Almond Shortbread is simple to make, and an appealing treat for summer snacking. It's easy to pack for a picnic but would also complement a cool glass of homemade lemonade (see note below) sipped on the porch at home. On cooler evenings, it will go well with a cup of hot chocolate.
Although the flavor is delicate, the texture is very rich — which you may like to keep in mind when deciding what size pieces to cut. Small or large squares, word is they don't linger too long on the plate.
7-ounce roll almond paste, chilled and grated
1 cup sugar
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Melted semisweet chocolate, optional
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
In a bowl, place grated almond paste, sugar and butter. Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix well until incorporated. Mix on high until light and fluffy.
Add egg yolks one at a time, beating until mixture is light and sugar is dissolved. Reduce speed to low and add the flour and baking powder. Mix only until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Press down gently so batter is the same level throughout, probably about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick. Using the back of a knife, score very shallow lines into batter to mark the sizes and shapes you want for your shortbread pieces, to make cutting easier after baking.
Bake 22 to 26 minutes or until the shortbread is a light golden color. Cool pan on a wire rack. If desired, drizzle thin lines of melted chocolate across the shortbread. Cut along score lines. Store in airtight tins. Almond Shortbread recipe from Andre Prost Inc., food importer
HOMEMADE LEMONADE is one of summer's classic pleasures. It can be made to suit a wide variety of preferences. Try this: Make the sugar syrup ahead, using 2 cups of sugar dissolved in 2 cups of water over medium heat (double quantity if needed). Fill glasses one-third full with freshly squeezed lemon juice, and pass the syrup and a large pitcher of ice water for everyone to adjust the lemonade to taste.