Janet's Notebook
Going Nuts for Sweet Almond Desserts!

Chewy Chocolate Almond Cookies

Once upon a time in a land far, far away I had a kringle. And not just any kringle, but the most deliciously creamy almond kringle ever made. These traditional Scandinavian pastries are a delicacy in the northern part of the US. With layers of flaky pastry and a variety of sweet fillings, I have long been trying to recreate that perfect bite from so many years ago.

Well, imagine my pleasure when I came across Heather Sturdivan's delightful Creamy Almond Bars! Their subtle almond flavor is wonderfully reminiscent of that long ago kringle... and a million times easier to make at home. "A lady at my church made these for snacks for the VBS leaders last summer and I fell head-over-heels for them!" says Heather, of Turlock, CA. "They are amazing! So sweet and creamy, they just melt in your mouth!" Heather even suggests going beyond almond and getting creative with flavors, if you are so inclined. Try using lemon extract or butterscotch flavoring for a wholly different take on these delicious bars.

And speaking of flavor, we simply must discuss Heather Stepniewski's Chewy Chocolate Almond Cookies. Rolled in sugar to form the most delicate crystalline crust, this Nashville, TN cook's almond-infused cookies are truly something to write home about... and they are made without using a lick of flour! "These cookies are gluten free but who needs to know?" laughs Heather. "Everybody will enjoy these." So how does Heather get such a great, chewy texture without using white flour? The secret is the almonds themselves! When ground down they add heft and moisture while also adding richness. (Using almond flour is another great option.) Deliciously brilliant!

Looking for even more chocolate? Treat your almonds to a dip in a fun candy recipe! Freda Gable of Vancouver, WA has been sweetening up her table for nearly half a century with her favorite Almond Joy Candy recipe. "I have had this recipe for over 40 years," explains Freda. "I got it from a long time friend, Peggy. We raised our children together. We always got together and made tons of goodies and we'd split them between the families. Those were the days." Now that is true joy... wonderful memories of friends coming together in the kitchen. My family and I have enjoyed making this recipe as well. It's great for getting the whole gang in on the act. Simply combine sweetened condensed milk, coconut and almonds, then give them a dunk in some beautiful melted chocolate. You'll be munching (and smiling!) in no time.

And lest you be deterred by any twinge of food guilt, I bring you Joanne Bellezza-Loughlin's guilt-free(ish) Chocolate Nut Cranberry Clusters! "I love chocolate," says the Bridgewater, NJ gal. "But I try to eat it in moderation and I stick to dark chocolate. These clusters are made with dark chocolate, walnuts and Craisins... but you can really use any nut and dried fruit combination. I like to think of them as a guilt free sweet." It's even easier to feel good about these sweeties when you substitute almonds for the walnuts! Not only are they chock full of nutrients, but they also contain the "good" fat that has been said to help lower cholesterol! And while these delicious chocolate-enrobed clusters aren't exactly what I'd call medicinal, they are most definitely a sure-fire prescription for a good mood. I recommend taking two, three times a day... with food, of course.

As you can see, almonds are terrifically versatile! Whether you use them to add flavor to decadent cookies or as a crunchy addition to silky chocolate, these nutty beauties are worth going nuts for indeed. Sprinkle them into your favorite recipe and then come back and share the scoop! I can't wait to hear what you've got cookin'...

More Stories... Subscribe to RSS

Bonnie ^O^ - Nov 5, 2011
Post it, Ruby! It sounds wonderful!
Ruby Stogsdill - Nov 5, 2011
I have a 'too good to be true' sweet almond brownie. I got the recipe from my sister about 40 years ago and it is a favorite of my family and anyone who tries it. My son makes it for all the potlucks at his work and it is requested each year.They are called Swedish Brownies.
Theresa Begin - Oct 3, 2011
Just curious, what kind of Baking Powder are you using?
Gwyn Guinn - Oct 2, 2011
My Mother use to make a cake with a chocolate cake with chocolate icing.She would put Black Walnuts and Black walnut flavoring in the cake and on the icing and decorate it with red cherries on the top. The cake mix also had coffee instead of water. She called it a Joe Bailey Cake. Has anyone ever heard of it?
It is sooooooo good. I tried to find the black walnut flavoring and it is very expensive, and if I would use it a lot, it would be worth it!!
Blondie Pussycat - Sep 29, 2011
Janet, you can make anything sound delish. You have lots of talent, and I'm glad you share it here in JAP! ;^)
Jamie Fletcher - Sep 29, 2011
Substitutes (for 1 teaspoon of baking powder): Combine 5/8 teaspoon cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda OR Combine two parts cream of tartar plus one part baking soda plus one part cornstarch OR Add ¼ teaspoon baking soda to dry ingredients and ½ cup buttermilk or yogurt or sour milk to wet ingredients. Decrease another liquid in the recipe by ½ cup. OR Add ¼ teaspoon baking soda to dry ingredients and ¼ cup molasses to wet ingredients. Decrease another liquid in the recipe by 2 tablespoons. OR 1 teaspoon baker’s ammonia (This yields a very light, airy product, but can impart an ammonia flavor to baked goods. It's best used in cookies, which are flat enough to allow the ammonia odor to dissipate during cooking.)
Jamie Fletcher - Sep 29, 2011
Nancy- I sent you a message not realizing that I could post on here about the baking powder hopefully it will help :)
Bonnie ^O^ - Sep 29, 2011
Your family just has a sensitive palate. People are different. I can understand how difficult that can be because my husband is spice intolerant, and my search for a red enchilada sauce that he can tolerate seems to be nonexistent. I have made countless red sauce recipes to no avail.

