Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Avo Ana's Chocolate Almond Squares

In my family, Sundays have always been a big deal. Nowadays it consists of my parents, siblings, Avo Lina and a few new members of our family, coming together. Without the pressures of work, soccer practices, and day to day life pressing on us, we take the time to enjoy each other's company. Mommy sets the dining room table with our best dishes and prepares a lavish meal, while I have the honor of preparing the desserts!

When we were growing up, Sundays consisted of alternating between our grandparents houses, for Sunday brunch. There are many laughs and memories that stand out from those meals all of them shared around the incredible food my grandmother's worked so hard to prepare.
This time of year, always reminds me of one treat in particular. Avo Ana would prepare the most amazing little treat for me, wrapping it up in parchment paper and stacking it inside the cutest tin - her Quadrades de Chocolate/ Chocolate (Almond) Squares.

The only way I can really describe this treat, is by saying that it's the ideal cross between a cake and a brownie (so basically it's a dream!). It's very thin but incredibly fluffy and the top layer hardens just enough to seal in the almond slivers and add a bit of texture to each bite. I made them for the first time in February with my Mom and it was the first time I had, had them since Avo Ana passed away. It really is incredible how flavors and the scent of baking can bring memories rushing back. Now that the season is upon us again, I thought it was the perfect time to bring out her special recipe. I hope you enjoy this tradition as much as I do!

Avo Ana's Chocolate Almond Squares

2 cups of sugar
5 eggs
1/2 cup of butter (* if you'd like to make this recipe pareve/ non-dairy, margarine works just as well!)
1 cup of flour
2 heaping tbspns cocoa
1/2 - 1 cup of almond slivers
Set the oven to 350° F

Beat the butter, sugar and eggs on medium speed until fluffy
In a separate bowl, combine the flour and cocoa powder
Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, beating well on medium to high speed
Pour the batter onto a cookie sheet and sprinkle with almond slivers
Bake at 350° F for 20-25 minutes (the top layer will be a light color and have a crackled texture while underneath the texture will be moist and have a darker color).
Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes and cut into squares.


Alternatively, you could divide the recipe into two loaf pans (retaining the baking time)



Cut it into 1" strips and you have another version of these delicious bars!

Enjoy!

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