Chocolate Almond Truffle Bars

Chocolate Almond Truffle Bars

4 1/4 C. sliced almonds

1 lb. butter cut into pieces, plus 2 T. melted

1 lb. semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (3 C. semisweet morsels)

4 large eggs

6 large egg yolks

1 C. granulated sugar

3 C. confectioners’ sugar

1 t. vanilla

Heat oven to 325°F.

Toast sliced almonds on a shallow baking sheet until lightly brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Measure 2 3/4 cups into one bowl, and chop them fine (20 seconds in a food processor fitted with a steel blade or by hand). Place in a 3-quart mixer bowl. Chop the remaining almonds fine and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons melted butter to the almonds in the mixing bowl. Mix by hand until the almonds bind together. Transfer nuts to a 9-by-13-inch, non-stick (or greased) baking pan. Press the almond mixture firmly onto the bottom of the pan and into the corners, creating an even layer. Set aside.

Heat 1 inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium heat. With the heat on, place the semisweet chocolate and 1/2 pound of butter in the top half of the double boiler. Use a rubber spatula to stir the chocolate and butter until completely melted and smooth, about 10 minutes. Set aside. Place the eggs, egg yolks and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on medium speed until well blended. Scrape the bowl several times during beating. Add the melted chocolate mixture and mix on low speed for about a minute, then use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the batter until thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter over the almond mixture in the baking pan. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean (a scant amount of batter will adhere to the toothpick). Remove from the oven and cool 1 hour, then place in the freezer.

To make the icing: Place 1/2 pound butter in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on medium until light, about 4 minutes. Operate the mixer on low speed while slowly adding the confectioners’ sugar. Beat until the sugar is mixed in, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add vanilla and beat on high for 1 minute. Remove 2 cups of icing from the bowl and set aside.

Remove the chocolate truffle mixture from the freezer (it should be in there at least 20 minutes). The top will be a little brittle and the insides very soft and tender. Use the icing that remains in the mixing bowl to spread over the top of the truffle mixture as a “crumb coat.” This will keep the crackly crumbs from getting into your almond icing. Put the reserved 2 cups of icing back into the mixing bowl, add reserved almonds and beat 1 minute — the mixture should be fluffy. Spread the almond icing over the crumb coat.

Use a serrated knife to cut the bars into 24 2-inch squares, then cut the squares in half to make 48 bars. (They are easier to cut if you heat the blade of the knife under hot running water and wipe the blade dry before making each cut.)

Makes 4 dozen.

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