Flavorful spiced bar cookies made with brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and orange zest and packed with chopped pecans. Magically both light and slightly meringue-like, and also with good body and nice chew. The bars are blanketed with an orange glaze that resembles patches of snow as it dries. Cut into a star pattern (or squares), these are a simple and straightforward spice cookie that keeps very well.
Place a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Centigrade, Gas Mark 5). Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper, extending the paper over the sides to use as a handle for lifting the bars out of the pan after baking.
In a small frying pan over medium low heat, toast finely chopped pecan pieces until lightly browned and fragrant smelling, stirring occasionally - about 2-5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the eggs and brown sugar. Beat until airy, light and creamy, 2-3 minutes.
2 large eggs, 220 grams (1 cup) brown sugar, packed
Add flours, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Mix until flour is fully incorporated and no dry streaks remain.
120 grams (1 cup) all purpose flour, 28 grams (¼ cup) whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon cloves, 1 gram (¼ teaspoon) Kosher salt
Mix in the toasted chopped pecans and orange zest.
Pour the dough into the pan. It will be quite thick, and won't look like there's enough. It's OK! Carefully spread dough to the edges of the pan, making sure there are no areas of the pan left bare.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, until bars are just beginning to turn golden and the top has turned dull. Your finger should only leave a slight indentation.
While bars are baking, make the orange glaze. Immediately upon removing the bars from the oven, pour the glaze over the bars and spread with a pastry brush or the back of a spoon to cover the entire top.
In a 1 cup Pyrex measuring cup (or similar container, ideally with a pour spout), combine the powdered sugar and orange juice. Whisk until you achieve a smooth, thin glaze. Pour glaze onto hot bars as soon as they are removed from the oven. Use a pastry brush or the back of a spoon to spread the glaze to cover the bars. The glaze will firm up after an hour or two as the cookies cool.