Dear SOS: The Rio Carnival Buffet at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas serves the best almond bars you will ever have. I’ve searched my cookbooks for a similar recipe but could not find one. I am turning to you for help. I am sure your readers will enjoy them as much as I did.
Dear J. Lew: Brenda Hitchins, executive pastry chef at Rio Hotel and Casino, sent this recipe for these twice-baked cookies with a scrumptious almond filling. By the way, you can use any nuts you wish. The chef suggests also trying walnuts, pecans or pistachios.
Cream butter until pale and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar and blend until smooth but not airy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla and blend well. Gradually add cake flour and mix until smooth. Flatten dough into rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator 2 hours.
Roll out dough on floured board to 15x10-inch rectangle 1/8-inch thick. Wrap dough around rolling pin and transfer to jelly roll pan lined with waxed paper or parchment paper. Press dough into pan bottom, trimming edges to fit. Use any scraps to fill gaps in dough, pressing seams together. Prick all over with fork.
Bake at 350 degrees until slightly browned, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool on rack.
Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add honey and granulated sugar and bring to boil. Add nuts, return to boil then remove from heat. Let cool slightly.
Pour warm filling into shell, spreading evenly. Do not overfill. Bake at 350 degrees until topping bubbles and turns golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool, then cut into bars.
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