If you have a German heritage, you're probably familiar with bienenstich -- or "bee-sting" -- cake. Bar cookies don't come close on texture, but if you imagine bienenstich styled like baklava, the taste is a sweet return for the effort.
Real bienenstich isn't a dessert to undertake lightly; the sweet, yeasted cake sandwiched around a layer of vanilla custard requires a lot of work. For an easier, more casual dish with the same honey, almond and vanilla flavor, try these Bienenstich Bars.
1 cup butter, firm (divided)
¾ cup sugar (divided)
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. milk
1 cup chopped or slivered almonds
1 tsp. almond extract
1¾ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a small pan, combine ½ cup of the butter, ¼ cup of the sugar, honey, milk, almonds, and almond extract. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring; set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, remaining ½ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt.
4. Cut and blend remaining ½ cup butter into flour mixture until mixture is crumbly and no large particles remain.
5. Add egg and mix with a fork until dough holds together. Press dough evenly over bottom of an ungreased 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking pan.
6. Pour almond mixture over dough, spreading evenly.
7. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until topping is deep golden. Let cool in pan on a rack.
8. Cut into 2-inch squares for about two dozen cookies. For smaller cookies, cut each square diagonally into two triangles. Store airtight.