Angel Slices — the most heavenly of Christmas cookies

IMG_2812When I left home after college, my mother gave me two books which I think she believed would fully equip me for life on my own: The Holy Bible and Irma Rombauer’s original edition of The Joy of Cooking. In those days I wasn’t much of a cook — and even less of a baker. So I was lucky to stumble upon a particular recipe at the very start of my baking career. It was in The Joy of Cooking for a bar cookie called Angel Slices.

Cooking has its instances of alchemy, I believe, when certain ingredients, combined or cooked together in a particular way, result in something close to magic. To my mind, Angel Slices fall into that category. Rich, crunchy, sweet, and tangy — the whole is more than the sum of its parts. The cookie is simple enough to make, though it takes a little time and patience. It’s composed of a base of sweet pastry, which is baked on its own for 15 minutes, then slathered with a Angel Slicesthick, gooey concoction of chopped pecans, coconuts, and brown sugar and put back in the oven for another 25 minutes. Once cooled, the two layers are iced with a third: confectioners sugar thinned to spreading consistency with lemon juice. Stacked between waxed paper in a tin, they could last for weeks. But they never do.

ANGEL SLICES
Makes about 12 bars
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 × 9-inch baking pan lined with parchment or foil. Beat in a medium bowl until well blended:
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Stir in until well blended and smooth:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Press the dough evenly into the baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, beat in a medium bowl until well combined:
2 large eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Stir in:
1 1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
1 cup flaked or shredded sweetened coconut, lightly toasted
Spread the mixture evenly over the hot baked crust. Bake until the top is firm and golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly wet, 20 to 25 minutes. Set the pan on a rack. While the bars are still warm, spread evenly with a glaze made of:
1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
Let stand until the bars are cool and the glaze is set.

Happy baking — and happy holidays!

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Angel Slices — the most heavenly of Christmas cookies

  1. Happy Holidays and thanks for the yummy recipe.

  2. Always the biggest hit at the Gyllenhaal Christmas Party. Looking forward to Friday.

  3. Christine Merola says:

    Thank you for some beautiful and insightful thoughts and sentiments about nature and the world. I hope you have a wonderful Holiday and a Happy and Healthy New Year

  4. Bill Loeb says:

    Nice and familiar scene !! Warms the cockles of ___ More! More!!

  5. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm……
    can’t wait to try!

  6. Lorraine Tinger says:

    Sounds wonderful! Happy Holidays!

  7. Nicie says:

    Making these now to the hymns of the surf on an outer island in the Abacos! Thank you, Liza, Merry Christmas, and sending love!

  8. annette shear says:

    better late than never, as they say:

    I WISH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY & FRIENDS A VERY HEALTHY & PEACEFUL NEW YEAR…AND A LITTLE SNOW WOULD BE NICE TOO!

    WARM WISHES AND A HUG OR TWO (NEVER TOO MANY OF THOSE!)

    Annette

  9. Molly Gyllenhaal says:

    I just send this to Sam Law and said “Now we can have them all year long!” Counting down the days until next Christmas when I can have them made by the Master. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *