Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chocolate Toffee Bars

Years ago, one of my clients brought me some homemade toffee bars as a thank you gift.  And they were absolutely delicious.  And gone within mere days.  When I asked her for the recipe, she said that she would give it to me if I would pick her child up for an additional block of therapy.  Her son had reached discharge age and was being transferred to school.  When I chuckled, I realized that she wasn't kidding.  And with that, realized that I wasn't getting that recipe. Seriously??? Are people that guarded with their recipes that they will only reveal them as a tool to obtain speech therapy?  Apparently so. I've clearly never been quite so possessive of my recipes, as I post them all over the internet.  

So instead, I went home and started searching for a similar recipe on-line.  Unfortunately, I've never come across anything that quite approaches what she gave me (gosh they were delicious!).  But I did come across this recipe, which is quite wonderful in its own right.  And it has since become one of my Christmas classics.  I wish that I had a bigger family and/or more visitors over the holidays so that I could go wild and bake up mass quantities of treats.  But since we go back to my parents' for the holidays, and my mom makes her own treats, I always limit myself to just a few each year.  Otherwise, we end up with Christmas cookies still in the freezer at next year's Halloween (as I've learned from previous years). 

You can click on my Christmas tag on the left hand side of the page for ideas for other Christmas goodies.  Some of my favourites include: brown butter babies (a recent discovery from last year), shortbread jam bars (utterly delicious), sucre à la crème and shortbread cookies.  I'll try to beef up the Christmas section over the next couple of weeks, if I have the time.

This recipes calls for pecans, but I omitted them, since I'm not eating nuts again these days (darned breastfeeding and family allergies!).  I also didn't read the recipe fully while making these (which I frequently do and is terrible), so I ended up making them in an 8-inch square pan instead of a 13x9-inch pan, as this is what I recalled.  So they didn't work out as well.  I'd also reduce the brown sugar a bit in the crust next time, as both Jerome and I found them too sweet.

Also, for the first time ever when making this recipe, I overcooked the sweetened condensed milk mixture in the microwave and ended up burning it slightly.  So watch this carefully, as it continues to cook a bit once out of the microwave.  4 minutes would have been plenty in my microwave.  So this is a bit of a blog fail, but I am posting it anyways, as I've made these many times before and they are absolutely delicious.

3/4 C butter or margarine, softened
3/4 C packed brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt

1.  Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl of mixer until smooth.  Beat in egg yolk.  Stir in flour and salt until well blended.

2.  Press mixture into bottom of lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degree Farenheit 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly.

1 can (300 mL) sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp. each black coffee and butter
6 squares semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
6 squares white chocolate, chopped
1 pkg. pecan pieces, toasted

3.  In large microwave bowl, blend condensed milk, coffee and butter.  Microwave on high 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick and smooth.  Spread evenly over crust.

4.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until set.  Sprinkle surface with chopped chocolates.  Let stand 1-2 minutes until chocolates begin to melt.  Using a knife, swirl the chocolates to make a decorative pattern.  Sprinkle with pecans.

5.  Cool on rack.  Refrigerate 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm.  Cut into bars.  Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

Makes about 3 dozen bars. 

Nut-free if pecans are omitted.

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