Saturday, August 7, 2010

Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Bars

I stumbled across the My Kitchen Cafe food blog and found too many recipes I wanted to try. This one jumped to the top of the list. It's pretty easy to make and is probably horrible for you. Good thing I shared it with my coworkers because they are dangerously good. When I cut the bars I thought I overcooked it. I imagined it would be like cutting into a chocolate chip cookie, but shortbread is crisper so they were perfect. Don't forget the foil. It makes it so much easier to take them out of the pan and cut without casualties.

Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Bars

The Crust:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 ounces bittersweet, semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped (if you don’t have a scale, use about 1/2 cup) --I roughly chopped some milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips

The Topping:
6 ounces bittersweet, semisweet, or milk chocolate, finely chopped (again, if you don’t have a scale, use about 1 cup) --I used milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips and no need to chop, but add a few extra chips
1 1/2 cups toffee bits (or about 4-6 Heath bars, chopped)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To make the crust, combine the all-purpose flour, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk together and set aside.

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Alternatively, place the butter in a large bowl and use a hand mixer. Beat for 3 minutes, or until the butter is smooth. Add the brown and granulated sugars and beat for an additional 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix briefly.

Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat in gradually (you can cover the bowl and your mixer with a towel to avoid flour flying all over the place or just mix in very slowly). Mix until the flour is almost incorporated. Add the 3 ounces of chocolate to the mixer and mix until the rest of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Do not overmix!

Line a 9 X 13-inch pan with foil, leaving long foil ends on the side. Lightly grease the foil.

Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and press down the mixture with a spatula and/or your fingertips. Bake the crust for 18-20 minutes, or until the crust is bubbling. Remove the crust from the oven and place the hot pan on a cooling rack.

Sprinkle the 6 ounces of chocolate over the hot bars and cover the pan with foil to let the chocolate melt. Let the pan sit for 5 minutes. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the softened chocolate over the crust. Sprinkle the toffee pieces (or cut up Heath bars) over the chocolate and press down gently with your fingers.

Let the bars cool to room temperature. If the chocolate is not set by the time the bars are cool, just pop the pan in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Using the long edges of foil as handles, lift the bars out of the pan and cut into bars.

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