Almond Butter Makes Chocolate Cookies Moist and Fudgy

Christopher Kimball wrote . . . . . . . . .

In her cookbook “My Two Souths,” chef Asha Gomez added an intriguing twist to the classic chocolate cookie — Nutella. It was an innovative way to introduce nutty flavor to an otherwise straightforward chocolate cookie dough.

Inspired, we wondered what other nutty spreads would work, so for this recipe from our book “Milk Street Tuesday Nights,” which limits recipes to 45 minutes or less, we tried natural almond butter. We were thrilled. Besides injecting the cookie with almond flavor, the natural ingredient gave us more control over the finished texture — moist, fudgy and almost brownie-like.

We made a few other small tweaks — adding cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate to deepen the cookie’s flavor and color without overwhelming the lighter milk chocolate — but otherwise kept the recipe simple and straightforward.

Sliced almonds pressed onto the tops added crunch, and a final sprinkle of flaky sea salt heightened the other flavors. The result was delicious but intense, so we scaled down the cookie’s size, making it a decadent two-bite treat.

When you’re forming the cookies, if the dough is very sticky, allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. As the milk chocolate solidifies, the dough becomes easier to work with.


Triple-Chocolate Almond Cookies

Start to finish: 30 minutes (20 minutes active)

Makes 30 cookies

8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
130 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour
160 grams (3/4 cup packed) brown sugar
16 grams (3 tablespoons) cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
2/3 cup roasted almond butter, stirred well
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons flaky sea salt (such as Maldon Sea Salt Flakes)

Heat the oven to 350°F with racks in the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line 2 baking sheets with kitchen parchment.

Put the milk chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 50 percent power, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely smooth and melted. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Add eggs and mix thoroughly with a rubber spatula. Stir in the melted chocolate, almond butter, vanilla and chopped semisweet chocolate.

Spread the almonds on a large plate. Divide the dough into 1-tablespoon balls, then lightly press into the almonds, coating one side and slightly flattening them. Arrange 15 of the balls, almond side up, on each of the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart. Brush the tops lightly with the egg white and sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake until the center is set and the edges are no longer glossy, 10 to 13 minutes, rotating the sheets and switching racks halfway through. Let cool completely on the sheets. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

Source: AP

 

 

 

 

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Bad Sleep Might Raise Your Odds for Glaucoma

Cara Murez wrote . . . . . . . . .

Poor sleep may be linked to glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness, new research suggests.

The study drew on a database of more than 400,000 people to explore links between sleep and vision loss.

Glaucoma is marked by progressive loss of light-sensitive cells in the eye and optic nerve damage. Left untreated, it can cause irreversible blindness. As many as 112 million people worldwide could be affected by 2040.

For the new study, the researchers considered a variety of sleep behaviors. These included too much sleep as well as too little, insomnia and daytime sleepiness, being a “night owl” or a “morning lark,” as well as snoring.

The investigators used data from more than 409,000 participants in the UK Biobank (average age: 57). The study defined normal sleep duration as seven to nine hours. The researchers used medical records and death data to track the health and lifespan of all participants until a first diagnosis of glaucoma, death, emigration or end of monitoring in 2021.

During an average 10.5-year monitoring period, the researchers identified 8,690 cases of glaucoma.

Frequent daytime sleepiness was associated with a 20% higher risk for the disease. The risk rose 12% with insomnia and 8% with short or long sleep duration. Snoring was associated with a 4% higher risk.

Compared to folks who had a healthy sleep pattern, people who snored or had daytime sleepiness were 10% more likely to have glaucoma. Insomniacs and those with a pattern of too much or too little sleep were 13% more likely to have the condition.

Compared to those not diagnosed with the disease, participants with glaucoma tended to be older and male, have high blood pressure or diabetes, and a history of smoking at some point.

The findings were published online in BMJ Open.

The study authors said it’s possible that glaucoma itself might influence sleep patterns rather than the other way around. The team included Huan Song from the West China Biomedical Big Data Center at West China Hospital at Sichuan University in China.

The investigators also pointed to plausible biological explanations for the link. The internal pressure of the eye, a key factor in the development of glaucoma, rises when a person is lying down and when sleep hormones are out of kilter, as occurs in insomnia, the researchers explained in a journal news release.

Depression and anxiety, which may accompany insomnia, may also increase internal eye pressure, possibly because of dysregulated cortisol production, the authors noted.

Repetitive or prolonged episodes of low oxygen due to sleep apnea (the sudden stopping of breathing during sleep) may also damage the optic nerve, they suggested.

As an observational study, this research doesn’t prove cause and effect.

But the findings underscore the need for sleep therapy in people who are at high risk of glaucoma. Eye checks in patients with chronic sleep disorders could look for early signs of the disease, and targeted screening might be cost-effective in high-risk groups, Song’s team said.

“As sleep behaviors are modifiable, these findings underscore the necessity of sleep intervention for individuals at high risk of glaucoma and potential ophthalmologic screening among individuals with chronic sleep problems to help prevent glaucoma,” the researchers concluded.

Source: HealthDay

 

 

 

 

Coconut Cakes with Dark Chocolate Glaze

Ingredients

125g butter, melted
1 cup (80g) desiccated coconut
1-2/3 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
1/2 cup (75g) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5 egg whites

Dark Chocolate Glaze

150 g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup single (pouring) cream

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Place the butter, coconut, sugar, flour, baking powder and egg whites in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Divide the mixture into a well-greased 12-hole 1/2-cup capacity muffin tin or dariole moulds. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until just cooked in the centre when tested with a skewer.
  4. Stand the cakes for 2 minutes then remove from the tin and cool completely on wire racks.
  5. Make the dark chocolate glaze. Place the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth. Cool the mixture until it is a thick icing consistency and spoon over the cooled cakes to serve.

Makes 12 cakes.

Source: Fast, Fresh, Simple


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