I had some almond paste leftover from making Banket around Christmas time so I went on a recipe search to find another recipe that asks for almond paste. I found this recipe on Epicurious.com. The reviews turned me down a little bit saying how greasy and rich these bars were. One of the reviews changed the recipe to make them healthier by using milk instead of butter, whole-wheat flour and a little less sugar. I’m always up for making my recipes healthier so that’s exactly what I did.
I really liked how these turned out. They have a nice almond flavor and are very light. I realized after making them that the original recipe below is probably what my mom uses to make her Almond Bars that everyone raves over, which I agree, they are delicious. I think it all depends on what you are making them for. If you are bringing them somewhere to share with a group of people, the original recipe is great. If they were just for the family and something to grab when you need something sweet, I’d choose the “lighter” recipe.
Here is the original Almond Bar Cookie recipe, my changes are in paranthesis.
Almond Bar Cookies
(recipe by epicurious.com)
1/2 cup packed almond paste, coarsely crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar (3-4 Tbsp less than this)
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (8 oz skim milk)
1 large egg, separated
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (1 cup whole-wheat flour, 1/4 cup all-purpose)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan, then line with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 opposite sides, and butter foil.
Beat together butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a stand mixer (preferably fitted with a paddle attachment) or 6 minutes with a handheld. Add almond mixture, egg yolk, and almond extract and beat until combined well, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, then add flour and mix until combined. Spread batter evenly in pan with an offset spatula. Lightly beat egg white in a small bowl, then brush some of it over batter and sprinkle evenly with almonds.
Bake until top is golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 1 hour. Transfer with foil to a cutting board, then discard foil. Cut into squares or rounds.