TJ’s cocoa almond bars

TJ's cocoa almond bars

It’s spring, and my thoughts wind around the dissertation. So, at 1 a.m. I decided to open the jar of Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Spread I’d bought expressly to make these no-bake cookies. They came out fantastic–smooth and chocolate-y with just a hint of cookie crumbs from the graham crackers. They remind me of Nanaimo Bars, but without the coconut.

TJ’s Cocoa Almond Bars

Prep Time: 35 Minutes
Ready In: 1 Hour 35 Minutes
Servings: 12 bars or 16 squares

INGREDIENTS:

filling
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs, about 1 1/2 packets of crackers
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, so that there are no lumps
1 cup Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Spread

glaze
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (preferably Ghirardelli)
4 tablespoons Trader Joe’s Cocoa Almond Spread
1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter

PREPARATION:

1. Make the filling. Grind the graham crackers in a food processor. About 1 1/2 packets of crackers will make 2 cups of crumbs. In a large bowl, combine the butter, graham cracker crumbs, confectioners’ sugar, and 1 cup cocoa almond spread until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 inch pan.
2. Make the glaze. Set a saucepan of water on the stove, and bring the water to a simmer. Put a heat-proof bowl over the simmering water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.

To the bowl, add the chocolate chips with 4 tablespoons cocoa almond spread, stirring occasionally until smooth. Add up to 2 tablespoons butter to make the glaze thin and spreadable. Spread glaze evenly over the prepared filling, making sure to fill the corners. Refrigerate for at least one hour to set. Remove from refrigerator and cut into squares.

Cook’s Note: When cold, these cookies are hard and brittle. So, you may have to let the pan stand at room temperature, about 30-40 minutes after removing it from the refrigerator, before cutting it into bars or squares.