Scandinavian Almond Bars
Looking for something new to add to your holiday cookie platter? Try these Scandinavian almond bars! They are super easy to make in large batches and they are freezer friendly! You’ll love the delicious almond flavor in every bite.
Every Christmas my Aunt Carol makes Scandinavian almond bars. This has to be one of my favorite holiday treats… probably because I love love love almond extract in my baked goods. A few years back she shared the recipe with me and now I am going to share it with you as part of my 25 Days of Baking.
These shortbread-like bars are topped with sliced almonds and icing. They pair well with your morning coffee or alongside an afternoon cup of tea.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy to make. The dough comes together in minutes and there’s no need to re-roll the dough like you would for cut-out cookies.
- Plenty of almond flavor thanks to the almond extract. Meanwhile the nuts add a crunch while the icing adds a touch of sweetness (very similar to my almond sugar cookies).
- Perfect for sharing. Double or triple the recipe and share with friends this holiday season!
- Freezer friendly. These bars freeze beautifully. Just layer them in a ziptop bag and take them out whenever you need a treat!
- Family favorite. This recipe has been passed down from my aunt and it’s a favorite among all the cousins!
- Butter: Make sure it is room temperature for easy mixing and to make a consistent dough.
- Milk: A brush of milk on top of the dough helps the sliced almonds stick and give the bars a little shine.
- Almond extract: This adds all the flavor that makes these bars irresistible!
- Sliced almonds: Scatter these over the dough for a little crunch on the cookies.
- Confectioners’ sugar (not shown): Also known as powdered sugar, you’ll need this for the icing drizzle on top!
Refer to the recipe card for ingredient details and measurements.
Try different nuts. This recipe also tastes delicious with hazelnuts or pistachios. Chop them up before sprinkling on top.
Make a vanilla glaze. Swap out the almond extract in the glaze for 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. This is a good option if you want to tone down the almond flavor just a bit.
Double or triple the recipe and make a large batch. I always do this when I’m planning on gifting sweets for the holidays!
How to Make Almond Bars
- Whisk the dry ingredients—flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Combine wet ingredients. Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg and almond extract.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix just until combined.
- Divide dough into fourths. Set aside two pieces.
- Roll dough into rectangles 12 inches by 3 inches wide. Place two pieces on a cookie sheet at least 4 inches apart.
- Garnish and bake. Use a pastry brush to spread milk on top of each piece of dough. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top.
- Bake the bars at 325 F for 12 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden. Let the bars cool for 5 minutes, then use a sharp knife to cut bars 1-inch wide. Cool completely.
- Prepare icing. Whisk together confectioners’ sugar, almond extract and milk. Use a spoon to drizzle icing over bars.
Roll out the dough on parchment paper. This make it much easier to transfer to the baking sheet.
Cut the bars while they are still warm (similar to biscotti). This will make clean slices and prevent the bars from getting all crumbly.
Weigh your ingredients. Using a kitchen scale is the most accurate way to measure. If you don’t have a scale, spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife.
Use room temperature ingredients. This is important to make sure the dough is smooth and consistent. When room temperature ingredients are used, cookies and bars have a better texture!
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
Store in an airtight container or holiday tin with parchment paper between layers. Keep in a dry cool place for up to 1 week.
Freeze the dough in plastic wrap. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and rolling the dough. Alternatively, freeze the baked bars for up to 3 months. Place parchment paper between layer so they don’t stick together.
Make ahead the dough and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Icing may be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week. Press plastic wrap directly on top to prevent a crust from forming.
This dough will work for drop cookies. Bake at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes. However, I have not tried it for cut-out cookies. If you do test it, let us know in the comments!
I haven’t tried this substitution, but I don’t think it will work. It has a higher fat content than all-purpose flour and will change the texture of the cookies.
If you enjoyed this recipe, then you will certainly love these treats too!
Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.
Get the Recipe: Scandinavian Almond Bars
- 1 ¾ cup (218 g) all-purpose flour, measured correctly
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113 g or 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons whole milk, (low-fat works too)
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar, sifted
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract, or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-2 tablespoons whole milk for drizzle consistency, (low-fat works too)
- Preheat oven to 325℉. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat together butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and almond extract, and mix until incorporated, scraping down sides of the bowl when necessary. Gradually add in the flour mixture and beat well.
- Divide dough into quarters and form each into a 12-inch log. Place two logs 4-5 inches apart on parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, flatten log until 3 inches wide (making a 12-inch by 3-inch rectangle). It doesn't have to be perfect.
- Brush the two dough rectangles with milk. Sprinkle with almonds and bake at 325℉ for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Repeat with remaining two logs.
- While the bars are baking, prepare the icing. Whisk together the powdered sugar, almond extract and 1 tablespoon of milk. Add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach a drizzle consistency.
- While the bars are still warm, cut diagonally into one inch strips and drizzle with icing. Let icing harden before serving.