all the ingredients and blend until the batter is thick and smooth. Pour into the cupcake papers. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting or decorating them. This recipe yields two dozen cupcakes.

Amaretto Cupcakes

Amaretto Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 package (8-ounce) cream cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 to 4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons amaretto

Directions

Beat the butter, cream cheese, salt and almond extract until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar a cup at a time and blend well. Pour in the amaretto and mix until the desired icing consistency is achieved. Frost and decorate the cupcakes. Yield: About 2 dozen.

Amaretto Cream Cheese Frosting

Notes

  • We have never really been in a liquor store until we started baking with booze, and now we look forward to restocking our cocktail collection. We enjoy looking at the fancy bottle designs and trying new liqueurs as ingredients. Search our blog for posts about alcohol-infused recipes.
  • A large, drop flower tip (2D) was used in a “squeeze-twist-lift” motion to decorate the amaretto cupcakes.