Berry Almond Bars

 berry almond bars {see more photos here}

berry almond bars {see more photos here}

Oh, Mondays. (I realize today is Friday.  It’s been a long week.  Shhh.)

The weekends are never long enough and the Monday morning alarm is one of the most dreaded sounds ever.  If it’s a holiday weekend with Monday off, Tuesday still feels like Monday morning and that might be worse especially if you just had the best weekend ever with the best people in the universe.

In order to distract myself from the dread of the beginning of the week, Molly and I spend the better part of each Monday morning rehashing our weekends and trading stories regarding the abundant activities LA and San Francisco had to offer that Saturday or Sunday, the people we spent time with, and most importantly, the food we both ate and made.

Molly fully appreciates my obsessive love for all things food related: she introduced me to Shutterbean, accompanied me to the Homefries retreat in Palm Springs last fall, and many of our conversations revolve around sharing recipes and cooking techniques.  A few Mondays ago, Molls and I were going through our usual Monday morning catch-up when she relayed an impeding dilemma:  she was in charge of cooking dinner for her roommates AND making a dessert for her coworker’s birthday.  What to make?!  Her night was hectic enough with moving crazy amounts of furniture, so she wanted to make something with standard pantry items.  But what to make?!

In a stroke of brilliance, Molls found these Raspberry Almond Bars on Shutterbean.  They met all of her requirements:  easy to make, every ingredient is household standard, and they would most certainly be devoured in record time.  I realized that I, too, had all of these ingredients on hand, including a berry compote I threw together the night before, and decided to make a version of these bars, too!

Molly and I had so much fun baking these “together” (from Palo Alto and Marina del Rey, respectively), we decided to continue to bake together and blog about our experiences making the same recipes in kitchens 360 miles away.  So tune into our blogs on Tuesdays when we share our latest kitchen adventures!  (Molly’s blog, The Blog of 1,000 Awesomes, really is awesome.)

These bars really are simple, and you can use any berry combination you’d like!  Berry jam would be delicious, or create your own fruit compote concoction.  Since we’re getting into the most luscious part of berry season, I’d make these with some farmer’s market berries for your next Sunday afternoon barbecue.

Berry Almond Bars (adapted from Shutterbean’s Raspberry Almond Bars)

{for the berry compote}

3 tablespoons butter

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

juice of one (1) lemon

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 heaping cups strawberries

1 heaping cup blackberries

{for the dough}

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking dish

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg yolk

3/4 cup sliced almonds

Start by making the compote.  Melt butter in large pan over medium heat.  Add brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt until dissolved.  Add cornstarch and stir.  Add berries to pan, toss with sugar mixture.  Simmer on medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes or until berries become juicy and just begin to release.*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour (or use non-stick spray) an 8×8-inch baking dish and set aside.  In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.

In a standing mixer (or with a handheld device), cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg yolk until combined.  Add flour slowly, 1/4 cup at a time.  Stir in almonds.

Gently press half the dough into the prepared baking dish.  Spread the berry compote on top of the dough, leaving a tiny border so it doesn’t stick to the pan.  Top with remaining dough and press down to make the top layer.

Bake for 27-30 minutes until top is golden.  The bars will  be crumbly, so wait until they’ve cooled completely to slice them.  ENJOY!!

[*You will have extra — don’t be alarmed!  Add it to your oatmeal, use it as a jam, or serve it with cheese.  Endless possibilites!]

if you’re not careful, these will disappear quickly!

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3 thoughts on “Berry Almond Bars

  1. Molly says:

    Oh my gosh, YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! The berry bar post is up, and so our baking adventures together begin! I cannot wait to see where our Tuesday posts take us, Kels! There’s no one I’d rather be experimenting and documenting the journey with! Love ya!

    P.S. Really beautiful pictures. You’re making me drool, that compote looks divine!

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