Spiced with orange zest and almond extract, these Orange Almond Cookie Bars are the perfect addition to your holiday baking list. Top the bars simply with sliced almonds and an orange almond drizzle.
Originally posted on December 24th, 2012. Updated photos on November 15th, 2017.
I enjoy making many types of cookies throughout November and December for the holiday season and freezing them for when family and friends are visiting. Each year, I like to try out new cookies and variations. I love how easily these Orange Almond Cookie Bars come together and provide a unique look to the holiday cookie table. They are crisp on the outside, with the crunch of the sliced almonds, and slightly chewy on the interior.
The cookie dough is mixed together and spiced with orange zest and almond extract. It is formed into logs, patted down, topped with sliced almonds, and baked until the edges are just golden. Once cooked through, the cookie sheets are simply cut into bars. The icing is also no fuss and requires no special decorating. Just drizzle it on the cooled cookies.
The dough may seem a little dry and crumbly as it is mixed together, but should stick and become smooth with a little kneading with your hands. If it absolutely won’t stay together, add a little splash of milk.
Only top the cookie sheets with untoasted almonds. After 20 minutes, they will come out nicely toasted and fragrant over the cooked cookie sheets.
Orange Almond Cookie Bars Recipe
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups scant all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Milk for brushing
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3-4 tablespoons orange juice
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Prepare 2 large baking sheets by lining with parchment or leaving ungreased.
In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in half the flour, then the egg, orange zest, and almond extract. Mix in the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt.
On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each piece into an 8 inch rope. Place the ropes about 5 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Flatten the ropes until they are each about 2 inches wide. Brush with milk and sprinkle liberally with almonds.
Bake in preheated oven until the cookies spread and are lightly browned on the bottom, 20-22 minutes.
Cut the warm cookies into 1 inch bars width-wise on the diagonal. Cool the cut bars on wire racks.
In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and almond extract. Whisk in orange juice until smooth. Drizzle the icing on cooled cookie bars.