Monday, January 24, 2011

Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Bars

Today I had a major urge to bake. Something. Anything. But it had to be something low maintenance. Wanted to bake, but didn't want to spend all day in the kitchen. And didn't feel like washing a whole mound of dishes. This pretty much eliminated cake or cupcakes. And left either bars or cookies. I started by browsing through my already saved recipes but nothing struck my fancy. I then started clicking through a few of my favorite blogs to see if they had posted anything new over the weekend. I opened up Annie's Eats and cha-ching, chocolate toffee shortbread bars! A recipe that was a combination of bar and cookie! A bar cookie!

A sweet and crumbly buttery base. Topped with a thin layer of melted chocolate. And sprinkled with crunchy toffee bits. I always love when Zach taste-tests my baked goods because I can always tell within the first bite if he likes it or not. If he likes it his eyes get really big and he usually says something like, "oooh yeah, this is really really good." (wish I could insert voices to these sayings!) And if he isn't crazy about it he gives a little head nod and says in a not-so convincing voice "yeah, it's good." Proud to say that these bar cookies got the big eye vote!!

Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Bars

For the shortbread base:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

For the topping
6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1½ cups toffee bits


Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Line a 9 x 13″ baking dish with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. To make the shortbread, combine the flour, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl; stir to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Stir in the chopped chocolate until evenly distributed.

Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish and press into an even layer covering the bottom of the pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the shortbread is bubbling. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer to a wire rack.

Sprinkle the 6 ounces of chopped chocolate evenly over the top of the cookie base. Cover the pan with foil and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and use an offset spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly over the crust in a thin layer. Immediately sprinkle the toffee bits over the melted chocolate and press down gently to adhere. Let the bars cool to room temperature. You may speed chilling by transferring to the refrigerator or freezer. When the topping is set, remove from the pan, transfer to a cutting board and slice into bars.

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