Scandinavian Almond Bars are soft, chewy shortbread bars jam packed with almond flavor ~ they freeze beautifully, and make fabulous holiday gifts…but don’t give them all away, save a few for yourself, you deserve it!
These bars are from my friend Mary, from Barefeet in the Kitchen ~ she’s made them for years, and every time she shares them on social media I start to lust after them. She says they’re one of her most requested recipes, and I can see why. If you love all things almond, this is a recipe for you.
Almonds lovers, you know it’s true ~ you can get a perfectly good ‘high’ just sniffing the almond extract bottle ~ it’s heaven!
I made sure to dose these bars with extra extract ~ you can never have too much. In fact there’s 3 layers of almond baked into these buttery babies, starting with the almonds themselves, along with the extract, and then almond meal. Each ingredient adds its own special ‘something’ to the mix and the result is pure almond bliss.
This is one of those super easy recipes to throw together, it’s even easier than making cookies because you’ll just pat the dough right into a pan. It’s similar to a shortbread, but the addition of an egg gives it a slightly chewier texture.
TIP: If you want a thicker bar, double the recipe and bake it in the same 9×13 pan. The baking time will be closer to 30 minutes. The texture will be similar to a blondie.
Mary says she often doubles or quadruples the recipe, especially during the holidays. You can cut these into bars, or squares, and they make a great addition to a holiday cookie assortment.
TIP: The secret to these bars is that they need to be slightly under-baked. They cook at 325F and only long enough to set the dough. As they cool, they firm up, but retain a soft chewy texture. Don’t wait until they look brown to take them out of the oven!
*Recipe slightly adapted from Barefeet in the Kitchen (Mary’s recipe is gluten free)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup almond meal or flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp milk or cream
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- milk or cream to thin
- Set oven to 325F Butter a 9x13 pan and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
- Beat in the egg and the extract.
- Whisk the flours, baking powder, and salt together and add slowly to the bowl. Mix until everything is well combined.
- Press the dough into the pan with your fingers. I find it it easiest if I scatter the dough in crumbles across the pan and then pat it down. If you don't have quite enough dough to fill your pan, you can stop it a little shy of one edge...the dough will stay put as it bakes. Take a little time with this step to ensure you've got an even layer of dough.
- Brush the top of the dough with the milk or cream, and then top it with the sliced almonds. Press them down gently with your hands.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, or just until the dough is drying out and just beginning to brown along the edges. The bars will appear under-cooked, but will firm up as they cool.
- Let the bars cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then slice them. If they seem too soft, let them cool a bit longer. Carefully remove the slices to a rack to cool completely before you ice them.
- To make the glaze, stir the sugar together with the extract, and enough milk or cream to thin to a glaze. Drizzle over the cooled bars.
- You can use cake flour for an especially tender bar.
- If you don’t have almond flour, just use all regular flour.
don’t forget to pin it!