When I got Dorie Greenspan’s new cookie cookbook, I saw this recipe and knew I wanted to make it as part of my Christmas cookies. Although it wasn’t it the holiday cookie chapter, just looking at the ingredients you know it is Christmas: honey, candied fruit, almond, spices. In reading the description, Dorie calls it a Swiss gingerbread. I think of it as a thin, blonde gingerbread.
I usually do a good job of reading a recipe in advance, and that is necessary for this recipe as the dough needs to age for a couple of days before baking. I did read that part, but looking at the photo in the book I figured it was a bar cookie. Yeah, it isn’t. This was one of the most unusual techniques I have used in making cookies! The dough is super sticky, then you roll it out to a square, bake it as a square, then slice it into bars.
I can’t roll things into a square very successfully, but since you eventually cut the cookies into bars, it doesn’t matter all that much. I just trimmed the ragged edges after baking to make them even. My cookies baked a little quickly, as mine were perhaps a little thinner than 1/3” thick. They are a little hard to cut, as they are quite sticky and dense. I do love the flavor of these. I think they taste a lot like lebkuchen, which isn’t surprising as they contain similar ingredients. These cookies take a lot of time and a bit more work than many of the cookies I typically bake, but it was really fun to try something so different.
2/3 cup honey
½ cup sugar
½ cup finely chopped candied orange peel
Zest of 1 orange
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
In a medium saucepan, combine the honey and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the candied orange peel and orange zest. Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper. Stir the almonds and Grand Marnier into the cooled honey mixture. Gradually add the flour mixture. The dough will be very sticky and heavy, and will take quite a bit of effort to get all the flour incorporated.
On a piece of lightly floured parchment paper, turn out the dough and pat into a rough square. Dust the dough with flour and cover with another piece of parchment paper. Roll the dough into an approximate 12” square. The dough should be about 1/3” thick. Keep the parchment in place and wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Keep at room temperature for 24 hours, or refrigerate for 2 days.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.
Unwrap the dough and place it on the baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the dough is golden. Slide the silicone baking mat off the baking sheet and allow to cool on a wire rack.
As soon as the Leckerli comes out of the oven, make the glaze. Whisk the powdered sugar, water and Grand Marnier until smooth. Brush the glaze over the warm cookies. Allow the cookies to cool to room temperature.
Cut the dough into 3” wide strips, and then cut each strip into bars about ¾” wide.
Recipe from Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan