Monday, December 23, 2013

Bakelist: Almond Butter Bars

I think I'm heartily sick of chocolate at the moment.  Good lord, I never thought I would utter such blasphemy.  But you can only eat so much before you start yearning for something a little different.  Something like these little slices of heaven.

Tons of butter?  Check.  Tons of sugar?  Check.  Awesome almond flavor?  Check.  These are amazing warm and still pretty awesome at room temperature.  I didn't attempt the chocolate dipping (for reasons stated above), but I can imagine that probably just about tips them over the top.  Definitely on my cooking bucket list.

Almond Butter Bars
Adapted from Bakelist and the San Francisco Chronicle

1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar, plus 4 teaspoons (divided)
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2½ cups flour
½ cup almond meal
A pinch salt
½ cup sliced almonds
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan generously with cooking spray.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter.  When the butter is melted, stir in the granulated and dark brown sugars, reserving the 4 teaspoons of granulated sugar. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until pale golden in color and completely blended. Stir in almond and vanilla extracts and salt. Mix in the flour and almond meal until batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle 4 teaspoons of granulated sugar over the top and then sprinkle with the sliced almonds, pressing them in slightly so that they won’t fall off after baking. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until dark golden on top, making sure not to burn the almonds. The bars will not be completely set in the center and will not test clean with a toothpick. Let cool completely before removing and slicing.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container up to 3 days, refrigerate for 1 week or freeze. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Optional: If dipping in melted chocolate, freeze the cut bars for at least 30 minutes. Melt 8 ounces of semisweet chocolate in the microwave.  Dip the frozen bars in the chocolate and place on a tray to either set out to cool or freeze. Let come to room temperature before eating.

Makes about 60 squares

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