2009 winner: Shortbread plus almonds equals delicious.
Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
Taste Tip: This recipe must be prepared in advance.
2 cups (4 sticks) butter, at room temperature, divided
¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
¾ teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon salt
2¾ cups flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup heavy cream
1 pound (about 5¼ cups) sliced almonds
Carefully line a 10- by 15-inch jelly roll pan with aluminum foil, shiny side up.
In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat 1 cup (2 sticks) butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add ½ cup granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, almond extract and salt, and beat until thoroughly combined. Reduce speed to low, add flour and mix until just incorporated. Press dough evenly into pan and push dough up sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Using a fork, prick dough in 20 to 24 places all across dough and bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack to cool.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, honey, remaining 1 cup (2 sticks) butter and remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high, bring mixture to a boil and cook for 3 minutes without stirring.
Remove from heat and stir in cream. Stir in almonds. Spread almond mixture evenly over crust. Return pan to oven and bake until bubbling, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. While bars are still slightly warm, cut into triangles.
2009 Winner: Charlotte Midthun of Granite Falls, Minnesota, who adapted recipe from First for Women magazine