Whole Wheat Almond Bars

This is a guest contribution from my sis, Flora who hasn’t made an appearance since her Apple Crisp post. She has been extremely busy with her own work – launching Digital Botanicals, a digital art and photo website. Check it out if you haven’t – you can read some of the stories behind her photos in her blog, send free e-cards from her site or purchase her prints as that special gift for loved ones. With Christmas approaching, all her prints are 25% off until December 15th, so stop by when you get a chance. We would really appreciate your support and thank you in advance! :-D Without any further ado, here’s my sis with her Whole Wheat Almond Bars recipe.

Cooled and ready to eat

I love this recipe that appeared in the April 2004 issue of Everyday Food magazine (the original recipe was called “Almond Fruit Bars” and you might be able to get it off the Martha Stewart website). It is extremely rich and buttery, has a satisfyingly crispy but not crunchy exterior and is slightly chewy and moist in the middle without being too cloying. I have adapted it over the years to accommodate a diabetic husband, reducing the sugar and replacing most of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat. This is a super easy and fast recipe to throw together. You might even want to make two batches and freeze the second one as we find that it doesn’t take us too long to get through the first batch!

Dough texture should resemble fine breadcrumbs

This is a great mid-afternoon snack for that low period when you feel you need a sugary treat to boost your energy and brain so you can get through the rest of the work day. The almonds and whole wheat flour keep you from getting the sugar crash that usually accompanies a cookie or muffin. It’s also a great snack for kids after school. Give them one of these bars with a glass of milk and an apple and you’ll have a happy child who won’t be snacking all the way to dinner and ruining their appetite.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients A
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature plus more for baking dish
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg yolk

Ingredients B
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Ingredients C
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup fruit jam of your choice (we either get the ones that have no sugar added or are sweetened with natural fruit juice; homemade chunky jam is great too if you happen to have any on hand)

(1) Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside.
(2) In a bowl, combine and whisk together Ingredients B.
(3) In separate mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together on high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk. Reduce speed to low, gradually mix in Ingredients B. When mixture comes together and resembles breadcrumbs, turn off mixer and stir in almonds with a spatula.
(4) Gently press half the dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
(5) In a small bowl, whisk jam to loosen. Using the back of a spoon, gently spread jam over the dough in the baking dish, leaving a 1/4 inch border around the dough.
(6) Sprinkle remaining dough over the top of the jam, and all the way to the edges of the dish. Gently pat and press down to form the top layer.
(7) Bake until top is golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in the dish. Cut into bars with a serrated knife.

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