Wednesday, December 25, 2013

From My Kitchen: Toffee Almond Caramel Coconut Dark Chocolate Bars

We are not a Christmas holiday celebrating household, but I do like a nice family dinner and all the baked goods that come along with a holiday built for gorging yourself. This recipe started as a reason to use toffee and came out as a new holiday favorite.

Tools to use:
Oven, pre-heated to 350F. Do this first and make sure that the oven is hot.
Mixer, I'm a shameless Kitchen Aid stand whore, but stand if you can, shortbread is a bitch to hand mix.
Baking Pan, 13x9x2 either well greased with butter, bakers spray or lined with parchment. Without it, this cookie is like a construction project to get out of the pan. (Helpful hints on stuck cookies below)
High sided, flat bottom medium sauce pan. You want ample room.
2 Spatulas, both silicone if you have them, things are about to get sticky.

Your Shopping List. 

Unsalted butter
White sugar
All-Purpose flour
Salt, kosher or sea
Toffee bits without any chocolate coating
Light corn syrup
Sliced Almonds
Shredded, unsweetened coconut
Dark chocolate chips

The Shortbread.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 cups AP flour
pinch salt, sea or kosher
** mix butter and sugar in mixer until pale and airy
** stir flour and salt together with a fork
** add the flour mix to the butter mix, gradually until combined.

Your batter will be on the dry side, it's shortbread, not a chewy cookie. You want dense, but mold-able. The dough will melt in your hands, which is what makes it sticky and results in a greasy shortbread. Handle it a little as possible; dump it in the middle of the greased or lined jelly roll pan and use a rolling pin (this is my favorite kind), side of a can or the back of a large metal spoon to push the dough as evenly as possible into the baking pan.

Pop that into your waiting 350F oven for 10 to 15 min or until the edges are lightly golden brown the and middle looks more opaque.

While you stand around inhaling the ever growing buttery goodness coming from the oven, make your toffee topping.

The Topping.

Disclaimer: This is not a dessert for those with weak, fake or broken teeth. It's the gift that pulls out fillings if you are not careful.

1 1/2 cups plain toffee, pounded into bits - they sell bits in the baking aisle, or, you can buy toffee bars and beat them with your heavy plastic rolling pin like I do. Just toffee, not toffee covered in chocolate or that contains bits of nuts.
3/4 cup of light corn syrup
pinch of salt, kosher or sea
1 Tblsp unsalted butter
1 cup of sliced almonds, divided in half
1/2 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
8 oz of dark chocolate chips

** in the medium saucepan, add the toffee bits and corn syrup and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until the toffee chips are melted into the syrup.
** take it off the heat and add the butter, stir in
** turn the heat to low, stir in 1/2 cup sliced almonds, 1/2 cup of coconut and a pinch of salt.
** turn off the heat and set the caramel mix aside


** take the shortbread out of the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the hot shortbread and spread around with a spatula
** pour the caramel topping over the shortbread and chocolate
** sprinkle the remaining almonds over the top
** pop the whole thing back in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the top bubbles

Let the whole pan cool down and then use a sharp knife to score the topping down to the short bread.

Try not to eat all of them, it's hard.

1 comment:

  1. This looks fabulous. I love shortbread. And toffee. And almonds. And chocolate. Lol... quite a winner here! :-)