When I was asked to host the We Should Cocoa challenge for May I gladly accepted the offer but when the moment came to announce the challenge I must admit to feeling really nervous about it. I found it quite a struggle choosing an ingredient as I didn’t want to be neither too way out (and put people off) nor too predictable (and put even more people off).
Anyway, luckily I had nothing to worry about and I have to say I was delighted by all the entries I received! THIRTY TWO! YES 32!
There was a little debate about whether Amaretto and Amaretti biscuits actually include almonds. After a little research (the joys of the internet) I discovered that both can be made from either apricot kernels or almonds. That was a relief to me as I had based my recipe around Amaretti biscuits and created an Almond Tiramisu HERE.
I suppose now is a good time to admit to you that I have never made macaroons which seems sacrilege at the moment due to their high profile, bang on trend popularity. It’s not that I don’t want to, I just don’t own a piping bag. So from this you can also deduce that I don’t make fancy cupcakes either! Macarons of the highest order do feature in my round up though, along with cupcakes, cookies, splodges,cakes, bakes and even bread. So here it is……..GET READY ……GET SET…….. WE’RE OFF……..
Lottie from Lottie’s World of Cakes & Bakes made these Chocolate Orange Macarons. Lottie made the macarons in my favourite colour and they were filled with a rich dark chocolate ganache flavoured with orange. She must have known somehow that I have a love of Terry’s chocolate orange!
Janet from The Taste Space made an Almost Guiltless No Bake (Vegan) Chocolate Mousse Pie. Janet has come up with a very low calorie non-dairy type of cheesecake that both looks and sounds delicious. It uses tofu for the mousse layer and raw almonds and dates in the base. This is something new to me and one I shall certainly be trying it out .
Choclette herself entered next with Brown Butter Choc Chip Friands. Brown butter, now featuring in sweet recipes as well as savoury is genius and I can imagine it’s warm nutty flavour working very well indeed. Choclette used buckwheat flour in her friands which makes them gluten free too. Clever thinking!
Suelle at Mainly Baking created some Chocolate Marzipan Tarts. Suelle somehow you must have realised I now adore marzipan after years of disliking it! She filled her pastry cases with a layer of apricot jam, a disc of marzipan and topped it off with a chocolate sponge mix. So heavenly!
Eira at Cookbooks Galore made a Coffee Almond Pavlova. Eira managed to use two types of almond flavouring both in her meringue (almond essence) and as her topping (flaked toasted almonds). Coffee, chocolate and almonds together always a winning combination and love the idea of them paired with a crunchy topped gooey centred meringue!
Helen at Fuss Free Flavours made bread, a Fruit Nut & Chocolate Loaf. Helen used a combination of almonds, raisins and cacao nibs in her bread. I like the fact that the cacao nibs softened and mellowed in the dough and being a bread fanatic I will be kneading a loaf of this as soon as I have ordered myself some cacao nibs. Home made bread happens to be a thing of beauty!
Mel at Sharky Oven Gloves baked some Chocolate Almond Crackle Cookies. I love the way the cookies have a crunchy coated exterior with a soft and fudge middle just like a chocolate truffle. I do think the icing sugar coating looks particularly pretty as do the crackles . A fine idea for a cookie Mel!
Fiona at London Unattached baked Chocolate Cantuccini. I do enjoy a Cantuccini every now and then and while reading Fiona’s post, it reminded me of holidays in Italy eating Cantuccini and drinking Vin Santo, a perfect drink to accompany these chunky nutty Italian biscuits. They are so good. Thanks to Fiona for bringing fond memories back to me!
Jo at ComfortBites cooked up some Chocolate Almond Cupcakes. Jo added both ground almonds and almond extract to her cupcakes but even better, she topped them with rich chocolate ganache AND caramelised almonds. What more could I wish for to indulge my love of almonds!
Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe cooked up a Chocolate Polenta Cake. I happen to be a big fan of the flourless chocolate cake and Johanna’s use of ground almonds and fine polenta must produce a wonderfully dense truffle rich cake. Just perfect with some thick creme fraiche for me on the side!
