Almond Cream Cheese Shortbread Bars


Although it doesn’t take almond extract for me to enjoy frosting by the spoonful, it’s the literal icing on the cake for these easy, no-mixer, one-bowl layered bars. There’s a buttery shortbread crust that’s topped with a cream cheese and almond extract-based filling before frosting the bars and adding slivered almonds. The filling is slightly tangy from the cream cheese and offsets the sweetness of the frosting. Halve the frosting portion of the recipe if you’re not a huge frosting fan because it’s pretty sweet. I love almond extract and I used 2 teaspoons in the filling and the frosting and the bars are packed with a powerful almond flavor, but if you less intensity, halve the amount of extract in both the filling and frosting.

YIELD: ONE 8X8 PAN, 9 TO 12 GENEROUS SQUARES

INGREDIENTS:
Crust
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft (1 stick)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional or to taste


Filling
  • 4 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened (lite is okay)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons almond extract (I used 2)


Frosting
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (half of 1 stick)
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • about 2 tablespoons cream or milk
  • about 1/4 cup slivered almonds (mine were untoasted)


DIRECTIONS:
For full directions you can go to averiecooks.com.

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