Friday, January 13, 2017

Chewy Almond Marzipan Bars

At Christmas, we buy marzipan at the British food shop that is near our home. They make their own marzipan, and my husband puts a layer of marzipan on the Christmas cake underneath the royal icing. It’s always hard to know how much marzipan you’re going to need, and this year we overestimated how much we would need. We were left with two packages of marzipan. My husband asked me if I could use it in recipes, and I said I certainly can.

When I started baking, I would look at so many different recipes. I would typically avoid any recipe that called for marzipan or almond paste, since it is an expensive ingredient! Having a lot of marzipan that needs to be used is an exciting proposition. I did some searching and came across several recipes that looked good. I knew I hadn’t made bar cookies in a while so I opted to make these Chewy Marzipan Bars. (It seems like the “Almond” in the recipe title is unnecessary, as marzipan is made from almonds!)

I typically grind up blanched almonds in the food processor to make almond flour, but for this recipe I bought some almond flour at the store. Much easier! I toasted the slivered almonds in the oven for about 10 minutes. I didn’t want them too browned as I knew they would brown while the bars were baking. They bars are chewy and soft, and they smell divine! The bars are chewy, but the slivered almonds on top give the bars a nice crunch. I’m really happy that I tried this recipe.

Chewy Almond Marzipan Bars
1¼ cups flour
½ cup almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, room temperature
⅔ cup sugar
⅓ cup marzipan
1 egg
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon milk
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
Powdered sugar, if desired

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium until combined. Add the marzipan and beat on medium until the mixture is smooth. Add the egg and almond extract; beat on medium until the mixture is fluffy.

With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Beat just until the dough comes together. Remove the bowl from the mixer and do a final mix of the dough with a spatula.

Press the dough evenly in the prepared pan; it will be a fairly thin layer. Brush the dough with the milk and sprinkle with the slivered almonds. Press the almonds into the dough.

Bake for 17-20 minutes, until the edges of the bars are barely brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Once the bars are cool, lift them from the pan and peel away the foil. Cut into bars. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

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