I am an unabashed gluten fiend. Few things are more appetizing to me than a chewy piece of foccacia fresh from the oven or a slice of cherry pie with a perfectly flaky pie crust; both of which are difficult to achieve without gluten’s springy web-like structure. Shocking exactly no one, I go through far more than my fair share of flour in an average month. Yet despite my steady long-term relationship with this white powdery demon, I find myself frequently craving these flourless chocolate walnut cookies.
When you have a friend who will put up with incessantly being called “Pattycake” without complaint they deserve a birthday treat fitting of such a name. When Pat’s 25th birthday rolled around I decided not one but two “pattycakes” were in order (red velvet, and an apple-ginger concoction). Two somewhat sloppily frosted (I could use a LOT of practice) layer cakes and a lot of booze and cake-fueled smiles later, there was a clear winner in my cake runoff. The people had voted with their forks, and simplicity and nostalgia won out, with only scraps of red velvet cake leftover.
I’ll take nearly any excuse to spend an afternoon baking for an appreciative audience, so when my dear friend Lashley invited Andrew and I to visit for Picnic Day in Davis a week and a half ago I knew that I needed a few tasty treats up my sleeve. The lineup: lemon bars, fudge, and a chocolate pretzel tart. Lemon bars and fudge are well-loved standbys that I’ve made countless times and knew wouldn’t fail me, so I decided to take a (minor) risk by baking my first tart. I had been eyeing this recipe for quite a while; the seductive combination of salty pretzels, creamy almond butter and dark chocolate brought it to the top of a ever-expanding queue of recipes to make ASAP*.