Recipe: Apricot Almond Shortbread Bars

Contributed by: Bon Appetit (2005) and The Merry Gourmet

Summary: Pure shortbread deliciousness.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peach-apricot or apricot preserves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar 2 cups (280 grams; 10 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (packed) almond paste, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter a 9 x 9 x 2 inch metal baking pan and line bottom and sides of pan with parchment paper, extending over the sides of the pan. Butter the parchment.
  2. Mix preserves and orange juice in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Using a mixer (hand-held or stand mixer), beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until well-blended. Beat in the almond extract, orange zest, and cinnamon.
  4. Add the flour and salt and beat until just blended. Transfer 1 cup of dough to another small bowl; add crumbled almond paste and blend, using your fingertips, until small clumps form.
  5. Mix in 1/4 cup sliced almonds and set aside for topping.
  6. Press remaining dough evenly onto the bottom of prepared pan. Spread preserves evenly over.
  7. Coarsely crumble the topping over the preserves, then sprinkle 1/4 cup almonds over. Press topping lightly into preserves.
  8. Bake until top and crust edges are golden brown, about 1 hour. Cool completely in pan on a cooling rack. Once cool, holding the sides of the parchment paper, lift shortbread from pan.
  9. Cut into 24 small bar cookies. Note:

Quick Notes

The almond paste is a key ingredient. The sweet almond flavor works well with the sweet and tangy apricot preserves, and the sliced almonds give a bit of crunch to the texture. Be sure to use a high quality preserve mixture for the best results.

This recipe can be prepared ahead of time. Store in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 4 days at room temperature, or freeze for up to two weeks.

Variations

Try using another flavor of preserves that are more to your liking if you are feeling creative.

Cooking time (duration):60-90

Number of servings (yield): 12

Meal type: dessert

 

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