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Basel Biscuits (Hard Spice Bars)


For the dough: 2/3 cup (100 g) blanched almonds, 2/3 cup (100 g) shelled hazelnuts, 1 cup (100 g) shelled walnuts, 4½ oz (125 g) candied orange peel, 4½ oz (125 g) candied lemon peel, 1 cup (350 g) honey, 1¼ cup (250 g) sugar, 4 cups (500 g) flour, 4 tbsp (30 g) ground cinnamon, zest from 1 organic lemon, 2 pinches ground cloves, 1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg, 2 tsp potash, 2 tsp hartshorn salt, 1 tbsp + 1 tsp (2 cl) arrack, 1 tbsp + 1 tsp (2 cl) cherry brandy

For the icing: ½ cup (100 g) sugar

Additional: butter for the baking sheet, flour for the countertop

Finely chop almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, candied orange peel, and candied lemon peel, and place into a bowl. In a pot, bring honey and sugar to a boil while stirring. Sift the flour into the chopped ingredients and mix in with the hot honey mixture and spices, along with potash and hartshorn salt. Mix in the arrack and cherry brandy. Form the dough into a ball, cover with a bowl, and let stand at room temperature for 3-4 hours.

Then preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C), unless you have a convection oven, in which case preheat to 355°F (180°C), or a gas oven, in which case preheat to level 4. Grease the baking sheet. Roll out the dough to the size of the baking sheet, with a thickness of about 2 / 5 in. (1 cm), on a floured countertop. Then place the dough onto the baking sheet. Put the baking sheet into the preheated oven (middle rack), and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the icing, boil the sugar with a little bit of water in a pot and set aside. Take the baking sheet out of the oven, spread the Basel biscuits with icing immediately, and cut into 2 in x 1¼ in. (5 cm x 3 cm) rectangles.


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