How I love all things almond-y, especially these very special almond squares from my friend Kristin King. These dangerously easy-to-make treats are the kind of recipe you can make from memory after you make them a time or two. I agree with Kris–as Italians, the almond affinity’s gotta be in our blood!
My mom and I have taken to drizzling melted dark chocolate over the squares. I go all Jackson Pollock on ’em. Let’s face it–it’s fun!
As you know I’ve been on a bit of a browned butter bender of late! So, I googled to see how to substitute butter for oil to try a variation of these. Try them both ways–you won’t be disappointed!
KRISTIN’S ALMOND SQUARES
1 cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup flour
2 tsp pure almond extract (or 1 tsp. almond extract PLUS just less than ¼ tsp. bitter almond)
Chopped or slivered almonds
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 8 x 8″ baking dish.
In a bowl, beat eggs until light in color. Add sugar and beat until combined. Add oil, baking powder, flour, salt and extract and mix well. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Liberally sprinkle the top with either chopped or slivered almonds. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack before cutting. Enjoy!
ALMOND SQUARES WITH BROWNED BUTTER
Using Kristin’s recipe above, replace oil with browned butter as follows:
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons butter
Brown butter in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. The butter will eventually turn this rich brown color, much like the head on a Guinness. Hey, ’tis almost the season, don’tchaknow?!
Look for the dark flecks that form at the bottom of the pan. This is exactly the brown-buttery goodness you’re after!
Allow the butter to cool about five minutes before whisking it in with the remaining ingredients. Mmmmm, look at those brown butter flecks! Can you say spatula-lickin’-good?! Oh, yeahhh!
Once the squares come out of the oven and have cooled a bit, melt your chocolate of choice and release your inner artist! I’m hooked on dark chocolate Valrhona feves from Whole Foods–and I use the defrost setting in the microwave.
Makes you wanna zooma-zooma straight to the kitchen to whip up a batch right now, no? Subito, subito, sez Speranza!