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!