Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cinnamon and Almond Brownies

What a fantastic Thanksgiving I had! I must say it was less traditional because my parents came to visit me in New York City, and we went out for dinner instead of making our own. It was nice to have a bit of change on tradition, and I suppose the most important part of the holiday is to spend it with those you love. I hope everyone else had a lovely Thanksgiving and will continue to enjoy the rest of this holiday season.

I was recently walking around the East Village of New York City when I encountered a fun little shop called The Nut Box. It was filled with all kinds of things: candies, dried fruits, and (you guessed it) lots of nuts! I happened upon a shelf of 1 pound packages of unblanched almond meal, and to my disbelief they were only $4.99. I bought a couple of packages because I love recipes that use almond meal, and I decided to experiment with a brownie recipe that I found on The Wannabe Chef.

I really enjoy the flavor of almonds and chocolate together, so I altered the recipe to use almond extract instead of vanilla. In light of the fall (and soon to be winter) season, I added a touch of cinnamon for a nice warming effect. These brownies are fudgy but also delicate. They have a lovely texture, and I think fudgy and cakey brownie lovers would both enjoy this recipe. You never know until you try!

Some of you might be wondering if it matters whether or not you use blanched versus unblanched almond meal or flour. In this recipe, I really don't think it matters as long as the almond meal is very finely ground, although I have not tested it with both blanched and unblanched. The packages I bought from The Nut Box are extremely finely ground, which is important for the texture and delicacy of this recipe. Bob's Red Mill almond flour is very coarse, and I would not suggest using it for this recipe, but you can make your own judgement on this accord. 

Without further ado, here is the recipe! Enjoy!

Cinnamon and Almond Brownies
Adapted from The Wannabe Chef

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate OR bittersweet chocolate chips (separated into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup portions)
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease or line a 8 x 8 in. square pan.
  2. Melt the 1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate or chips with the butter in the microwave for 30-40 seconds. Stir the mixture, then microwave in 20 second intervals until fully melted. Set mixture aside to cool.
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until combined. Slowly whisk in the melted chocolate and butter until fully incorporated. Add the almond extract and mix.
  4. Whisk the almond flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking powder, and cinnamon in another bowl until no lumps remain. Stir this mixture into the wet ingredients until fully incorporated and pour the entire mixture into the greased 8 x 8 inch pan.
  5. Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes or until the top is slightly cracked and the center is set. Cool fully in pan and cut into 16 small squares.

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