Raspberry & Almond Marzipan Cookies!

/ Monday, June 5, 2017

I'm a sucker for bar cookies—lemon squares, brownies, blondies, you name it! So I'd love to share my new favorite with you, marzipan squares with raspberries and almonds. Get ready to fall in love. This recipe could not be easier to make and comes out perfectly chewy, gooey and addictive. 

Raise your hand if you're an almond-paste lover! Honestly, I eat it straight from the tube. That's not gross, is it? My whole family's a bit nutty for the sweet, sticky, toasty flavor of almond paste desserts—especially my husband! 

I came across this recipe on Pinterest by Just About Baked a few years ago and I've been obsessed with it—and tweaking it!—ever since. I really love fruit with my almond-y desserts: dense lemon-almond loafs, petit fours with apricot jam, almond cookies with cherries. So I started making this recipe with berries on top. Gah! It's heaven.

As a Brooklyn gal, something feels perfectly chic and European about this recipe. It's not too sweet. One of those pastries you'd find at a little bakery that's perfect for a snacking, brunch, dessert—literally anything!

I want to make a quick note about baking pan sizes because I don't think a lot of people know that there's some flexibility there. I used a 10-inch square baking dish in these photos but you could use an 8-inch, 9-inch, whatever you have. It really won't make a huge difference. Just keep an eye on things are it's baking, since it could speed up or slow down cook times ever so slightly. But if you're asking, "can I use a different size pan?" The answer is heck yes girl!!

This recipe is definitely dense, sweet and delicious. If you're looking to cut through some of that decadence, these cookies and even better served with a little vanilla yogurt or ice cream if you'd like.

SERVES: 8 to 10

Non-stick cooking spray, for the pan
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature 
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

8 ounce container almond paste
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped almonds
1 container raspberries 

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly coat a 8 to 10-inch square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 

2. Make the base: Beat the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until combined, scraping the bowl with a spatula if needed. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Stir together the flour and salt in a bowl, then gradually beat into the butter mixture until combined. (Save the bowl and mixer paddle for the topping, no need to clean.)

3. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish, pressing and spreading it evenly into the bottom using an offset spatula (if you have one)! Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the topping: In the same mixer bowl, beat the almond paste, brown sugar and 1 cup almonds until combined, scraping the bowl as needed. 

5. Remove the base from the oven. Spread the topping mixture on top. Sprinkle with the raspberries and the remaining almonds. Return to the oven and bake 15 to 20 more minutes until the topping has set.

6. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Slice cookies into squares and store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

That's it! What do you think? One thing I'm dying to know, how easy is it to find almond paste where you live? It's everywhere here in New York City but I know our grocery stores can be a little different than other place. 

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