Saturday, 6 December 2008

Leckerli

2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup candied orange peel,
   homemade or store-bought,
   finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated
   nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground
   black pepper
1 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons kirsch, dark rum,
   or brandy
For the glaze
1/2  cup confectioners' sugar,
   sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1  tablespoons kirsch, dark rum, or brandy


  • To make the cookies: Pour the honey and sugar into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Stay close—once the honey boils, it can easily bubble over. 
  • Remove the pan from the heat; stir in the candied peel and lemon zest and scrape into a large bowl. 
  • Set aside to cool to lukewarm.
  • While the honey is cooling, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and spices. 
  • Using a sturdy flexible spatula or a wooden spoon, stir the almonds and the kirsch (or other alcohol) into the honey mixture, then gradually add the dry ingredients. You're going to end up with a very heavy dough, so be prepared to put some muscle into the mixing. 
  • Scrape the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper dusted with flour and shape it into a square. 
  • Dust the top with flour and then sandwich it with another piece of parchment, and roll it into a 12-inch square. Don't worry about precision, but do try to get the dough a scant 1/2 or less inch thick.
  • Slide the sandwiched dough onto a baking sheet, wrap the setup in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it overnight.  
  • Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. 
  • Peel the parchment away from the top and bottom of the dough and place the dough on the lined baking sheet. 
  • Bake the leckerli for 13 to 15 minutes, or until it is golden and puffy; it may crack, but that's fine. Press on the dough lightly, and it will be soft. 
  • Slide the leckerli, still on its parchment, onto a cooling rack. 
  • Make the glaze: Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. 
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze evenly over the entire surface of the warm leckerli. If some drips down the sides, that's fine. 
  • Allow the leckerli to cool to room temperature. 
  • Carefully slide the leckerli off the parchment and onto a cutting board. 
  • Working with a chef's knife or other long knife, trim the edges and cut the leckerli into 3-inch-wide bands. 
  • Cut each band into 3/4-inch-wide cookies.