Bienenstich Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The star of these cookie bars is the thick layer of crunchy honey and almond topping. This bar cookie is inspired by the traditional German Bienenstich Cake, but instead of a brioche dough used in the cake, this recipe uses a lightly sweetened cookie base. I have added some lemon zest to the cookie base and lemon juice to the topping to tame the sweetness and provide a subtle flavor contrast to the sweet honey topping.

Tip: Make the cookie base first, and to save on time while you are making the base start the topping ingredients on the stovetop to begin the butter and sugar mixture heating.
Recipe type: Dessert | Bar Cookies | Honey Cookies | Almond Cookies
Serves: 2 dozen bars
Small amount of butter or vegetable shortening plus parchment paper for preparing pan
Cookie Base:
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
Honey-Almond Topping:
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup honey (preferably clover honey)
  • ¼ cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt, such as sea salt or coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 cups sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare one 9x13x2 inch oblong pan; lightly grease the pan with butter or vegetable shortening (to hold the paper in place,) then line with parchment paper allowing extra paper to overhang the edges to make easy removal after baking. Use a pastry brush to brush a thin coating of softened butter or shortening over bottom and sides of the parchment paper.
Cookie Base:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and lemon zest until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly. Add the sugar and beat another 1 to 2 minutes to thoroughly combine. Add the eggs and continue to beat until thoroughly mixed, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and blend in the flour mixture. The dough will be fairly stiff.
  4. Spread the dough evenly in the prepared pan using a rubber spatula, back of a spoon, or offset spatula to spread as smoothly and evenly as possible. Set aside while preparing the Honey-Almond Topping.
Honey-Almond Topping:
  1. Tip: Start the topping ingredients on the stovetop over low heat to begin the butter and sugar mixture heating while preparing the cookie base.
  2. In a medium-size heavy-bottomed pan over low heat, combine the butter, sugar, honey, cream, and salt. Stir and heat until the butter has melted.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-low and continue stirring while bringing the mixture to a boil. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture reaches a temperature of 245 degrees F, using a candy or instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. Remove pan from the heat and immediately stir in the lemon juice and almonds. Set aside to cool 3 to 5 minutes so the topping is not scalding hot when placed on the cookie base. Stir the mixture frequently while cooling. Be careful, the sugar mixture is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it.
  4. Pour the still hot Honey-Almond Topping onto the top of the cookie base, spreading the topping as evenly as possible.
  5. Bake: Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until the Honey-Almond Topping is golden brown. Tip: 45 minutes’ bake time was just right in my oven with the topping a deep golden brown and the cookie base baked thoroughly. Remove from oven and place pan on a wire cooling rack to cool for 5 minutes just to let the topping set a bit, then immediately cut into bars before the topping hardens.
Recipe Notes
Pan: One 9x13x2 Pan Pan Prep: Parchment Lined Oven Temp: 350° Yield: 2 Dozen Storage: Airtight Container, Room temperature

Help: Cookie Hints and Tips

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