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Monday, September 6, 2010

Marzipan Bars

Marzipan Bars
A cookie layer topped with fresh fruit preserves topped with marzipan topped with chocolate ganache topped with... well, that's enough don't you think? These bars are wonderfully decadent with a rich marzipan flavor balanced with chocolate and a buttery cookie crust. Simply delicious!

I really enjoyed making this recipe and from the ingredient list it can seem a little daunting. But, it comes together very quickly and with a minimum of muss and fuss. I found this in a very old Holiday Cookie booklet that a friend passed on to me (Hi, Nora!). Of course, I played with it a little bit and changed things here and there to suit my own tastes and style. For example the original calls for a fairly skimpy chocolate ganache. I upped the amount of ganache and added white chocolate into the semi-sweet chocolate for a glossy ganache that is smooth, creamy and wonderfully well rounded. I also opted for blueberry preserves instead of strawberry jelly. This gave a fresh fruit note to the bar that was not overpowering nor inordinately sweet (after all, marzipan is plenty sweet and rich enough on its own!)

I was pleasantly surprised with this recipe and when I bit into my first piece realized this was a great success. Just a word of caution: this is very rich with the chocolate and marzipan so slice those pieces small!

Cookie Crust
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbs. water
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup almond flour
1/4 cup blueberry preserves (or whatever fruit preserves you like)

Marzipan Layer
1 roll almond paste (7 oz.)
2 tbs. butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg white
1 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs
Food coloring of your choice (optional)

Chocolate Ganache
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
3 oz. white chocolate
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9x13-inch pan.

Cookie Layer

In bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment cream together butter and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and water. Stir in flour until blended. Turn dough out into greased pan and pat to edges of pan. Stir preserves until soft and spread over prepared dough.

Marzipan Layer

In clean bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment, crumble almond paste and add butter, sugar, egg white and vanilla. Beat until blended and smooth. If using food coloring add one drop at a time until you get a deep hue. Pour marzipan mixture over fruit preserve and dough layer and spread evenly.

Cook for 25-35 minutes until top is bubbly and lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely on wire rack. Note: top will sink slightly as it cools.

Chocolate Ganache

In large microwave safe bowl, mix together chocolate, white chocolate and heavy cream. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes stirring after each interval. Stir mixture until it is smooth and glossy. Pour over cooled marzipan layer and allow to set up completely before cutting. Cut into squares and serve.

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