04 March 2013

Cinnamon Almond Bars

These bars are totally up my cookie alley.  They are simple, crunchy, chewy, and seriously addictive.  That's pretty much my cookie criteria in a nutshell.  They also have almonds.  That's not a requirement, but it certainly helps.  If you've read my posts that had anything to do with almonds in the past, then you know I sit in amazement at what the French can do with almonds.  They are miracle workers.  My time in France made me love almonds.  Being a Southerner this is almost a betrayal of my almost completely pecan-based upbringing.  These bars certainly would look out of place with the immacualte and perfect desserts in French bakeries, but they taste delightful enough to fit right in. 

First, you whip together some shortening, sugar, and an egg yolk until they a little fluffy and a really lovely yellow color.  After this you'll add the rest of the ingredients to make some dough.

Then you plop the dough into an ungreased 11" x 7" pan.

Press the dough out into an even layer.  It helps if you get your hands just a little damp to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.

Then whip up the egg white until it's just a little frothy.  I did this by hand and it took about a minute.

Pour the egg white over the dough, use a brush to spread it over the entire surface, then sprinkle it with sugar, cinnamon, and chopped almonds.  Pop it in the oven.

Let 'em cool for a couple of minutes before you cut them into bars.  Enjoy!

Cinnamon Almond Bars
makes about 24 bars

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp sugar
1 egg, separated
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 350°.

In the bowl of a mixer, on medium speed, cream together the shortening, 1/2 cup sugar, and egg yolk.  Beat until well combined and a little fluffy.  Add the flour, salt, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon and beat until just combined and the mixture looks very coarse and crumbly.  Add the milk, vanilla extract, and almond extract, and beat until the dough comes together and is smooth.  Press the dough into an ungreased 11 x 7" pan.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg white until just frothy.  Spread the egg white over the dough.  Combine the 3 Tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and almonds.  Sprinkle this mixture over the egg whites.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars, but leave them in the pan.  Once the bars are cool, remove from the pan and serve.

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