If you've read this blog with any regularity then you are well aware that my favorite dessert is cookies. Yes, the simplicity, the variety, and portable deliciousness won me over years ago. That's not to say that I don't like other desserts, because I do, but when push comes to shove, I'll pretty much take a cookie over anything else. This cookie is one of my favorites and goes back to my college days when my best friend, Angela, and I would make a batch almost ever other weekend and devour the entire contents of the pan. Our active youth prevented us from ever gaining a pound -- boy do I miss those days! -- and we learned a bit about baking along the way. When we made them they were called "Patchwork Cookies." The top would be scored into squares with each section decorated differently (like a patchwork quilt): colored sugars, colored sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, chopped nuts, dragees, coconut, and toffee bits. We decided that we liked the toffee bits the best, so this recipe is the happy result of our college days experimentation.
Chocolate Toffee Squares
For the crust:
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cups all-purpose flour
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup milk chocolate toffee bits
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9"x9" square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom and up the sides with a piece of parchment paper, allowing the parchment to overhang slightly on both ends. If you don't have parchment you can use foil, if you don't have foil you can skip this step, just be sure your pan is thoroughly covered with the nonstick spray. The parchment (or foil) aids in facilitating the easy removal of the bars from the pan. Spray parchment with nonstick cooking spray.
Spread the chopped almonds onto a baking sheet and toast in your preheated oven for about 5-7 minutes or until fragrant. Remove nuts from oven; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. Turn the mixer to low speed, and gradually beat in the flour. Do not overmix. Pat the dough evenly over the bottom of the baking pan. Bake in the center of the oven until golden, 18-20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and scatter the chocolate pieces evenly over the crust. Return the pan to the oven for 1 minute. Remove the pan again and, using an offset spatula (if you don't have an offset spatula, buy one, but in the meantime you can use a knife), spread the chocolate evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the top with the almonds and toffee bits, covering entire surface. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Remove bars from pan using parchment handles and transfer to cutting board. Cut into bars.
This post is linked to Sweets for a Saturday.