Tuesday, March 31, 2009

He bakes, too?!

I don't know if I've told you before, but I have the best husband ever. I mean, seriously, how many husbands get inspired to bake on a random Sunday afternoon? This Sunday I was in a cooking frenzy as I assembled my homemade lasagne (see the post below this), so dessert hadn't crossed my mind. Joe, on the other hand, was feeling a bit bored, and started hanging around the kitchen. Since dinner was pretty much under control, he decided it would be his responsibility to bake something sweet for after the lasagne coma set in.

After digging through websites and cookbooks he settled on a recipe for Chocolate Almond Bars from Epicurious.com. It sounded relatively simple, and also called for ingredients that we had on hand already. The baking process was two steps, so this wasn't the quickest recipe, but the result was worth the wait! These bars were fantastic, and I was very impressed with my husband's baking skills. I think these would make a fabulous addition to the next potluck or get together you attend... as long as you don't eat them all before you leave the kitchen!

Chocolate Almond Bars
from Gourmet Magazine, March 2003

For crust and topping
1 1/4 sticks (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

For filling
1 1/2 teaspoons instant-espresso powder or instant coffee
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (4 1/2 oz)

Make crust and topping:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat together butter and brown sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes with a standing mixer or 3 minutes with a handheld. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour and salt just until a dough forms. Pat two thirds of dough evenly over bottom of a buttered 8- by 2-inch square metal baking pan. Bake crust in middle of oven until edge is golden, about 12 minutes. While crust is baking, work almonds into remaining dough with your hands until crumbs form, then reserve for topping. Cool crust in pan on a rack.

Make filling while crust cools:

Dissolve espresso powder in vanilla in a small cup. Beat together cream cheese and sugar with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes, then add egg and espresso mixture and beat well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour filling onto cooled crust and crumble topping evenly over filling. Bake in middle of oven until edges are golden, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cut into 16 bars.


Darius T. Williams said...

Wow - now this is something I could totally sink my teeth into!

A World in a PAN said...

Congratulations to your husband, the bars really look delicious.

Sarah said...

I love that your husband bakes!

My Joe doesn't know much about cooking, but he definitely is trying! I think he would be terrified to try something like this, though :)