Scandinavian Almond Bars are one of my most favorite, most requested cookie recipes. I've been making these for years, and are present during every holiday season, but also, year-round. They begin with a crunchy cookie base, infused with almond extract for a subtle, nutty flavor. Sliced almonds are sprinkled over the top, then baked. As they cool, they are cut into bars and drizzled with a sweet, sugar glaze. They really have a stunning appearance! These cookies are great on their own, but also great for dunking into a cup of tea or mug of coffee.
The last time I made these was when I went to visit my family over the holidays. I knew I had to make these bars because they would be expected by everyone, especially my grandma. My grandma loves any kind of sweet that involves nuts, so these are a favorite of hers. Since I moved away, I don't have many opportunities to bake these for her anymore, so it's a requirement to make time to do so whenever I'm there!
|Clockwise from left: Grandma, me, Dad, Mom, sister, Uncle Larry, Great Grandpa|
|Grandma and I|
I don't have any current pictures of her and I at the moment, but I do have this one...I think this was taken sometime around 1990. The next time I visit her I hope I can take new pictures, and make copies of some other family photos that she has. Her 90th birthday is coming up in April, so maybe in a few months I can wish her a happy birthday and bring her some of her favorite cookies; these Scandinavian Almond Bars!
Scandinavian Almond Bars
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Yield: about 4 dozen
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 to 2 Tbsp milk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extract. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add to creamed mixture and mix well.
Divide dough into fourths; shape into 12-inch x 3-inch rectangles. Place 5 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Brush with milk, then sprinkle with almonds. Press down slightly with the palm of your hand, to make sure the almonds stick to the dough.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and edges are lightly browned. Cool on pans for 5 minutes, then cut diagonally into 1-inch strips. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, extract, and enough milk to achieve drizzling consistency. Drizzle icing over bars.