When I’m not marketing my first novel, Legacy of War, or writing its sequel, I enjoy baking. A guy you say who can bake desserts? Well yes, first of all I enjoy the organizing and mixing to create something that hits the sweet tooth. Secondly, I enjoy dessert after a meal, something that my wife had indoctrinated me with. Today’s recipe that got me hooked on making shortbread bars is below. And even though I make these to share with my wife, who loves her dessert, I also take a small plate with me when I do an author event at book clubs to share with them. I’m shameless when it comes to promoting my book. 😇
1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cups) - cold. (I use unsalted organic)
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup jam or preserves (St. Dalfour's is best)**
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Preheat oven 350* (325* if dark pan). Lightly spray 8"x8" pan with cooking spray. Slice butter. Mix flour and sugar in large bowl. Drop in butter and mix with pastry tool till crumbly. Add almond and vanilla extracts. Mix with hands til forms a ball.
Save 1/2 cup of the dough.
Press the remaining dough into pan forming an even layer. Top with jam, spreading to just within the edge. Crumble remaining dough on top. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.
Bake for approx. 45-50 minutes or until top is light golden brown and middle is set.
Cool. Drizzle with icing (start with 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, 1 Tbsp milk, 1/4 tsp almond extract — add milk or sugar, a bit at a time, til amount is sufficient and consistency is thin enough to drizzle).
**My personal favorites are Black Cherry, Raspberry Pomegranate, and Currant but any will work just fine.