These dense, chewy, honey-spice bars are filled with dried fruits and cinnamon—and topped with a deliciously lickable icing.

In place of the meringue powder and water in Step 1, you can substitute 1/4 cup egg whites (about 2 eggs), beaten with the powdered sugar, or 1/4 cup kirsch, which is how Gray fondly remembers the icing being made. Try to make the cookies ahead of time; their flavor improves after they're baked.

This recipe is from the Stirring Up Memories Christmas Menu.
Servings: Makes 60 bars
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tsp. meringue powder
  • Butter for pan
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour , plus more for pan
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 2/3 cups honey
  • 1 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 3/4 tsp. ground mace
  • 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 3/4 cup chopped candied citron
To make icing: In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar, meringue powder, and 2 tablespoons water until well blended, occasionally scraping sides of bowl. Cover with plastic, pressing plastic down onto surface of icing. Set aside.

To make bars: Preheat oven to 325°. Line a jelly-roll pan with foil; grease and flour foil. Place brown sugar in large bowl of an electric mixer fit with paddle attachment. Place honey in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, taking care not to let honey boil over. Remove honey from heat and add to brown sugar; beat 2 minutes or until well blended. Let stand 20 minutes, or until cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, mace, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt; set aside. With mixer on low, beat eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest into honey mixture until well blended. Add flour mixture in three parts, mixing until just blended. Add almonds and citron, mixing until just combined.

Scrape batter into prepared pan, spreading level. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown and firm but springy to the touch. Immediately brush hot cookies with prepared icing; set pan on a rack and let cool completely. Using a serrated knife, trim raised edges off the cookie bars; discard. Cut into 2" x 1" rectangles; store in an airtight container in a cool place up to 2 weeks.


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