When we went to NYC 2 years ago I fell in Love with Max Brenner, the restaurant, not the person. When Jon went back to NYC last year he came home with a signed copy of the Max Brenner cookbook: Chocolate, A Love Story. It was in my stocking Christmas morning, I was THRILLED. And then when I opened the book, WOW. This is not your average sorta boring looking cookbook. NOPE, it is gorgeous graphically; amazing colors, photos and art.
I am a moron and haven’t really made anything from it yet. I made hot cross buns, but even those were an adaptation, not exactly from the book. So last night I got inspiration to open it up and make something. I browsed the entire book and drooled over almost every recipe. One thing I noticed, Max, you freaking like butter, I mean LOTS of butter. One muffin recipe made 18 muffins and called for 3 sticks of butter. Good night! But I knew without a doubt they would be delicious.
Although, those muffins are not what I chose to make (they needed 4 bananas, I only had 2).
In fact, I didn’t make anything EXACTLY from the book. Instead I used the book as inspiration for these bars. I left the chocolate cook book out on my kitchen counter so I will remember to use it again soon, like tonight, hopefully. We are never opposed to more chocolate treats being made :)
Jon said these might be his new favorite cookie. His words, “I just love almond.” Have you ever taken a bite of something and needed another bite, immediately, because it was so good you just couldn’t live with only 1 bite? Ya, that is how I was when I tried these. The smell is rich with almond and butter, and the taste is even richer! Honestly, I was shocked with HOW GOOD these are, I am not the almond lover my husband is, but I think I may be converting soon.
So, I am NOT the greatest photographer, at all! My husband has a really good eye for color and usually pics out the colors for the photos. He was asleep when I did these, hence the abundance of brown that he would not have chosen, yuck! I just had to throw out that disclaimer :)
Makes 24 LARGE bars or 32 medium bars
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp almond extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups chopped almond bark
*of sub 2 cups chopped anything: chocolate, white chocolate, almonds, pecans, walnuts, toffee
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
*I baked mine in a 9×13 inch cookie sheet, the cookies overflowed. So in a baking dish with side taller then 1/2 an inch, these will be perfect!
Mix the butter and brown sugar with a hand or stand mixer for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the almond extract, then the eggs one at a time.
In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking soda. Add this to the butter mixture, about 1/2 a cup at a time. Fold in the almond bark pieces.
Spread the cookie dough into the greased baking dish.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cookies are browned on the top.
Cool for about an hour in the pan before cutting. The cooler they get the easier they are to cut. At least that is my experience with them.