I don’t know about you, but snowy days give me a major urge to bake, particularly cookies. They also make me crave soup but since soup doesn’t really agree with my pregnancy-induced heartburn these days, I’ll have to just stick with cookies. Darn, so sad. I made these chocolate toffee shortbread bars on our most recent snowy day and the house smelled amazing while they baked. The base is a caramel-y shortbread with chocolate chunks mixed in. This is topped with a thin layer of melted chocolate and lots of yummy toffee bits. Simple yet irresistible.
I’ve said it before, but I’m really starting to see the merit in bar cookies. You get all the enjoyment of a cookie, but without having to do any scooping, shaping or dropping. Another plus is that these contain only ingredients that I consider fridge and pantry staples (toffee bits are a staple, right?) So, even if you aren’t one of those who runs out and buys bread, milk and eggs at the first mention of a snowstorm, you may still have what you need to make these cookies. These were a breeze for me to whip up in time for a movie night with a girlfriend. We thoroughly enjoyed these while we watched our chick flick. I can’t think of many better ways to spend a snowed in evening after the kiddos are asleep :)
Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Bars
Yield: about 30 bar cookies
For the shortbread base:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
For the topping:
6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1½ cups toffee bits
Preheat the oven to 375˚ F. Line a 9 x 13″ baking dish with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. To make the shortbread, combine the flour, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl; stir to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Stir in the chopped chocolate until evenly distributed.
Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish and press into an even layer covering the bottom of the pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the shortbread is bubbling. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer to a wire rack.
Sprinkle the 6 ounces of chopped chocolate evenly over the top of the cookie base. Cover the pan with foil and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the foil and use an offset spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly over the crust in a thin layer. Immediately sprinkle the toffee bits over the melted chocolate and press down gently to adhere. Let the bars cool to room temperature. Once the pan has cooled, you may speed chilling by transferring to the refrigerator or freezer. When the topping is set, remove from the pan, transfer to a cutting board and slice into bars.