Do you like buttery, crunchy toffee covered in chocolate and rolled in chopped, toasted almonds? If so, these are just for you. I’ve been looking and looking for a toffee bar recipe to bake for the holidays and I came across this version on Pioneer Woman’s website. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Pioneer Woman, or Ree Drummond, she is only one of the most famous bloggers/cookbook writers/Food Network stars around. She titled this recipe “Cleta Bailey’s Toffee Squares”. I new instantly that these were the ones I’d been searching for.
They start with a ridiculously easy but oh so delicious shortbread cookie layer that is spread thinly on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spreading the cookie dough thinly was a bit of a sticky situation, if you get my drift. Yes, the dough was a bit sticky and hard to spread, but I still call this recipe easy. I used an offset spatula as Ree recommended, and I discovered that if I applied some pressure and went all the way across in one motion that it was much easier. I didn’t realize this until after about 5 minutes or so, but hey, it will be faster for me next time. There will definitely be a next time.
The cookie layer is then baked in the oven for 15 minutes until it’s nice and golden. Immediately sprinkle your favorite chocolate chips. I used one cup of semi-sweet chips, and one cup of milk chocolate chips, because I love the combination of the two together.
Pop this back in the oven for about a minute, and the chocolate chips will be nice and soft for spreading. Yes, more spreading, but this is much easier. Spread in a thin layer all across the cookie layer.
Immediate sprinkle your favorite topping over the chocolate. Pioneer Woman’s version had chopped pecans. I wanted the squares to be more like real toffee, so I sprinkled about a cup of Heath Toffee bits and a cup of toasted, chopped almonds. Use a pizza cutter to cut these into squares. That’s a Pioneer Woman tip, and I think it’s genius.
How could anyone resist these? This is the one thing that I’ve baked lately that I had to get rid of fast or I would seriously pig out on them. The longer they sit, the better they get, too. I had one about an hour after I baked them and I thought they were only ok. I had one the next day and completely flipped out and had two more. This is great for your holiday baking — they’re easy and the recipe makes 24 bars. I love how rustic the edges look, too. This recipe is definitely on my go-to-in-a-hurry-dessert list. I might even make them again tomorrow. Back to the gym.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chocolate chips (I used half milk chocolate and half semi-sweet)
- 1 cup toasted, finely chopped almonds
- 1 cup Heath Toffee bits
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Add egg, vanilla, flour, and salt, and mix until combined.
- Spread to about ¼" thickness on prepared baking sheet with an offset spatula. Apply pressure and spread all the way across from one side to the other. Smooth out the dough as necessary. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Return to the oven and bake 1 more minute. Remove from pan and spread the chocolate into a thin layer, covering the cookie layer as much as possible.
- Sprinkle the almonds, Heath bits, or your favorite topping over the chocolate. Use a pizza cutter to cut into squares. Let these sit until the chocolate has set. These are even better the next day, and the next day.
- Recipe Adapted from Pioneer Woman's "Cleta Bailey's Toffee Squares"