"Any Fruit" Crumb Bars



3/4 cup sliced or coarsely chopped blanched almonds
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extracts


Butter a 9-inch square baking pan and dust it with flour, knocking out the excess, or line it with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.

For crust and topping: Put the almonds and ¼ cup of sugar into a food processor and pulse to a coarse meal. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the remaining ½ cup of sugar, cornmeal, and salt. Stir. Add the melted butter and vanilla and stir well. The mixture will be damp but crumbly. Transfer slightly more than half of the mixture to the pan. Spread it evenly, then use your fingers to form a level layer on the bottom with a lip extending about ¼ inch up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F.



Makes 16 bars.

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