Chocolate Almond Pastries

I hosted Bunco last night at my house and these were the treats I made to serve for dessert.  The recipe comes from “Martha Stewart Living”, the December 2009 issue.  I felt a little like Martha yesterday as I made these treats and then I made treats for everyone to take home as part of their prize (more on that in another post).  These are super easy to make and they are so delicious!  Bob and I have been trying to eat better and count calories for the past 10 weeks (I’ve lost 20 pounds and Bob has lost 40!) but I cheated for the first time last night and had a piece of this and it was worth every bite and the half pound I gained when I stepped on the scale this morning!  The recipe said it serves 4 but those were huge pieces so I think 6 servings is probably a better amount.

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3 oz package), thawed (according to package directions)

1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash

sanding sugar, for sprinkling (you can usually find sanding sugar at craft stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby)

1 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used chocolate chips, which worked out great and I’m pretty sure I used more than 1 1/2 ounces)

honey, for drizzling

sea salt, for sprinkling

2 tablespoons whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped (I had a bag of sliced almonds from Costco so I used those and I also made 1 tart with walnuts, see pic at end of post)

vanilla ice cream (I went with Cool Whip)

1  Preheat oven to 450 (this seemed a little hot so I might take it down to 425 – 400).  Arrange puff pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Trim edges if needed to form a 10″ square (I didn’t bother trimming, just went with whatever size it ended up being), and fold each edge in to form a 1″ crust.  Prick middle of dough all over with a fork.  Brush edges with egg wash, and sprinkle with sanding sugar.  Freeze for 15 minutes.

2  Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake until pastry is puffed and golden brown, 15 – 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and cover center evenly with chocolate.  (My pastry had puffed quite a bit so I took a fork and pushed it down in the center only so that I had a flat surface to work with, I also had to prick it again with the fork several times to get it to lay flat.)  Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with salt.  Return to oven and bake until chocolate melts, about 2 minutes.  (I had to take a knife here after I took it out of the oven and spread the chocolate around carefully so that I had a nice even layer of chocolate on my pastry.)  Sprinkle with almonds and cut into 4 (or 6) squares.  Serve with ice cream or Cool Whip and drizzle with more honey.

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