My childhood best friend’s mother loved to bake Christmas cookies. Sally Hoyle would start baking the weekend after Thanksgiving and baked right up until Christmas Day. Everyone especially looked forward to her Scandinavian Almond Bars. I was fortunate enough to receive her recipe as a wedding gift 20 years ago, and today my Christmas isn’t complete without Sally’s cookies. Sadly, Sally is no longer with us, but she remains we me in spirit every time I make these bars.
The original recipe calls for white flour, icing, and almost 2 cups of sugar. This year I thought I would try to make them a little more Diva friendly. I replaced some of the flour with almond meal, greatly reduced the sugar (and substituted some coconut sugar), and eliminated the icing (you really don’t need it!).
Part of the pleasure of the holidays is enjoying “memory” foods. In my free Holiday Guide, I share that there are special holiday foods that remind us of home and family and are central to special occasions and rituals. Through food, we are able to maintain a sense of generation and extension. As we upgrade our diet, it is important to keep foods that are truly important to us and just modify the recipes a bit. This way, we get all the warm memories without the negative physical side effects.
I hope you enjoy my PCOS friendly version of Sally’s cookies as much as I do (in moderation of course).
Sally’s Scandinavian Almond Bars
Makes 48 bars
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-free Baking Flour
3/4 cup finely ground blanched almond flour ( I used Bob’s Red Mill.)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Kerrygold unsalted butter
1/3 cup organic cane sugar
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 325. Stir together flours, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In a large mixer bowl, beat butter until softened. Add sugars and beat until fluffy. Add egg and almond extract. Add flour mixture and beat until well combined and dough forms.
Divide dough into fourths. Form each section into a 12-inch roll, Place two rolls 4 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Flatten rolls to 3 inches wide. Sprinkle each roll with almonds. Cook for 13-15 minutes or until cookies are set and edges start to lightly brown.
Remove from oven and cut into bars while bars are still warm and soft on the cookie sheet – crosswise at a diagonal into 1 inch strips. Cool and enjoy.