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Chocolate Almond Pretzels

2/3 cup unsalted butter; room temp
1/2 cup almond paste; room temp
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg white
2 tsp almond extract
2 cup flour
1 confectioners' sugar for rolling pretzels
1/2 lb semisweet chocolate; melted almond paste:
8 oz almonds; blanched
1/4 cup unsalted butter; soft
1 cup (heaping) confectioner's sugar
1 egg white
2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 325F. Line baking pans with parchment or waxed
paper. Cream butter and broken-up almond paste with sugar in electric
mixer. Add egg white and extract and blend. Add the flour and blend
well. Cover bowl and refrigerate one hour or longer. Dust rolling
surface with confectioner' sugar. Use a generous teaspoon of dough
and roll into a 6-inch rope. Place on baking sheet and form into
pretzel shape. Bake about 10 minutes; don't allow to color. Melt
chocolate in a double boiler over hot (not boiling) water. Stir to
smooth. Dip half of each pretzel in chocolate, then drain on wire
rack with a pan underneath. (Scrape chocolate drippings and re-use.)
Store in airtight container. Almond Paste. Using the steel blade
of the food processor, grind almonds to a fine powder. Add butter
in chunks and process to blend. Add sugar; process. Beat egg white
stiff with a whisk or electric mixer, then drop into almond paste.
Add extract. Process just to blend ingredients. Store paste in an
airtight container in the refrigerator. Almond paste will "ripen"
and flavors will develop.


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