The incomparable Stephanie Meyer, aka Fresh Tart Steph, opened up her home on a glorious summer evening for the much anticipated Minnesota Food Bloggers’ Big Bar Bake Off Bash. I get misty-eyed over food, but the baking competition struck a chord in my romance with food and parties. Amateur and professional food bloggers, foodies, and the people who love them gathered to feast on pork belly, spicy slaw, kabobs, Habanero pepper infused Fulton Beer, Kitchak Cellars‘ wine, divine chocolate truffles from Kate In The Kitchen, and seventeen(!) varieties of bars. If you have to ask, “What’s a bar?” you are not from Minnesota.
The lovely Kelli Abrahamian won with her apricot bar – rosemary shortbread crust, poached apricots soaked in rum and a toasted almond crumble. Everyone enjoyed sampling the bars and marveling at the creativity. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and my sweet tooth was in heaven.
This is my entry – Drunken Chocolate Almond Bars. Many thanks to Amy P. for sharing her photo!
Drunken Chocolate Almond Bars
2 cups flour
2 T sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 T vanilla
3 tsp water
6 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
1 ½ cup sugar
1 ½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 T Grand Marnier liqueur
1 tsp almond extract
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups sliced almonds
Heat oven to 400 degrees and grease 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and butter in food processor. Pulse until crumbly. Mix the vanilla and water in a small bowl and gradually add to dough by pulsing. **NOTE: Do not keep processor running while adding liquid or you will end up with a gooey mixture and have to add another cup of flour just to get it back to what it should be. Sigh** Process in pulses until dough comes together in a ball. Press mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the baked crust, wait until slightly melted and then spread gently over crust to make a smooth chocolate layer.
In medium bowl use a fork to mix cream, sugar, Grand Marnier, almond extract and salt. Beat until thickened and add sliced almonds. Pour over chocolaty crust. Bake at 350 for about 55 minutes. Remove from oven and cool thoroughly before cutting.