Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Honeycomb Bars

This begins my trilogy of recipes that I made over the weekend from the Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. I’ve checked this book out from the library a couple of times and decided that this time I would actually make something from it. I wasn’t able to narrow it down to just one thing and wanted to focus on some items that haven’t been featured a lot in the blogosphere.

First up, Honeycomb Bars. I was instantly drawn to this recipe because it included some of my favorite ingredients; almonds, sour cherries, and orange. The recipe calls for candied orange peel and a recipe is included as well. Orange peel is boiled three times and then cooked in simple syrup. The end result is tender, nearly translucent, strips of sweet, sticky orange candy. I have always wanted to try making candied orange peel and am so glad I did because it was my favorite flavor in these bars. I had a small jar of candied peel left over to add to cookies, muffins, or whatever as a bonus!

The crust is a sweet tart crust. I am in love with Dorie’s recipe and can almost make it without the recipe in front of me but decided to give this one a go. Good, but I still prefer Dorie’s and found it a bit easier to work with. While blind baking the crust, the filling is made out of cream, butter, sugar and honey. This step involves use of a candy thermometer and I assume this is based on honeycomb candy and where the bars get their name. Off heat, a splash of brandy is added along with toasted almonds, dried cherries, and diced orange peel. A quick bake and your efforts are rewarded with bars that are a taste and texture party; chewy, crispy, crunchy, sweet, sour, and rich. These are very candy-like and a small bar is totally satisfying.

Stay tuned for more from Baked!

Honeycomb Bars
Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Yield: 24 bars

For the sweet tart dough
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

For the honeycomb bar filling
3/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/3 cup diced candied orange peel
2 tablespoons cake flour
Pinch of salt
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup unsalted butter
Shot of brandy or bourbon
2 1/2 cups sliced almonds, toasted

Make the sweet tart dough
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until combined.
2. In a small bowl whisk together the heavy cream, egg yolk, and vanilla. Add this to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and add the flour and salt until just combined.
3. Turn out the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and form into an oblong disk. Wrap the disk tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan.
5. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle roughly the shape of the pan. Transfer the dough to the pan, and press into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides). Don’t worry if you aren’t able to roll out a perfect crust. The dough is quite forgiving and can be pressed, in pieces, into the pan by hand.
6. Cover the dough with a sheet of parchment paper. Place dried beans or pie weights over the dough and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment paper and bake for another 5 minutes. Transfer from the oven to a cooling rack. Keep the oven on while you make the filling.

Make the honeycomb bar filling
1. In a medium bowl, toss together the dried cherries, orange peel, cake flour, and salt. Set aside. 2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, heavy cream, honey, and butter. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and bring the mixture to the soft ball stage, approximately 240°F (116°C) . Do not stir the mixture while it is coming to this stage.
3. Once the mixture reaches 240°F (116°C) , add the brandy and remove from the heat.
4. Fold the dry ingredients and the almonds into the hot sugar mixture and pour the mixture into the sweet tart crust. Spread the filling evenly, and smooth the top.
5. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the bar is golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before cutting.
6. Bars can be stored at room temperature, covered and sealed, for up to 4 days.

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  1. Oh those bars look marvelous! I've awarded you a Stylish Blogger Award. You can find out all the details on my blog. Congratulations!

  2. Cannot wait to see what else you will make!!! I have always wanted to make candied orange peel - thanks for the encouragement! This recipe looks and sounds marvelous! It has lots of my favorite ingredients too!

  3. I love the almond slivers in this dessert!


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