Dipped in your favorite chocolate, these apricot almond balls have mostly good-for-you ingredients. Chocolate is good for you, isn’t it?
Toast about a cup of slivered almonds over medium-high heat in a dry skillet for about 5 minutes until you start to smell their fragrance; stir constantly. Do not skip this step; something about the toasting brings out the flavor in the nuts that is missing if you don’t.
In a food processor, chop the toasted almonds, 1 1/2 cups dried apricots, 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and a little salt (less than 1/8 teaspoon). Roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
In the microwave, melt a 4 ounce bar of the best dark chocolate you can find. Roll the balls in the chocolate to coat and place back on the wax paper. Cool in refrigerator about 15 minutes until set. Can be stored at room temperature, but they won’t last that long before they are all eaten.
This rich chocolate and almond cake reminds me of a volcano cake – soft and gooey in the center. I usually skip the icing and sprinkle a little confectioner’s sugar on top. It never lasts very long when I make it.
Queen of Sheba Cake
from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking
- 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, plus 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
- 2 tablespoons rum
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/3 cup blanched almond (pulverized in blender or food processor with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar)
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup cake flour
Melt the chocolate in microwave; add rum to warm chocolate. Cream butter with ½ cup sugar; beat in egg yolks. Blend melted chocolate and rum into yolk mixture, then add crushed almonds and almond extract.
In another bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Beat in the cream of tartar and salt and continue beating until soft peaks are formed. Gradually beat in 2 tablespoons sugar and continue beating until you see stiff, shiny peaks. Gently mix a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, using a rubber spatula. Scoop the rest of the whites over the chocolate and, alternating with sprinkles of flour, rapidly and gently fold in the rest of egg whites.
Turn batter into buttered and floured 8 inch round cake pan, tilting it in all directions up to the rim all around. Set in preheated 350 degree oven. Bake 25 minutes. Cake is done when puffed to the top and a toothpick inserted 2 to 3 inches from edge comes out clean. The center should move slightly when the pan is gently shaken. Do not overcook. Remove pan to a rack and let cool 15 minutes. Wait another half hour before trying to remove from the pan, or serve it in the pan (easier).
Add a little ice cream on the side of the dish, if you like, but it’s really great all by itself. You can eat it with a spoon.