It is making me laugh that success finally happened through no brilliance on my own part. I had planned to try yet another variation, when I realized that I had run out of the flours I planned to use. I simply grabbed the remaining oat flour in the pantry and added it in. The bars were wonderful! Slightly more nutty with the mild flavored oat flour and a tiny bit heartier than their predecessor, these just might trump the original for my own personal favorite.
Scandinavian Almond Bars - Gluten Free or Not
Yield: 18 - 24 bars, depending on how narrow the bars are sliced
1 cup brown rice flour *
1/2 cup tapioca starch *
1/4 cup potato starch *
3/4 cup oat flour *
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum *
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon almond extract* if you are not in need of a Gluten Free version of this recipe, simply use 1 3/4 cups AP flour for the items marked with an *
1 tbsp milk
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1-2 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together the flours, xantham gum, baking powder and salt and set aside. Cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the egg and the almond extract and then mix until light and fluffy. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until combined.
Press the dough into the bottom of a thoroughly buttered 9x13 pan. Press with your fingers or a pastry roller to smooth the top of the dough. The gluten free dough is a bit stickier than the traditional version. I found that it was easiest to place a sheet of parchment or wax paper on top of the dough and press it into the pan with my hands that way.
Using a pastry brush, brush a tiny bit of milk across the top of the dough. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and very lightly press them into the top of the dough. Bake for 18-22 minutes. The Gluten Free version required a full 22 minutes to finish baking. Remove from the oven when they are just barely beginning to brown and they look dry around the edges. Do not let them actually brown at all. If they brown, they will be much more crunchy than desired, once they cool. The goal is a very soft shortbread texture.
Let the bars cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then cut into bars. If they are too soft to cut, let them cool for a few more minutes. Remove them carefully (they will be quite soft) to a wire rack to cool completely before icing. Prepare the icing, adding just a tiny bit of milk at a time. If the consistency is too thick, it won't drizzle nicely over the bars. If it is too thin, the icing will just melt into the bars. If you are unsure, test a bit of it on the edge of one bar before drizzling the icing over the entire batch.
Leave the bars on the wire rack until the icing is firm enough to handle. These bars store quite well in the freezer. I can usually fit 2 dozen in a gallon size ziploc bag, with a sheet of wax paper separating the layers. When you are ready to eat them, just set them on the counter about half an hour before hand. I typically plate them while they are still frozen, because they are easy to handle that way. Enjoy!