Friday, July 13, 2018

Almond Bars

Recently a friend and I were having lunch at a restaurant somewhere and we each had a brownie for dessert. My friend told me she had a dynamite recipe for a brownie that included almond flour and some almond flavoring, and she later emailed it to me.

But afterwards I started thinking, why just part almond? Why not eliminate the chocolate altogether?

Yes, I know that's blasphemy. But I have to make a confession: I don’t really like chocolate.

The thing is, I’ve been allergic to chocolate since early childhood. Oh, of course I’ve eaten it. It doesn’t making blow up like a balloon or turn funny colors. It only makes me sneeze, and my eyes get red, and so on.

Funny footnote: when I was pregnant with my daughter, if I ate anything chocolate, she would get hiccups (which felt really weird). I have no idea why, and she didn’t do it with any other food.

I decided to go hunting for an all-almond bar cookie that was kind of a faux brownie. And they do exist! I found several recipes and muddled them together. And I really wanted to use almond flour, so I swapped that for half of the regular flour the recipes usually called for.

Almond Bar Cookies 
(should I call them Beigies? Tannies? I think Blondies is already taken)


1/2 cup (about 5 oz.) packed almond paste (not marzipan!), crumbled
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg, separated
1 tsp almond extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, or a mix of regular flour and almond flour


In a food processor, pulse the almond paste until it is broken up into small bits. Add the salt and 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue to pulse until the mixture is finely ground (about 1 minute).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan, then line it with foil (let it overlap on two opposing sides, to make your bars easy to remove from the pan). Then butter the foil.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and the rest of the sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy (3-6 minutes, depending on your mixer). Add the almond mixture, the egg yolk and the almond extract and beat until well mixed (about 2 minutes). 

Reduce the speed to low. Add the flour and beat until combined.

Spread the batter evenly in the pan with a spatula. Beat the egg white in a small bowl then brush it over the batter.

Bake until the top is golden, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for about an hour. Lift the bars out of the pan (see where the foil comes in handy?) and place it on a cutting board and cut into squares. 

In the interests of full disclosure, I will admit I checked MLK’s large archive of recipes for other versions of almond cookies, and I did find some (including two that I contributed). But this is the only one I’ve seen that uses almond paste and comes in bar form rather than as a cookie.

And for a bit of good news: Murder at the Mansion, the first book of my new Victorian Village Mysteries, was released on June 26th by Minotaur Books. On July 3rd my editor emailed me to say "we are reprinting 1000 copies of MURDER AT THE MANSION! But then one of our accounts came back with a bigger reorder than we expected, so it's looking like we'll be going into a third printing soon, not even two weeks after pub!"

I am so grateful to all my readers who gave it a try! (Don't mind the red letters--I'm still celebrating.)

And! Murder at the Mansion is ranked #15 on the Pub Alley Fiction Mystery Bestseller list!


  1. I LOVE almond flavour ..... these sound absolutely delicious! Thanks from Nancy R in Ottawa, Canada.

  2. What terrific news about your book! Well done!!!

    This sounds really nice. Never able to leave things alone, what about topping it with sliced almonds after the egg white?

    1. Actually at least one recipe called for that, but I'm not a big fan of larger pieces of nuts, although I do love the almond flavor. Feel free to add them!

  3. These bars sound really good. Congrats on your new book's success!