Baked Sunday Mornings: Honeycomb Bars

The recipe on this week's Baked Sunday Mornings schedule is Mini Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes, a recipe that I already made back in May. So I decided to go rogue and make a recipe from the original Baked cookbook instead: Honeycomb Bars.

This recipe has been on my to-bake list forever. I think the reason I haven't made it before now is that I normally don't have candied orange peel on hand, and I'm pretty lazy about making my own. But I recently purchased some candied orange peel and after making some orange gomm├ęs cookies I had just enough peel left over to finally give this recipe a try.

These bars have a sweet tart crust topped with a caramel-y topping filled with almonds, dried cherries, and candied orange peel. To make the tart dough, you mix together softened butter, sugar, heavy cream, an egg yolk, vanilla, flour, and a little salt. The recipe says that you need to chill the dough for 30 minutes before rolling it out to line a 9-inch by 13-inch pan, but my dough wasn't sticky at all and I pressed it into the bottom of my parchment-lined pan right away. I did chill it for about 30 minutes before weighing down the dough and blind baking the crust until golden.

To make the topping, you heat sugar, heavy cream, honey, and butter to 240 degrees; add a shot of bourbon; and stir in chopped dried cherries, chopped candied orange peel, cake flour, salt, and chopped almonds. You spread the topping onto the partially baked crust and bake the bars again until the topping is brown and bubbling.
The bars were easy to cut once they were cool and the topping was soft and chewy but held its shape. The crust is just lovely -- firm and sweet and buttery. The topping had a surprisingly strong honey flavor and bordered on being too sweet for me. I've made a lot of bars that are similar to these, where you cover a crust with caramel and nuts (like these blondies with peanuts and pretzels in honey caramel, Nick Malgieri's golden almond and peanut bars, and these chewy pecan diamonds). But the flavor of these honeycomb bars were the most memorable because of the candied orange peel, which gives the bars a wonderful brightness. The flavor of the cherries got a little lost, but these candylike bars were deliciously indulgent.

Recipe: "Honeycomb Bars" from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Leite's Culinaria.

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Katrina said…
These sound incredible and your photos are so pretty! I never have orange peel on hand either, but I might need to fix that oversight in order to make these for myself.