Elegant Almond Bars

Another Betty Crocker recipe using a sugar cookie mix (which were on sale last week at Smiths and with a coupon, they were about $1, bargain!).  If you like almonds, you’ll love these bars.  The almond paste is a bit pricey but there are recipes on the internet for making your own which I will probably try the next time I make these.

cookie base:

1 pouch (1 lb, 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg

filling:

1 (8 oz) can or 1 (7 oz) package almond paste, crumbled into 1/2″ pieces (you can find this in the baking aisle of the grocery store but don’t use the 12 – 13 oz canned pastry filling which is a different product)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 eggs

1/2 cup sliced almonds

topping:

2 oz white chocolate baking bar, coarsely chopped (1/3 cup) (the recipe says to use the baking bars in the baking aisle and not almond bark which won’t work as well or taste as good)

2 tablespoons shortening

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1  Heat oven to 350.  In large bowl, stir cookie base ingredients until soft dough forms.  Spread in ungreased 13 x 9″ pan.  Bake 15 – 18 minutes or until light golden brown.

2  Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat almond paste, sugar and 1/4 cup melted butter with electric mixer on low speed until blended.  Add 2 eggs and beat until well blended (mixture may be slightly lumpy).

3  Spread almond paste mixture over partially baked base.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup almonds.  Bake 15 – 20 minutes longer or until filling is set (filling will puff up during baking).  Cool completely, about 1 hour.

4  In small saucepan, melt white chocolate and shortening over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth.  (Or microwave chocolate and shortening 1 – 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.)  Pour and spread over cooled bars.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup almonds.  Let stand 30 minutes or until topping is set.  Store covered at room temperature.

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