Just in time for the holidays, we’ve put together three recipes to help inspire a memorable gathering– a deceptively elegant chocolate almond cake, the kind of yeast bread Grandma would make and a buttery shortbread bar. More than ever this year, we’re looking for ways to celebrate the season in a simple manner. Whether you’re pressed for time or can cook at a leisurely pace, we hope you will enjoy these recipes. (Don’t forget to check our web site for cookie classics like Almond Horns and Pignoli Cookies.)
Wishing you the very best this holiday season and in the New Year.
FROM OUR RECIPE BOX – Torta Caprese – Chocolate Almond Cake
From the Island of Capri comes this almond and chocolate cake. Today it is a regional specialty at bakeries such as Scaturcchio, the most famous bakery in Naples, Italy. There the batter is perfumed with a secret mixture of flavorings including saffron-tinted Strega liqueur. This simple yet elegant cake makes the ideal ending for a celebratory meal, whether at a holiday dinner or a New Year’s brunch. It mixes up beautifully when the butter is soft and all the ingredients are measured ahead. Once baked, the cake freezes well. Use good quality bittersweet chocolate with at least a 60% cocoa content. (We like Green and Black’s Organic Dark 70% Chocolate.) The liqueur or flavorings are optional, added to give the cake an evocative flavor.
For the Torta Caprese Recipe, click HERE.
HEIRLOOM RECIPE – Poppyseed Pinwheel Bread
Here’s a warm poppy-filled yeast bread that brings back memories for those who grew up eating such pastries made at home or in the corner bakeshop. Making yeast dough at home is not the challenge it once was. Instant yeast, sold in grocery stores nationwide, allows you to add the yeast directly to the dry ingredients; there’s no need to moisten the yeast before mixing. And this soft dough is forgiving and rolls out easily.
We’ve flavored the Love’n Bake™ Poppyseed Filling with a little vanilla but grated orange or lemon rind would be an equally delicious compliment. The pinwheel roll adds a flourish to the loaf when sliced but this recipe works as well rolled into one simple log. Once the dough is baked and cooled, it can be wrapped and frozen to be served when needed.
For the Poppyseed Pinwheel Bread Recipe, click HERE.
COOKIE EXCHANGE – Chocolate Cherry Frangipane Bars
Our contribution to this year’s Cookie Exchange is a bar cookie layered with fragrant almond aromas. The bottom is a layer of crumbly shortbread. Kosher salt, which dissolves less readily in this dough, add a pleasant contrast to the sweet Almond Schmear and chocolate topping. Be creative with what goes on last. Butterscotch or white chocolate chips would work well. And any sort of diced candied fruit – orange rind, currants or apricots – would work well. We use roasted, salted almonds to enhance the range of almond flavors in this simple yet sophisticated cookie.
For the Chocolate Cherry Frangipane Bars Recipe, click HERE.