already procrastinating

i have had so much on my mind and not enough quiet café moments to put it all into prose.  for now, i will feed you recipes and hope better words will follow in time.

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almond cake

i cannot stop baking this cake.  it’s absolute perfection when you want something soft and dense (almost chewy) and elegant in the most unassuming way.  the warm almond perfume that wafts up from the oven as it bakes has become my new favorite scent.

Almond Cake

from Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser
Makes one cake; serves 10

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, more for buttering pan
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (measured after sifting)
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ cups sugar
7-ounce tube almond paste, cut into small pieces
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for sifting over cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Butter the sides and bottoms of one 9-inch springform pan; line sides and bottoms with parchment paper.  Butter the paper. (You may forego the parchment paper as long as you are generous with the butter on the pan itself.)  Mix together the sour cream and baking soda in a small bowl. {The baking soda will make the sour cream expand, so use a bowl that has some extra room.} Sift the flour and salt into another bowl.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the almond paste, a little at a time, at medium speed, and beat for 8 minutes.  Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, and mix until incorporated.  It will look curdled; don’t worry.  Blend in the almond extract and sour cream mixture.  Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, just until blended.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake about 1 hour.  It is done when you press the top and it returns to its shape, and also shrinks from the sides of the pan.  Remove from the oven and place on a baking rack to cool in the pan.  When ready to serve, sift confectioners’ sugar on top and slice like a pie.

cinnamon-sugared nuts
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i meant to post this recipe in time for christmas, because loaded into a pretty glass jar, they make charming little gifts.

i at least thought i could post it in time for new year’s eve, when they would make a happy little home in a shallow bowl next to the bubbly and the little bites, should you find yourself at a dapper little house party.

but obviously we have now dug into the first week of january already…  so it’s a good thing these nuts also make a great snack to tote along, wherever it is this new year is taking you.

Cinnamon-Sugared Nuts

adapted from smitten kitchen, who adapted from Elizabeth Karmel of Hill Country
Makes one pound of candied nuts

1/3 cup dark-brown sugar
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound walnut and pecan halves (I like about a 2:1 ratio in favor of the pecans)
1 egg white, room temperature
1 tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix sugars, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon, making sure there are no lumps; set aside. Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add walnuts, and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool. When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.

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2 responses to “already procrastinating

  1. nooomes

    i baked the almond cake yesterday and brought it over to a dinner w/some friends. everyone loved it. :) thanks emilylime!

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