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Dutch Letter Bars

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When you grow up in Iowa you learn the beauty of a day trip. My childhood memories are littered with day trips all over Iowa and Missouri. For me, trips anywhere revolve around eating. One of the greatest places for food in Iowa is desserts in Pella. If you’ve never heard of Dutch Letters you are missing out! Jaarsma Bakery in downtown Pella will change your life.

I may love Dutch Letters but I never really want to spend the time making them. We’ve established that I’m a lazy baker. A couple of years ago this recipe appeared in the Des Moines Register close to Thanksgiving. God Bless them, it lets me get a taste of Pella without the road trip! If you like this recipe write it down because I have no idea where else to find it. In essence, it is the filling of a Dutch Letter made into a bar cookie. What’s not to love?

A couple of things: I didn’t have any sliced almonds in my pantry so my bars aren’t as pretty as they could be (sigh), also a can of almond paste is about 8 ounces so if you don’t buy it by the can keep that in mind.

Dutch Letter Bars


  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 can almond paste
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, reserve the egg white
  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • sliced almonds
  • coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In mixer, combine ingredients and blend well. Spread in 9×13 inch pan. Brush with egg white. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and coarse sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Do not overbake.

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About Meg

I stress-bake, a lot. When I'm not doing that I'm an Episcopal priest, wife, and mom. Have a recipe that just might lower my blood pressure or at least make my house smell good? I'd love to try it!

One response »

  1. What a brilliant idea! I spent hours in the kitchen sculpturing those letters (! Could have saved some time!
    I’m not an Iowan, but love everything Iowan (including my husband) and half-Iowan (our kids). Thanks for sharing!


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