I’m returning to a classic here. These are neither hip or new or with some special twist, they are just a recipe I have been making for years and return to when I need a little comfort. I love the old-fashioned taste of almond paste. I don’t now why exactly I say old fashioned, there is just something reminiscent about the rich, grainy, almond-y taste to me. I have no particularly childhood memory of almond desserts, or any proof of my feeling that they somehow seem very Jane Austen-ish, or even Little House on the Prairie-ish (though I know that can’t be true). These bars just take me to a happy place.
These bars are the perfect treat when you want to move away from classic brownies or cookies for a different taste. They are so easy to make but pack a real flavor punch. As an added bonus, they will keep for several days in an airtight container, so they can be made ahead. I have even shipped these to my niece in college.
Glazed Double Almond Bars
For the Bars:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
7 ounces almond paste
2 cups granulated sugar
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
For the Glaze:
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon almond extract
5 – 6 Tablespoons milk
Preheat the oven to 300 °. Line a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with non-stick foil or parchment paper with some overhanging ends.
Beat the butter and the almond paste together in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth and creamy and well combined. Add the sugar and the eggs and beat until combined and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the flour and salt until the batter is smooth, again scraping the bowl as needed. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Use clean, damp fingers to press it out into an even layer if needed. Bake for 1 hour until firm and lightly golden and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Spread the glaze over the bars as soon as you remove them from the oven.
For the Glaze:
Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, almond extract and enough milk to make a glaze as thick as heavy cream. Pour over the warm bars and leave to cool completely.
Cut the bars into squares. The bars will keep in an airtight container for 2 days.