I basically made these for my husband, Joel. I knew he would love anything with this many nuts in it.
Speaking of Joel and nuts, how do you pronounce the following nut?
Do you say AH-mund, AWL-mund, or perhaps AMM-und?
I'm an AH-mund girl, personally. Which wouldn't be considered notable, except for the fact that my husband--nay, his entire family--has made fun of me for my L-less almond pronunciation.
For just a moment, I'm going to allow my inner nerd free rein*:
al·mond[ah-muhnd, am-uhnd; spelling pronunciation al-muhnd
2) Merriam-Webster's online dictionary:
al·mondnoun \ˈä-mənd, ˈa-, ˈäl-, ˈal-\
3) New Oxford American Dictionary: almond |ˈä(l)mənd; ˈa(l)-|
ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French alemande, from medieval Latin amandula, from Greek amugdalē.
I know the phonetic notations are weird and confusing, especially that last one. But the important thing is this: the FIRST pronunciation in every dictionary (which indicates the more commonly accepted--dare I say--CORRECT pronunciation) advocates an L-less pronunciation! The first two dictionaries even list AMM-und BEFORE AL-mund, and who says AMM-und?? Only almond growers in California!
If you want further
On to the dessert.
I was a little disappointed in this final product. In the middle of it, I tasted the honey-cream glaze and was so excited for the honeycomb bars. It reminded me of the honey taffy my sister-in-law (yeah, she made fun of me for my correct pronunciation, too) made once. Really delicious.
But then I put it all together and baked it. It was just too sweet. I'm trying to decide if, next time, I should reduce the sugar or just cut down on the glaze. The flavors of the almonds, cherries, and candied orange peel just got consumed in the sweet honey.
It tasted good, just too much of a good thing, perhaps. I'm not saying these should not be made. Only adjusted to taste.
Honeycomb Bars (printable recipe)
Recipe courtesy of Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Copied with permission.
Yield: 24 bars
- 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 c sugar
- 2 tsp heavy cream
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 c dried cherries, chopped
- 1/3 c diced candied orange peel (instructions below)
- 2 Tbsp cake flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/3 c sugar
- 1 1/4 c heavy cream
- 1/3 c honey
- 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 c sliced almonds, toasted
Make the Sweet Tart Dough:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until combined.
- 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. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and form into an oblong disk. Wrap the disk tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9x13-in. pan.
- Roll out the dough into the large rectangle roughly the shape of the pan. Transfer the dough to the pan and press into the bottom of the pan; if dough falls apart, simply press it in pieces in the pan. 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 weights and parchment and bake for another 5 minutes. Transfer from the oven to a cooling rack. Keep the oven on.
Make the Honeycomb Bar Filling:
- In a medium bowl, toss together the dried cherries, orange peel, cake flour, and salt. Set aside.
- 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, approx. 240 degrees. Do not stir the mixture while it is coming to this stage.
- Fold in 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.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until the bar is golden and bubbly.
- Cool completely before cutting.
Candied Orange Peel (printable recipe)
- 2 oranges
- 2 c sugar
- 3/4 c light corn syrup
- Wash oranges thoroughly. With a knife or sharp peeler, peel each lemon in large strips, leaving the white pith behind; remove any remaining white pith by scraping with a paring knife.
- Place the peel in a heavy-bottomed pot and cover with 1 cup of cold water. Bring to a boil and strain. Repeat this step three times.
- Place peel, 2 cups of water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium-sized pot. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the mixture forms a thick syrup and the peel becomes translucent. When the syrup has cooled, remove the peel and cut it into strips. Return the strips to the syrup.
- Peel can be stored in the syrups in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To use decoratively, remove peel from syrup and roll in granulated sugar. Use immediately or let dry on a rack overnight.
Lemon peel can be substituted for orange peel; use 4 lemons.
*Some might argue that my inner nerd always has free rein. And just to drive the point home, do you ever wonder if it's "free rein" or "free reign"? I do. They both make sense to me. Letting a horse be free of the reins; letting a monarch reign however he or she wants. But the correct usage is "free rein," the horse one. Now we know.