Milk Chocolate Almond Blondies with Candied Orange Peel

I developed these bars to highlight Zulka pure cane sugar. They are enhanced by the pure sugar cane flavor that this non-GMO sugar provides.

Makes 25 bars

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Heaping 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 ounces milk chocolate, cut into shards, such as Valrhona Jivara or Callebaut

1/2 cup sliced natural almonds (skin on)

1/4 cup minced candied orange peel

2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur

1/2 cup (1stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup Zulka pure cane sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 large egg, at room temperature

Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch square pan with nonstick spray.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl to aerate and combine; toss in chocolate shards and set aside.

Combine candied orange and liqueur. If the peel is hard, microwave the combo for 1 minute to help infuse.

Whisk together melted butter and sugar. Whisk in vanilla, almond extract and then the egg, blending well. Allow mixture to cool slightly, then stir in flour mixture and orange peel, mixing just until blended. Spread evenly into prepared pan.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until bars are pale golden brown, are slightly puffed and the edges have begun to come away from the sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out with a few moist crumbs clinging. Place pan on rack until cool.

Tip: Start with a large hunk of bulk chocolate and use a large chefs knife to shave off shards. They will vary from very tiny rice grain sized pieces to ones more approaching pecan size. These textures are more sophisticated than morsels or chips, although you may substitute about 3/4 cup milk chocolate morsels, if desired.