Monday, December 22, 2008

Almond Bar Cookies



Nope, no fun back story here, just the recipe. So shoot me- we rolled in from my in-laws "not on Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve" party after 11:00 last night. Munch was a real trooper, happily dancing and giggling with her cousin D. all night- and immediately fell asleep in the car. These Almond Bars were such a hit on all the cookie plates this year-I now make 2 pans at a time.

8 oz. can almond paste
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, separated
2 tsp. almond extract
2 3/4 c. flour
1 2/3 c. sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pans by lining 2 8-inch square baking pans with foil (for the technique, click here. Spray each with nonstick cooking spray.

Crumble the almond paste into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the almond paste until broken into small bits, then add salt and 1/2 c. sugar and continue to pulse until finely ground, about 1 minute.

In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and 1 c. sugar at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the almond paste mixture, egg yolks, and almond extract and mix. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour, mixing until well incorporated. Divide batter between the prepared pans and smooth top with a spatula. Set aside.

In a clean, dry bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/4 c. sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in 1 1/3 c. sliced almonds. Divide and spread egg white mixture over the almond cookie base in the pans. Sprinkle remaining sliced almond over the tops. Bake until golden and set, about 55 min. Cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Lift out using foil "handles" and transfer to a cutting board. Slice into small squares (I usually get 24 squares per pan) and remove from foil. Enjoy!

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