February 19th, 2009
People all over the world delight in eating them roasted, raw and ground. We enjoy them out of hand and in a wide variety of sweet and savory foods; from breakfast to snacks to dinner to desserts.
Nuts are dry fruits or seeds that generally consist of an edible kernel enclosed in a shell. Nuts are sold with and without shells, in a variety of forms, blanched or not, raw, dry- or oil-roasted, with or without salt, chopped, sliced, ground as in butters or flours, and pressed to make oils. You’ll want to store nuts in cool, dry conditions, in airtight containers and away from light. Because of their high fat content, many benefit from storage in the refrigerator or freezer to deter rancidity.
Nuts show up in a variety of ways. As nut butters and nut flours, or as nut oil, long associated with “gourmet” salads. And of course, as whole or pieces- raw or toasted. And there are a plethora of different kinds of nuts to enjoy. Almonds, which have the largest share of the nut trade worldwide, are a great source of quick protein when just eaten out of hand. Walnuts shine in baked goodies. Cashews seem always to be the first to disappear from the party nut mix! Pistachios which are a little more on the exotic side are lovely toasted and sprinkled over a fruit salad. Hazelnuts are fantastic to crust a lovely piece of fish with.
And then there is the ever-loved peanut. Not really a “nut;” actually a legume that buries its “peas” underground – but we all consider it to be in the “nut family”. The classic combo of peanut and chocolate combine in the following recipe for Chocolate Peanut Fudge Cakes with Peanut Butter Cream — Yum!
CHOCOLATE PEANUT FUDGE CAKES WITH PEANUT BUTTER CREAM
Makes 6 individual cakes.
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 sticks butter (6 oz. wt.)
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
4 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (unsalted)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the cakes: Combine chocolate, butter and peanut butter in a metal bowl and place over a pot of just simmering water, or use a double boiler. Stir till chocolate and butter are just melted. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl mix eggs, flour, sugar and vanilla extract until glossy, about 2 minutes.
Mix in melted chocolate and butter mixture until just combined. Then stir in peanuts.
Lightly, pan-spray and flour over-sized muffin pans (Texas Style). Divide batter into the 6 cups.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 34 minutes. Cakes will be slightly gooey in the center. Let cool in pans for 8 minutes then unpan and cool right-side-up on a wire rack.
To make the cream: Place cream, peanut butter and powdered sugar in a bowl and whip until just soft peaked.
To serve cakes: Serve cakes while still warm, or totally cool them and individually wrap in plastic wrap until needed. (Cakes keep this way for up to 4 days.) Serve at room temperature or warm just slightly in microwave for about 20 – 30 seconds on high power or until just warm. Serve topped with a dollop of the peanut cream.
©Copyright 2009 by Kathy Casey Food Studios®