My grandma lives in Pella, Iowa, a unique little town in the middle of the state. It was founded by Dutch immigrants and this little town has more than embraced their heritage. It is basically an old-fashioned, miniature Dutch village in the middle of the Iowa farmlands. The town square has all Dutch storefronts, many of the people in the town still speak Dutch and they even built a full-size working windmill a few years ago that grinds flour. Hundreds of thousands of people flock to Pella each year for tulip time in the Spring. You have to see it to believe it.

One of the most famous attractions in town is Jaarsma bakery. At tulip time, visitors line up around the block to buy sweet rolls, spice cookies and other Dutch pastries and breads. This past week during Thanksgiving, my trip to Jaarsma resulted in the immediate consumption of two donuts, a sweet roll and an almond cookie.

Many Dutch sweets (my favorites) are made with almond paste. It comes wrapped in flaky pastry dough in the form of Dutch letters, sandwiched inside buttery cookies or in bars. Below is an easy recipe from my sister. Give it a try or order Dutch sweets the easy way by visiting Jaarsma online. Heel Lekker!

Almond Bars
12 oz. almond paste
3 sticks butter, room temperature
3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
3 eggs,
1 1/2 t almond flavoring
1 small packet sliced almonds


Mix almond paste and butter together. Add eggs, flour, sugar & extract. Mix together. Put in greased 15 x 10 x 1 inch pan and sprinkle with extra sugar and sliced almonds. Press down slightly. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until edges turn light brown. Cool and cut into bars.