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Filtering by Category: nuts

English Toffee

Patricia Reitz

Seriously, is there anything better than caramelized sugar?  Ok, maybe caramelized sugar, a stick of butter, lightly toasted almonds, and a glorious robe of melted chocolate.  Heaven help me, this stuff is amazing!  

Before beginning, have ready a half sheet pan lined with a silpat liner.


Also, make sure you have chopped chocolate ready to go.  I'm a huge dark chocolate fan, but you can certainly use milk chocolate if that's your thing.


And another thing you need before you start is toasted, sliced almonds.  I place the almonds on an unlined half sheet pan and pop them into a cold oven.  Then I turn the oven on to 350F and slowly toast them until golden brown and fragrant.  

Allow the almonds to cool completely, then chop them into smaller bits in a food processor, being careful not to chop them too much.  You still want to recognize they are sliced almonds.

Alternatively, you can place the almonds in a resealable bag and crush with a rolling pin.

Ok, now that the half sheet pan is prepared, and the chocolate and almonds are ready to go, it's time to start cooking - in a 3 or 4-quart saucepan, heat butter, water, corn syrup, and dark brown sugar over medium-high heat.  

Have an instant read digital thermometer, pure vanilla extract, and baking soda nearby.

The toffee mixture should be stirred occasionally until it reaches the proper temperature.  Note that I used a nonstick pan for easy cleanup.

Stop cooking when the toffee reaches 285F.

English Toffee recipe with lots of how-to photos - ButterYum

Stir in the vanilla and baking soda; stir vigorously to combine.

Pour mixture onto silpat lined half sheet pan.


Spread mixture with an offset spatula.  I like my toffee on the thin side so I spread mine out more than directed by the recipe. 


While the toffee is still hot, evenly sprinkle the chocolate bits all over.


Allow chocolate to rest on the hot toffee for 5 minutes.

Use an offset spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly over the toffee.

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While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle the toasted almonds evenly all over.

how to make English Toffee from scratch - recipe and how-to photos - ButterYum

Pop the whole tray into the fridge until the toffee and chocolate set.  Break into pieces and enjoy.

English Toffee

makes 12 servings


  • 3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces

  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled completely

  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar (light or dark), packed

  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Begin by lining a half sheet pan with a silpat liner (I have 6!) and measure out all the ingredients.

  2. Place toasted almonds in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times to break into smaller bits, being careful not to make the pieces too small. Alternatively, you can place the toasted almonds in a resealable bag and crush them with a rolling pin.

  3. In a 3 or 4-quart heavy bottomed, preferably nonstick, saucepan over medium-high heat, combine butter, corn syrup, butter, and water; heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 285F.

  4. Remove mixture from heat and vigorously stir in the vanilla and baking soda.

  5. Pour the mixture onto a silpat lined half sheet pan; use an offset spatula to spread thinly over the silpat.

  6. While the toffee is still hot, sprinkle the chocolate bits evenly all over; allow chocolate to soften from the residual heat for a few minutes, then use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer (I like to stop just short of the edge of the toffee).

  7. Immediately sprinkle the almond pieces evenly all over the melted chocolate.

  8. Place the toffee in the refrigerator for 10 minutes; remove from fridge and break into serving pieces. Store at room temperature in an airtight container with waxed paper between layers.

Note: To toast almonds, spread in a single layer on an unlined half sheet pan and place in a cold oven; turn the oven on to 350F and allow the almonds to toast for 8-12 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant (watch them carefully).  Cool completely before using.

adapted from The Baking Bible

Gluten-Free Fudge Cake

Patricia Reitz

This dense, rich, fudge cake is not only gluten-free, the batter is mixed together in a blender.  When have you ever heard of such a thing?   This cake takes no time to make at all - the batter is literally ready in a matter of minutes.  You can serve this cake warm or at room temperature, but we like it chilled. 

how to line a springform pan with parchment

Start by lining the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, then spray the rest of the pan with Baker's Joy to ensure perfect release.

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In 30-second bursts the microwave, slowly melt butter and chocolate together, stirring between bursts.  When the chocolate is completely melted, stir well to make sure butter is completely incorporated.  Set aside until needed.

NOTE:  if your microwave is very powerful, decrease the power to 50%. 

Alternatively, you can melt the butter and chocolate together over a double boiler of simmering water, stirring frequently.


Additional ingredients needed are almond meal (finely ground almonds), salt, baking soda, baking powder, espresso, and....


Whole eggs and sweetened condensed milk.


Now for the fun part - we mix all the ingredients together in the blender (this is the one I love).  Start to combining the eggs and sweetened condensed milk on low speed until combined.

gluten-free fudge cake recipe made in a blender

Add the chocolate/butter mixture, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and coffee.  Blend again on low speed until combined. 

gluten-free thanksgiving dessert recipe with how-to photos

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes in a preheated oven.


