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Pistachio-Almond Bars with Citrus Glaze

These sweet-and-salty bars were inspired by a cake recipe from cookbook author Nigel Slater. The citrus glaze highlights the toasty flavor of the pistachios and almonds, making these bars an ideal option for anyone who isn’t crazy about sweets that are too sweet.

Ingredients:

  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) unsalted, shelled pistachios
  • 1 cup (4 1/2 oz./140 g) slivered almonds
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (4 oz./125 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups (8 oz./250 g) confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Generously butter a 7 1/2-by-12-inch (19-by-30-cm) or 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish and dust with flour.

Strain the orange and lemon juices into a bowl, then measure out 3 Tbs. and place in a separate bowl. You should have about 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) citrus juice remaining (if not, add a bit more orange or lemon juice).

In a food processor, combine the pistachios, almonds, orange zest, lemon zest and half of the granulated sugar and pulse until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter and the remaining granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the reserved 1/3 cup citrus juice, then gently stir in the nut mixture just until combined.

Spread the batter in the prepared dish. Bake until light golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool in the dish for about 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack set over a baking sheet and let cool completely.

Stir the confectioners’ sugar into the 3 Tbs. citrus juice, then pour over the top and spread evenly. Let the glaze set for about 30 minutes before cutting into bars. Makes about 18 bars.

Baker’s note: The best tool for zesting citrus is a fine-toothed Microplane grater, which allows you to get all the good stuff—the colorful rind and the citrus oil—without any of the bitter white pith. If you don’t have one, use a vegetable peeler to remove only the colored part of the peel (the zest) and then finely mince it.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Home Baked Comfort, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen, 2011).