Here's a really good bar cookie, full of almond flavor and accented nicely with apricot-orange. They're not terribly hard to make and are a nice change from chocolate. The recipe is from Bon Appetit December 2005 issue, and I found it on epicurious.com.
Apricot-Orange Shortbread Bars
1 cup apricot preserves (I use the fruit spread with no sugar, just fruits)
3 Tbsp. orange liqueur (I used Bols Triple Sec)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp. Stevia)
1 tsp. almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup AP + 1 cup King Arthur whole wheat flour)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup (packed) almond paste, crumbled
1/2 cup sliced almonds, divided
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 325F. Butter a 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan; line bottom and sides of pan with parchment paper, extending over sides. Butter parchment. Mix preserves and orange liqueur in small bowl; set aside.
Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Beat in almond extract. Add flour and salt; beat just until blended. Transfer 1 cup of dough to another small bowl; add crumbled almond paste and mix with fingertips untill small clumps form. Mix in 1/4 cup sliced almonds; set aside for topping.
Press remaining dough evenly onto bottom of prepared pan. Spread preserves mixture evenly over. Using fingertips, coarsely crumble topping over preserves, then sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup almonds over top. Press topping lightly into preserves.
Bake shortbread until top and crust edges are golden brown, about 1 hour (mine only took 50 minutes, so be sure to check them for doneness starting at 45 minutes.) Cool completely in pan on rack. Using parchment paper as aid, lift shortbread from pan. Cut shortbread into 4 equal strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 8 small bar cookies. (Can be prepared ahead. Store in single layer in airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days or freeze up to 2 weeks.)
Yield: 32 bars