Another easy to make holiday bar!
Mom and Gram used to make fudge every year for the holidays. It involved a lot of standing by the hot stove to simmer the fudge, testing it periodically in cold water to see how thick it was getting. Now with the popularity of chocolate chips mixed with sweetened condensed milk, fudge is much easier and faster to make - in a matter of minutes. That’s the shortcut I’m using for this recipe.
Mom would make fudge early, wrap it well and store it in tins in the cold attic. It was interesting how a few of the pieces would disappear by the time the tins were brought downstairs for the family Christmas celebration. I've tweaked their recipes a little bit, turning them into fudgy shortbread bars for the Holiday Treat Tray.
To turn this fudge into a combination of smooth fudgy, crunchy bars, I like to make my shortbread crust with broken up almond slices for added munchiness (is that even a word?).
Preheat your oven to 350F degrees a few minutes before baking.
Prep your 9”x 9” baking pan:
- Lightly brush the pan with soft butter, on the bottom and all sides.
- Line the pan with parchment paper, allowing a 2” overhang on each of the four sides. This will make it easier for you to lift out the entire baked and cooled bar before slicing on the cutting board.
Gather up your almond shortbread crust Ingredients:
½ C Butter, soft (1 stick)
¼ C + 1 T Powdered sugar
1 C Flour
Pinch of Salt
1/3 C Almond slices, broken up
Gather up your fudgy topping Ingredients:
2 C Chocolate chips, semi-sweet
1 – 14 oz Sweetened condensed milk
½ t Almond extract
½ t Vanilla extract
1/3 C Almonds, sliced, optional
Mix and bake the crust for your Double Almond Fudgy Shortbread Bars:
- Toast the almonds in the oven at 200 for a couple minutes. Be sure to watch it closely so they do not burn. Set aside.
- Beat the soft butter and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the flour, salt, almonds and extracts until well combined. The almonds add a nice crunch to the shortbread crust.
- Press the dough evenly into the baking pan.
- Chill for 20 minutes.
- Bake at 350F degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on the edges. I rotate the pan 180 degrees at the 15-minute mark to make sure it bakes evenly.
Stir up the chocolate almond filling:
(No need to toast the almonds for topping on the fudge.)
- In a medium microwave safe bowl, mix and melt the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk together. Set the microwave for 30 seconds, stirring and repeating the process until the mixture is smooth.
- Stir in the extracts.
- Spread the warm chocolate almond mixture on top of the still warm crust.
- Top the fudge mixture with the sliced almonds or other seasonal sprinkles.
Garnish ideas for your Double Almond Fudge Shortbread Bars:
- Top with your favorite holiday sprinkles along with the almonds or in place of the almond slices.
- Top with a little dollop of whipped cream.
- Drizzle with caramel just before serving.
- Top with Andes Mint candies.
- Add Rolo caramels on top.
- Refrigerate for 4-6 days in an airtight container.
- If you’re baking time is limited during the holidays, make these a few weeks ahead and freeze. Wrap in plastic and then in an airtight container for up to a month. I normally freeze the bars individually or in large squares without the sprinkles, but that’s up to you if you want to freeze with the sprinkles.
Make ahead for a crowd:
- If I’m making my Double Almond Fudgy Shortbread bars for a crowd, I’ll bake two or three double shortbread crust recipes a couple weeks ahead, wrap well and freeze in airtight containers. On the day before I take them to the event, I thaw the baked crusts, make enough fudge filling for all, top them with sprinkles and refrigerate them overnight in airtight containers. If I’m traveling a distance, I pack them in air tight containers into coolers and serve. Keep them cool until serving. They arrive fudgy and crunchy!
These are easy Double Almond Fudgy Shortbread to make. Easy to store and easy to freeze. Your besties will love them! However you flavor or top them, “Bake your own Memories!”