For more than half a dozen years I’ve bought decadent chocolate and almond-studded shortbread cookies from one of the bakers at my local farmers’ market. Although I’ve used all sorts of ploys to get the recipe, the merchants have shared only small tidbits about the bars. “Yes, they do have extra dark chunks of chocolate in them,” they confirmed, and “Yes, there is a hint of sea salt,” they have told me. Beyond that, they have politely avoided revealing any other tips.
I’ve made these bars countless times, always with good results, but never quite like the original. I even printed a recipe for them in my syndicated column, and have included them in several cooking classes. Finally, after several recent tries, victory was mine. I simply switched from bittersweet to 70% dark chocolate and lowered the amount of sugar!
If you love to prepare treats from your kitchen as holiday gifts, you’ll want to try the following recipe for chocolate-coated toffee with almonds and walnuts. Last year around this time, my talented assistant, Diana, brought me a small carton filled with a cache of these addictive morsels.
I asked if she’d share her recipe, and was stunned to discover how easy this toffee was to prepare. “Three easy steps,” she smiled and explained. Continue reading
Picholine, Niçoise, and countless other varieties abound in Provence’s markets. Black and green tapenades are produced from the local crops, and make great appetizers to spread on crusty baguette slices. Of course, olive oil is sublime in Provence, and replaces butter in most recipes.