Packaged in cans or tubes, almond paste is made primarily from ground almonds and sugar, and it is typically used in dessert fillings. I love it in this recipe because it keeps the squares nice and moist and imparts a delicate almond flavor. Almond paste can be found in most supermarkets in the baking aisle. It should not be confused with marzipan, which is an almond-based candy dough that contains a higher amount of sugar. These squares will keep for up to 2 weeks.
Reprinted from the book The Flying Brownie by Shirley Fan. Copyright © 2013 and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press.
|8 tablespoons unsalted butter||1/4 teaspoon salt|
|3/4 cup packed light brown sugar||1 large egg, at room temperature|
|1 teaspoon pure almond extract||1/2 cup chopped dried figs|
|1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract||1/4 cup chopped dried apricots|
|1 cup all-purpose flour||1/2 cup almond paste, broken into bite-size chunks|
|1 teaspoon baking powder|
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan or line with parchment paper; set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. When brown specks begin to form on the bottom of the pan and the butter releases a nutty aroma, immediately remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the brown sugar and both extracts, and set aside to begin cooling.
In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. While the butter mixture is still slightly warm, add the egg and stir to incorporate. Add the fl our mixture and stir again. Fold in the figs, apricots, and almond paste. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the squares comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Let cool in the pan before slicing into 16 squares. Wrap the bars individually with waxed or parchment paper or plastic wrap, seal with tape, and pack in a zipper-top plastic bag or other container. Alternatively, layer unwrapped bars in an airtight container, separating the layers with waxed or parchment paper.
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