One of the many ingredients that seem to collect in our house are different types of jams and preserves. The British store that we like to visit has a wide variety of jams, lots of marmalade and we pick up items that seem new and interesting. At the grocery store that applies too. Anything new will often peak our interest. For this recipe, I used strawberry honey preserves, which is a traditional preserve just made with honey. I also considered using rhubarb ginger preserves, but perhaps that would have been too much.
This recipe calls for sliced almonds, which are used as the topping but can also be used for the ground almonds. Sliced almonds grind up very nicely in the food processor. Right now, I have some almond flour on hand as I did some gluten free baking, so I used that. Either would work. You could even substitute plain flour, but then the bars would lose some of its almond flavor.
This bottom crust is very thin. When I started pressing the dough into the pan, it looked like an impossibly small amount to dough to cover the entire pan. It worked though, you must be patient and take your time. You top the bars with a cream cheese icing/topping before baking, which is quite different. These bars are thin and some are very delicate. I like the strawberry combined with almond. I think I can taste the honey in the preserves, which I like, but it makes the strawberry flavor just a little less prominent.
Strawberry Almond Bars
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup ground almonds/almond flour
3/4 cup strawberry preserves
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the melted butter with flour, powdered sugar, and ground almonds. Stir until the mixture is crumbly. Press into the bottom of 9” x 13” baking dish. Spread the preserves onto the bottom crust, making sure that the preserves don’t touch the sides of the pan.
Make the topping: in a mixer bowl beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and almond extract on medium speed until smooth. Pipe the topping in diagonal lines on top of the preserves. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.
Bake for 20-24 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
Recipe from Shugary Sweets