Strawberry-Almond Bars

Because Valentine's Day fell on the weekend, I didn't get a chance to make anything sweet for my friends, which I really enjoy doing. I could have brought something in on Friday, but I didn't want to take up time on Thursday night, a week night, baking. I waited until Sunday, when I had the time, and brought my Valentine's treat in on Monday instead. I figured no one would care if they were a day late---it's not like they would taste less-good because they weren't given out on Valentine's Day.

Anyway, I made strawberry-almond bars. The recipe came from marthastewart.com. These are a favorite of mine because they are great for mailing to people since they hold up well. The bars consist of a shortbread-type dough studded with almonds and layered with jam; I chose strawberry (red for Valentine's Day). You could use any beautifully-colored jam you wish, such as cherry, plum, or raspberry.

Strawberry-Almond Bars
Printable Recipe

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup unbleached granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1/2 cup strawberry jam

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. With an electric hand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together in a medium bowl, then cream in the egg yolk.
3. Whisk the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder together in a smaller bowl, then gradually add the flour into the butter mixture, beating with the hand mixer. Stir in the almonds.
4. Place the jam in a small bowl and with a fork or whisk, beat out any large lumps.
5. In a buttered (use the leftover butter from the butter wrapper) 8x8-inch (I used an odd size-7 1/2x11-inch) pan, press half of the dough. Spread the jam over the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch margin. Sprinkle the rest of the dough on top of the jam and gently press into a flat layer all the way to the edge of the pan.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting with a serrated knife and serving.

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