Andy is off in Germany, so to welcome him home tomorrow I thought I'd do some baking (let's face it - beats packing!). With the house move just around the corner the two requirements were that I not have to buy anything and not have to unpack anything.
The Women's Institute 650 Recipes book was lying around (well, so were a pile of others), and I thought I'd have a go at the Almond Bars.
It turns out that this recipe is basically shortbread topped with jam and finished with some almond macaroon. Doesn't that sound good? Doesn't it also sound like a bit of work? Not so!
To make a smallish amount (enough for two), mix 100g plain flour, 75g butter, 1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar and one egg yolk together. The recipe says to roll the mixture out but this was impossible. I put all the crumbs on a baking tray and tried squashing them all together to make a lump. Next time, I'll use a baking dish like I would do for shortbread. Bake this at 180C for about 20 minutes. Because of my technique the edges were a bit brown - good if you need an excuse to eat some, not so good if you're aiming for pretty.
When the shortbread comes out of the oven, top with jam. I used raspberry jam, and I stood the jar in some warm water for a little while to try to soften it up to make it more spreadable.
Up the oven's temperature to 190C. Measure out 65 g caster sugar and 50 g of ground almonds and mix them together. Beat the egg white until stiff and then fold in the sugar and almond mix. To the shortbread and jam with this and return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes - until the macaroon mixture is golden, set and firm.
Remove from the oven and allow to almost fully cool before slicing into bars. If you try cutting while it's too hot (like I did) it will be a bit flaky and crumbly (more bits for 'tasting'). The WI book is quite specific about the size, but really - I don't think it's important.
They are absolutely delicious. And the best thing about homemade things is you can put on as much jam as you want!
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