Scandinavian Almond Bars

Scandinavian Almond Bars 1

Every year I make different types of Christmas cookies and pastries, to give out as gifts during the holidays. There is something extra special about receiving homemade gifts, because they’ve been made with love and care, especially for you. I know some of the Christmas cookies that I’ve made this year do take a little time and patience, like the Vanillekipferl and Zimtsterne. However, this recipe is very easy make, they look beautiful and they taste even better! They also make the perfect gift for family and friends.

Once you’ve made your dough, instead of making individual cookies, the dough is divided into 4. You simply then roll it into a log and flatten it out on the tray. Then, once it’s baked, you just slice the large cookie slab into bars. You will get about 10 cookies per slab and then they’re drizzled with a simple glaze. It’s that easy!

Now I’ve only added ½ a teaspoon of almond extract to my dough, because this suits my families palate. However, please feel free to increase it to suit your own personal taste. Traditionally, almond extract is also used in the glaze, but I prefer to use vanilla extract instead, as it just adds another layer of flavour.

For a nut free option, use vanilla extract in both the dough and the icing. To decorate, you can simply tint the glaze red or green, or keep it white and sprinkle with festive coloured sprinkles before the glaze sets. The 100’s & 1000’s I use is an all-natural product, by a company called Hopper. Their range includes natural food colourings, sprinkles, 100’s & 1000’s and more. Best of all, the 100’s & 1000’s are free from gluten, dairy, egg, soy and nuts, plus they are vegan friendly too.

Scandinavian Almond Bars 2

For accurate cup measurements, I sift the potato starch and icing sugar before measuring, so that there are no lumps/clumps. All cup measurements are firmly packed.

Recipe Update: I’m currently using the Bob’s Red Mill brand of xanthan gum, as I’m no longer able to buy the Nu-vit brand. I have found by using this brand, I’ve needed to increase the xanthan gum from ¾ teaspoon to 1¼ teaspoons. I have also needed to increase the cooking time from 20 minutes to 25 minutes, as it took longer for the edges  to lightly brown.

Makes approximately 40

64g (2.3 ounces or ½ cup) superfine white rice flour
64g (2.3 ounces or ½ cup) tapioca starch
50g (1.8 ounces or ⅓ cup) superfine brown rice flour
50g (1.8 ounces or ⅓ cup) sorghum flour
44g (1.6 ounces or ¼ cup) potato starch
21g (0.7 ounces or 3 tablespoons) corn starch
2 teaspoons (10ml) baking powder
1¼ teaspoons (6.25ml) xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) salt
126g (4.4 ounces or ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon) gluten and dairy free butter
192g (6.8 ounces or 1 cup) golden/raw caster sugar or superfine white sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) almond extract, OR pure vanilla extract – for a nut-free option
Almond Topping
1½ tablespoons (22.5ml) dairy free milk of choice
60g (2.1 ounces or ½ cup) natural flaked almonds
144g (5.1 ounces or 1 cup) soft icing sugar, sifted (I use this brand)
Approximately 1½-2 tablespoons (22.5-30ml) dairy free milk of choice
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) pure vanilla extract OR ¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) almond extract, or to taste
Nut-Free Option
Festive 100’s & 1000’s to sprinkle over icing (I use this brand)

Preheat oven to 140C, and line 2 trays with baking paper/parchment.

Sift the dry ingredients together and then set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar using the paddle attachment for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Step 1

Next, add the egg and almond extract, OR use vanilla extract for a nut-free option, and beat until well combined.

Step 2

On a low speed, gradually add your dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture and mix until well combined.

Step 3

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and then, one at a time, sprinkle a little white rice flour onto your counter. Now roll the dough to about 23cm (9 inches) long. Next, carefully pick it up and transfer it to the prepared tray, leaving a gap of about 5cm-7cm (2-3 inches) away from the edge. Place the second rolled dough about 10cm (4 inches) apart from the first dough. Using the heel of your palm, gently press each roll to flatten it, so that it’s about 7½cm (3 inches) wide.

Step 4

Brush the flattened dough with the milk and then generously sprinkling over with the chopped almonds. If you’re making a nut-free option, still brush the dough with milk, as this will help add colour to your bars.

Step 5

Then repeat this with the remaining dough.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.

Allow the bars to cool on the tray for about 5 minutes, before slicing crossways on the diagonal into strips about 2½cm (1 inch) wide. You can use a knife or a pizza cutter to do this. Once cut up, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 6

To make the glaze, stir together sifted icing sugar, vanilla extract and then add enough milk until the icing is a good consistency for drizzling. You can spoon or pipe the glaze over the cooled cookies, in a back-and-forth pattern.

Step 7

Allow the glaze to set before eating and store in an airtight container.

Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse

Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.

Oven Temperatures Chart
130C = 110C fan = 250F = Gas mark 1
150C = 130C fan = 300F = Gas mark 2
160C = 140C fan = 325F = Gas mark 3
180C = 160C fan = 350F = Gas mark 4
190C = 170C fan = 375F = Gas mark 5
200C = 180C fan = 400F = Gas mark 6
220C = 200C fan = 425F = Gas mark 7
230C = 210C fan = 450F = Gas mark 8

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