A few weeks ago I bought a jar of Swedish lingonberry preserves. Something about it called to me: thoughts of dainty reindeer, icy snowflakes, and fresh, pine-scented air made the jar irresistible. The question was, though, what to do with it. Luckily, I ran across a recipe for Linzer Bars. Linzer Bars are usually made with ground almonds and raspberry jam, but I decided to try the lingonberry preserves, instead. The result was so good. A delicate, buttery crust and topping sandwiches a vein of tart lingonberry flavor. Lingonberries taste similar to cranberries, but have a more delicate, almost raspberry-like flavor, and there is a faint wild tang that is wonderful. On Donder! On Blitzen!
Lingonberry Jam Bars
1-1/3 cups butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 cups coarsely ground almonds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup lingonberry or raspberry preserves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9″ pan. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in egg and lemon peel until fluffy. Mix in flour, ground almonds and cinnamon until well blended. The dough will be rather firm and crumbly.
Press two cups of the dough into the prepared pan. Spread preserves over crust. Sprinkle the remaining dough over the jam. (The easiest way to do this is to upend the bowl and let the dough crumbles fall onto the jam. Then spread the crumbles as evenly as possible.) Press down lightly.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until edges and some of topping is golden brown. Cool in pan completely before cutting to serve.
Baking notes: For the ground almonds, I purchased a bag of sliced almonds and ground them coarsely in my antique nut grinder. This is economical, and using the nut grinder is fun. (A bag of 1-1/2 cups nuts yields 1-1/2 cups ground nuts. You would think it would pack down, but it doesn’t.) But you can also purchase ground nuts. I also sprinkled some vanilla sugar over the bars before baking. Not a lot, just enough to add sparkle. I have a really nice Calphalon 13 x 9″ baking pan that I used for this recipe. It’s non-stick, and everything bakes beautifully in it. It’s worth looking out for. Lingonberry Preserves can be purchased online from IKEA.
Instead of adding anything Christmas-related to this post, I decided to go in the opposite direction, and post some bird photos. Something to remind us of summer!