Saturday, January 26, 2013

coffee-caramel bars (should have been coffee-toffee bars)

One of my favorite, old, not-sure-where-I-got-it recipes is for Coffee-Toffee Bars.* The odd thing about this, of course, is that I hate coffee. But I like these the way I like Coffee Heath Bar Crunch Ice Cream, which is to say, sometimes I make exceptions for the right flavor combo. The taste of coffee doesn't overwhelm the bars, and it complements the toffee nicely. The bars are thin (baked in a jelly roll pan), a little chewy, but with a little snap, and they are covered in a thin layer of chocolate.

This particular day, I had no toffee chips**, but I did have caramel bits. I wondered if they would be as good a complement to the coffee and chocolate flavors, so I substituted them.

Truthfully? It didn't work quite as well. Whereas the tiny toffee bits integrate well with the batter, the caramel remained very separate, and the pieces hardened once the bars cooled. They were not at all chewy, and I didn't like the textural contrast of the bar and the caramel. I also missed the nuttiness of the toffee flavor. Not a substitution I'd make again.

* When I went to grab the recipe, I searched through my recipe box and couldn't find it... Then I realized it is in one of the cookbooks I have had the longest: Cookies: A Cookie Lover's Collection. Whoops!
** And for what it's worth, I think I'm in a fight with Heath Bits (with or without chocolate). Every package I open smells rancid to me. From now on, I'll chop up some Heath or Skor bars rather than using pre-packaged.

Here's the original recipe:

Coffee-Toffee Bars
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules (I'd probably substitute espresso powder)
1 teaspoon hot water
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) flour
1 cup (7 ounces) brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces toffee chips (I'd probably substitute chopped Heath Bars or Skor)
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional; I've never used them)

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine instant coffee and water. Add flour, brown sugar, butter, egg, baking soda, and salt, and mix together until combined into a soft dough. Stir in toffee bits. Spread into an ungreased 10x15" jelly roll pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven, sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips, and bake for one more minute. Remove from oven and use an offset spatula to smooth the melted chocolate evenly across the bars. Sprinkle almonds evenly over (if using). Cool and cut into squares.

3 comments: said...

Nice blogger

Ella - Home Cooking Adventure said...

These would go fast from the counter top:) they must be tasting amazing.

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