Bienenstich Bars are a sweet almond-and-honey companion at teatime. (Mel Barber -- mbarber@yorkdispatch.com)
Bienenstich Bars are a sweet almond-and-honey companion at teatime. (Mel Barber -- mbarber@yorkdispatch.com)

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.

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 egg

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.

The bienenstich topping will thicken after it simmers. When it forms a syrup-like consistency, it’s ready to pour over the crust. (Mel Barber --
The bienenstich topping will thicken after it simmers. When it forms a syrup-like consistency, it's ready to pour over the crust. (Mel Barber -- mbarber@yorkdispatch.com)

-- Reach Mel Barber at mbarber@yorkdispatch.com.