Walnuts really make the difference with this simple homemade chocolate brownie recipe. Rich and delicious!
- 3/4 cup butter
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup California walnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Butter a 9″x9″ square baking pan.
- In a double boiler over low heat, melt butter and chocolate chips together and remove from heat.
- In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
- When the chocolate/butter mixture has cooled a little whisk in the eggs and vanilla.
- Note: it is important to cool the chocolate/butter mixture or the eggs will cook.
- Add the dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
- Stir in the chopped walnuts.
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into center comes out clean.
A colorful and tasty twist to an old favorite.
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon Cointreau, to taste, optional
- ½ cup Grand Marnier, Marsala, Sweet wine or Sherry
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1½ packets (10.5 ounces) Savoiardi Ladyfingers
- 2 cups mixed berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries (or seasonal fruit)
- 1 cup nuts of choice – try a different nut on each layer, such as roast hazelnuts, sliced almonds, chopped macadamias, and pistachios (great on top)
- Line an 8×8 high-sided dish (or 9-inch rectangle) with parchment paper to make it easier to lift out.
- With electric mixer, beat egg yolks with ¼ cup sugar until pale, creamy and doubled in volume. Remove from bowl and scrape down sides.
- Whip ricotta and mascarpone with remaining sugar until soft peaks form. Fold in the Cointreau and egg mixture and whisk until well combined (don’t overmix or you’ll lose the volume).
- Place the juice and Grand Marnier in a shallow dish. Dip ladyfingers in mixture just enough to moisten (careful not to keep them in too long or they will fall apart). Lay close together on the bottom of the dish.
- Spoon half the mascarpone mixture over top, followed by a layer of fruit. Scatter half the nuts over top. Repeat layers, end with a scattering of nuts.
- If there is any liquid remaining, drizzle a little over the top. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
You won’t go back to store bought nut butter after making your own. It’s easy to do, tastes so much fresher, you can use any nut or even a blend, and, most importantly, you know exactly what’s going in it. All you need is a food processor or high-speed blender. Each nut behaves differently because of texture and oil content, and different processors will take different times, so it’s really a matter of experimentation.
- 1 cup of tree nuts (choose your favorite)
- Roast 1 cup of nuts (you can use raw nuts, but the flavors and ability to make butter are greatly enhanced after roasting) in a 350°F oven for 8-12 minutes. The denser nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts and macadamias, take a bit longer than walnuts, pecans and pistachios. Check after 8 minutes – they should be just browning and aromatic. Allow to cool to room temperature. Hazelnuts can be bitter if you keep on the skin, so place the nuts in a dish towel and rub off most of the skin before processing.
- Processing the nuts – add nuts to food processor and pulse on and off – first to crumbs, then continue to process until a paste starts to form. Scrape down sides, then continue to process until desired consistency–this may take 10-12 minutes, sometimes up to 20 minutes in less powerful processors. If it’s not looking like a paste is forming, add a few drops of a nut or olive oil to help the process.
- Flavor (or not) – you may just like to eat your nut butter pure and natural, or make your own designer butter adding ingredients such as honey, maple syrup, soy, chili, nutmeg, chocolate (think Nutella), truffle oil, or stir in jam or jelly to make a swirl.
Storage – It’s best to store the nut butter in a sealed jar in the refrigerator where it will keep for up to a month.
- Almond butter – Spread on warm bruschetta and top with sautéed mushrooms and sage. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and pepper – wonderful with chanterelles if they’re in season.
- Walnut butter – Spread on crackers then top with brie cheese and a fruit paste such as quince or fig.
- Hazelnut butter – Add to a toasted tomato and cheese sandwich with some fresh basil leaves or arugula, and a drizzle of good olive oil to complete the experience.
- Pecan butter – Delicious when spread on grain toast with honey and a sliced banana.
- Pistachio butter – Spread on pizza crust before topping with vegetables or mortadella and mozzarella.
- Cashew butter – Perfect for Asian inspired dishes, whisk with soy sauce and lime juice and toss though noodles just before serving.
- Brazil nut butter – Avocado Toast spread with brazil nut butter adds a unique depth, and is especially great with a garnish of cherry tomatoes, mint and ricotta.
- Macadamia Butter – Just like real butter, this makes the base to a wonderful healthy shortbread. Or, spread on hot scones with jam for a decadent treat.
This cake is filled with diced apples, honey, and California walnuts for that extra crunch. It’s topped with a sweet glaze that just takes this easy to make cake over the top.
- 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour, divided
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 cup honey
- ½ cup apple sauce
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 3 eggs
- 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and diced small
- 1 cup roughly chopped California walnuts
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tablespoon water (or milk)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ cup chopped California walnuts
- Preheat oven to 325°F and heavily coat a 10-cup Bundt pan with baking spray.
- Stir together 2 cups flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl; whisk lightly to combine.
- Place honey, applesauce, oil and orange juice in a mixer bowl and beat with the whisk attachment to combine. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Slowly add flour mixture and beat for 2 minutes to make a smooth batter.
