Almond Paste Squares

by Dorothy Reinhold on November 8, 2022

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Almond Paste Squares are for the almond lovers in your tribe — chewy edges, tender moist crumb, with an intoxicating almond filling. Perfect for a holiday cookie tray!

There’s an Italian tradition of having a cookie tray at your wedding. The bride and groom, as one of their first acts of togetherness, walk the tray around to all the tables after the meal, giving all the guests a chance to chat with them as well as get a sweet treat. My Italian mother insisted on a cookie tray at my wedding, and I had not been to too many weddings up to that time, so it was a new idea for me. 

My new husband and I did enjoy walking this tray around to our guests. My mother (pictured to the left) and her sister had baked for days ahead of time, and even secured a couple of batches of mandelbrot from my new mother-in-law. The tray was piled high, and even though we had a wedding cake, I don’t think many cookies made it home as leftovers! 

One of the featured cookies my mom made was Almond Paste Squares, a shockingly delicious chewy, tender bar cookie that smells intoxicating and tastes fully almond. Since I am CEO of the Almond Lovers’ Society (a group entirely manufactured and justified in my mind), these are right up my alley. I could eat almond anything, anytime, anywhere, anyhow.

How to make Almond Paste Squares

Various ingredients for Almond Paste Squares laid out on a white marble countertopFirst, as always, gather your ingredients. For this cookie, you will need:

  • Butter (I use unsalted, but you can use salted)
  • Powdered sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Eggs (I use large eggs)
  • Almond paste (NOT marzipan; I have used Odense brand here because I can get it from my grocery store, but feel free to use any brand you prefer)
  • Vanilla extract (My favorite is Heilala vanilla extract, from New Zealand. Use what you have on hand!)
  • All purpose flour (My go-to flour is unbleached King Arthur all purpose. Use what you like.)
  • Baking soda

Recipe for Almond Paste Squares hand written on a yellowing old recipe cardThis is my mother’s hand-written recipe card from back in the day. Isn’t it charming? You can see she calls for margarine, but I think that was due to a cost concern, and after that time, she more routinely used butter, which is what I do. Also, she calls for 3/4 pound OR 3/4 cup almond paste. Honestly, 3/4 pound aka 12 ounces is the right amount. I really like to see the handwriting on recipe cards. It helps you feel close to the person who wrote it. My mother was a school teacher…you can tell from her precise printing, right?

Hand holding an offset spatula spreads bottom dough into prepared baking dishFirst, mix the crust using a stand mixer, and put half of it in the prepared pan.

Hand holds a small offset spatula and smoothes the dough into the baking dishUse a small offset spatula to spread it out evenly.

A hand holds a thick cylinder of almond paste removed from its shiny silver wrapperNow mix the almond filling. Using your hands, chunk up the almond paste into the mixer bowl. (Don’t bother cleaning the bowl before this…it’s fine!)

Red spatula holding Almond paste filling after mixingI used the stand mixer, started it on low, and eventually moved to a high speed to get it relatively smooth.

Silver mixing bowl pours almond filling over the crust in the baking dishPour filling over the dough in the pan.

Hand holding offset spatula spreads filling over prepared crustSpread it evenly using an offset spatula.

Hand separates chunks of crust over top of fillingUse the rest of the reserved crust and dot it over the top of the filling, using your hands.

Chunks of top crust dotted over filling in gold colored baking dishPut the small chunks of top crust evenly over the filling.

Hand tugs on parchment paper sling to place bars in a single piece on a white cutting boardBake that baby! When it’s out of the oven and cooled for half an hour, use the parchment paper sling to remove the whole thing to a cutting board and allow to cool completely.

Almond Paste Squares cut on a white board

You’ll cut them according to how you’re going to serve them — 24 pieces if it is a stand-alone dessert to be served on a plate, or 48 pieces if the Almond Paste Squares will be part of a cookie tray or platter.

Almond Paste Squares packed for freezing in a plastic container with a label on the lid

And they freeze well! Label with name of cookie and date you baked them, and freeze them once they are entirely cool. Never put hot items in the freezer.


Questions about Almond PasteHand holding a cylinder of Odense almond paste out of the wrapper next to the box

1. What’s the difference between almond paste and marzipan?

Almond paste has a higher almond content, and is most often used for baking. Marzipan has a higher sugar content and is most often used to make candy.

