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Thursday, September 17,2009

Blackberry Almond Bars

By Danette Randall
Bars or squares? That was my big burning question of the weekend. Yes, my life is exciting. I knew what I was making and what would be in it. But what I didn't know was what to call it. Does Blackberry Almond Squares sound better than Blackberry Almond Bars? Do people really care? How about using Blackberry Almond Isosceles? I could cut it into triangles that have equallength sides. How did the square claim all the glory in the baking industry? These are the questions that haunt me in my sleep. Hey, it could be worse. I could be agonizing over boxers or briefs.

So, here is my big reveal Blackberry Almond Bars. Yes, bars won out. I'm sure the reveal was very exciting and you all are going to run right out, buy the ingredients and make this delicious treat. I am loving this dessert. I am a big fan of almond paste you don't need too much to achieve big almond flavor. Almond paste is ground almonds and sugar with a little water and typically corn syrup. It is available at most grocery stores. Many people confuse it with marzipan which is similar, but contains much more sugar and is very pliable. Many use it to cover cakes before they frost for a nice smooth finish. These bars don't need a nice smooth finish they are just fine with a rustic finish.

Add the blackberries to this mix and you will be happy. I have used red, blue and straw even if straw isn't a color. I felt it was time to pay homage to the blackberry, and I also read somewhere that if you don't bake with blackberries before Sept. 29th (Michaelmas), then don't use them at all. Yes, rumor has it that there is a superstition in the U.K. that blackberries should not be picked after that specific date as the devil has claimed them, having left a mark on the leaves by urinating on them. Um, I don't make this stuff up, people. And while we aren't actually picking the berries (nor are we in the U.K), this will be my last blackberry recipe of the year. I'm sure my Driscoll's Berries would be just fine in October, but I will have to think twice after that little bit of info.

Well, the big bar or square debate has come to an end, and it is time for me to get baking this little beauty of a recipe. Guess I better get on home from the square... I mean the bar! Oh, an update on the reader last week that wanted the straight-up brownie recipe: she loved it. She made it once and is making it again for a football party. Yay! Now, follow the directions, put some love into it and invite me over when it's done.

Before you start: Make sure you use chilled butter. Using a food processor makes this recipe much quicker. You can find almond paste in the flour and sugar section of your supermarket.

Blackberry Almond Bars

Crust 2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup unsalted butter Filling
I cup blackberry preserves Topping
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
7 ounces almond paste (1 tube)
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1 pint blackberries powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine crust ingredients in food processor and pulse until crumbs. Pat into greased 9x13 baking glass pan. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Take out. Spread 1 cup blackberry preserves over baked crust.

In food processor, combine butter, flour, brown sugar and almond paste until coarse crumbs. Spread over top of preserves. Toss sliced almonds over top and bake for 35 minutes until almonds are golden and dessert is bubbly. Take out and cool completely. When cooled and ready to serve, cut into bars, place on serving plate, garnish with blackberries and powdered sugar over top. Enjoy!

You can watch the Dessert Diva every Monday at 8:35 a.m. on Channel 2. To contact Danette at the station, visit 2theduece. com and click on Daybreak on the Deuce. To chat with and/or send comments and suggestions, write to jdromega@aol.com.
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