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Blackberry-Almond Shortbread Squares


Juicy blackberries melt into an almond-flavored crust made from a quick shortbread dough, some of which is also used as a crumbly topping.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 12 squares

Source: Martha Stewart Living, August 2004


  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds (2 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 pound blackberries (about 4 cups)
  • 1 orange zest, freshly grated


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line with parchment; butter lining. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Arrange nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden, 15 minutes; let cool. Grind in a food processor until fine.

  2. Whisk together flour, nuts, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside. Put 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar and the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in almond extract. Add flour mixture in 2 batches; mix until a crumbly dough forms.

  3. Press all but 1 cup dough onto bottom of pan. Toss berries with zest; scatter over dough. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar; crumble reserved dough on top. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Cut into 12 squares; dust with sugar.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS10603714
    21 MAY, 2011
    Just made this with my daughter, easy enough to make. However... first it needs to be shy of four cups black berries, 4 cups is just to much, but more importantly because she is taking a culinary class we followed the recipe and the zest of one whole orange is just to much, honestly I think you could get by with 2 TBLs. If you can get past the overwhelming orange it is yummy, so I will make again with less orange zest.
  • Mokihana
    31 JUL, 2010
    I'm really lucky. I live in Oregon and I can pick blackberries for free right in my driveway! I'm definitely going to try this!
  • MS11995218
    31 JUL, 2010
    Creege-Since this is being cooked, I think frozen unsweetened blackberries would work. You can usually get 1-pound bag for under $5.
  • foodienancyb
    31 JUL, 2010
    Creege, you could make these cookies with blueberries which are in season now, in my area the cost between 1.29 and 1.50 per cup.
  • Ceege
    31 JUL, 2010
    First to answer a few of the questions. Yes, you can leave out the citrus zest. As far as the almonds, you could leave them out, but it will serious change the flavor of these cookies. Now for my problem. These bars look fabulous. However, it would cost me anywhere from $12.00 to $16.00 to buy a quart of berries, regardless of whether they were blackberries or raspberries. I have no where to go "pick" wild berries, so guess I will have to pass on baking these great looking cookies.
  • SheilainMD
    8 JUL, 2009
    Not a fan of citrus in my cookies...those who have tried you think I could just leave the orange zest out? Thanks!
  • connielee54
    8 JUL, 2009
    Can this be made leaving the almonds out and using vanilla extract? My son has a nut allergy.
  • Shaiel
    15 AUG, 2008
    The 2 quarts threw me too! lol. But then figured out must mean 2T because the recipe calls for an additional 2T. Can't wait to make, looks so yummy!
  • ElusiveFirefly
    2 JUL, 2008
    The recipe on here also has 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar listed right above the call for 2 quarts and in the recipe instructions, that is all it calls for. I made this, subbing the blackberries for raspberries and it turned out excellent! We always have bets on what will be the most popular dish at potlucks- this won hands down! I lost my pull out recipe card b/c I made this so much, but now I have the recipe again... bwahaha!!! :)
  • bonpatt
    29 MAY, 2008
    2 quarts of confectioners sugar? Typo?!!!!!!