Golly, I do remember that Saccharin taste, too! I had forgot about that.... I would have it in my mouth for hours later!

Maybe experimenting with some baked goods with yeast instead of baking powder might be an answer, too. At any rate, if I run across something that you might be able to use as a substitute, I will send it to you. Happy Cooking!
Nancy Still - Sep 29, 2011
To Bonnie Dare: Yes, I've heard some artificial sweeteners do leave a bitter taste when using them in recipes. No, I have not thought of using biscuit mixes. I do not think tho, that biscuit mixes would work too well in a cake. If I am baking a cake,I don't use the recipe most of the time for cakes just because it calls for baking powder.Unless it is a tried and true recipe that I, personally, have eaten a piece of. Then I know without wasting my ingredients that it is ok. IF I think it's good, then I know my children and everybody will like it. I can't stand it.(baking powder)I have never used artificial sweeteners,but I bet if I did, my kids would hit the ceiling.Their claim to fame is that they can taste it in everything.. I just laugh and go on.IF they were diabetics they would get use to it. I remember when I was not a diabetic and I used artificial sweeteners, I just never complained.I might not have liked it if I did taste the bitter taste in it, lets just say in tea.. I just said, heck and went on. I think it is just not wanting to be patient alot of times.. I grew up when things were pretty hard to come by and our mother did not cater to our every whim. My mother used Saccharin in her tea up until the day she passed away. I sat down and drank it and never said a word.IT was just too much trouble for my mother to make sweet tea just for me. Adapting on to others and their lifestyles might not be what we always want, but I can put up with anything fora short while. I have just told my children at times, there is always water !!! LOL.. they will go get them some water.. FINE.. Adapt, correct, and go..
Bonnie ^O^ - Sep 29, 2011
Nancy, how do you feel about biscuit mix? Does it give you the same kind of reaction in baked goods? If not, there are some wonderful baked goods that can be made from the mix. I suspect it is the same kind of reaction that some people have to Splenda sweetner. Some say it gives them a terrible after taste when they use it.
Nancy Still - Sep 28, 2011
If I use baking powder, I usually use baking soda. It's always when using PLAIN flour. However, in going over some recipes in here today, I HAVE, just today, found some recipes with just baking powder. Strange. Nothing rises if you don't use one or both of them tho in plain flour. I just always use self rising unless it's in a recipe like a pound cake.I have a recipe,(pound cake) that just calls for baking soda however. I have good luck with that recipe. It just taste so bad with baking powder. I guess this family is a "WE DON'T USE BAKING "POWDER" family.
Teresa Webb - Sep 28, 2011
I always use the same amount of SR Flour as Plain Flour...I;m not much on adding baking powder and baking soda to flour when you can buy SR that already has it in it. Are you adding baking soda to your mixes as well as the baking powder? They go hand in hand,but I don't know why. Salt id usually in that mix also.
Nancy Still - Sep 28, 2011
HI there everyone.. I have a little problem. I've always noted that when I used baking powder, I can bet that whatever it is used in that it will be bitter. I presented this question to a very good cook and all that she could tell me was that it made things rise, but could not tell me why it has a bitter taste. I refuse to use it in my baking. It ruins everything I've baked with it in it. My children will not eat it either. First time, many,many years ago when I first started cooking.. almost 40 years ago, I used baking powder for my first time. I threw away that can and went and bought another can of it.. thinking that it would be different.. but it was not. Can anyone enlighten me on the chemistry in this stuff.. other than it makes things rise?? I have noticed, a bakery of a very big store chain that we all love, uses baking powder in their cakes. A birthday party we attended got ruined by the fact that it was baking powder in it.. everybody started complaining about how bad the cake tasted. Then I was at another party and the same thing happened again, both cakes bought at different times, by two different people, saying that this store was responsible for it. SO, I know it is not my baking powder, or anyone else's.. Baking powder is the pits for me and my house.. Does anyone have anything to offer me in ways of how much self rising flour to use instead of plain when substituting this factor into the question of why does baking powder make everything we bake,, have a bitter, sour taste.. just wondering.. nancy s.
Paula Gallaher - Sep 27, 2011
Lori, I lived there for 20 yrs & worked at North Shore Bank a long time. Love being back home in Oklahoma but, loved the kringle.
Lori Miller - Sep 27, 2011
I can't wait to try them. I live near O&H Bakery in Racine WI and their almond kringle is my favorite!