The cake will come out of the oven puffed up in the center.  


Allow the cake to cool for 1 hour before chilling for at least 2 additional hours.  The cake will fall in the center as it cools - this is normal so don't be alarmed.

Gluten-free cake recipe with how-to photos

Remove the sides of the springform pan and cut into 16 slices with a hot, sharp knife (long, thin, non-serrated blades work best - like this one).  This cake is very moist so if you want to sprinkle it with confectioner's sugar, use the non-melting variety.

Gluten-Free Fudge Cake

makes 16 servings


  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 6 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate (I used Moser-Roth 85%)

  • 4 large eggs

  • 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, plus 1/4 cup

  • 1 1/2 cup almond meal (aka almond flour)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1/4 cup hot espresso (or see note below)

  • Optional: non-melting confectioner's sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and place rack in center position.

  2. Line bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and spray pan with Baker's Joy.

  3. In 30-second bursts the microwave, slowly melt butter and chocolate together, stirring between bursts; set aside until needed. NOTE: if your microwave is very powerful, decrease power to 50%, or you can melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler over simmering water.

  4. In the jar of a blender, combine eggs and sweetened condensed milk on low speed until combined.

  5. Add chocolate/butter mixture; mix on low speed until combined.

  6. Add almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso; mix on low until combined.

  7. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake tests done (a few crumbs sticking to the toothpick are ok).

  8. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 1 hour; cover with plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.

  9. Remove sides of springform pan and slide cake off of parchment base.

  10. Use a hot knife to cut cake into 16 slices. Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Note: to make espresso, combine 1/4 cup boiling water with 1/2 teaspoon high quality espresso powder .

recipe adapted from Pati Jinich


Italian Almond Cookies

Patricia Reitz

These delicate, chewy, 6-ingredient cookies have an incredibly intense, smack-you-in-the-face almond flavor.  We go crazy for them.  For maximum flavor and chewiness, it's worth going the extra mile to find canned almond paste.  

cookie recipe using almond paste cookies

If you can find it, canned almond paste is preferred.

On the day I did the photo shoot for these cookies, I was fresh out of canned almond paste so I had to use the foil-wrapped stuff.  It's not as soft as the canned stuff, but it works in a pinch. My particular tube was a bit dry so I grated it before I used it.  

The easiest way to do this is the use a food processor fitted with a fine grating disk.  

The food processor did an awesome job. 

To the bowl of the food processor, add the flour, sugar, and confectioners sugar.  

Pulse to combine.  

We're getting close!  

Time to add egg whites.  They're the magic glue that transforms the bowl of crumbs into the tastiest cookie dough ever!

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Mmmmmm.  When you open your food processor, the aroma is going to make you salivate!

For the record, if you use canned almond paste, you can mix this dough in a stand mixer instead of a food processor.

Transfer the cookie dough to a small container.  It's really soft and sticky, but don't be alarmed.  You can scoop and bake the cookies right away, or chill the dough in an airtight container for a day or two.

Use a very small scoop (#100) to portion the dough into 1-teaspoon blobs.

Like I said, the dough is extremely soft and sticky so place the blobs directly into a bowl of sliced almonds.  Roll the blobs to coat them all over with almonds so you can pick them up and place them on a half sheet pan.

Because the dough is so sticky, I find it helps to dip the scoop in water for each cookie. 

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I tested baking these cookies on silicone and parchment and even though I usually prefer baking on silicone, parchment worked better for this recipe.  

Italian almond cookies. almond cookies. almond macaroons. almond macarons. Italian macaroon recipe with how-to photos - ButterYum

Bake the cookies until they puff up and turn golden brown.  

To-Die-For chewy Italian Almond Cookies (Italian Macaroons) - recipe and how-to photos - ButterYum. Italian Christmas cookies. Italian Easter cookies.

Allow the cookies to cool completely on the sheet tray.  Don't be alarmed when the cookies collapse as they cool - that's completely normal.  Store leftovers in an airtight container.  Cookies are best eaten on the day they're baked.  

Items used to make this recipe:

Italian Almond Cookies

makes 36 cookies

Printable Recipe


  • 8 ounces almond paste, canned is preferred (NOT almond filling)

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

  • 2 large egg whites

  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line half sheet pans with parchment paper.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine almond paste, flour, egg whites, and both sugars. Mixture will be very sticky. Note: if almond paste is dry or hard, grate the almond paste and mix the dough in a food processor.

  3. Place sliced almonds into a small bowl.

  4. Drop 1 teaspoon blobs of cookie dough into bowl of almonds; roll until coated.

  5. Place 2 inches apart on prepared half sheet pan.

  6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden.

  7. Cool on half sheet pans for several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.