As you might imagine, between the Great British Bake-Off, America’s Test Kitchen, and the internet, there is no shortage of recipes for me to try. But, every now and then, I pull out my old recipe box (yes, there was a time when we had recipe cards) and thumb through it. I came across a recipe for Fudgy Shortbread Bars and decided to almond it up by altering the plain shortbread to an almond shortbread, adding a drop of almond extract to the fudge, and topping it with toasted almonds.
If you’re a purist, you can leave out all traces of the almonds, exchanging vanilla for the almond extract. Or, use walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts – it’s up to you.
Note: This recipe can be doubled and made in a 9″x13″ (or 23cm x 33cm) pan.
Queen of Freeze Note: As the self-proclaimed Queen of Freeze, I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t point out that these bars can be sliced and frozen for future use.
Second Queen of Freeze Note: This recipe calls for half of a can of sweetened condensed milk. The remaining half can be frozen.
FUDGY SHORTBREAD BARS:
- 70g (1/2 cup) (2.5oz) slivered almonds, lightly toasted
- 141g (10 T) butter, room temperature
- 59g (1/3 cup) (2oz) granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 197g (1.5 cups) (7 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
- 172g (1 cup) (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 55% cacao)
- 190g (150ml) (6.75oz) sweetened condensed milk (this is half a standard can)
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C)
Make the shortbread:
Pulse the almonds in the food processor 5-6 times – until they’re coarsely chopped. Remove 1/4 cup of the pieces and set aside – these will be sprinkled on top of the bars. Pulse remaining almonds to finely chopped.
Cut the butter into at least 12 slices and add to the almonds in the processor, along with the sugar and almond extract. Whirl to blend.
Add the flour to the mixture and pulse until blended, scraping the sides and corners now and then.
Scatter shortbread dough evenly (do your best) around an approximately 153 square cm (60 square inch) pan- such as a 20cm x 20cm (8″ x 8″). Press down the dough firmly, trying to maintain a level top.
Bake in preheated 325°F (163°C) oven for 25 minutes – until edges are starting to brown. Remove from oven.
Prepare the topping:
In a small saucepan, melt together the chocolate chips and condensed milk over low flame. Once the chips are nearly all melted, remove from heat and stir in the almond extract. Stir off-heat until all chips are completely melted. Pour over hot shortbread, spreading evenly.
Sprinkle on reserved toasted almonds. Lightly press into the fudge so they stick. Let cool, then refrigerate to firm up. They can be stored covered in either the fridge or on the counter.