Tag Archives: Almond

Blueberry Almond Pound Cake

I found some blueberries at a really good price at my local market, so it was the perfect time to make this Blueberry Almond Pound Cake! If you like blueberries, you will need to try this–it’s so moist, dense, and rich! You can also use frozen blueberries in this cake, but the baking time will be slightly longer. I prefer using fresh blueberries because the frozen berries tend to give the batter a blue-ish color. The almonds and almond extract give this pound cake a really nice flavor and the glaze adds a little extra sweetness. Serve it for dessert at dinner or at a brunch with coffee or tea.

BLUEBERRY ALMOND POUND CAKE by NancyC

Makes one 10″ bundt cake

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) block of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup sliced or coarsely chopped almonds
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed

ALMOND GLAZE

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons Half & Half (light cream), depending on desired consistency
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced or coarsely chopped almonds for garnish (you can lightly toast them if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10″ bundt pan; set aside.

In large bowl, blend butter, cream cheese, almond extract, and sugar until mixture is creamy and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and blend well after each addition.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to creamy mixture and mix well.

Stir in sliced almonds, mixing to evenly distribute in batter and then gently fold in the blueberries and blend evenly into the batter. Spoon batter into prepared bundt pan. Bake 50 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or almost clean (do not overtake, or cake will be dry).

Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan onto a serving plate (you may need to loosen the edges of the cake from the pan a little with a knife). Let cake cool completely.

While cake is cooling, mix the glaze ingredients and after cake cools, drizzle glaze over the cake. Sprinkle the almonds on top. Makes about 8-10 servings.

Have you been enjoying fresh blueberries this summer too? What kind of blueberry baked goods have you been making lately?

Sharing at Meal Plan Monday, Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday. What’s for Dinner Sunday, Happiness is Homemade.

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Peach-Strawberry Salad with Feta

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This fresh and fruity salad was something I discovered at a potluck. I love all the healthy ingredients in it–slices of fresh peaches (or nectarines) and strawberries–with some slivered or sliced almonds added in–all tossed in a slightly sweet-and-tangy vinaigrette. Crumbles of delicious Feta cheese top the salad. It’s a great side dish to enjoy during peach season! I actually like using smooth-skinned nectarines in this salad–you can use either peaches or nectarines, or a combination of both. No fruit-peeling is necessary!

PEACH-STRAWBERRY SALAD WITH FETA slightly adapted from a potluck recipe

Makes about 8 servings

  • 6 peaches or nectarines, sliced or chopped
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups hulled strawberries, sliced or cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup Briannas Blush Wine Vinaigrette (or you can use Balsamic or Raspberry Vinaigrette)
  • 2 ounces crumbled Feta cheese, to top the salad (half of a 4-ounce container)
  • addtional slivered or sliced almonds, to top the salad

Place sliced peaches (or nectarines), sliced strawberries, and almonds in a large bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the ingredients and toss until well-coated. Top everything with the crumbled Feta cheese and additional almonds, if desired. Serve immediately.

The Feta cheese with the fruit is such a great combination! Have you tried out any new fruit salad recipes during this summer season?

Crunchy Honey Almond Granola Bars

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I love those crunchy Nature Valley Granola Bars, so I thought this would be a good recipe to try. It originated from Americas’s Test Kitchen, but I actually found these granola bars on Bakerlady. I adapted the recipe by making them into Honey Almond Granola Bars by using almond extract instead of vanilla, canola oil instead of vegetable oil, adding a little extra salt, and leaving out the cinnamon, since I didn’t want it to take away from the almond flavor. I also added some milled flaxseed for extra fiber. I liked the way these turned out, so I plan on making them regularly! They don’t taste exactly like Nature Valley Granola Bars, but they have the same great crunchy texture. Since I eat a lot of granola bars, I’m sure I will save money making them myself! Making your own granola bars is also much more eco-friendly, too, when you think of all the packaging used for those store-bought bars.

This recipe works best in a 13 x 18″ pan; if you make it in a 10 x 15″ pan the bars will be thicker and harder to cut. Also, you should not use quick-cooking oats–be sure to use Old Fashioned Oats!

