Just a few days after getting back home from the vacation from which I need another vacation, I got a fun little bout of food poisoning. It wasn’t as bad as I’ve had in the past, but it was enough for me to check out of work only 2 and a half days after getting back from a week and a half hiatus. Sorry as I felt about leaving the long to do list and patient bosses behind, guilt can’t compete with the neverending urge to vomit the nothingness you’ve eaten.
Over the course of two days I ate only 3 Saltine crackers. That doesn’t happen to me. Frankly, lack of appetite is my best means of letting the world realize the direness of my situation.
By the time the food poison/24 hour bug/pregnancy scare passed, it was the weekend. In between recovery naps I had just enough energy to bake a batch of “you’ve been sick so you deserve this” reward carbs.
On a recent Costco trip, we bought ourselves roughly a half gallon of wild honey and gargantuan bag of slivered almonds. Pinterest and my taste buds have taught me that these flavors go together beautifully: sprinkled over plain Jane fibrous cereal to make the morning less dreadful, baked into a decadent granola that satiates a pesky 3 o’clock sweet tooth, OR baked into cookie bars.
I went with the latter.
I toyed with the idea of a quick bread with a sweet crunchy topping, or even a single layer cake with a few holes poked so the warm honey could seep into the center and inundate the dish with sweetness. But my mind kept going back to a cookie. How do you get these flavors in a cookie form, yet still keep the crunchy/sticky/super worth it topping of almond and honey? A regular round cookie wouldn’t offer quite a haven for such a topping, what with its short, sloping sides and all. But a cookie recipe that’s baked into dense bars and then topped with the aforementioned infatuating flavors… yes… yes that will do nicely.
It’s simple. Bake the whole of the chilled cookie dough in a square pan, cook almost completely and then take it out of the oven. Drizzle generously with honey while still hot, then sprinkle with slivered almonds. Drizzle a little more honey (or a lot, depends if you are descended from bears) and top with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt. And don’t you dismiss that last ingredient as hipster nonsense – that crunchy bit of saltiness atop caramelized honey makes this dish!
Just ask Watson – he agrees.
It may not be the healthiest recovery meal, but oh my goodness is it delicious. Plus, it travels well to work for your coworkers, or in the car on your way to work as an unfortunate breakfast choice.
Salted Honey Almond Squares
- 1 cup butter softened
- 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup wild honey divided
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1/4 cup of honey and beat until mixed in well. Add the egg, then the almond extract.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In small increments (1/4 cup at a time), add to the butter mixture until combined. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for an hour.
- Prepare a 9"x9" baking dish by lining it with foil, then baking spray (or butter and flour). Using your hands, press the cookie dough into the dish and flatten to as even a surface as possible. Bake in an oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
- Once 20 minutes has passed or the cookie bars are barely golden, take from the oven and drizzle with half of the remaining honey. Top with the slivered almonds, then with the last of the honey. Sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt. Bake for 5 minutes more.
- Let the bars cool completely, then remove from the pan by lifting the foil up. Unfold the foil and cut into squares.
- You can use a 9"x13" pan as well as a square one, but the bars will be a little thinner. Simply adjust the baking time to be a little lower.