DUTCH ALMOND BARS
Easy to make, and oh so pretty!
Crunchy and buttery, these Dutch Almond Bars are just a slight twist on Jan Hagel cookies – just enough of a twist that they have turned the corner to become something completely different. Almondy instead of cinnamony, and, well, a little bit of je ne sais quoi…
Like most bar cookies, these Dutch Almond Bars are easy – and fun! – to make and as you can see, very showy and pretty. The secret to their prettiness is to be careful to do everything uniformly: form the bars the same thickness and width throughout, cut very carefully so all are the same size and angle. It’s very helpful to use a ruler. The final, glorious touch is the drizzle of powdered sugar icing, which is easy and way fun. It brings out the artist in you, like drizzling paint on a canvas. Stop when you want!
Jan Hagel cookies, with all their cinnamoniness and crumbliness, will be in an upcoming post. If you love cinnamon and shortbread, stay tuned!
This recipe is an adaptation of Debbie’s Almond Stick Cookies, at the Culinary Cellar
- 1-3/4 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup butter, cut up
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp almond flavor
- small amount of milk
- 1 cup chopped almonds
- ¼ cup extra sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- ¼ tsp almond flavor
- 3-4 tsp water
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.
- In a mixer, beat the butter until silky smooth, add the sugar and beat again until smooth, then add the egg and almond flavor until smooth. Add in the dry ingredients all at once, and mix just until incorporated. Do not overmix or the cookies may be stiff.
- Knead the dough for a few seconds to get an even consistency, then divide into 4 pieces, roll into logs 12 inches long. Flatten each until it is 2 - ⅜ inches wide. Make a slight dip down the middle to hold the almonds, Using your fingers or a brush, dip into the milk and paint the surface of the dough with milk. Make sure it is fully wet although not dripping. This adheres the nuts onto the dough.
- Place two of these flattened logs onto a cookie sheet (no need to grease). They will spread. Sprinkle a fourth of the chopped almonds down the center of each log and press them in. Sprinkle sugar over the top of the almonds - this adds a little sparkle, plus it helps adhere the nuts to the cookies. Repeat with the remaining dough logs.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until just barely turning brown on the bottom.
- Remove from oven and immediately cut with a large knife while still warm. Cut into 1 - ¼” slices at a diagonal. You can cut right on the pan; just press down until the knife meets the pan; you will feel a pop when the cookie has been cut through. Choose your angle, and be sure to cut all the bars at the same angle and width.
- Wait until cool before drizzling the icing.
- Make the icing: sift the powdered sugar (important!), add 1 tsp water and the almond flavor. Stir until mixed, if too stiff, add more water a few drops at a time. It is very easy to add TOO MUCH WATER so be very careful to add water slowly. If it is too liquid, the icing will spread and soak into the cookies, and may not firm up.
- Drizzle icing: Keep the cookies all together as if they had not been cut, so you can ice them as one piece. They will be easy to separate after icing. Put the icing into a pastry bag. Or you can use a small plastic bag, tie off with a rubber band and snip off a small bit of a corner. Be careful to cut just a little bit off. It’s easy to overdo this! You can always cut a little more if it’s too small. Squeeze the icing out of the bag as you move across the cookies at a diagonal. Be sure to have fun, and remember, it’s all art so whatever you end up with will be great!
To package, I used:
- Evermine small window tin-tie bags, Kraft • 3.4″ x 2.5″ x 7.75″
- Evermine Large circle labels shape 11, in style Apothecary Deluxe (Color: “Spice”). They look great pasted slightly overlapping the top of the window, with the cookies showing through!
- Evermine Small Luggage Tags, in style Apothecary Deluxe (Color: “Spice”)
- Evermine Deluxe Baker’s Twine (Color: “Black + White”)