Recipe: Honey Spice Squares

HONEY SPICE SQUARES

Makes 2 dozen, 2-inch squares

THE BATTER:

2 ¼  cups all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled

½  teaspoon ground cinnamon

½  teaspoon ground nutmeg

½  teaspoon baking powder

¼  teaspoon baking soda

¼  teaspoon salt

¾  cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter

¼  cup honey

1 ½ teaspoons freshly grated Navel orange zest

2 large eggs

1 cup very fresh dark brown sugar, lightly packed

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼  cup sour cream

1 cup medium chopped toasted sliced almonds

 

THE SYRUP:

⅓ cup honey

⅓ cup orange juice

⅓ cup water

 

1. Position the shelf in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 350°F.  Well butter a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan.

 

MAKE THE BATTER

2.  In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

 

3. Melt the butter with the honey and the zest.  Cool until tepid.

 

4.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed until lightened, about 1 minute.  Add the brown sugar gradually, taking about 2 minutes.  Scrape down the side of the bowl, then beat for 1 minute more.

 

5.  Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly pour in the butter mixture, mixing for 30 seconds.  The mixture will thicken.  Then add the vanilla. The mixture will look curdled.

 

6.  Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add half of the dry ingredients, then the sour cream, and then the remaining flour, mixing just to combine after each addition.  Remove the bowl from the machine.  Crush the almonds into smaller pieces with your hand and fold in ¾ cup of the almonds with a large rubber spatula.  Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and smooth the top with a small offset spatula or the back of a large soupspoon.  Sprinkle the remaining almonds over the top.

 

7.  Bake the bar for 22-25 minutes, or until the top feels springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

 

MAKE THE SYRUP:

8.  Combine the honey, orange juice and water in a heavy 1-quart saucepan and bring to slow boil over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

 

9.  Remove the cake from the oven and while still warm, poke the surface at 1-inch intervals with a wooden skewer or toothpick. Spoon the warm syrup very slowly and evenly over the top of the cake continuing until all the syrup is absorbed. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let stand 2-3 hours before cutting into 2-inch squares.

 

STORAGE:  Store in an airtight container, layered between strips of waxed paper, for up to 3 weeks.  Freezing is not recommended.

Posted in Carol Recipes