- Toss the chopped apple and walnuts with the remaining tablespoon of flour and pour into batter. Spread batter in prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake for 10 minutes, then invert onto a parchment coated wire rack to cool completely.
- Prepare glaze just before serving. Whisk together sugar, water or milk and honey in a medium bowl. Stir in chopped nuts and drizzle over cake.
Whether topped with sweet and salty ingredients or marbled with sweet dark and white chocolate, Chocolate Walnut Bark is a delightful treat any time of year.
- 1 1/2 cups California walnuts
- 1/2 cup Pomegranate arils (seeds), fresh
- 1/2 teaspoon course or flaked sea salt
- 1 (12-ounce) bag dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips or 12-ounce chocolate bar, broken loosely into pieces
- 1 (12-ounce) bag white chocolate chips or 12-ounce white chocolate bar, broken loosely into pieces
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
- Coarsely break or rough chop walnuts and place in a small bowl, leaving aside any skins that have broken off.
- Set pomegranate arils out beside the walnuts.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Melt chocolate. Microwave technique: Place about 2/3 of the dark or milk chocolate chips in a medium glass bowl with 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat until the chips are mostly melted. Add the remaining chips into the bowl and stir vigorously. You will have a thick, melted bowl of chocolate. Repeat the melting steps with the white chocolate and remaining vegetable oil. Stovetop technique: Using a double boiler on medium heat with 1-2 inches of water to the bottom pan, careful to make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the upper pan (or other heat-safe mixing bowl). Add the chocolate and stir frequently as you see the chocolate begin to melt. Once melted, remove from heat and add the remaining chocolate chips into the bowl and stir vigorously. Repeat for the white chocolate and remaining vegetable oil.
- Using a spatula, spoon out the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper to make a 1/4-inch layer. You can create an optional marbled look by reserving and dropping spoonfuls of the dark chocolate onto the white layer and white chocolate onto the dark layer and using a knife to create an unstructured pattern.
- Sprinkle with walnuts and pomegranate arils and lightly press them into the surface of the chocolate. Sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt across the bark.
- Refrigerate on the baking sheet until firm, then remove from the refrigerator and carefully break it into pieces.
- Store in the refrigerator on layers of parchment paper in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
- Make sure to melt the chocolate slowly at a lower power, stirring frequently. Melting too fast can cause the chocolate to become discolored.
- Melting about 2/3 of the chocolate and then adding the rest to the hot, melted chocolate will yield the best bark texture. Stirring the chocolate well as it starts to cool will also help give the bark the best texture.
- If you are marbling the chocolate, don’t overmix. Swirl back and forth in a zigzag or in circles until you get your desired look.
- Don’t spread too thin or the toppings won’t hold.
- Store in the refrigerator until close to serving, especially in warmer climates or in a warm house, or the bark may become soft.
1 cup coarsely chopped pretzels
3/4 cup coarsely crushed candy canes
3/4 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup coconut chips or large flakes unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup toffee bits
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup mini marshmallows and 1/2 cup coarsely crumbled graham cracker crust
A light sprinkle of flaked smoked sea salt
Hazelnuts, cake and chocolate–three things that just belong together. This sweet potato variation will delight the palate of any cake connoisseur!
- 1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled, resulting in 1 cup mashed
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup Oregon hazelnuts, finely chopped
- 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup half and half
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Bring a medium sized pot of water to boil. Add peeled sweet potato and boil until potato is soft. Drain and let cool slightly, then mash. Measure out 1 cup.
- In a large bowl, beat together mashed sweet potatoes and canola oil. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well blended.
- In a separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, nutmeg, and salt.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the sweet potato mixture, mixing until well combined. Finally, add chopped hazelnuts.
- Using a double boiler pot (or two pots stacked together), fill the bottom pot with 2 inches of water. In the top pot, combine chocolate, vanilla extract, and half and half. Turn heat on high and bring water in bottom pot to a boil, stirring the chocolate mixture until it’s fully melted. Remove from heat.
- Transfer ⅓ of the sweet potato mixture to melted chocolate and mix until fully blended.
- Butter the bottom of a 10-inch bundt cake pan. Pour chocolate mixture in and spread evenly. Next, pour sweet potato mixture in. Bake for 45 minutes. Test to make sure the thickest part is done. Let cool slightly before flipping.
Created by Chef Christine Farkas of IHeart Food Consulting on behalf of the Almond Board of California. On the go, better-for-you dessert alternative!
- 4 cups frozen mango pieces
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- ½ cup roasted almond butter
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 2 limes, juice and zest
- ½ – 1 whole fresh jalapeno
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Place all ingredients into a blender and process until smooth.
- Pour paleta base into popsicle molds of choice, leaving some headspace for a bit expansion during freezing, insert sticks.
- Freeze solid, preferably overnight.
- To remove, run base of the mold under warm water to release popsicles. Enjoy immediately, or wrap and enjoy as a snack later.
