Monday, December 9, 2019

Honeycomb Almond Shortbread


After watching an inspiring fifteen minute video by cookie artiste Susan Spungen, last week, I found the article: 12 Stunning Cookies that will Impress Everyone You Know that featured Spungen's recipes and more gorgeous photos of her creations.

I had a few kids over here on Friday evening, made them watch the video, and asked them to pick three of their favorites. The honeycomb recipe received a whopping four votes and was at the top of three lists. So, I started with that.


Let me say that I substituted almonds for peanuts and my Magic Unicorn salt blend for the flake salt. This was a stunning hit all around! I have tried honeycomb candy before that was not a favorite. This version, they said, didn't have the strange aftertaste that they despised in my other attempts.

Ingredients makes a 9" x 13" pan

Shortbread

  • 1 C (2 sticks) butter
  • ½ C organic light brown sugar
  • ½ C organic granulated sugar
  • 1 t pure vanilla paste
  • 2½ C flour
  • 1 C ground almonds
  • Also needed: parchment paper

Honeycomb

  • 1/4 C water
  • 1½ C organic granulated sugar
  • ¼ C honey
  • 1 T baking soda
  • Also needed: candy thermometer

For Finishing

  • 1 C semi-sweet chocolate
  • salt, for sprinkling

Procedure

Shortbread
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9" x 13" metal pan with parchment paper, leaving plenty of overhang on the long sides.

Place butter and sugars in a medium mixing bowl. Cream together until lightened and fluffy, approximately 2 to 3 minutes, scraping bowl as needed. Add vanilla and beat to combine.

Add in flour and ground almonds; beat until crumbly. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and pat the dough to the edges of the pan, pressing down lightly. Prick surface all over with a fork and place in the freezer until firm, approximately 10 minutes.

Bake until firm at the center and golden brown all over, approximately 35 to 37 minutes. Remove from oven, set pan on a wire rack, and let cool completely.

Honeycomb
In a medium saucepan, combine water, sugar, and honey. Whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Gently swirl the pan to dissolve the sugar and use a wet pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals clinging to the sides of the pan.

Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 300 degrees F, approximately 5 to 6 minutes.


Remove from the heat and whisk in the baking soda. It will puff up quickly. You do not want to do more than give it a few quick whisk. Any more and you will deflate the honeycomb.

Immediately pour the hot mixture on top of the almond cookie layer. Try to cover the shortbread while pouring, then gently tip the pan around a little to distribute the honeycomb as much as possible. Let cool completely.

Using the parchment overhand, lift and transfer to a work surface.


Use the point of a sharp knife break the cookie into two bite-sized shards and arrange them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

For Finishing
In a metal bowl set over a small saucepan filled with simmering water, melt half of the chocolate. Once it's melted, stir in the other half and stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Using a small spoon, drizzle the chocolate over the cookie shards. Sprinkle with salt.

Let chocolate harden before serving. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.

I put these on cookie platters for some of the robotics mentors and kids who went to an autonomous cars racing event over the weekend. Recipes to come for the dulce de leche thumbprint cookies and chocolate ginger crinkles...along with a bunch of other cookie creations. I was a baking elf this weekend!

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