Recipe: Almond Triangles

Why you should bake: Because these bar cookies – the first of their kind to win our contest -- are drop-dead delicious, and beautiful to boot.

Degree of difficulty: Relatively easy. If you’ve ever made bars, you can make Almond Triangles.

What we didn’t tell you: Actually, we did share this, but it bears repeating. "They freeze really well," said baker Charlotte Midthun. "I've made them in October and frozen them, and they're still good at Christmas. They also make so many that you only have to make them once." And why are they so darned irresistible?  "Because they're made with so many good ingredients, that's why," said Midthun. A pound of butter and a pound of sliced almonds, that's pretty much anyone's idea of goodness, right? "They also look so nice on a plate," she said. "They're such a nice contrast to all the chocolate cookies and all the sugar cookies you see at Christmas." They sure are.

Fun fact: Save money and buy sliced almonds in bulk, either in the bulk section at your local natural foods co-op, or at the remarkable We Are Nuts in St. Paul.

ALMOND TRIANGLES

Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. This 2009 winner is from Charlotte Midthun of Granite Falls, Minn., who adapted it from First for Women magazine.

2 c. (4 sticks) butter, at room temperature, divided
3/4 c. granulated sugar, divided
1 egg
3/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. salt
2 3/4 c. flour
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 lb. (about 5 1/4 c.) sliced almonds

Directions

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 1/2 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 1/4 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.

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