Full disclosure - this isn't the healthiest of recipes, but it does have a lot of nuts and honey and some dried fruit - it cuts up neatly so would be perfect with afternoon tea - or for a dessert on the go. This is another recipe I adapted from BAKED. I changed the amount of dried fruit and omitted candied orange peel but substituted orange zest instead.
For the bar base:
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tsp heavy cream
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 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 cream, egg yolk and vanilla extract. Add this to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until incorporated.
- Add the flour and salt and stir together until just combined to make a slightly sticky dough.
- Turn this mixture out onto lightly floured surface, flatten into an oblong disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter or spray the sides of a 9x13 glass or light colored baking dish (metal or dark color will cause this bar to brown too quickly.)
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. Don't worry if it breaks, just press those pieces into the bottom as well. It is pretty forgiving dough. Cover the dough with a sheet of parchment paper and place pie weights or dried beans on top - bake for 10 minutes covered, then remove weights and parchment and bake another 5 minutes. Transfer pan to cooling rack - keep oven on while you make the filling.
For the bar filling:
- 1 cup chopped dried cherries or cranberries
- Zest of 1 orange
- 2 TBS cake flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ⅓ cups sugar
- 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
- ⅓ cup Bluegrass Wildflower honey
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- Shot of bourbon
- 2 ½ cups salted chopped or slivered or sliced almonds
- In a small bowl toss together the cranberries, zest and flour and salt. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat stir together the sugar, cream, honey and butter. Using a candy thermometer bring the mixture to a soft boil and up to the softball stage, about 240F. Do not stir the mixture while it is coming to this temperature.
Once the mixture hits 240F, remove from heat, stir in the bourbon, then fold in the cranberry mixture and almonds. Spread the mixture evenly over the top of the crust.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until the mixture is golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before cutting. Bars can be stored at room temperature, covered and sealed for around 4 days.
When you eat one be prepared to get transported to your new happy place! Enjoy!