Basel Honey-Spice Cookies (Basel Leckerli)
kirsch (cherry brandy)
(cherry brandy) or orange juice
finely grated peel
candied lemon peel
candied orange peel
finely chopped blanched, slivered
Heat the oven to 350℉ (180℃).
Generously grease two 10-by-14-inch or larger baking sheets.
Stir together the honey, sugar, and kirsch in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.
Heat the mixture, stirring, until the sugar completely dissolves and the mixture is hot but not boiling.
Remove from the heat and stir in the spices, lemon peel, candied peels, and almonds until completely incorporated.
Stirring vigorously, gradually ad 2¼ cups of flour to the pan; the mixture will become very stiff.
If the mixture feels sticky and too soft to roll out, stir or knead in a bit more flour, but be careful not to overflour.
Set the mixture aside until cooled to barely warm.
Sprinkle a work surface generously with flour.
Divide the dough in half.
Roll out half of dough into an 8½-by-13-inch rectangle, frequently running a spatula under the dough and dusting the work surface.
As needed, also dust the top of the dough and the rolling pin with flour.
Transfer the dough to a prepared baking sheet.
Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Prick the dough lightly all over with the tines of a fork.
Stagger the baking sheets on racks in the center third of the oven; switch positions halfway through the baking to ensure even browning.
Bake for 13 to 16 minutes or until the dough top is just tinged with brown and slightly darker on the edges; avoid overbaking, as cookies will become crunchy and hard.
Carefully run a spatula under the dough rectangles to loosen them from the pans.
When just cool enough to handle, transfer the rectangles to a cutting board and cut away any uneven, dry edges using a large serrated knife.
Deeply score the rectangles, but do not cut completely through the surface, lengthwise and crosswise, to yield 1-by-8½-inch bars.
Return the scored rectangles to the baking sheets.
In a small saucepan stir together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of water until thoroughly blended.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring. Boil, stirring, for 20 to 30 seconds, until smooth, very fluid, and translucent.
Divide the mixture between the rectangles, pour over the top and quickly spread the glaze over the entire surface.
Let stand until the glaze sets and turns white again, about 1 hour.
Bend the rectangles to break apart or cut through the score marks to separate into bars.
Let stand until the glaze is dry and hard.
Store for up to 3 weeks or more.
Makes 50 to 60 1-by-8½-inch bars.