2. Can I use almond paste and marzipan interchangeably?

No, it’s best to use whichever one is called for in your recipe. In this case, almond paste.

3. Is almond paste gluten-free?

Yes. However, note that this recipe also has flour in it, and the flour is not gluten-free. I have not tested this recipe with gluten-free flour. If you do, let me know how it works out!

4. How much is in a roll of almond paste?

7 ounces, which equals about 3/4 cup or 12 tablespoons.

Closeup on Almond Paste Squares stacked on each otherAll right, let’s make Almond Paste Squares, shall we? Look at them up close…you can see the layers, and you won’t be sorry.

Almond Paste Squares

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 24-48 bars

Almond Paste Squares

Almond Paste Squares are for the almond lovers in your tribe -- chewy edges, tender moist crumb, with an intoxicating almond filling. Perfect for a holiday cookie tray, or actually any time of the year!


  • Crust
  • 1 cup (= 2 sticks or 16 tablespoons) butter (If using unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon salt to recipe)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Filling
  • 3/4 pound (=12 ounces) almond paste (NOT marzipan)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs


  1. Turn oven on to 325F degrees. Prepare a 13- by 9-inch baking dish by rubbing it with a little bit of butter or oil and lining with parchment paper. (See photo...I lined it the long way, and clipped the parchment with metal office clips to the sides.) Set pan aside.
  2. In a bowl (I used a stand mixer), mix butter (including salt if you are using unsalted butter), powdered sugar, brown sugar, 1 egg, vanilla extract, flour and baking soda. It will become a dough.
  3. Spread half of it in the bottom of your prepared pan. Use a small offset spatula to make it easy to spread it evenly to the corners. The dough will be sticky.
  4. In the same (unwashed!) bowl using the same (unwashed!) beater, mix almond paste (break it into small chunks with your hands), 3 eggs and 1 cup granulated sugar. I started it on low in my stand mixer, gradually working up to a high speed to get it relatively smooth; the mixing process took 3 or so minutes. Pour this over bottom crust in the baking dish.
  5. Dot the remaining dough over the filling. Don't use big chunks, but small bits, spaced evenly. Do the best you can because the dough is sticky.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Top will brown a bit, but the dough is brown to start with, so to test doneness, tap the top with your finger. If it is relatively firm, you're good to go.
  7. Cool for 30 minutes, and then use the parchment paper sling to lift the whole thing out of the pan onto a cutting board. Cool completely, and then use a long knife to slice into pieces. If you cut it while warm, it is pretty crumbly. If you wait until it is cooled, the cuts are cleaner.
  8. The size pieces will be determined by your purpose. If you are serving as a stand-alone dessert on a plate, I would cut into 24 pieces. If you are putting the squares onto a cookie platter, I would cut into 48 pieces. This is a rich cookie!
  9. Makes 24-48 bars.
  10. Freezes well if you place bars into an airtight container.


Heritage recipe (circa 1970s, 1980s) from Helen Z. Reinhold.

pin this please!Pin the image for Almond Paste Squares to your Pinterest board to save it

A stack of Almond Paste Squares on a white plate with title and ingredients superimposed

Christmas Cookies Week!

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn April 8, 2023 at 2:00 pm

Is this recipe halfable? How should it be prepared?


Dorothy Reinhold April 13, 2023 at 3:21 pm

I think you could cut it in half and bake it in an 8×8-inch baking dish. The only tricky part is the eggs — it calls for 1 egg in the crust, 3 eggs in the filling. So halving it, that would be 1/2 egg in the crust, and 1 1/2 eggs in the filling. I find it hard to measure half an egg, but if I were to halve this recipe, I would beat 1 large egg in a bowl, and then use a tablespoon measure to portion out half of it for the crust. To the bowl with the other half of a beaten egg, I would add another egg, and that would give you the 1 1/2 eggs for the filling. The rest of the ingredients halve pretty easily. Follow the directions for how to assemble it, but use an 8×8-inch pan, and it should work. Half the recipe will make 12-24 bars, depending on how you size them. Let me know how that works for you!


