Italian Shortbread with Almonds & Jam

Yields 6 – 8 servings

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup apricot jam or other not-too-sweet jam (I used strained raspberry jam)
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350°F and set the rack in the middle of the oven. Have ready a 9-inch ungreased fluted springform pan. (I used a 4” by 13” tart pan with removable bottom)

Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed in a stand mixer for 3 to 4 minutes until very light, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle from time to time. Add the almond extract and beat on medium speed for 30 more seconds to blend.

In a small bowl whisk the flour and salt together. Add to the butter mixture and beat on low speed to combine, just until the dough is thoroughly blended, 30 to 40 seconds. The dough will be stiff. Remove 1/2 cup of dough and spread it on a small plate in a thin layer; place it in the freezer.

Press the remaining dough into the pan evenly – it can be a little higher at the edges, but the center shouldn’t be elevated. Spread the jam evenly over the dough to within an inch of the edge. Retrieve the remaining dough from the freezer and crumble it over the jam. Sprinkle the almonds evenly over the top.

Bake the shortbread for 40 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a rack before removing from pan.

Cut the shortbread into serving sized triangles or squares.

Tastes best on Day 2
It also freezes really well.

From 150 Best American Recipes
Desserts: Mediterranean Flavors, California Style by Cindy Mushet

More info can be found at Cooks Talk threads #36554.1 and #36662.1