Showing posts with label coffee toffee bars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coffee toffee bars. Show all posts

Saturday, January 8, 2011


by Sheila Connolly

I'm delighted to be joining the writer-cooks of Mystery Lovers Kitchen, because I love to talk about food (and eat it too).

This past week I made a tiny step toward my New Year's resolution of organizing my piles of paper. For years I've kept a binder with my favorite recipes, culled from cookbooks, newspapers, magazines, friends–you name it. These are the recipes I've used over and over (and even my husband has some favorites in there). The problem is, I keep collecting new recipes (including those of my colleagues here), and the binder overflowed. In fact, the pile outside the binder grew larger than the stack inside the binder. It was time for an overhaul.

Rather than get a new and gigantic binder, I decided it was time to split the recipes, so I started sorting. What I found very quickly was that I had far more dessert recipes than anything else. Guess what: the desserts are getting their very own binder.
I hied me to the office supply store and contemplated my options. The binders should be washable (greasy fingers, you know), easy to use, and large enough to accommodate current and future recipes. There were plenty of choices. But I wanted to be able to distinguish between Desserts and Everything Else at a glance, so I needed two colors of binder. I went with blue for the Everything Else (I happen to like blue, and the old binder was blue). But what color is sweet?

For some reason the obvious answer (to me) was pink, and I'm still trying to figure out why. If I were going to divide everything, I'd probably have green for vegetable dishes, red for meat dishes, and I have no clue what color soups would be. Maybe I was brainwashed by all that pink bubble gum from my misspent youth. But I hate pink, and I have a yellow kitchen, so pink clashes. In the end Desserts ended up in an aqua binder. Not perfect, but at least it doesn't offend my eye. What color says "dessert" to you?

Anyway...since I'd delved into my stacks of recipes, and thus into my entire adult cooking history, I could review the ones I've been using the longest and most often, and one of those is Coffee Toffee Bars. This one actually originated in my college days. I went to a women's college, and in the last millennium we used to have weekly sit-down teas, with homemade (or housemade) cookies. The housemother (yes, we had those too) would pour from a tea urn, and we (starving students) would grab as many cookies as we could. It was a nice weekly occasion for socializing with dormmates; it's also where I learned to play bridge. (No, I'm not ninety, and the tradition was waning even before I graduated, alas.)

So here's the recipe (warning: this is not a healthy recipe, but it sure tastes good!):


1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
1-2 Tblsp. instant coffee (regular or espresso)
1/2 tsp. double-acting baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 to 2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup (6 oz. pkg.) chocolate morsels
1/2 cup blanched almonds, chopped

Cream the butter. Gradually add brown sugar, creaming well. Blend in almond extract and coffee.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, and add to butter-sugar mixture to form a stiff dough (mixture will be crumbly). Stir in chocolate morsels and almonds.


...and after
Press into well-greased 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Frost while warm with almond glaze:

1 Tblsp. soft butter
3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. almond extract
Add 1 to 2 Tblsp. milk until spreading consistency.

(If you feel guilty about eating them, just cut them into little tiny squares.)