Sunday, December 5, 2010

Toffee Crunch Bars

Since life has been quite crazy as of late, I have been putting off my next blog post for some time now, unfortunately. I've been itching to get one up between work and rehearsals, and finally, I've had a chance to sit and write. I've baked quite a bit for the little amount of free time I have had recently, but hey, it's my stress reliever---I've gotta find time to do it, even if it does keep me up a little too late!

I have been dying to share this recipe. I've made it a handful of times in the past month since I was introduced to its chewy toffee bar counterpart by someone at my dance studio. She brought in this addictive little treat to share with everyone and immediately, I was begging for the recipe. Her version was a chewy bar, but I've altered it from what she did to make it a crunchy toffee bar. I've had the chance to play around with it a little, research a bunch of different recipes and variations, alter it slightly, and test different baking times. It's now number one on my list for the perfect bring-along-treat to any party, get-together, or absolutely anything (upcoming holiday parties, anyone?). Not only does it travel & store nicely, but it's definitely a crowd pleaser and its extremely easy. Trust me, it's been tested and confirmed....several times! And I've given it my own name, Toffee Crunch Bars, instead of its original, to disguise the secret ingredient (which will be revealed below).

Not only does this perfect little recipe impress, but it requires minimal ingredients and minimal time---something that's extremely important to me with the tiny amount of free time that I have! All you need is butter, brown sugar, chocolate, some chopped nuts, a little vanilla extract, and saltines. Yes, saltines. Sounds weird, right? Oddly enough, the plain little cracker is what makes this recipe. And you guessed it---that's the secret ingredient. These were originally called Saltine Toffee Bars, but that just gives too much away! Most people are surprised when I tell them what it is and their mystery is half the fun. The balance of the salty and the crunchy with the sweet of the toffee and the chocolate is utterly perfect. And just one warning----they disappear so much quicker than you would expect!

Toffee Crunch Bars
2 sticks of butter
1 cup of light brown sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp of vanilla
about a sleeve of plain saltine crackers
12 oz of chocolate chips
chopped walnuts (or any nut of your choice)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan, rectangular cake pan, or cookie sheet with ledges with tinfoil. Grease tinfoil with butter. (Make sure you grease it well so that the toffee doesn't stick to the tinfoil!) Line the pan with saltine crackers.

Melt 2 sticks of butter and brown sugar on the stove until it comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it starts to boil, keep it on the heat and keep stirring for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract and stir immediately. Pour the toffee mixture onto the saltines and spread evenly.

Bake in the over for 1o minutes. Remove and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Return to the oven for one minute. Remove and spread the chocolate with a spatula and sprinkle the chopped nuts on top.

Put the pan in the fridge until the chocolate has hardened. Remove and break into pieces or cut into squares. Store in the fridge. Serve cold or at room temperature (I prefer them cold!)

all photos © Bunhead in the Kitchen, 2010