CRUNCHY HONEY ALMOND GRANOLA BARS by NancyC, adapted from Bakerlady

Makes a 13 x 18″ pan (about 24 to 30 bars, depending on the size you cut them)

  • 7 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons almond extract (if you just use 1 Tablespoon, the almond flavor will be very, very mild)
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons milled or whole flaxseeds or wheat germ (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped or sliced almonds

Adjust oven rack to the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 375˚F.

Line a 13 x 18″ rimmed baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, oil, and salt, mixing until oats are evenly coated. Transfer mixture to baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake, stirring oats every 10 minutes, until pale gold, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove pan from oven and lower temperature to 300˚F.

Combine honey and brown sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract.

In large bowl, combine the oats, flaxseed or wheat germ (if using), and almonds, mixing until ingredients are blended well. Then add the honey mixture and stir with a large spoon or rubber spatula until the oats are thoroughly coated with the honey mixture.

Spray the baking sheet, still lined with foil or parchment paper, with non-stick spray and spread the granola mixture in an even layer on the sheet. Spray a large spoon or metal spatula with non-stick spray and firmly press the mixture into the pan. Make a flat, tight, even layer. Bake at 300˚F until golden, about 35 minutes.

Cool granola in baking sheet, on a wire rack, for 10 minutes before cutting into bars with a knife or pastry scraper. Cut bars all the way through (2 x 3″ is a good size), then allow the bars to completely cool. Do not wait any longer than 10 minutes to cut the bars because they harden up as they cool and become difficult to cut.

You can put the bars in a covered container and store for up to 2 weeks.

NOTE: You can make Cinnamon Walnut Granola Bars by substituting vanilla extract for the almond extract, chopped walnuts (or pecans) for the almonds, and adding 1 to 2  teaspoons of cinnamon to the honey and brown sugar mixture.

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Do you like crunchy or chewy granola bars–and do you have a favorite granola bar recipe?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Eileen’s Almond Butter Cookies

My friend Eileen made some really yummy cookies for me the other day. She is quite a baker! These Almond Butter Cookies remind me of both shortbread and sugar cookies…rich and buttery like shortbread and sweet with a chewy center and crispy edges like some sugar cookies I’ve had. Since they have almonds and almond butter in them, that makes them healthy too, right? 🙂 They would be perfect to serve at an afternoon tea. Or with a cup of coffee next time you take a little coffee break.

Hope you get a chance to try out Eileen’s recipe!

EILEEN’S ALMOND BUTTER COOKIES

Makes 2 dozen cookies

  • 1/2 cup creamy-style almond butter (available at health food stores; some Wal-Marts also carry it)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract or emulsion
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds

In large bowl, blend almond butter and butter together, then add granulated sugar and brown sugar; blend well. Add egg and almond extract or emulsion, blending everything well; set aside.

In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to almond butter mixture and blend everything well. Then fold in almonds, stirring to distribute evenly in batter.

Roll dough into balls the size of large walnuts. Place 3 inches apart on lightly sprayed or greased cookie sheet. Flatten balls of dough lightly with a spatula to about a 3/8″ thickness (or slightly less than 1/2″ thick). Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes, until set but not hard.

Remove cookies immediately from the hot cookie sheet to a wire rack (if you leave them on the cookie sheet they will get too dry); let cookies cool completely on rack.

I bet they taste great warm out of the oven, too…maybe you’ll have to munch on a few as you’re transferring the cookies to the cooling rack! 🙂

Do you like almonds? What’s your favorite almond-flavored treat?

Linked to Cookie Plan Monday.

Homemade Granola Bars from the Green Market Baking Book

ncGranBar1nm Eating healthy is something I’m trying to do more and more. I limit the amount of red meat I eat and try to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. But when it comes to baking, I’ve never been quite sure how to make desserts and other baked goods healthier. So the opportunity to review the Green Market Baking Book came along at just the right time! The subtitle of this cook book says, “100 Delicious Recipes for Naturally Sweet & Savory Treats,” and that is very true! Looking through the book, I found mouthwatering recipes like these…

  • Spring Carrot Teacakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Honey Strawberry Shortcakes with Honey-Sweetened Whipped Cream
  • Peach and Nectarine Upside-Down Cake
  • Blueberry Ginger Sauce
  • Chocolate Honey Tart

