Friday, August 23, 2013

Orange Almond Bars

Orange and almond is a very classic combination, and one of my favorite cakes is an orange almond cake. When I came across this recipe for a bar cookie incorporating the same flavors, I thought it would be great! I had some whole almonds that I wanted to use up, so that was perfect for this recipe. I pulsed them up in the food processor and used it as the filling.

The bar cookie has a shortbread-like top and bottom layer. It’s not quite traditional shortbread as it contains egg, but the taste is very similar. Making the dough in the food processor makes quick work of cutting in the butter. While the ingredients are simple and there aren’t too many of them, I’ll be honest and tell you that it takes some patience to get these bars assembled. The top layer especially so, as you have to piece together small pieces of dough to make the top crust. The dough is just sticky enough that it gets a little tricky!

I didn’t top the bars with whole almonds, so these look kind of plain. They are a touch crumbly when you cut them, too. I like the flavors in these, but you can hardly taste the orange at all. I think more filling would be good too; it seems to get lost a little bit between the top and bottom cookie layers. My husband suggested filling these with almond paste, and I agree that would be very tasty. 

Orange Almond Cookie Bars
2-2/3 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1-1/4 cups cold butter, cut in pieces
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup brown sugar
Zest of one orange
1 egg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Thoroughly grease a 9” x 13” baking pan.

In a large food processor combine the flour, sugar, and brown sugar. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; it’s ok to have some pea-sized pieces of butter. Add the egg and vanilla and pulse until the mixture forms a cohesive dough. 

Divide the dough in half; press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Make the filling: in a medium bowl combine the almonds, brown sugar, orange zest and egg. Stir until combined. Spread on top of the dough in the pan.

To top the bars, take small pieces of dough and flatten with the palm of your hand. Place on top of the almond filling. Repeat with more dough, piecing the dough pieces together to make a complete top crust. Press down the top layer with a drinking glass or your hands. 

Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Recipe from Rock Recipes

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