Several months ago, I wrote that my New Year’s resolution was to get my pantry cleaned out and organized over the course of the year.
I must have somehow jinxed myself, because now that we’re staying at home and trying to avoid going to the store as much as possible, that resolution has become not just a dream, but a necessity.
Normally, Joey and I get groceries about once a week, but I’m prone to stopping in several times throughout to grab this or that as I come up with new ideas for recipes.
This week, though, we decided we should have a plan, execute it, and then avoid going back for as long as possible, so we planned out meals we could stretch, mostly soups, and made a detailed list, organized by aisle so we could quickly get in and out.
That being said, while we now have some staples and several containers of chicken noodle soup and ham and beans in the freezer, my pantry still has some special items for me to play with, so I got to searching through my recipes to see what I could share this week.
The one I landed on required zero trips to the store for me, and while I doubt most of you can follow suit, trust me when I say you should save this one for when you can get out and about again.
The recipe I tried comes from the blog “The View From Great Island.” You can find the original post at https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/almond-shortbread-bars-recipe/. I used store-bought almond paste for my version as well as doubled the almond extract. If you want to make almond paste from scratch, I highly recommend visiting this blog.
Almond Shortbread Bars
- 1 cup butter room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup almond paste
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup cream or milk I used skim
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a 9-by-13-inch pan by greasing and flouring it.
- For the bars, cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until fluffy. Beat in the egg, almond paste and almond extract until the mixture is smooth.
- Beat in the flour until everything is just combined and spread the dough into your pan. (I found it easier to just dump the dough into the pan and spread it around with my hands, but the recipe’s author suggests an offset spatula. Either way, it’s a little tough to spread.)
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the bars are set and the edges are golden brown.
- Let the bars cool for about 10 minutes before putting on the glaze.
- For the glaze, add the butter and cream/milk to a saucepan and heat over medium until the butter is melted. Whisk in the sugar and extract. Add more sugar if the glaze is too thin or more milk if it’s too thick.
- Stir in the almonds and pour the glaze over the bars, spreading it out evenly. Let the bars cool completely before slicing, and store leftovers in an airtight container.
Luckily, since we’re still able to work in the office (our desks were already more than six feet apart, so it’s been pretty easy), I had folks to pawn my treats off on, and they happily helped me polish them off.
If you like almonds, you’ll love these. They’re so flavorful and the perfect texture for shortbread, which I think can sometimes get a bit dry.
Moving forward, I’m sure I’ll find some more treasures in my pantry, and hopefully, I’ll still be able to sneak my treats to others. If I’m certain of one thing in these uncertain times, it’s that I definitely don’t want to be quarantined alone with my baking, or I’m going to have a lot of exercising to do once this is all over.
This piece first appeared in print on March 26, 2020.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.