Happy New Year, everyone! I'm not big on making New Year's resolutions, are you? I don't really like to make them because then I feel like a failure when I don't follow through ... which is usually the case. Instead, I like to set up little project goals for myself at the start of the new year ... things I'd like to get to ... but that I won't stress out about if I don't.
Like my "30 for 2012" Project - 30 recipes I've picked out to make in 2012 (click on the link or scroll to the bottom of this post to see the entire list). Last year my project list included 50 recipes, and I only got through about half of them. So, I decided to scale the list back for this year. Thirty should be doable!
And guess what?! I've already done one of the recipes on the "30 for 2012" Project list! ... this rich-and-delicious Chocolate Almond Flourless Cake. I'm so proud of myself for already tackling one of my project goals.
Chocolate flourless cake is one of those desserts that I've always seen on restaurant menus, but had never attempted myself. I don't know why ... I just hadn't. So, I decided to put it on "my list" this year.
One of my other goals this year is to incorporate more whole grain baking into my line-up. Mark and I switched over to all whole grains in our pastas and other store-bought goods a few years ago, but I haven't really made great strides in incorporating whole grains into my personal baking yet. So, I've decided this is one of my project goals for this year ... more whole-grain baking ... not a resolution, mind you (remember, I don't make resolutions) ... just a goal. And since you use finely ground nuts in this cake and no flour, this cake counts as whole grain!
Start this cake by finely grinding some almonds in a food processor. Or, if you are able to purchase almond meal in your local store, use that. I totally had some almond meal from Trader Joe's in my freezer and completely forgot about it until after I had already ground up my almonds. Oh well.
|Finely ground almonds serve as the "flour" for this cake|
Combine the ground almonds with melted semi-sweet chocolate (yum!), some sugar, egg yolks, sour cream, and a few other things ...
|Semi-sweet chocolate & other good stuff|
... and then gently fold in some beaten egg whites.
|In go the egg whites ... be gentle|
Bake it up in a springform pan, and you'll end up with a rich-and-delicious cake with a texture reminiscent of a light, fluffy brownie. Mmm, mmm, it's good. Do be aware though, you'll "feel" the almond pieces when you're eating this.
|Yummy rich chocolate cake|
The cake will rise up quite a bit while it's in the oven, but then fall drastically once removed from the heat. It'll be only about 1 or 2 inches thick once it falls. It's supposed to be like that.
|This is how thick the cake is once it's fallen|
|An adorned slice|
|Digging in during the photo shoot|
Chocolate Almond Flourless Cake
Source: Adapted from Prevention Healthy Cooking: Lose Weight the Smart Low-Carb Way's Chocolate Hazelnut Flourless Cake
2 T. butter
3 T. unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
1/2 c. almonds, ground (or a little bit less than a 1/2 cup of almond meal)
8 T. sugar, divided
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 c. reduced-fat sour cream
2 egg yolks
1 T. amaretto
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
5 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp. salt
Fresh raspberries, slivered almonds, and powdered sugar for garnish
1. Generously coat an 8" or 9" springform pan with about 2 teaspoons of the butter and dust with 1 tablespoon of the cocoa powder. Do not tap out the excess cocoa powder - leave it in the bottom of of the pan.
2. In a food processor, process the almonds with 1 tablespoon of the sugar until very finely ground. (If using almond meal, you can omit this step. Use just a little bit less than a 1/2 cup of the almond meal.)
3. In a small saucepan over very low heat, or in the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate and remaining better, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat and place the chocolate mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add the almond mixture, sour cream, egg yolks, amaretto, vanilla, cinnamon, 5 tablespoons of sugar, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Stir until well blended.
4. In another large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer on high speed to beat the egg whites and salt until foamy. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, beating until the egg whites make stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted.
5. Stir 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten the chocolate batter. Then, gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. The cake is done when it has risen, is dry on the top, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with just a few moist crumbs. As the cake cools, it will fall to be about 1" to 2" thick.
7. Loosen the edges of the cake with a knife and remove the springform pan sides. Serve each slice with a dusting of powdered sugar, a few raspberries, and a sprinkling of slivered almonds.
Here's my "30 for 2012" Project list... 30 recipes I'd like to make by the end of the year.
Stay tuned for posts about the ones that turn out okay. And I'll update this list on my "30 for 2012" Project tab with post links as I work through them.
1. Mango Salsa
2. Spinach Cheese Swirls
3. Chocolate Chip "Puffins" (Pumpkin muffins, get it??)
5. Honey-Whole Wheat Biscuits
6. Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Waffles
7. Sourdough Bread (Oh my! This one scares me!!)
8. Caramel-Rum Squares
9. Coffee Thumbprint Cookies
10. Salted Cashew-Crunch Cookies
11. Barefoot Contessa Coconut Cupcakes
12. Neopolitan Cupcakes
13. Persimmon Cupcakes & Frosting (With wild persimmons from my mother-in-law's farm - yum.)
14. Baked Bananas with Rum Sauce
15. Chocolate Almond Flourless Cake
16. Coconut Pie
17. Fudge Pie with Peanut Butter Cookie Crust
18. Maple-Brown Sugar Pudding Cake
19. Shoo Fly Pie
20. Whole Wheat Gingerbread
21. Crab, Shrimp, & Wild Rice Casserole
22. Kiwifruit & Pineapple Marinated Chicken
23. Green Bean, Walnut, & Feta Cheese Salad
24. Mushroom Gouda Chowder
25. Stovetop Chicken Lasagna Soup
26. White Corn & Rosemary Soup
27. Dill Pickles (canned ... I've never canned before. I'm a little bit scared.)
28. Mashed Squash Casserole
29. Sauteed Cabbage
30. Sherried Fruit Bake