Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Toffee Chocolate Bars

Who doesn’t love Heath bars? Toffee, chocolate, what more could you ask for? So these bars basically take Heath bars then bump it up a notch with vanilla, brown sugar and butter.

The base is a basic shortbread base with espresso powder and chocolate mixed in. To spread it in the pan you lay saran wrap over it and press down. Genius! I always have a problem smoothing out the shortbread base so you can bet that I’ll be using this trick in the future. Once the base is cooked you cover it with chocolate and toffee bits. Again, what’s not to like? I know that Dennis and my co-workers didn’t have any complaints.

Toffee Chocolate Bars (adapted from Culinary in the Desert/Baking From My Home To Yours)

For the base

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

For the topping

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup toffee bits

To prepare the base

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, espresso, salt and cinnamon.

In a large mixing bowl, add butter and beat until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add sugars and continue to beat until very light and creamy, about 3 more minutes. Mix in vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined - fold in bittersweet chocolate.

Drop dollops of the dough into a 9" x 13" baking pan coated with nonstick spray. Lay a piece of saran wrap on top of the dough and use your hands to press it into an even, thin layer.

Place into the oven and bake until lightly golden, about 20 to 22 minutes. Turn the oven off, remove the pan and place it on a wire rack.

For the topping

Immediately scatter the semi-sweet chocolate chips over the hot base and place back into the oven just long enough to soften the chocolate, about 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and use an off-set spatula to spread the chocolate all over the top. Scatter the top with the toffee bits and gently press them down to adhere. Set aside and let stand at room temperature until the chocolate has set - if it is still too soft after a few hours, put it in the refrigerator briefly to firm up the chocolate before cutting into bars.