Cookie Madness blogger raves, "On a scale of 1-10, these bars are a 15."
This recipe by Julia Hasson is from an old issue of Bon Appetit. Here are just two of the reviews from epicurious.com:
"Homey and heavenly and easy. My boyfriend, who initially proclaimed he wouldn't eat them because he's not a fan of either apricot or orange, gobbled up three of these within the first 2 minutes of their being ready, and quickly admitted he'd been wrong and they were scrumptious. Just a lovely recipe...."
"We also made a batch of these several years ago for a Christmas party, and...they were a smash success - among the first to be eaten off the cookie table. Now they have become part of our holiday cookie tradition. Delicious shortbread, a subtle hint of orange, easy to make, but elegant-looking: this is possibly my husband's all-time favorite cookie...."
Yield: 32 bars
1 cup apricot preserves (some reviewers suggested using an all-fruit spread, or cherry preserves)
3 Tablespoons orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup almond paste (from 7-ounce roll), crumbled
1/2 cup sliced almonds, divided
Powdered sugar, optional*
Preheat oven to 325ºF.
Line a 9×9 inch pan with parchment. (If making half batch, use a 9×5 inch loaf pan).
Combine preserves and orange juice; Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, crumble up almond paste and set that aside as well.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar and almond extract.
By hand, stir in flour and salt.
Scoop out 1 cup of the flour mixture and add to the bowl with almond paste; mix this together to form topping.
Add the sliced almonds.
Press remaining flour mixture into bottom of lined pan.
Spread apricot/orange mixture over top.
Crumble flour/almond paste/almond mixture over filling.
Bake for about 1 hour at 325ºF.
Cut into 32 bars.
For a pretty presentation, before serving, dust with powdered sugar.
Photo from Cookie Madness blog.