Monday, March 16, 2009

Toffee Bars

This past Thursday night I was anxious to bake something. I had picked out Honey Nut Bars, a glorious looking combination of honey, walnuts, and coconut, but I wanted to bring these to my Mom's house and my Stepdad hates coconut. Add to that the fact that almost every goodie I've ever brought to their house has had coconut in it and I decided to make something else. Since toffee is one of his favorite treats I thought the Toffee Cookie Bars were a winning idea. They looked pretty simple and fast and tasty so I dove in.

I didn't get home until 9:30 because I have a class on Thursday nights, but I wasn't worried because it was just a matter of mixing and layering a couple ingredients, no big deal. So I threw together the cookie base which was mostly brown sugar and butter (YUM!) with flour and an egg yolk thrown in to make it a bit more substantial. This got pressed in the bottom of the pan that had been prepared with a greased parchment bottom and greased sides and baked for 20 minutes. Next was the sweet stuff. I was to mix a can of sweetened condensed milk with butter and cook until thick an bubbly. Now is where I hit a roadblock. I had NO sweetened condensed milk. My last minute change in dessert direction had me minus an ingredient! So I looked up some substitutions on the internet. One said use evaporated milk with added sugar. Ok, but I only had a tiny little 5 oz can of that. I ended up using th evaporated milk, plus about a cup or so of regular milk, plus a bunch of sugar. It took HOURS to concentrate the milk to a point I thought was thick enough. Then I added the butter, got it all bubbly, and poured it over the base. I baked this for another 12 minutes or so, covered it in chocolate chips, another couple minutes in the oven, spread the chips out into a smooth, consistent layer, and topped it all with toasted pecans.

I let the bars set overnight in the fridge after they had come to room temp. I then chopped them up with my trusty Wilton Cookie Shovel. I have to tell you, the recipe did not call to cover the bottom of the pan in greased parchment, but I am sure glad I did. I have never had much luck getting anything bar-like out of a rectangular pan in one piece, but the parchment allowed me to get the bars out much more easily, and without injuring the bottom of my pan.

These bars ended up delicious, but very, very sweet. I'm not even really sure the consistency was right due to winging the ingredients a little, but they are good with a strong cup of coffee. Oh! And Charlie (my Stepdad) thought they were great!

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