Saturday, December 26, 2009

Mocha Toffee Bars

These mocha toffee bars are actually the first recipe I made for my Christmas package. They represent 1987 in Gourmet's Favorite Cookie Recipes: 1984-2008 collection. There were quasi-successful. However, the advantages of being a food blog reader is that you get to learn from the mistakes of the food blog writer! Other than that, they were good but not remarkable. I'll admit I might be influenced by the slight frustration I experienced. I think they are similar enough to the Just-like-Skor Bars recipe that I would just stick to it (and this is when I realized I have never posted on the Just-like-Skor Bar recipe; it will have to be in 2010 then!).


Mocha Toffee Bars - Makes 40 bars
From Gourmet, December 1987.
My frustration with these toffee bars can easily be remedied. I had daintily sprinkled cashew pieces onto the melted chocolate and let it set. In hindsight, I should have pressed on the cashews to make sure they stuck. I discovered this as the cashew pieces fell off the bars as I was cutting them. I then decided to quickly broil the bars to melt the chocolate and stick the cashews again. That's when I forgot them and burnt a few. So you get to learn from my mistakes if you decide to make this recipe!

* 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
* 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
* 1 large egg yolk
* 1-½ teaspoons vanilla
* 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water
* ½ teaspoon salt
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped or use chocolate chips
¾ cup salted roasted cashews, chopped

In a bowl with an electric mixer cream the butter, add the brown sugar, and beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy.
Beat in the yolk, add the vanilla and the espresso mixture, a little at a time, and beat the mixture until it is combined well.
Add the salt and the flour, and beat the mixture until is combined well.
Spread the batter evenly in a jelly-roll pan (or parchment-lined cookie sheet), 15-½" by 10-½" by 1".
Bake it in the middle of a preheated 350° F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it pulls away slightly from the edge of the pan and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate over simmering water.
Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the baked layer and sprinkle the cashews over it (make sure you press on them firmly!).
Let the mixture cool in the pan on a rack, cut it into bars, and chill until the chocolate is firm.

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I also thought it was rather difficult to spread the batter onto a cookie sheet.

For more ideas for Christmas baked goods:
* Last year's included chocolate hazelnut biscotti, French chocolate bark & cranberry pecan bars
* Chocolate Crinkles
* Date Squares
* Orange-Almond Buttons
* Truffles Three Way

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