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Bake, Christmas, Desserts

Almond and Orange Shortbread Bars with Poppy Seed Jam

Almond and Orange Shortbread Bars with Poppy Seed Jam
Leslie Grow / For The Times

I love classic shortbread just as much anyone; but I also love to make shortbread with ground nut flours to take advantage of the flavor of the nuts and make the cookies gluten-free. Almond flour — the most common nut ... Read more

2 hours. Makes 24 squares.

Dough

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Finely grated zest of 3 clementines or 1 large navel orange
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 4 cups packed superfine almond flour (1 1/4 pounds; 590 grams)

Filling

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup poppy seeds, finely ground (see Baker’s Note)
  • 1/2 cup clementine or orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Blue pearl or sanding sugar, silver dragées and white pearly dragées, to garnish
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Note: The poppy seeds need to be ground to make them easy to incorporate into a filling, so use a simple spice or coffee grinder (Clean it first!) to grind the poppy seeds to a powder before using. And make sure you buy a new bottle of poppy seeds — they go rancid very quickly, so that old container from when you first moved into your house a decade ago? Time to say goodbye. And if using a stand mixer, use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl and the paddle after beating the butter and sugar together and after the dough is mixed to ensure the ingredients are evenly mixed throughout.

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