What a gorgeous day in Fargo! We FINALLY had a full day of sun. It was a nearly perfect day, except for the part where I had to work all day. Work went fine, but I had a tough time concentrating with my window open and spring sounds floating in. I just told myself the best part of the day was going to be at 4:31pm when I was off of work. Agreed.
No matter what, once I put on workout shorts or pants, my dog Winston KNOWS it is time for a walk and starts going crazy. I took him for a 30 minute stroll and then biked for about 45 minutes. I had Mr. FeistyEats take a few pics of me while he worked in the garage and yard.
Oh, and had a girly beverage. My bike ride was great – pretty much every neighborhood I was in I saw people outside and could smell the grills were fired up to cook dinner! I love it.
Earlier this week, I saw an article in the Forum, our local news, about Scandinavian Apricot Almond Bars by Sue Doeden. They looked great and I had almost all of the ingredients on hand. I did not have apricot preserves, but I did have strawberry preserves and I thought that would pair just find with the almond flavor. Unfortunately, we had two sad things happen on our little street. One neighbor lost his father and our nearest (and dearest) neighbors are moving. I thought this treat would be perfect to share with both of those families. Here is a link to the In-Forum article where Sue Doeden goes over her techniques. Thanks for sharing Sue! She has tons of great recipes and advice.
For the crust you need AP flour, powdered sugar and 3/4c or 1 1/2 sticks of butter. Easy, right? Nevermind the spinach and pickles in the background. Dinner was happening at the same time!
Sue’s recipe calls for a pastry blender, but I do not have one. Two forks work just fine. Feisty Dog Winston was on board in case any crumbs fell to the ground. That dog will eat about anything!
The mixture goes into a lightly sprayed cake pan and it will be crumb-like.
I forgot to take a pic of what it looked like raw, but here it is cooked. It pressed together easily and in the oven, the butter melts and it all comes together. I baked mine for 15 minutes, but I think I could have gone a few minutes longer.
The top layer calls for more powdered sugar, two egg whites whipped until frothy (see picture on the right) and almond flavoring. The middle layer called for apricot preserves, but I used strawberry. The topping is toasted slivered almonds. I was shocked to see my favorite grocery store, Hornbacher’s, was out of slivered almonds so I just used sliced almonds. Oh need ideas for what to do with the egg yolk? Get a Feisty Dog! They are good for them!
Spread about 3/4c of preserves (I think almost any kind would work) on your crust layer…go to the edges.
Spoon the egg white/sugar/almond flavoring mixture over the preserves and top with the toasted almonds.
Don’t forget to toast your almonds! That step really amps up the flavor profile. The photo on the right is after baking another 17 or so minutes. The egg white topping is starting to turn just a bit brown.
Sue Doeden also recommends cutting this in a diamond shape which I thought was nice. She had a video from the In-Forum article and I followed her instructions. One thing I should have done was remove the bars from the tinfoil first and cut them on a cutting board but this worked fine. Cut strips like you normally would when cutting bars. Use a big chefs knife.
But then, slice diagonal from corner to corner. Wah-lah, diamond shaped bars!
And look at the delicious layers. These were so yummy. Mr. FeistyEats approved. Typically, I am all about the chocolate desserts so this was a nice change.
One to taste-test and a few plates to share. Here is the recipe from Sue, who got it from the cookbook noted below.
Scandinavian Apricot (or Strawberry) Almond Bars
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup butter
¾ cup apricot preserves
2 egg whites
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 13- by 9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, extending the foil over the long sides of the pan. Lightly spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar and butter for the crust in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into the baking pan, pressing about ½ inch up the sides.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
While the crust is baking, toast the almonds. Place the almonds on a small baking dish and bake about 8 minutes.
Beat the egg whites with a whisk until foamy. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and almond extract.
Spread the apricot preserves over the crust. Spoon the egg whites over the preserves without covering the preserves completely. Sprinkle with the almonds.
Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Run a metal spatula along the short sides of the pan to loosen the pastry. Cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Using the foil, lift the pastry from the pan and cut into bars.
Makes 24 to 30 bars.
Recipe from “Scandinavian Classic Baking,” by Pat Sinclair. Pelican Publishing Company, 2011
In regards to that spinach and pickles, we grilled (because it was SO NICE OUT!) venison burgers and I made mine into a venison burger salad with spinach, onions, tomato, chopped pickle, Colby Jack cheese and dressed with southwest spicy mustard, ketchup and mayo. Delicious!
I’ll be back tomorrow with a silly post!