Charles Braswell January 23, 2023 at 1:30 pm

Breaking the cardinal rule, I prepared this recipe the first time for a pot-luck at church. I cut the time a little too close and perhaps did not allow enough time for cooking and cooling. Nonetheless, the end product was delicious and the aroma wonderful!
Not really knowing what to expect, I probably used too deep a pan and therefore had a hard time spreading the bottom layer.
Question (which I shall experiment with): would cooling/freezing the dough make rolling the first layer for evenness and consistency be a reasonable modification to the procedure? I’m just thinking it might make a difference when trying to cut the bars evenly. Of course, with this level of flavor, who cares what it looks like!?!
I’ll let you know.


Dorothy Reinhold February 10, 2023 at 5:00 pm

I’m not sure what to say to your question. I didn’t have any trouble using my small offset spatula to spread the bottom layer. It took a minute to do it, though. I don’t think I would freeze it and attempt to roll it out. I used a standard sized 13×9-inch baking dish, as you can see in my photos, and I lined it with a parchment paper sling to help me remove it all in one big sheet after baking and cooling. No doubt I had to hold the parchment sheet with one hand while spreading using the spatula with the other hand, but it went quickly. The second layer is even looser, so is more pourable than the first layer. And as to your “breaking the cardinal rule,” I do that ALL THE TIME. I rarely do a trial run of something…I just go for it! I applaud you for doing the same!


Radha November 25, 2022 at 4:33 pm

Great to know about your tradition. I love anything with almonds and these sound divine! Thanks for sharing the recipe and now I am off to try this.


Inger November 12, 2022 at 8:27 am

I love the story and tradition! I’m not an almond paste person but the rest of the family would love these!


Jolene November 11, 2022 at 4:01 am

Another childhood favorite that I haven’t had in years! They look so good!


Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert November 11, 2022 at 3:01 am

Looks totally irresistible! I have to make this!


Catalina November 11, 2022 at 12:29 am

Who can resist these squares? They are the best!


Erik November 10, 2022 at 2:36 pm

Wow this flavor was amazing! Such a fun recipe.


Dorothy Reinhold November 10, 2022 at 4:03 pm

Yahoo! So glad you loved them!


Kathryn November 10, 2022 at 6:05 am

These looks DELICIOUS! I love almond paste and your step by step instructions are so helpful!


Sandra November 10, 2022 at 5:50 am

These are so delicious! They’re perfect snack and so good paired with coffee or tea!


Karen Carlaon March 25, 2023 at 2:07 pm

Making these now! How can I become a member of the Almond Lovers Society?


Dorothy Reinhold March 27, 2023 at 6:14 pm

You’re IN!


Colleen - Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck November 9, 2022 at 8:20 pm

I’m a huge almond fan and these squares sound like holiday perfection to me!


Dorothy Reinhold November 10, 2022 at 1:41 pm

You can be in the Almond Lovers’ Society with me!


Terri Steffes November 9, 2022 at 6:41 pm

I adore almond, so I have to try these.


Dorothy Reinhold November 10, 2022 at 1:41 pm

You must!


Hezzi-D November 9, 2022 at 6:21 pm

I have a ton of almond paste leftover and these sound like the perfect almond sweet!


Amanda November 9, 2022 at 5:15 pm

These are beyond delicious!


Dorothy Reinhold November 9, 2022 at 5:42 pm

OMG yes, they ARE!


Beth November 9, 2022 at 2:47 pm

I’m getting so hungry just looking at this! I love almonds, and I’m all about cookie bars.


Dorothy Reinhold November 9, 2022 at 5:14 pm

Cookie bars are saving grace when you don’t have time to make drop cookies!


Rebecca November 9, 2022 at 12:35 pm

What a different bar cookie. I love almond so I bet this recipe is wonderful


Dorothy Reinhold November 9, 2022 at 2:06 pm

It’s a crazy-good almond extravaganza!


Julie November 9, 2022 at 12:29 pm

I have a few family members that are going to devour these from the cookie tray. They are fabulous.


Karen's Kitchen Stories November 9, 2022 at 11:11 am

What a neat story! I love those old recipe cards!


Lisa November 9, 2022 at 10:31 am

I love old recipes like this one. They are the absolute best and your almond paste squares have me drooling.


Wendy Klik November 9, 2022 at 4:05 am

I think my husband is second in command at that club. He is going to love these cookie bars. Thanks so much for sharing that wonderful tradition with us.


Dorothy Reinhold November 9, 2022 at 9:52 am

I welcome him. I have a crown for him, too!


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