Dark chocolate and shortbread are two of my favorite sweets, and I discovered that they make a great combination as a cookie bar! Several years ago, I had found a recipe on the Eagle Brand® site and made it as directed, but was a little disappointed because my shortbread crust and the chocolate layer did not turn out as nice and thick as their recipe photo. But they had tasted good, so I decided to revisit the recipe, using dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet chips, and making them in a 9×9″ pan instead of 9×13.” I was hoping using a smaller pan would give me a thicker crust–and it did. I liked the way these turned out in the 9×9″ pan so much better!
Be sure to chill these bars for three hours before you try cutting them, because they’ll cut easier. The shortbread base will crumble some, so you need to cut them carefully.
DARK CHOCOLATE ALMOND SHORTBREAD SQUARES by NancyC, adapted from Eagle Brand®
Makes a 9 x 9″ pan
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (omit if you are using salted butter)
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 (10-ounce) package dark chocolate chips
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or spray a 9 x 9″ baking pan with cooking spray.
Mix butter, powdered sugar, and salt in large bowl until fluffy (you can mix by hand or with a mixer). Add flour; mix well. Press dough evenly in prepared pan with floured hands (dough will be sticky). Bake 20 to 23 minutes or until lightly browned; remove from oven.
Melt dark chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk in heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and creamy. Remove from heat; stir in almond extract. Spread chocolate mixture evenly over the shortbread in the pan. Note: You can also melt the chocolate mixture in the microwave–heat for 30 seconds, stir, heat another 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until mixture is smooth and creamy, which takes about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to overheat!
Garnish with toasted almonds,* pressing them down firmly on the chocolate mixture. Chill 3 hours or until firm. Cut into bars.
Note: To avoid scratching my non-stick pan with a cutting knife, I removed the shortbread from the pan first. I did this by loosening the shortbread and chocolate layers from the edges of the pan and carefully inverting the pan. I had a parchment paper-covered hand on the shortbread, to catch it as it came out upside-down, then I inverted the shortbread again onto my other parchment paper-covered hand so it was right-side up on the second piece of parchment paper, ready to cut. You could also try lining your pan with parchment paper and just lift the shortbread out of the pan when it’s ready to cut, but the sticky shortbread batter may be a little difficult to spread on the parchment paper.
*Toast almond slices by placing in a dry nonstick skillet and cooking over medium heat, shaking pan until almond slices are lightly browned.
I love the thick dark chocolate top layer and the thick shortbread bottom crust on these bars! And the light almond flavoring adds just the right touch. I’m glad I revisited this recipe. Do you have a recipe you’ve revisited with good results?