Hannah at Corner Cottage Bakery made Chocolate Almond Swirl Rolls. Hannah may well be on her honeymoon at the moment as she has just got married! Amazingly she still managed to post these gorgeous almond swirl rolls based on a bread dough recipe with added flaked almonds and grated dark chocolate. These would be something I could just fancy eating for breakfast at the weekend, with lots of butter and maybe a smidge of Nutella!
Lora at Diary of a Hausfrau churned up her own White Chocolate Marzipan Ice Cream. Lora made her own almond paste and then used it to create this amazing ice cream. She added little nuggets to the churning mixture which is something I may well try with my own new ice cream maker. Especially as I adore Marzipan and white chocolate!
Nazima at Working London Mummy cooked a Chocolate Almond & Banana Traybake. I too love using banana in cake recipes mainly because of the lightness and longer lasting freshness they seem to bring to a cake. She also added cinnamon and cardamom to her cake and I always approve of using spices in cakes and often find it hard to resist!
Fleur at HomeMade By Fleur created a Toblerone Inspired Dinner Party Dessert. I love the way Fleur took a chocolate bar that she loves and turned it into a spectacular dessert that would wow any guest. I love the way she decorated each piece with almonds and the triangular shape to emphasise the Toblerone influence. So imaginative, I now need to have a dinner party myself in order to try it!
Dave at Baking Beats baked Chocolate Macarons. I am amazed that this was Dave’s first attempt. Judging by his photos he made a damn fine effort with these tricky little numbers and I imagine he will be making many more. I love the crunchy outer shell giving way to a soft centre. Keep baking them Dave, you are a natural!
James from Chocolate Recipes made Chocolate Macaroons. These are something I have often made before but usually the coconut version. James uses rice paper in his macaroon recipe which really reminds me of my childhood and how I used to love going to the local bakery to buy these macaroons and would always peel off the rice paper and eat it first. His post is packed full of historical Macaroon references too, a mini history lesson full of interesting facts!
Nat at The Hungry Hinny created a Chocolate Almond & Pear Crostata. I can just imagine how a crisp chocolate pastry shell filled with almond paste and pears and topped off with a chocolatey topping must taste. And that is truly delightful. Nat said the crostata was very rich but I know I would be more than capable of over indulging with this sweet tart!
Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen baked up some Dark Chocolate Macarons. Janice also had not made macaroons before and set to the challenge along with Sue from A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate. Janice excelled at mastering the dark art of macarons but she said that sadly Sue did not succeed. I do hope you keep trying and am so impressed by your macaron “feet” Janice!!
Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker made Gluten Free Millionaire’s Shortbread. I used to eat tons of this particular sweet treat mainly for the caramel layer. I am partial to any form of caramel even now and a gluten free version made by Ros looks irresistible to me. In her base she used a mixture of ground almonds and polenta. I bet this combination would also make a great shortbread biscuit. Like Ros, I also struggle ,when making this, to cut it into neat squares. Apparently a hot knife does the trick. Thanks for the tip!
Kit at Lost in Austen created Cinnamon Poached Pears With Almond Cake & Melting Chocolate. Kit has created such a beautiful dessert here by firstly poaching the pears and then baking them in ramekins surrounded by the almond cake. She then tops them off once they are cooked with a melted chocolate sauce. I have not baked mini cakes in ramekins before but now I most certainly will be doing so!
Flour von Sponge made Raspberry & Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Almond Meringue. This is such an impressive cake and one to make for someone you love. It has many components to it that work very well together. Chocolate chiffon sponge followed by a raspberry chiffon sponge. A layer of raspberry cream all topped off with an almond meringue made with dark muscovado sugar. An idea I love so much because muscovado sugar is so good I could eat it by the spoonful!
Dom from Belleau Kitchen baked some Chocolate & Almond Splodges. I know I will love these simply because the name is inspired and perfectly judged. Dom splodged the part macaroon , part cookie mixture onto the baking tray and I guess the name stuck! I love the idea of brushing them with honey once they are out of the oven. It makes so much sense Dom!
