I entered a baking contest for the first time last weekend and it was a recipe of my own creation. The Mad For Marmalade is an annual workshop and competition hosted by Culinary Historians of Canada with Fort York National Historic Site. I learned about this event from Sarah B Hood who led the Tips For Blue-Ribbon Marmalade session. You can read her review of the event at Eat Locally, Blog Globally. Although I make marmalade at home every year, my passion lies in baking. I decided to create an original recipe featuring homemade Seville Orange Marmalade and Candied Kumquats for the baking competition this year.
My Almond Chocolate Marmalade Bar is made of buttery shortbread, Seville orange marmalade, dark chocolate, cocoa orange scented frangipane, and candied kumquats. I love the timeless combination of chocolate and orange. Being able to enjoy it in a convenient cookie bar form appeals much to my practical nature. I cannot have enough dessert on-the-go options when I am out and about!
I am thrilled to learn that my marmalade bar came 3rd place in the competition! This is my first foray into the world of baking competition and I did not know what to expect. Since I was not there to serve the bars myself and it was left at room temperature for the whole morning before judging began, my main concern was that my cookie bar needed to remain in great condition under those circumstances. I think they held up beautifully. I love the tender almond cream filling against the buttery shortbread though I can certainly see marmalade playing a bigger role in the dessert. If you give my recipe a try, I would love to hear from you for any feedback!
Almond Chocolate Marmalade Bar
makes 9-16 squares
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup ground almond
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, room temperature
- 1/2 cup Seville orange marmalade
- 1/8 cup chopped dark chocolate
- 5-8 candied kumquats, halved and seeded
- In a food processor, combine butter and sugar. Process until creamy.
- Add in ground almond, flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and orange zest. Pulse until combined.
- Add egg and vanilla to mixture. Process until just blended.
- Scrape almond cream into airtight container and store in fridge for up to a day.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 7-inch (for thicker bars) or 8-inch (for thinner bars) square cake pan with parchment paper. Leave enough overhang to later lift the baked bar.
- In the clean bowl of food processor, process flour, sugar, and salt for 30 seconds. Add in pieces of butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Do not blend into a ball of dough.
- Evenly distribute dough crumbs in prepared pan. Press with fingers to even thickness.
- Par-bake shortbread base for 20 minutes or until top looks dull.
- Cool for 5 minutes until the base is no longer fragile.
- Using an offset spatula, evenly spread marmalade over shortbread base. Sprinkle with dark chocolate. Top with almond cream and level until smooth. If you’re using 7-inch pan, press 9 kumquat halves into almond cream. If you’re using 8-inch pan, it can fit 16 kumquat halves.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes until almond cream is puffed and no longer shiny. A knife inserted into the bar should come out clean.
- Cool on wire rack until bar is room temperature.
- Using parchment overhang, lift bar out of pan and cut into 9 or 16 pieces. Can be kept in airtight container for 3 days.
More on baking and cooking with marmalade: