Tag Archives: nuts

Hazelnut shortbread

This recipe is right between savoury and sweet, and a nice complement to blue cheese. Contrary to most baking recipes, the salted butter is key to the right flavour, as my dear friend Harry Greenwood (who is the font of much wisdom about shortbread, among many other things) will attest.

1 cup toasted hazelnuts, ground
3 cups flour
1 lb salted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup superfine sugar (berry sugar)

Preheat oven to 350 F
Combine hazelnuts and flour in food processor and process until fine
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy and sugar is dissolved.
Add flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Pat into a sheet pan lined with parchment and chill thoroughly (at least 2 hours, preferably overnight)
Dock well and bake for 30 minutes, until golden
Score while still warm, and once cool, turn out onto another baking sheet

White Wine Poached Pear and Chocolate Ganache Tart with Almond Sweet Pastry

Yield: 1 10” tart or 12 individual (1 ¾ oz each)

Almond sweet pastry crust

250 g flour
75 g sugar
pinch salt
50 g ground almonds
170 g butter, cubed and chilled
1 egg
1 tsp rum

Combine flour, sugar, salt, and almonds in food processor
Add butter cubes and process until mealy
Add egg, yolks, and rum and process until dough comes together
Turn out and knead lightly
Pat into disc
Wrap and chill for 1/2 hour
Roll out into a 12 inch circle and line a 10 inch tart shell with a removable bottom
Chill thoroughly

Preheat oven to 350 F

Dock and blind bake for 35 minutes, until fully cooked and golden brown
Set aside until needed

White wine poached pears

2 cups white wine
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 inch piece ginger, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
2 star anise
6 peppercorns
1 tbsp fennel seed
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
6 pears, peeled, halved, and cored

Bring all ingredients except pears up to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes to develop flavour
Add pears and simmer until tender, 20-40 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the fruit
Remove with a slotted spoon, and place in a shallow dish
Pour poaching liquid over and allow to cool to room temperature
(pears may be poached and refrigerated for a few days in advance)

Ganache filling

2 cups pear poaching liquid
1 cup whipping cream
250 g dark chocolate, chopped

Reduce poaching liquid until it measures 1/2 cup and is thickened slightly (it should look like liquid honey in colour and viscosity) Keep warm
Place chocolate in a medium bowl
Scald cream and pour over chocolate, mixing well to melt.
Add reduced pear liquid and whisk well, making sure there are no lumps (you can set the bowl over a pan with a small amount of hot water if necessary to aid in the melting process)
Pour filling into prepared tart shell and set in fridge to set.
Once filling is firm, remove pears from liquid and pat dry ( I usually blot them lightly on a clean kitchen towel or paper towel)
Slice thinly almost all the way to the stem end and fan around tart (stem end should point towards the centre)
Allow to chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
If you like, you can reduce the remaining poaching liquid as before and use the glaze to either brush over or use as a sauce

Ultimate Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have become a steadfast believer in direct ratios in cooking, as I find all of the best recipes seem to be based on some direct correlation in measures or weights of ingredients. I now use that methodology when writing a new recipe, and usually end up with good results. These cookies are no different. They are extremely satisfying, although with the large number of whole peanuts in the batter they tend to be a bit delicate, so eat them quickly. I’m sure it won’t be a problem, it never is in our house.

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup natural peanut butter
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
2 cups salted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350
Cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy
Add peanut butter and mix until well combined
Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt, and add to peanut butter mixture
Stir until just incorporated
Add peanuts and chocolate chips and stir until just combined
Scoop into 3 tbsp (45 mL) balls and place on baking sheets lined with parchment
Flatten lightly with a fork
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom
Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove and place on a rack to cool completely

Honey (or Maple) Pecan Sticky Buns

I can’t think of anything more satisfying on a rainy day than warm sticky buns fresh out of the oven. Be careful pulling them apart, as the glaze will be quite hot at first!


2 Tbsp instant yeast
5 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup milk, warmed (approximately 100 F)
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter


1/2 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
2 tbsp water
1 cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped


1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped
1 tbsp cinnamon

Prepare Dough:

Combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast and cinnamon and set aside
Place warmed milk, eggs, and melted butter into a mixing bowl
Add flour and knead for 15 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
Set aside and cover lightly while you prepare the filling and glaze.


Combine butter, sugar, honey, and water in a medium saucepan.
Bring to a boil and pour into a 9 by 13 rectangular pan
Scatter with chopped pecans and set aside


Cream butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together until well combined.
Add nuts and mix well.

Preheat oven to 375 F

Roll out dough into a rectangle measuring 12 (depth) by 18 inches (width)
Spread filling out over entire surface of dough
Roll towards you tightly, into a cylinder 3 inches wide by 18 inches long
Slice into 12 pieces (1 1/2 inches thick)
Arrange slices, cut side down into the prepared pan. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour
Bake until puffed and browned nicely, about 40 minutes.
Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then place a tray over the entire pan, and invert it to allow the buns to turn right side up.
Remove pan, and pull apart buns to serve.

Dark chocolate hazelnut torte with dried cherry compote

Making desserts without gluten and dairy can be a challenge, but this is a terrific example of how simplicity can save the day. With only four ingredients in the cake and a simple dried fruit compote, you have a decadent and luxurious dessert. No one will miss the flour or cream.

14 oz dark (70% cocoa) chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
8 eggs. separated
2 1/2 cups ground hazelnuts (about 1 lb, shelled)
Preheat oven to 375 F

Roast hazelnuts lightly.
Cool and rub to remove the skins.
Place hazelnuts in a food processor and grind until quite fine.

Prepare an 8 inch springform pan by brushing with vegetable oil or nonstick spray
Press 1/2 cup of the ground hazelnuts into bottom to form a crust.

Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and place over a pot of hot water to melt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar, beating until thick, pale, and sugar is dissolved.
Add the melted chocolate to the egg yolk mixture and stir until well combined.
Beat egg whites until stiff, and fold into chocolate mixture.
Add remaining 2 cups ground hazelnuts, stir well, and pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 45 minutes, until puffed uniformly, and firm to the touch.
Remove and place on a wire rack to cool.

Dried cherry compote

1 cup dried cherries
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 cloves
2 allspice
1/2 cinnamon stick

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan, and bring up to a simmer.
Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for 1/2 hour, until cherries start to soften.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Serve room temperature.