Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chocolate Almond Torte

I have taken a break from baking because I have been forced to cut back on sweets for health reasons. What a bummer! But I wanted to do some blogging this week, particularly with folks looking for dessert ideas for Valentine's Day. Since many people consume chocolate for the holiday, I decided to start off with a chocolate torte.

I am trying to sneak in some healthier recipes, where I can, because I am becoming more conscious about what sugar and refined foods do to our bodies. So I am not planning to annoy you with why you should not eat sweets with every post just because I can't eat any...after all, this IS a dessert blog. But, why not be informed? And why not attempt to eat healthier when you can? So this recipe made the cut because it is flourless.

The reason you hear so many people talk about "no sugar, no flour" diets is because refined flours have been milled so much that nearly all of the nutritional value has been lost. They are very fine in texture and enter the blood stream as rapidly as refined sugars, causing spikes and drops in energy levels. Refined flours include white flour as well as products created with white flour, such as cookies, cakes, pastries...uhmmmm, practically everything on the blog! Lol. So, this is a healthier dessert option.

I am watching one of my favorite movies, National Lampoon's Vacation, while the smell of chocolate and almonds is wafting through the house...This is pure torture!

Chocolate Almond Torte (adapted from Bon Appetit)

1 1/2 c blanched slivered almonds
1 c sugar
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp grated orange peel
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter 10-inch springform pan. Combine almonds and 1/3 cup sugar in processor. Blend until almonds are very finely ground. Transfer almond mixture to medium bowl. Add chocolate and 1/3 cup sugar to processor. Blend until chocolate is finely ground, about 45 seconds; stir into almond mixture. Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in large bowl for about 5 minutes. Beat in extracts and orange peel. Fold in chocolate-almond mixture, then butter.

Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and salt in another large bowl until stiff. Fold whites into chocolate batter in three additions. Transfer batter to springform pan.

Bake torte for about 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cut around pan sides to loosen; release sides. Serve with fresh fruit or whipped topping.

Grand Marnier Whipped Cream

1 c heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp Grand Marnier
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract

Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, beat all ingredients until soft peaks form.

 All photographs are actual pictures of the recipe listed, prepared by Virtually Everything Sweet, and cannot be used without the owner’s consent.

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