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Monday, November 27, 2006

Toffee Bars (Holiday Baking, Second Installment)


Toffee bars are a bit like the Seven-Layer bars from my last post in that they require little effort and taste so good. These are another great way to ease into holiday baking. I love the way these bars fill our apartment with the smell of butter, brown sugar and flour baking. Mmmmmm. I believe if someone could accurately bottle that scent, they would be rolling in the dough (yes, bad pun intended). These are also a holiday staple for my cookie gifts. People love them. I believe the secret to their appeal is their simplicity. Sometimes I wonder why I only make them this time of year...hmmmmmm.

Toffee Bars (yields one 9x13" pan of bars)
1 cup (8 ounces or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp (sorry I missed this in the original post, my brain must have been somewhere else)
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla (extract is fine, I used my vanilla bean paste which I just love...I think I've mentioned that I am a vanilla freak before)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. all-purpose flour
5 ounces milk chocolate (I just use a 5 ounce Hershey's Bar, it breaks up nicely and melts quickly)
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts, or macadamias, or whatever you like)
______________________________________
-Preheat oven to 350f. Prepare one 9x13" pan by spraying with pan spray and lining it with parchement paper (this makes it very easy to remove the bars from the pan without cutting them, and makes storage easy as well).
-Cream butter and brown sugar until it is a bit fluffy (about 5 minutes or so). Add the vanilla and egg yolk and mix until blended.
-Add the flour and salt and mix until combined.
-Plunk the dough in bits in the bottom of the prepared pan and then flatten the dough with your hands to create an even layer of the dough (I spray my hands with a little pan spray to keep the dough from sticking, and once I have it all smooshed out into the pan, I smooth the dough with a little offset spatula).
-Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the bars have a lightly browned crust formed on top (the insides will still be soft when you press on the crust).
-Immediately break up your Hershey's Bar and place the blocks of chocolate on top of the hot cookie base,
wait about 5 minutes until they are melty (it's neat, they melt and yet still hold their shape and say "Hershey's), then spread out the chocolate in a nice layer over the top of the bars. If you are using milk chocolate chips or other milk chocolate, just sprinkle over the hot cookie base and do the same.

-Sprinkle the top of the bars with the chopped nuts, cool and then cut as you please, or these can be stored in the freezer uncut until the time you need them (I wouldn't recommend storing them longer than a month in the freezer).

Take a moment while these are baking to inhale the scent and relax a bit. You deserve it.
Happy Baking, stay tuned for more holiday cookie fun!


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12 comments:

Ginger said...

I love these classics--make them every Christmas without fail. I like to use Hershey's Symphony milk chocolate bar with almond and toffee bits for even more of a toffee "overload.

Jen the bread freak said...

Hello Ginger! I'll definitely have to try these with the Symphony bar next year, sounds awesome! Thanks for the tip :D

Jacelyn said...

These made lovely gifts this festive. I've never try these before. Guess It's time to get my oven cracking. Hee... =)
One question though, are they very sweet?

Jen the bread freak said...

Hello Jacelyn. Yes, these can be a bit sweet, but, when they are cut into bite sized pieces, they are just right :). Thank you for your compliments!

Nabeela said...

how much butter should I add for the toffees?

Bobbie said...

Unless I'm being blind, you haven't included the butter in the ingredients list. I was about to make these, but step 1 was to cream the butter and brown sugar. How much butter??

Jen the bread freak said...

Nabeela and Bobbie, and anyone else that noticed this, I'm so very sorry. Geeze, how could I miss the butter? You will need one cup of butter (8 ounces or two sticks). My very humble apologies! Thank you for letting me know. :)

Nabeela said...

I've bookmarked your recipe...but my bookmarked recipe list is overflowing...so don't know when I'll be making these! :)

Brilynn said...

I'm made something similar to these last night, but yours look much nicer, something in my recipe wasn't quite right, I'll have to try again.

Sassy said...

Do you think these would go well with dark or semi-sweet chocolate instead of milk chocolate?

Sassy said...

Do you think that these would work with dark or semi-sweet chocolate instead of milk chocolate?

Jen the bread freak said...

Sassy: Hello! Yes, I do believev these would be great with dark or semi sweet chocolate instead of the milk. I actually prefer dark chocolate to milk, but make these with milk chocolate as they are not for me :)

Brilynn: I hope you could figure out what was amiss with your recipe, I hate it when something doesn't turn out quite right and I can't figure out why.