Sarah at SarahBakes made Hersheys Almond Kiss Cookies. These are such a clever idea. Sarah made her cookie dough, baked it and then added the Hershey’s Kisses once they were baked which melted the chocolate slightly. Now I am not the biggest fan of Hershey chocolate but I think I would love them like this. Sarah may try Rolos or Milky Way Stars next time around. I may try them with giant chocolate buttons!
Chris form Cooking Around The World baked a Chocolate Marzipan Cake. Chris baked a wonderful chocolate cake but even better than that, he covered it in Marzipan. He even added Amaretto to the Marzipan which makes me very happy indeed. An acquired taste but one that I embrace wholeheartedly!
Caroline from Cakes Crumbs and Cooking baked Chocolate Peanut Butter & Jam Cupcakes. What, I hear you say. That wasn’t the brief! Hey listen, Caroline can’t eat almonds so she entered with a nutty sub(stitute). I like her style. Peanut butter & Jam in a cupcake is absolutely fine by me. In fact, I love the idea. They were topped with melted Dairy Milk chocolate. Another guilty pleasure of mine. But, because the chosen ingredient was almonds I am going to pretend they are Chocolate Almond Butter Cupcakes!
Maggie at Kitchen Delights made a Chocolate Cake with Apricot and Amaretto Filling.This is a cake that is taken to another level by it’s apricot and Amaretto filling. Now, I don’t even need to ask if the Amaretto is made from apricot kernels or almonds here as the cake mixture features ground almonds. So, it definitely has the nuttiness and it looks completely divine!
Juliet at Crazy Gypsy Chronicles made a Chocolate Frangipane Pie. Juliet filled a baked pastry shell with two tone frangipane and swirled the two flavours to create a kind of marled frangipane pie. She was making the dessert to share with good friends and I wish I had been there to share in the pie too, especially if it was served with some Amaretto cream!
Jean at Baking in Franglais baked a Spanish Chocolate Cake. Jean based her recipe upon a Spanish cake using olive oil, almonds and orange which are most certainly flavours that I associate with Spain. She also added some cocoa powder and made this scrumptious looking loaf cake that would be absolutely perfect to take on a picnic. It also happens to keep well but I doubt that it would last very long in our house!
Alicia at Foodycat whipped up a Mocha Almond Semifreddo. This is pretty awesome indeed. The semifreddo is an ice cream based dessert that doesn’t require an ice cream maker. It gets set in the freezer in a container. Alicia’s contains coffee Amaretti biscuits alongside a chocolate fudge ripple. WoW! It is topped with more of the fudge ripple plus whole almonds for added crunch. I love this choca mocha delight ALOT!
Debby at Cooking Up A Storm In A Teacup baked some Almond Amaretti Pistachio Biscuits. Such a fantastic array of ingredients in Debby’s recipe including agave syrup, spelt flour and Pasta Gianduja. To you and me that is an Italian hazelnut spread made by none other than the Ferrero family, creators of the infamous Christmas choccies. I need to get some, bet it must be addictive stuff and Debby suggests sandwiching the biscuits together using this chocolate spread. I like your style Debby!
Lucy at The Kitchen Maid baked some Double Chocolate & Almond Cookies. They have two types of almonds. Flaked and scorched, which are new to me. Scorched are roasted almonds coated in chocolate and apparently quite a typical Antipodean thing. Apparently they turn into a molten mass when baked and must be gooey not to mention scrummy!
Jen at Ne-Quidem-Sed-Etiam made Choc Chip Almond & Crystallised Mango Cookies. She is studying hard at the moment but decided to have some friends round for tea and these are what she baked. I have not seen crystallised mango before but bet it is wonderful especially in combination with the chocolate chips and orange extract. Good luck with your studies Jen!
Thanks so much for making so many wonderful entries to We Should Cocoa this month and I look forward to seeing you al again in June’s round up with Choclette.