Pistachio Chocolate Soufflé by Chef Wolfgang Puck.
- ½ cup / 100 g sugar, granulated
- 2 tablespoons / 30 g water
- 1 teaspoon / 6 g kosher salt
- ⅓ cup / 45 g pistachios, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup / 240 g heavy cream
- ⅓ cup / 80 g pistachio butter
Pistachio Chocolate Soufflé
- 2 ¼ cups / 385 g dark chocolate chips (66% to 70% Cocoa)
- 7 tablespoons / 100 g butter, unsalted plus more for coating ceramic ramekins
- ½ cup / 120 g pistachio butter
- 6 each / 120 g egg yolks
- ¾ cup / 150 g sugar, granulated
- ¼ teaspoon / 1 g cream of tartar
- 1 ¾ cups / 380 g egg whites
Combine sugar, water and sea salt in a medium sauté pan or skillet. Heat over low heat to melt sugar. Simmer until syrup turns amber color, like honey. Add chopped pistachios and stir in until coated with syrup. Pour onto a silicon baking mat or parchment paper and spread mixture out with the back of a spoon. Allow to cool completely and chop into pistachio-size pieces.
Pour cream into a cold mixing bowl and whisk until medium soft peak. Fold in pistachio butter and continue whisking to medium stiff peaks.
Pistachio Chocolate Soufflé
- Prepare 6-oz. (175 ml) baking cups by coating sides and bottoms with soft butter and coating with sugar. Set aside.
- Over a double boiler, melt together chocolate, butter and pistachio butter. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs yolks and sugar for about 3 minutes. Combine the two mixtures and fold together until fully combined.
- Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer at medium speed until the egg whites are fluffy and hold soft peaks. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until whites hold stiff peaks.
- Add equal amount of egg whites in three stages. Pour mixture into baking cups all the way to the top. Scrape off any excess with an offset spatula or knife to make an even top. Run your finger around inside of rim to create a separation between soufflé batter and baking dish. Bake in a preheated 375 °F (190 °C) for approximately 15 minutes, or until soufflés have risen.
- Arrange small plates in a row. Next to plates arrange whipped cream, chopped pistachio caramel and powdered sugar in shaker with fine mesh.
- Remove soufflés from the oven, and moving quickly, but carefully place a soufflé on each plate. Spoon a dollop of whipped cream onto each soufflé, sprinkle with chopped pistachio crumble and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Plating the souffles is best done with two people.
Beautiful Pistachio Florentine Cookies by Chef Nancy Silverton.
Sweet Pastry Dough:
- 2 ¾ cups / 330 g all-purpose flour
- ½ cup / 100 g granulated sugar
- 8 ounces / 226 g unsalted butter
- 2 each / 40 g egg yolks
- ¼ cup / 58 g heavy cream
- ½ cup / 60 g pistachios, cut in half lengthwise
- ⅓ cup / 76 g heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons / 61 g mild-flavored honey, such as clover
- 3 tablespoons / 40 g granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 ounce / 30 g unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons / 24 g all-purpose flour
- ½ cup / 32 g dried cranberries
- ½ cup / 60 g whole pistachios, shelled
- 1 lemon, zested with a bar zester
Sweet Pastry Dough
- Sift the flour in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar. Cut the butter into ½ inch (1 ¼ cm) pieces and toss with the flour until fully coated. Crumble the butter into the flour by rubbing it between your fingertips, lifting the pieces and letting it fall back down. Continue until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and heavy cream and pour into the flour mixture. Gather the dough together with your hands until it forms into a ball. Flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm, at least two hours.
- Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 330 °F (165 °C).
For the Cookies:
Divide the dough in half and return the remainder to the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 12 inches (30.0 cm) circle, about ¼ inch (6.5 mm) thick. Cut out four 5 ¼ inches (13.5 cm) circles leaving the scraps intact. Transfer the circles to a parchment lined baking sheet and prick the surface of the circles about ten times with the tines of a fork. Using a 1-inch (2.5 cm) cutter, cut out small circles from the scraps of the dough. Brush the edge of the larger circles with water and place the smaller circles, touching, around the entire edge to create a border. Chill until firm.
- In a medium heavy-duty saucepan, stir together the cream, honey, and sugar. Using a small paring knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the pulp and seeds with the back of the knife.
- Add the scraping and the pod to the mixture. Add the butter and over medium heat bring the mixture to a boil without stirring, tilting and swirling the pan to ensure it cooks evening without coloring. Cooking for 5-6 minutes until it reaches 230 °F (110 °C). Remove from the heat and sift in the flour, whisking to combine. Remove the vanilla bean. Stir in the chopped pistachios.
Spoon the mixture into the center of the cookies and spread it out and fills into the border. Sprinkle dried cranberries and lemon zest on top of the sugar mixture. With the remainder of the caramel stir in the whole pistachios. Place one pistachio on the center of each small circle around the border. Using a spoon, decorate the cookies using the remaining sugar mixture by dipping it into the mixture and waving it over the cookie creating sugar threads.