Best of Christmas Cookies 2019: Scandinavian Almond Bars

Happy Holidays, friends!  I’ve decided that this year I’ll be putting out a series of blog posts for my BEST OF COOKIE RECIPES for the 2019 holiday season!  I’ve been talking about learning to bake like my mama for awhile now, and this is the year I’m committed to doing it.  So I’ll have as least a few more cookie recipes coming at ya over the next several weeks! First up – Scandinavian Almond Bars.

This recipe is slightly modified from a classic Better Homes & Gardens recipe, and it’s a staple in our family each holiday season.  The best part is they are incredibly easy to make and don’t require many ingredients! The second best part is that they are delicious – probably our family’s favorite!

scandinavian almond bar recipe

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One batch makes about 40-48 Scandinavian Almond Bar cookies depending on how thin you slice them.  My mom usually makes the recipe times 4; I’ll probably stick to doubling it! Below are the ingredients for ONE batch. Multiple accordingly if you want to make more.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (can also swap for margarine) @ room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg @ room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped (we just buy almonds that are already sliced to avoid this step)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk

Recipe:

– Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

– Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Set aside.

– In a large mixer bowl, beat butter/margarine until softened.  Add sugar slowly and beat until fluffy.

– Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract and beat well.

– Slowly add flour mixture from Step 1 and beat until well mixed.

– Divide dough into fourths. Form each into a 12 inch roll.

– Place two rolls about 4 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet. Flatten each with your fingers until about 3 inches wide. Repeat until all rolls are flattened. (You can only fit 2 flattened rolls on a standard sized cookie sheet).

– Lightly brush flattened rolls with milk and sprinkle with almonds.  Lightly press almonds into dough.

adding almonds to almond bars

– Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 13-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

– As soon as your cookies come out of the oven, slice at a diagonal with a sharp (non-serrated ) knife.

– Using a large plastic spatula, loosen cookies from cookie sheet once cut, or they will stick and break when you try to remove them.  Allow to cool for a few minutes, then remove to wax paper to cool (about 30 minutes).

removing scandinavian almond bars from cookie sheet with large plastic spatula

– While your cookies are cooling, prepare almond icing by mixing 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, and a 3-4 teaspoons of filtered water.* Stir until well mixed.  Icing should be fairly thin – a “drizzling consistency.” If icing is too think, add more water, if too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar.

*The original recipe called for milk instead of water.  However, milk spoils, and you wont be able to store your cookies for as long if you use milk.  These cookies actually harden up over time and get even better as they get a bit crispier, at least in my opinion! Using water means you’ll get to enjoy these for longer!

almond icing for scandinavian almond bar recipe

– Once your Scandinavian Almond Bars are cool (at least 30 minutes), use a spoon to drizzle on your icing.  We drizzle it in a perpendicular direction to the diagonal cuts of the cookies themselves.

scandinavian almond bars iced

– Allow at least 4 hours for icing to harden.  Then lay almond bars flat with a sheet of wax paper between layers to store. Almond Bars should last about 4-6 weeks if stored in an airtight container!

Scandinavian Almond Bar recipe holiday baking cookies

And that’s it! Its a pretty basic recipe that yields an absolutely delicious cookie that’s sure to impress! If you make Scandinavian Almond Bars this holiday season, let me know what you think in the comments below!

Happy baking, friends!

XO,

Ana

P.S. Another holiday favorite for us are classic Spritz Cookies! They are simple, but so pretty – a great cookie to make with kiddos!

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