Strawberry Almond Bars

Sunday, November 29

The original recipe for these was actually titled strawberry marzipan bars. And it was the word marzipan which initially caught my attention. I was hoping that there would be a large amount of almond paste involved in the making of these. It was disappointing to read the recipe and not see any mention of it. But it made me curious. I have never been disappointed in any of the recipes from Land O'Lakes and if they used marzipan in their title then there must be a verifiable reason for doing so. I was imagining a bar which tasted like strawberry covered marzipan...and this recipe did indeed taste like my almond pasted dreams!What the bars lack in the way of actual almond paste they make up for in almond extract. I also added toasted, ground almonds in the crust. Some of you may know my obsession with almond. Often I will used almond extract in place of vanilla for some cookie recipes. So it was nice to have actual written permission to use it to my hearts content in these bars.

The recipe is quite simple. The crust is butter, flour, brown sugar, and almonds. The jam layer is covered a buttery crumb topping composed of brown sugar and almond extract. And the glaze is a simple mixture of confectioners sugar, almond, and milk. Simple, yes? Well once you bite into one you will be amazed at how extravagant they taste. Almond, to me, has a subtle sophistication to it. When it takes center stage in a dessert it's flavour adds beautiful drama to the story. These bars are delicate, buttery and yes, as clichéd as the phrase is, they literally melt in your mouth. One would almost believe that there was almond paste somewhere inside the crust or the filling. These could be made with raspberry, or apricot jam but I loved the sweet strawberry paired with the slightly bitter, nutty almond flavour. And the glaze only intensifies the multi-layered taste and texture. I rarely make things more than once but I think this might be a recipe to pull out again when I am in a hurry but want to bake something impressive.
In order to not be deceitful, I didn't include the word marzipan in my title. I didn't want to throw anyone off when they discovered that it was not one of the ingredients. But trust me, if you love almonds you must try this dessert.
Strawberry Almond Bars
(adapted from Land O'Lakes)
* printer friendly Recipe *
Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup of firmly packed brown sugar (I used dark)
  • 1/2 cup of butter (chilled and cut into tiny pieces)
  • 1/2 cup of toasted almonds (coarsely chopped and cooled)
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt

Filling Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of strawberry preserves ( or use your favourite)
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt
  • 1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/2 tsp. of pure almond extract

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. of pure almond extract
  • 2 tsp. of milk

Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan.

Crust: Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. *If you don't have a food processor you can prepare this with a mixer. Just have the butter at room temperature and stir in the almonds by hand once the other ingredients have been combined.* Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the edges just start to turn a light brown.

Filling: Spread the preserves over half-baked hot crust, leaving 1/4 of an inch bare around the edges. Set aside. In a medium bowl on low speed, beat the flour, salt, brown sugar, butter, and almond extract until well mixed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Sprinkle the mixture over the preserves. Leave the oven at 375F. Bake for 15-20 minutes until edges are slightly brown. Remove from oven and cool completely before adding the glaze.

Glaze: In a small bowl, combine the confectioners sugar and almond extract. Stir together as much as you can. Slowly add the milk until the glaze thins out and can be drizzled over the cool bars. Adjust the amount of milk to your liking.

4 comments:

  1. Oh my! I could hug you. I am hopelessly in love with marzipan. I have jars of homemade strawberry jam, so I am promise you-- I am making these. Yes, indeed. Thank you for such beautiful photos. Spectacular, and I will let you know when I blog it.
    Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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  2. How lovely. Even though summer has passed to be able to enjoy strawberries again in a delectable little treat is indeed special. I would certainly enjoy one of these right now. Beautifully photographed.

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  3. I am such an almond fan and this bar bake has made me starving hungry! It looks gorgeous, and I'm in love with the idea of all the different textures and flavours. Beautiful and delicious :)

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  4. This recipe looks amazing. You can depend on LOL to come up with something good. I bet some almond liqueur would be a nice addition.

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If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie

 

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