Monday, August 15, 2011

ABC - Neapolitan Bars

Our second August recipe for the Avid Baker's Challenge club was chosen by Lynnette of Dessert Divine. She has baked almost every ABC recipe since she joined, always with a lot of excitement, so I wanted to say thanks by having her select a recipe for all of us to bake. She chose Neapolitan Bars from Flo Braker's Baking For All Occasions. It's basically a multi-layered bar that starts with a buttery crust, topped with raspberry jam and green-tinted frangipane, and later covered with a rich chocolate glaze. I love almonds so I couldn't wait to get started on this one.

I made my own almond paste using Joe Pastry's recipe (I've made it once before - it was so easy/quick/more delicious than any store bought almond paste, that I vowed to always make it from scratch). The bars came together easily. My only beef with the recipe was that it took too many steps and too much waiting (maybe I'm growing old and impatient, ha ha). I also had issues making the frangipane in the KitchenAid. It remained crumbly no matter what I did. I wasn't about to take more time to press it through a medium sieve, so I dumped everything in the food processor and in less than 20 seconds, voila, the frangipane was whizzed to perfection :o) I was surprised Flo didn't have us use the food processor for that and should have followed my instincts on that one right away (after all, that's how I've made frangipane in the past).

Here are some step-by-step pictures:

Used homemade triple berry preserves for this

Carefully gently poured the green-tinted frangipane on top of the preserves without marring it

Ta-dah! Look at those delicious layers :o)

Final thoughts/tips:
  • Hubby hasn't tried these yet, so no rating (yet).
  • Of course, I did try these. These bars are really good. The diversity of flavors and textures work really well together (which I wasn't that sure about initially). The buttery crust just melts in your mouth, the tanginess of the triple berry jam and the crunchiness from the seeds complements the sweet and nutty frangipane beautifully. The chocolate glaze adds yet another dimension to the whole thing and it just works! I hope this freezes well because the recipe yields a lot of bars.
  • Recap of my changes: used salted butter in the crust. Instead of seedless raspberry jam, I used homemade triple berry jam (I left the seeds in). I added a couple drops of almond oil to the frangipane (if using almond extract, you might want to use 1/4 to 1/2 tsp as almond oil is a much more concentrated flavoring agent).
  • Don't forget to check out the ABC blog roll.


  1. Wow...this looks like an incredibly challenging and unique recipe! There's an Indian almond cookie recipe originating from Hyderabad, India that uses almond paste, unfortunately, my entire family has lost the recipe (It was too hard for my mom's generation to sad) I'm going to try this almond recipe paste to experiment!

  2. Your bars look lovely! I will definitely try to make my own almond paste.

  3. Found you by way of the Ghirardelli chocolate championship pictures on Google. The picture took me to your 2009 state fair ribbon blog post. Everything you enter it looked delicious. A friend of mine won a blue ribbon one year for her raspberry muffins. She couldn't enter them the next year, but the year after that they won nothing. Go figure! Looks like the same thing happen to you with those delicious looking turtle bars and triple chocolate cookies.I just entered my tart at the Minnesota State fair. Do you still enter? I am entering brownies, chocolate chip cookies, And possibly banana bread and bars if I have enough energy!

  4. Your bars looks great! I don't know if I would have the patience for that many layers. I've made my own almond paste, too, and have a recipe on my blog. It's way better than anything you can buy.


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