Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Cookbooks = New Treats!

I love new cookbooks.  So many new things to try.  When I get them, I tend to read through them like a book, and then go through them a second time with a stack of post-it notes, marking the recipes I especially want to try.  I was given a copy of the Gourmet Cookie Book for Christmas, and at the first opportunity I had, I made something out of the new book.  The first recipe I tried was this one for Mocha Toffee Bars.  These are very easy to make, and so delicious.  The base layer is quite sweet, which plays nicely with the bittersweet chocolate and salty cashews on the top.  All in all, quite tasty.

Mine came out a little thinner than they probably should, because my pan is larger than what is called for.  I'm okay with that.  I just decreased the cooking time a little, so that they didn't burn.

Mocha Toffee Bars
Makes 4 dozen bars

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder, dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cups salted roasted cashews, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 10 1/2 x15 1/2 inch baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter, add the brown sugar, and beat the mixture until it is light a fluffy.  Beat in the yolk, add the vanilla and the espresso mixture, a little at a time, beating and beat the mixture until it is combined well.  Add the salt and the flour, beating, and beat until combined well.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.  Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 to  20 minutes, or until it pulls away slightly from the edge of the pan. 

As soon as the base layer is done cooking, sprinkle the chocolate over the top and let it sit for a bit, until the chocolate looks glossy.  Spread the now melted chocolate with an offset spatula and sprinkle with the chopped nuts.  Allow this to sit for about 15 minutes, until the chocolate is set but not hard.  Cut into 48 pieces, and allow to cool completely in the pan. 

See?  Super simple, totally tasty.  And I suppose you could use any other kind of nut you wanted, but I like cashews, so I kept them.

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