Posts Tagged With: Almond

311/365: National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

Celebrating a food holiday you’ve already honored previously is bittersweet. Literally. November 7 is National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day.

OK, so it’s not exactly the same as National Milk Chocolate with Almonds Day (July 8) -but it’s almost identical to National Bittersweet Chocolate Day, one of our first challenges way back in January.  Bittersweet chocolate is, by its very definition, bitter. It contains less sugar and more cacao for a rich, intense flavor that is best suited to baking. It is sometimes lumped together with semisweet chocolate and the two can be used interchangeably in most recipes, though semisweet chocolate does contain a little more sugar. The darker the chocolate the healthier it is for you, so eating bittersweet chocolate is akin to snacking on three broccoli florets. OK, not really, but we can pretend, right? Almonds are a natural pairing: 40% of the world’s almond crop goes to the chocolate industry.

To celebrate, we split a Hershey’s bittersweet chocolate with almonds bar. I am not a fan of dark chocolate, and found it much too bitter (truth in advertising!) for my liking. Wouldn’t you know it, Tara liked it. For once, the tables were turned. I think this would have been better used in baking rather than eaten plain.

National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

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Categories: Candy, Nuts | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

189/365: National Milk Chocolate With Almonds Day

July 8 is National Milk Chocolate With Almonds Day. Not to be confused with November 7, which will be National Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day. And yet, as I’ve stated before, we are left without a National Ketchup Day. Hardly seems fair, does it?

But my job is not to question these food holidays. Even though I’ve been doing so mercilessly, whenever something strikes me as odd or unjust (hello, dual coq au vin holidays). Also, hint: check back one week from today, because I’ll be bitching again.

Anyway…

Chocolate and nuts are a great combination, like Sonny and Cher or Simon and Garfunkel: each is fine on their own, but put them together, and the combination  is velvety smooth and a little crunchy. The flavors really sing. Literally. The combination dates back to at least 1742, when a cookbook by Eliza Smith, The Compleat Housewife, was published. Clever title, by the way. Nice little pun, Eliza. Kind of like what The Beatles did in the 60s. Smith’s cookbook featured a recipe for Chocolate Almonds that was, essentially, chocolate-covered almonds. It probably didn’t require a lot of culinary skill to whip up, but I’m sure it tasted good. Probably the most popular iteration of this classic duo is the Almond Joy candy bar, created by the Winjamy Candy Manufacturing Company in 1946 (they later merged with Cadbury in 1978 and were sold to Hershey’s in 1988). “Sometimes you feel like a nut/sometimes you don’t” became one of the most annoyingly catchy commercial jingles in history during the 1970s.

To celebrate the holiday, Tara and I felt like nuts, so we had an Almond Joy bar.

National Milk Chocolate Almond Day

Categories: Candy | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

99/365: National Chinese Almond Cookie Day

May fortune smile down upon you today, as we celebrate a Chinese cookie. No, not the one with the tiny slip of paper inside. The other one. April 9 is National Chinese Almond Cookie Day!

Chinese almond cookies have long played second fiddle to the beloved fortune cookie. They’re like the Jan to the fortune cookie’s Marcia, for those of you who grew up in the 70s. And like the fortune cookie, they aren’t an authentic Chinese dish, either. Cookbook author Yuan-Shan Chi famously declared these cookies “as Chinese as blueberry pie” in 1960. Coincidentally, National Blueberry Pie Day is right around the corner (April 28). There is no record of Chinese almond cookies prior to the 1900s; they are believed to be an American invention based on the traditional Chinese walnut cookie, a plain cookie with a walnut in the center that was thought to bring good luck. In the Chinese culture, almonds are believed to be anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic, so if you’re in pain or having muscle spasms, reach for the cookie jar. While the Chinese almond cookie may not have originated in China, it’s popular there nowadays, particular in the south and southeastern parts of the country, and in Hong Kong. They are called almond cakes in China and are traditionally served to celebrate Chinese New Year, where their coin-like shape symbolizes prosperity.

Yesterday, when I was out scouting for empanadas, I picked up some Chinese almond cookies from an Asian market in town. We enjoyed those after dinner tonight. Or rather, enjoyed them. Tara caught a cold and her taste buds were so out of whack, she couldn’t taste a thing. She did take a couple of bites though, which is all our rules dictate.

Chinese Almond Cookie

Categories: Desserts | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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