Baking has been such a life-giving hobby for me the past few months… it’s my outlet for creativity & rejuvenation. Also a way to make my family happy and bond with my toddler. I have made quite a dent in my Sprinkles Baking Book and cannot wait to share the latest recipe with you.
Three ways I can think of to describe my new-found love for baking:
- Nick & I watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them last night (so good, btw) and I loved one of the main characters, Jacob. It’s set in the 1920’s and he’s a muggle (harry potter lingo) working in a canned foods factory, but claims it’s sucking the life out of him because no one wants to eat canned food. His dream is to open up a bakery because “pastries make people happy” and he just wants to make people happy. I thought that was so sweet and resonated with it a ton.
- Second… I’m obsessed with The Great British Baking Show (for many reasons) and it’s inspired me to try new things, new flavors & get creative. I love how none of the contestants are professional bakers. They all have different vocations (nurses, lawyers, accountants), but love to bake on the side & have excelled at it. That’s definitely one of my goals.
- Thirdly, I just want to acquire the skill of making yummy treats for my boys. My mom never baked (although she did make bomb Persian food). And I’ve always wanted to be able to make delicious cakes or cookies or whatever for holidays, birthdays & special occasions. Hopefully this will make it, not only a fun hobby, but something I become good at.
Almond Roca Bars
For the base:
- 3/4 C (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1.5 C all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 C sugar
For the topping:
- 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate (or milk or dark… whatever you prefer)
- 1 C of roasted almonds
- 1/2 C of unsweetened coconut flakes (lightly toasted)
Make the Base
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Butter the bottom & sides of a 9-inch square pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder & salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter & sugar until creamy (~2 mins). Add flour mixture & beat for another minute.
- Press dough into the prepared pan & bake until golden (~17-19 mins).
Make the Topping
- In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate for 2 minutes, stopping to stir every 30 seconds until melted.
- Stir half of the almonds & coconut flakes into the melted chocolate.
- Spread the chocolate over the cooled base in the pan.
- Sprinkle with remaining almonds & coconut flakes, pressing gently to help them adhere to the chocolate.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes to harden, then cut into 20 bars.