Almond Blondies

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup almond butter*
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds, roasted,** plus ¼ cup
1/2 cup finely diced dried California apricots
1/4 cup golden raisins


Preheat oven to 350° F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and grease with non-stick spray.

Cream butter and almond butter until fluffy, using a mixer. Add brown sugar, egg and almond extract, and beat until light.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture just until blended. Stir in oatmeal, ½ cup almonds, apricots and raisins.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth with a table knife or small metal spatula. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup almonds. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until firm and a toothpick comes out nearly clean. Let cool to room temperature before lifting foil out of pan. Peel foil off blondies and cut into 16 squares.

* Almond butter may be found next to the jams and jellies in some supermarkets.  Otherwise, you can make it by grinding together 1 cup roasted almonds and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a food processor or blender, then adding 3 tablespoons almond or vegetable oil in a slow, steady stream, and blending until the mixture comes together.  This recipe makes ¾ cup.

** To roast almonds, place them in a preheated 350° F. oven on a baking sheet for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until light brown.