Thursday, October 11, 2007

Almonds and lemons... a sweet combination!

When we met my family to go apple picking last weekend, Jeff and I though it would be nice to take along a treat to share - I needed it to be sturdy enough to travel and something that could easily be eaten off a napkin. I randomly chose a cookbook and after flipping through a few pages, I came across a recipe for these Lemony Almond Fingers that read like it fit the bill.

Forming the base of these cookies is a shortbread-like sturdy dough simply comprised of flour, brown sugar, butter and a dash of salt. When you go to form the base over the bottom of the baking pan, you may notice that the dough will begin to stick to your fingers as you reach the nuggets of butter. To keep things a little cleaner, I usually like to use a measuring cup covered in plastic wrap to evenly press the mixture down. The thin base goes into the oven and bakes until firm and the edges take on an ever-so-light golden brown.

Once the base is done, a sweet filling of brown sugar, eggs and vanilla is mixed with a healthy dose of chopped almonds and a bit of flour to hold the mixture together. This mixture is spread over the base and the two go back into the oven until it has risen, taken on a rich golden color and feels set. As soon as they come out, the hot bars are slathered with a tart lemony sweet glaze. A few minutes after I glazed them, Jeff was lured down the stairs as the fragrant lemon scent was drifting through the house and said "whatever that smell is, they need to make a candle out of it!".

Lemony Almond FingersIf you are a lemon and almond fan, these cookies are definitely right up your alley - the buttery base is essential as it helps to cut through the sweetness of the bars. We both enjoyed the crunch and pleasant nutty flavor the roughly chopped almonds added. The glaze is not so much a frosting as it is quite fluid - this way it seeps into the bars, infusing them with a bright lemony punch.

Lemony Almond FingersQuinoa seems to be popping up more and more often on here - Jeff and I have really started to enjoy the grain I guess! It makes another appearance with this Hearty Quinoa with Sautéed Apples and Almonds dish we had for dinner tonight.

We start off this recipe by sautéing diced carrots and onions until the carrots begin to caramelize and the onions soften. Chicken broth, well-rinsed quinoa and a few shakes of cinnamon are added and allowed to simmer until the quinoa is done. Near the end of the cooking time, diced Granny Smith apples are sautéed in just enough olive oil so they can soften and begin to turn a light golden. The apples and quinoa are tossed together followed by a shower of toasted sliced almonds for a nutty finish. The slight sweetness from the onions paired well with the tartness of the Granny Smith - while the veggies kept the dish on the savory side, the touch of cinnamon brought a complex background. However, it was not so noticeable enough to think "hey, why am I eating cinnamon?". Don't skimp on toasting the almonds - the roasted flavor they bring really adds to this dish.

Hearty Quinoa with Sautéed Apples and Almonds


  1. wow, both recipes sound incredible! i want some of those wafty lemony bars now.

  2. I think the combo of these caused me to gasp - and smile! :) I just bought a new thing of Quinoa. Yippee! Thanks!

  3. Thanks for posting the recipe for the Lemony Almond Fingers. I finally made them today, and they were as delicious as I thought they would be. The whole family enjoyed them. The only change I made was to sub WW pastry flour for the AP, and that worked out just fine. This is definitely a keeper! Thanks again!

  4. Kathy B - Great! Thanks for the note about the WW pastry, I will definitely add that to my notes.