Monday, October 8, 2007

Chewy Almond and Cherry Bars.

Cherry Almond Bars

Some days, I feel like lazy baking: baking that requires no butter creaming, egg white whipping, gelatin blooming, double boiling or dough proofing.

I've also been a little uninspired lately when it comes to cooking, writing, and music making. I thought it might help to go back to basics. I've been working on etudes and keeping my blog entries rather short. Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies is an old classic and I decided to try a simple recipe i'd normally be tempted to skip over.

These Almond and Cherry Bars taste like something someone's mother would give you. They're very plain but satisfying with a chewy texture similar to blondies or peanut butter bars. The almond extract lends a delicate, aromatic touch.

I'm not sure how my writing is going to progress. My sixteen year old brother wrote a short autobiography that was incredibly fresh and hillarious. It made me wonder if my literary voice has been killed by years of trying to do well in english class.

Anyway, i'm going to keep trying simplicity for a while and see where things go.

Chewy Almond and Cherry Bars
3/4 cup whole almonds, with or without skins
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
8 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup dried tart cherries, or dried cranberries, or apricots
8 inch square pan lined with parchment or foil

Preheat the oven to 350. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Process the almonds with the flour in a food processor fitted with a steel blade until the almonds are finely ground. Add the salt and baking powder and pulse to mix. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Using a wooden spoon, beat in the egg and almond extract. Stir in the flour mixture, followed by the dried fruit. Spread the batter evenly in the pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and have pulled away from the sides of the pan and the top is golden brown. Cool in the pan on a rack. Run a knife along the unlined sides of the pan. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 16 squares. May be stored airtight for at least 1 week.


Anonymous said...

Hi, I'd love to try this recipe but you left out how much sugar is necessary!

Brilynn said...

I hear ya on the simplicity! I've been getting stuck lately too. These bars seem like a good solution to me.

Lisa Campbell said...

The sugar error is corrected. Thanks for pointing that out- sometimes I skip things when i'm quickly typing late at night.

Anonymous said...

Ah - I SO hear you on the writing struggles. I think that's what drives me to the kitchen so often - frustration with my writing! Good luck with finding some inspiration!

Caty said...

They look delicious! It's a really beautiful picture too.

Ehrrin said...

i love your blog. Great recipes, great photos. Thanks!

~Madeline~ said...

I made these the other day and they were delicious! I was so excited to use dried cherries but couldn't find them so I substituted dried mangos. I brought them out for brunch with friends and everyone loved them. Thanks for the great recipe, you have a lovely blog.