Apricot Shortbread Bars
Honestly, this recipe is a personal favorite. Mostly because it's delicious, but what really makes it my fave is how EASY it is to make. If I'm ever in a pinch and need to whip up a crowd-pleasing plate of something amazing, this is my go-to.
You can use any jam you want. Raspberry and blackberry is especially good, but apricot is what I had in my fridge left over from making apricot & manchego grilled cheese appetizers.
For these particular bars, I decided to cut them into heart shapes since they are for a friend's bachelorette party. I thought it would be much cuter than the typical squares. You could use any shape or just cut them into bars.
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond flour
3 cups all-purpose flour (I used all-purpose unbleached wheat flour)
1 1/2 cups jam of choice (I used apricot since I had it on hand, but blackberry or raspberry is delish)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray edges of cookie sheet with nonstick spray. I used coconut oil.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. I spray a bit of coconut oil in the middle too so that the parchment stays in place. You could also use a silpat or spray your entire cookie sheet if you don't have parchment on hand, but it makes for tougher time to get pretty shaped bars in the end.
2. Make the shortbread: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine butter and sugars; beat until creamy. Add salt and vanilla and beat until well combined. Beat the almond flour and all-purpose flour into the butter mixture on low speed, just until a smooth dough forms. Don't overmix or your shortbread will be tough. Divide the dough in half. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. In the mean time, press the other half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared cookie sheet to form the bottom crust.
3. Bake the crust until it is just beginning to turn tan around the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove sheet from oven. Let the crust cool until firm to the touch. Spread jam evenly over the partially baked crust. Crumble the remaining shortbread dough over the jam to form the top layer. At this point you can press it down or leave it crumbly. It depends on what look you want to go for. If you want to be able to see the jam through the top, leave it crumbly. If you want a more layered look, press it down over the jam so that it is completely covered. Return the sheet to the oven and continue baking until the topping is firm and golden in color, about 25 minutes. Transfer the entire sheet to a wire rack to cool.
4. Cut into bars. As I mentioned above, you can cut these into any shape you'd like. I used a heart shaped cookie cutter. If you want the most out of your bars without leaving scraps, cut them into regular ol' squares. They're just as beautiful. Keep in a covered container at room temp for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 1 month. Enjoy!
*(Adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey)
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