Chestnut Honey Squares


These rich honey squares satisfy with just a single bite. And they are so pretty once they come from  the oven, that you will proudly announce “I made these!”

Makes 32 squares



A 9 1/2  x 9 1/2-inch ( 24 x 24 cm) baking pan; baking parchment; a food processor.




3/4 cup (120 g) unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (45 g) almond meal (see Note)  
3 tablespoons (35 g), unrefined caned sugar, preferably organic, vanilla scented
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons (90 g) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1 large egg yolk, free-range and organic
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


4 tablespoons (60 g) unsalted butter
1 cup (80 g) sliced almonds
1/3 cup (30 g) candied orange or lemon peel, cut into tiny cubes
1/3 cup (65 g) unrefined cane sugar, preferably organic
2 tablespoons intensely-flavored honey, such as chestnut
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract



Almond meal (sometimes called almond flour) is made from whole, unblanched (skin-on) almonds. For this recipe, whole, unblanched almonds can be finely ground in a food processor. Do not over-process or you may end up with almond butter.



1.  Center a rack in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

2.  Line the baking pan with baking parchment, letting the parchment hang over the sides. (This will make it easier to remove the dessert once baked.) 

3.  Prepare the pastry:  In the food processor, combine the flour, almond meal, sugar, and salt. Pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of water. Pulse to incorporate. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water, tablespoon by tablespoon, through the feed tube, pulsing until just before the pastry forms a ball. You may not need all the water.  

4.  Turn the dough out into the prepared baking pan. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. Place in the oven and bake until the pastry begins to brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes.

5.  While the pastry is baking, prepare the topping: In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. If using a vanilla bean, use a small spoon to scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the melted butter. Dry the vanilla bean at room temperature, then place in a jar with sugar to make vanilla sugar. Seal the jar. Add the almonds, candied peel, sugar, honey, and, if using, the vanilla extract. Heat just until the ingredients are incorporated.

6.  Remove the pan from the oven and spread the almond-honey mixture evenly over the pastry. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the topping is a deep gold, 12 to 15 minutes.

7.  Remove from the oven. Transfer to a rack to cool in the pan. Once it has cooled remove from the pan and cut into 32 squares. (Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days).


Substitute dried black currants for the candied citrus.

This recipe was first published in The French Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Lessons from Paris and Provence.

All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.