Archive for January, 2013

January 19, 2013

Venetian Bars

Venetian bars are moist & dense, thin almond flavoured cakes compressed together with apricot preserve filling and a chocolate topping. Traditionally the cake colours are green, pink and white. My mom made these for Christmas this year and I was inspired to make them as well, but I traded in the traditional cake colours for a vibrant pink, blue and purple.



  • 1/2 cup almond paste
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 eggs yolks
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 or 3 colours of food colouring
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam (2 tbsp per layer of cake)

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream


Grease the bottoms of three 8-in. square baking dishes. Line with parchment/waxed paper,  overlapping the edge of the pan a bit so its easy to grab onto and lift cake out after baking. Then lightly grease the paper; set aside.

  1. Combine the almond paste and butter in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the sugar, egg yolks and almond extract; beat until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the flour and salt.
  4. In another bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
  5. Stir 1/4 of the whites into the dough, then fold in the remaining whites.
  6. Divide dough evenly into three portions and add food colouring.
    Traditionally: Tint one  dough portion green and one portion pink; leave the remaining portion white.
    Or…choose your own colours. I used blue, pink and purple.
  7. Spread each portion into a prepared pan. This part is a pain in the butt because the paper shifts in the pan. Just do your best, the heat will melt and even out the dough a little before it bakes firm.
  8. Bake at 350° for 13-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  9. Immediately remove from pans onto a wire rack. Cool completely.
  10. Place one layer on a large piece of plastic wrap – on top of a cutting board or square plate- and spread evenly with half of the apricot jam.
  11. Top with 2nd layer and spread with remaining jam. Top with 3rd layer.
  12. Wrap plastic over all layers,  and set a cutting board on top to compress the layers. Refrigerate overnight.

 Prepare the chocolate ganache topping:

1. Heat the whipping cream on the stove until it simmers but isn’t quite boiling; remove from the stove and add the chocolate chips and stir continually until the chocolate is melted and combined.  Let cool until almost room temperature.

2. Take dessert from refrigerator and unwrap. Spread ganache over the top; let stand until set. With a sharp knife, trim the edges.

Cut into bars and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for up to 6 months.



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