Queen Esther’s Candied Crowns

(Recipe adapted from “Baking for All Occasions” by Flo Braker)



2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

½ c. granulated sugar

¼ tsp. salt

2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into half-inch pieces 

   and chilled


1 c. blanched sliced almonds, lightly toasted

1/3 c. unsalted shelled pistachios

5 dried apricots, snipped with a scissors or cut into ¼-inch pieces

1 tsp. finely chopped candied ginger (optional)

2 tbsp. dried cranberries

½ c. heavy cream

1 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. light corn syrup

½ c. granulated sugar

½ c. firmly packed light brown sugar

6 tbsp. (3 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into four pieces



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set out a baking pan, approximately 10¼ by15 ¼ inches.

2. In a food processor, pulse together (or combine with a whisk in a deep mixing bowl) flour, sugar and salt. Evenly scatter cold butter pieces over flour mixture. Pulse until mixture resembles small peas or use a pastry blender to do the same in the bowl. Turn mixture out onto pan and press evenly to coat the bottom, but not the sides, of the pan. Use your fingertips, a rubber spatula or a piece of wax paper to do this.

3. Set pan in oven and bake 16-18 minutes, or until light brown. Transfer pan to a cooling rack; make topping.


1. In a small bowl, stir together almonds, pistachios, snipped apricots, ginger (if using) and dried cranberries; set aside.

2. In a medium-size saucepan, in this precise order, add cream, honey, corn syrup, sugar and brown sugar. Stir with a wooden spoon and then add butter. Set pan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until mixture bubbles. Continue to cook, stirring more frequently, until mixture thickens and is a tan color, eight to 10 minutes (or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer).

3. Remove pan from heat and stir in all of the reserved nut-fruit mixture until everything is evenly coated. Using a rubber spatula, immediately spoon dollops of this gooey mixture evenly along the top of the prebaked crust. Do not worry if topping is thicker or thinner in spots. You will have an opportunity to even it out before it sets.

4. Set pan in preheated oven and bake for six minutes. Transfer pan to a cooling rack and, using a spatula, quickly spread topping out more evenly. Return pan to oven and bake until light golden brown, about 12-14 minutes.

5. Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Using a 2½- to 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as you can, pressing very hard on cutter to cut through both topping and crust. Use a small spatula to lift circles out of pan and onto a cooling rack; let cool completely. (Reserve scraps from pan for crumbling on top of ice cream, or as a layer for an ice cream cake.)

6. To store, place single layers of cookies, divided by aluminum foil, into a tin can and keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Makes 20-24 cookies.