Monday, 27 May 2013

Chocolate drizzled Almond Bars

As much as I adore more than the occasional indulgence, regular readers will know that I rarely wish to burden myself too brutally when it comes to their creation. These beautiful almond bars are a most excellent example of when a recipe amounts to more than a sum of its efforts, delivering a flavoursome sophistication to ones biscuit barrel. They are also easily adaptable and offer great scope for modification. For example, although I love the bittersweet complexity good quality dark chocolate provides, you can substitute for rich white chocolate or even sweet milk chocolate for children. Also instead of flavouring with almond, using orange, lemon or vanilla extract, even rose or orange blossom water all work splendidly.

Prep time: 20 Mins (Plus some cooling time)
Baking time: 18-20 Mins
100g Plain Flour
100g Unsalted Butter (Chopped into small cubes)
100g Ground Almonds
175g Caster Sugar
1 Large Egg Yolk
1tsp Almond Extract
150g Dark Chocolate (70% Cocoa Solids)
25g Flaked Almonds

Did I mention this one requires getting your hands dirty? Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, grease a 21cm square cake tin and line with baking paper. In a large bowl rub the flour and butter together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then add the ground almonds and caster sugar. Keep working with your hands, then add the egg yolk and almond extract and bring together to an evenly combined dough. Press the dough into the base of the prepared tin, levelling it out right to the edges, then bake in the centre of the oven for around 18-20 minutes, until just starting to lightly colour on top.

When you are happy the bars are cooked remove them from the oven. Leave in the tin for about 15 minutes, then VERY carefully remove and place on a flat surface. Leave on the paper, but with a sharp knife slice into squares or rectangles, before transferring the paper over to a wire rack until completely cool. I cut the biscuits when warm as I find they become more brittle as they cool.

When cool peel the bars from the paper and return to the wire rack. Melt the dark chocolate over a bain-marie or in the microwave, then brush all over each bar, letting it cascade over the edges. Sprinkle over a few flaked almonds and leave to set. Time to put the kettle on. 

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