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Chewy marzipan adds sweet structure to slim blondies Mauer: These bar cookies come together in record time.

Imagine reading the following: "This might be my perfect bar cookie recipe: buttery, rich, and studded with chewy pockets of sweet marzipan and crunchy bits of toasted cashews."

Are you salivating yet? I did.

That tantalizing sentence was written by Posie Harwood (600acres.com) about her Toasted Cashew and Marzipan Blondies.

Marzipan?

Youve probably seen brightly-colored candies made with marzipan, all almond-scented and sweet; think mini carrots with greens that decorate some carrot cakes. Marzipan comes as a dough-like compound made from (depending on the brand) a mixture of almonds, sugar, water, bitter almond oil (synthetic), and potassium sorbate (a preservative).

There are also plenty of homemade marzipan recipes including Martha Stewarts (marthastewart.com/339821/marzipan). Stewarts is a simple combination of almond paste, light corn syrup and confectioners sugar. For my re-envisioning of Harwoods bar cookies, I used a commercial marzipan product. Some other time, Ill try making marzipan from scratch.

For Harwood, using marzipan to boost her bar cookies flavor and texture wasnt nearly enough. Nor was simply adding cashews to her cookies for a flavor boost and a crunch. Harwood toasted her cashews too, to kick their flavor up a notch. Harwood wasnt done there, though. Oh, no. She added bigger-flavor-than-semi-sweet dark chocolate chips, as well as white chocolate chips to her cookies batter. One unique twist; half the white chocolate chips went into the dough, and she melted the other half together with the butter. Interesting.

Im as certain as I can be that the way Harwood made her bar cookies delivered excellent results. No

doubt. However, I raised an eyebrow at the stick-and-a-half of butter and the cup of sugars (half granulated, half brown) that went into her cookies.

Good old drained, unsweetened, unflavored applesauce could stand in for half the butter and trim more than 600 calories and nearly 70 fat grams.

By eliminating the half cup of granulated sugar and substituting 12 packets of organic stevia I could give-the-boot to an additional 387 calories and 100 sugar grams.

With so many big-flavored ingredients in those bar cookies, I was certain no one would miss half the fat and sugar.

One of the many good things about this cookie is how easy it comes together; no mixer needed.

Yes, there were some elevated hassle-factors; roasting nuts and melting butter and chocolate before combining everything.

The aroma of roasting cashews was enticing, but the baking bar cookies smelled even better. I learned that these cookies cut better when the pan has cooled to room temperature.

How did they taste?

Harwood may have overstated the fabulousness of these bar cookies, but not by much. Theyre truly wonderful, and everyone with whom I shared them raved about them and were amazed that Id cut the butter by half, as well as the sugar. Some suggested I make a plateful for their holiday gift. Uh-oh.

* Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Write to him at don@ theleanwizard.com.

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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Dec 13, 2017
Words:493
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