The recipes are divided by seasons so you can buy the ingredients fresh and locally. All the sweet treats are made with natural, healthy sweeteners instead of refined sugar and artificial sugar products. In addition to yummy sweets, there are also recipes for delicious savory items like breads, biscuits, muffins, frittatas, pizzas, and more, contributed by some of the best chefs and bakers across America. The book also includes dairy and gluten-free recipes, as well as low-fat and vegan options. The Tomato, Goat Cheese, and Basil Cornbread, Rosemary Buttermilk Biscuits, and Dill Ricotta Torte are a few of the savory recipes that sounded really wonderful to me! The author, Laura C. Martin, answers some questions about baking the healthy way in the beginning of her book and includes helpful information about ingredients used in the recipes (organic produce, natural sweeteners, grains and flours, butter and oils, and dairy). And each seasonal section of recipes includes tips on choosing the best, freshest produce. Near the end of the book, Martin also has some information and tips on freezing, canning, and drying produce, along with tips on growing your own produce. So, in addition to lots of yummy recipes that are good for you, this cook book also has a lot of very practical, helpful information about baking and eating healthy! I decided to make the homemade Granola Bars first because, in my continuing efforts to eat healthier, I have been trying to eat a granola bar whenever I’m craving a candy bar. It has been working pretty well, but I’ve been wanting to make my own granola bars because that would be even healthier. And these granola bars turned out great! They’re very easy to make and are sweetened with brown rice syrup, a natural sweetener which has the consistency of honey, but is not as sweet-tasting. The only ingredients I had to buy from my local health food store were the brown rice syrup and the whole grain spelt flour; I had most of the other ingredients on hand. These granola bars are thick and chewy and filled with lots of yummy, healthy things: chopped dried apples, cranberries, cherries, and almonds. And they’re so healthy that you can feel good instead of guilty about eating this treat! The recipe in the book says it makes 36 bars, which would be pretty small; I cut mine about double that size, into 16 chunky, delicious squares!

CHEWY GRANOLA BARS (Dairy-Free, from the Green Market Baking Book)

  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup whole grain spelt flour
  • 1 3/4 cups total of chopped dried apples, cranberries, cherries (or other dried fruit), or chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup brown rice syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, combine the ground flax and water to form a paste. Set aside. In a separate bowl, thoroughly mix together the dry ingredients. In a third bowl, mix together the olive oil and brown rice syrup. Add the flax paste. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and incorporate well. Pour the batter into an 11 x 7 1/2″ baking pan, pressing the mixture down firmly. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until edges turn golden brown. Let rest about 10 minutes until slightly cool, then cut into bars.

ncGranBar2nmI used dried apples, cranberries, and cherries in the bars I made. I think dried apricots would be great, too!

Linked to Sunday Showcase.

Eileen’s Cranberry Almond Breakfast Scones

My artistic friend Eileen made these delicious scones and gave me the recipe (and this wonderful photo she took of them!) so I could share them with you, too! Eileen adapted her recipe from a cranberry scone recipe she found in a cookbook called Scones, Muffins, and Tea Cakes: Breakfast Breads and Teatime Spreads. These are buttermilk scones made without eggs, flavored with dried cranberries, almonds, and almond extract, and topped with a sweet touch-of-cinnamon glaze–doesn’t that sound yummy? Here is Eileen’s recipe…it makes 16 scones.

CRANBERRY ALMOND BREAKFAST SCONES

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2  teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 6 to 8 pieces
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

GLAZE

  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and beat with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the dried cranberries and almond slivers. Pour in the buttermilk and almond extract and mix with spatula until blended.

Gather the dough into a ball and divide in half. On a lightly floured board, roll into 2 circles, approximately ½ to ¾ inch thick. Cut each circle into 8 wedges.

To make the glaze, combine the cream, cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl;  set aside.

Bake the scones on the prepared baking sheet for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are golden. Remove scones from the oven and brush with glaze. Makes 16 scones.

Not only is Eileen a very good baker, she is also a talented artist! Here’s a still life she painted…

Isn’t that beautiful? Eileen is involved in art shows from time to time and has her work shown in galleries, too. She is such a talented artist!

Thanks for sharing your wonderful scone recipe with us, Eileen!

Linked to Sunday Showcase, Sundae Scoop, Potluck Sunday, Tasty Tuesday, Full Plate Thursday, It’s A Keeper Thursday, Foodie Friday, Sweet Tooth Friday.

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