Toffee Bars for Christmas

By Lynn R. Mitchell

 Toffee Cookie Bars

This morning another tray of Christmas yumminess went into the oven, a new recipe that came from the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s resident baker Clare Osdene Schapiro (whose husband happens to be the RTD’s political writer Jeff Schapiro).

When I read Clare’s recent column, The Joy of Cookies, there were several recipes including this one for Toffee Bars that looked like good additions for our cookie baking day. Each year we try to incorporate a new recipe into our tried-and-true traditionals so today it was Toffee Bars.

I doubled the recipe for this bar cookie so it fit into my largest cookie sheet. When we baked Forgotten Cookies yesterday that called for two egg whites (doubled recipe), it left two lonely little egg yolks in the refrigerator which were perfect because the recipe called for egg yolks. It was simple and tonight the bars have been cut and stored in containers.

If you’re looking for something that isn’t quite as sweet as other holiday offerings, this may be it. Enjoy!

Toffee Bars
Light, crisp and chocolaty — makes 30 bars

½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup shelled pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan.

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolk and mix well. Sift in flour, mixing well, and then the vanilla. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes.

Cover the cake layer with the chocolate chips and return to the oven for 3 or 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and spread the melted chocolate evenly. Sprinkle with the nuts and gently press them into the chocolate with the back of a fork. Cool completely in the pan before cutting them into bars.

— Adapted from “The Silver Palate Cookbook”
by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins

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