2000s Recipes + Menus

Honey “Tree Bark” Biscuits

Makesabout 24 biscuits
  • Active time:30 min
  • Start to finish:1 1/2 hr
August 2008
The trees of Hansel and Gretel’s forest surely had bark like this, sparkling with sugar crystals and tasting of sylvan honey. Though the biscuits pair wonderfully with blueberries in gin syrup, they also make an excellent accompaniment to a cheese course—particularly with a nice triple-crème.

Learn the story behind this dish in our column, The Recipe.
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar such as Sugar in the Raw
  • Equipment:

    a large offset spatula
  • Accompaniment:

    blueberries in gin syrup and/or 3/4 lb triple-crème cheese such as St. André
  • Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.
  • Cut 2 sheets of parchment paper to line bottom of a large 4-sided sheet pan (17 by 13 by 1 inch).
  • Pulse together flour, walnuts, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt in a food processor until nuts are finely ground. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
  • Whisk together honey, egg, and vanilla, then add to flour mixture and pulse just until dough comes together. (Dough will be soft.)
  • Transfer dough to 1 sheet of trimmed parchment (not in pan) and cover with second sheet. Roll over with a rolling pin to spread dough evenly between sheets into a roughly 15- by 11-inch rectangle.
  • Transfer dough in parchment to pan and remove top sheet.
  • Using wet offset spatula, spread dough into corners of pan to cover parchment completely. Holding a paring knife sideways, drag tip over dough at roughly 1/2-inch intervals to create lines resembling those on tree bark.
  • Sprinkle dough evenly with turbinado sugar. Bake in upper third of oven until set and dry to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
  • Run a knife around edge of pan, then invert bark onto a work surface. Discard parchment.
  • Fold bark in half lengthwise so that it breaks with uneven edges. Repeat with each piece. Tear each strip crosswise into 6 pieces.
  • Divide biscuits, sugar sides up, between 2 baking sheets (biscuits may touch). Bake, switching position of pans halfway through baking, until deep golden brown, 15 to 25 minutes. (Biscuits will crisp completely as they cool.) Transfer to racks to cool.
Cooks’ note: Biscuits improve in flavor if baked 3 days ahead and will keep in an airtight container 1 week.
ian knauer,
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