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Buttery Almond Cakes

Yield 12

Ingredients

  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups whole blanched almonds (6 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • Strawberry Compote

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Generously butter a 12-cup mini-muffin pan (1/4 -cup size). In a medium saucepan, cook the butter over low heat until fragrant and browned, about 8 minutes; let cool completely. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until light brown; transfer to a plate and let cool completely.

  2. In a mini-processor, finely grind the almonds; watch carefully so they don't form a paste. Pass the ground almonds through a coarse sieve to remove any large pieces and to fluff them up. Return the almonds to the sieve, add the confectioners' sugar, flour and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and sift together into a large bowl.

  3. In another large stainless steel bowl, whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold very soft peaks. Stir the butter and almond extract into the almond mixture, then fold in the egg whites until just combined.

  4. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling each two-thirds of the way; sprinkle with the pine nuts. Bake for 8 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400° and bake for 8 minutes longer, or until the centers of the cakes have risen to form points and spring back when touched. Run a small knife around the cakes and remove them from the pan while still hot. Let cool completely on a rack. Serve with the Strawberry Compote.

  5. Make Ahead: The cakes can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 day.

  6. Serve With: Strawberry Compote