A few weeks ago the Mr traveled to London for work. To keep me company during a long week with my husband away, our friend’s invited Tauren Poodle and I to their house for dinner. I suggested that I bring homemade cookies for dessert. I whipped up the Nestle’s Toll House Cookie Recipe, only I baked them in bar form.When I was through, I felt like I was still in cookie baking mode so I decided to try out a new to me recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book. As you know, it’s one of my favorite bakery books because they use whole grains and easier for your body to process natural sugars (like local honey) to sweeten the recipes. Now, don’t get me wrong. They are not exactly what I’d call eating healthy – but as a dessert they could be a lot worse. After all, they could be a Toll House Cookie Bar, you know?I flipped through the book and found a “cookie” recipe that would continue the cookie bar theme that I had started earlier that afternoon. These cookie bars are made with whole wheat flour, without eggs and no refined sugar. They’re soft and chewy and they have an interesting, super-flavorful combination of nut, fruit peel and spices in them. And while they’re the same shape as the Toll House cookie bars, this recipe is a complete departure from that flavor. Sweet, or savory? There was a something to suit everyone’s sweet tooth at the table that night.
What you need from the pantry: This recipe makes 24 large bars.
1 1/2 cups Honey
3 Tablespoons butter
2 cups Whole Wheat Flour sifted with 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
2 Tablespoons fruit peel (lemon, orange or a combination of the two – I used lemon)
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
1/4 teaspoon Mace, or Allspice, or Coriander (I used Coriander!)
1/2 cup chopped Nuts (I used Walnuts – I rarely bake with nuts because the Mr is allergic, but since he was out of town…)
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Do not over bake these bars or they will turn out too hard.
Heat the honey slowly in a sauce pan until is appears more liquid than syrup. Please note your should have all the ingredients ready to mix quickly before the honey mixture stiffens with cooling. Remove the honey from the heat.
Stir the butter into the honey and let it sit on the warm stove top, with the heat off.
Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (except the nuts and fruit peel.)
Mix the honey and butter into the flour mixture.
Stir in the nuts and fruit peel.
Place the dough into a buttered Pyrex 9×11 dish. (The dough in the pan will be about 3/8 inch thick) and bake until the bottoms are golden, about 20 minutes.
Remove the bars from the pan while they are still warm and slice them into bars. Completely cool the cookies before storing them. The cookbook says they should last weeks in a tightly sealed tin – I bet they disappear with your morning coffee a lot quicker than that!