28 December 2010

TWD December Rewind: 15 Minute Magic Chocolate Amaretti Torte

In case it was not obvious from my post yesterday, I didn't travel for the holidays this year.  A very small number of off days, plus a 15-hour-away family, plus emergency repairs on the Cloudmobile, plus somewhat distressing news about my graduate school situation meant that I stayed put at Thanksgiving and at Christmas.

It was mostly cold, and totally quiet, but I stayed busy this week:

I finished the two baby quilts.

I started laying out a crib duvet cover, and finished tying and attached binding to a little boy quilt.

I cranked out burp cloths and bibs.

And because I am at bottom a Selfish Seamstress, I also cut blocks to make myself a quilt for my bed:

But I did take a break from all of that to fix myself a proper dinner of sorts on Christmas.  The one nice thing about not doing Family Christmas is that you can really make yourself WHATEVER you actually want for dinner.  I'm pretty sure there has been at least one holiday when I happily had grilled pimiento cheese sandwiches for dinner.  In any case, this year there was fondue and my selection for our TWD rewind post: a lovely dessert, made by the group in April 2009 (before I joined) with an slightly unfortunate title that makes it sound like something made of Dream Whip and Ritz Crackers and Campbell's Soup. 

It does not contain any of those things.  Mind you, I'm no food snob, and I have eaten my share of processed stuff (I've already mentioned my love for Kraft Singles in certain items) and will continue to do so without complaint if you want to feed it to me.  But I usually figure if I am gonna cook I might as well cook.  This dessert actually only includes one pre-prepared item: amaretti cookies.  I had no idea what they were, but hey, I'm in central New Jersey, with an Italian bakery next door (!) and two Italian markets within 5 minutes' drive.  Finding them was not hard (it's hard to find non-Italian "ethnic" foods around here). Deciding which brand to get was hard, but finally I just went for the pretty box with the ribbon on it.  I've got simple tastes.

The "15-minute magic" portion comes from the fact that being a classic torte, this cake has very few ingredients, mostly relying on ground nuts (almonds in this case) with eggs, butter, and chocolate.  And everything is blitzed together in the food processor and then slapped in the oven.

The resulting batter was very thick and filled my 2" pan to about 1.5 inches deep.  Dorie said the cake would be "very thin," but mine wasn't.  (I wonder if I used too many cookies?  Having never seen them I just assumed the ones I used were "mini"--they were only about 2" in diameter--and used all 16 in the box.)

Once it cooled, I made the glaze.  I was a little surprised by how thin the glaze was;  I had to put it in the fridge to get it to thicken a little, and even then it wasn't the consistency I expected.  I might add less water next time, or use a different recipe.

I forgot to save a cookie to decorate with, so I added more almonds (Can never have too many!)  and gold dragees because, well, 'tis the season:

I don't usually get very excited about chocolate things, but OMG I LOVE THIS CAKE.  I don't think my processor chopped the almonds quite enough (will likely use almond flour next time) but I DO NOT CARE.  It is chewy almondy chocolatey goodness--not too sweet, not too bitter, not too fudgy, not overly iced.   A perfect easy and fast Christmas dessert that only required me to purchase one item!

I hope we will have more rewinds in the future.  I really enjoy them, especially as someone who was kind of a latecomer to the group and who now works 9-5...gives a nice chance to catch up.  


Maura said...

I love all your sewing/quilting projects! where did you get the backing fabric on that triangles quilt (looks like little animals...)... so cute!!! and just everything! ps. it is never bad to make things for yourself. all that work! I mean, I think I keep most of what I make. You are just extra generous, saintly even, if you choose to share the talent and effort. :)

cindy said...

I have yet to make this cake--it does look yummy. You have been busy! I hope to quilt more this year.

Karen said...

I remember this being one of my favorite recipes. The little cookies are the best! :) Love your quilts up there! They are so pretty!

Becky said...

I thought this was a very good recipe too.

Wow...you've been busy. Very cute projects!

Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

Man, you've been busy! :) Love all your projects and the cake, too! It was wonderful the first time I made it!

Jess said...

I made this one too - but mine was not as elegant as yours! Glad you liked it - it certainly was easy enough. Lovely quilts, too!

miss kate said...

Thanks everyone! I suspect I will be less busy when I am no longer watching football all day every Sunday :-) That gives me an excuse to sit in front of the ironing board or sewing machine or on the couch binding quilts for hours at a time.

Maura: I used that same fabric for both quilts and a blanket-in-progress. It's a flannel print I picked up off the clearance table at JoAnn a few months ago, and yes, it is mega ultra cute! I will be sure to remind my sister of my saintliness when I ship all this stuff off to her. :-)


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