It is time to begin Christmas baking. I like to bake several kinds of cookies that I can freeze and have ready when I need them. This recipe for Chocolate-Almond Tassies came from Damon Lee Fowler, a culinary historian and a Southern cook who lives in Savannah, Georgia. The recipe was featured in Bon Appetit last year. Tassies are miniature tartlets and are traditionally made with pecans, but Damon states that almonds have been imported into the Southern states since colonial time so they have always been a traditional part of the Christmas holidays. They are like miniature pecan pies; in this case almond pies with the addition of chocolate and a flavoring of Amaretto.
The recipe is easy and forgiving. The crust is rich with the addition of cream cheese and handles beautifully. The recipe can be done in stages if you do not have free hours to devote to it. The amaretto imparts a wonderful almond flavor to the tassies. If you do not wish to use it, you can substitue 1/2 tsp. almond extract and 1 1/2 Tbls water. If I can keep grabby hands away from these I will freeze them in a ziplock bag for a treat before Christmas or as part of a cookie exchange.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons amaretto
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate morsels
Dough/ Beat butter, cream cheese, sugar, and salt in large bowl, until blended. Stir in flour (dough will be soft and sticky). Scrape dough onto sheet of plastic wrap. Using plastic as aid, shape dough into disk. Cover and chill until firm, at least two hours.
Roll dough into twenty-four 1 inch balls; place 1 dough ball in each of 24 mini muffin cups. Chill 15 to 20 minutes. Using floured fingertips, press dough over bottom and upsides of each muffin cup, forming shell. Chill until ready to use, up to 1 day.
Filling/ Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk first 5 ingredients in medium bowl until blended. Stir in almonds and chocolate morsels. Spoon filling into shells.
Bake tassies until crusts are golden brown and filling is set, 23 to 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Using small sharp knife, cut around each cookie to loosen, then turn out onto rack and cool completely.