At the very height of the madness comes these yummy toffee bars. At this point my mom and I were both actually going mad, so the pictures for this recipe are a little scant, but hopefully the cookies make up for it. They’re chewy, rich, and have some great depth of flavor with the toasted almonds and smoky toffee. After these babies I’ve got two more holiday cookie recipes to post before the madness is finally over and you’re returned to your regularly scheduled Sibling Cutlery (now with 100% more Kristen!). Tomorrow I’ll be posting a quick little recipe that’s salty, sweet, and won’t take you more than ten minutes. The day after, I’ll post that “just plain weird” recipe I promised. It may or may not blow your mind. Just you wait. Anyway, mascarpone toffee bars. The ingredients:
Mascarpone cheese is a new experience for me. Before this week, I’d never used it, but now I’m something of a devotee. This stuff’s amazing, really, and I’m looking forward to using it more. It tastes more like sweet butter than cheese, and it’s so creamy that I bet they make heaven out of it. This recipe also called for refrigerated sugar cookie dough, but my mom got some sugar cookie mix as a gift from a cowworker, so we used that instead. A batch of dough from scratch would work fine as well. In one more wild adaptation, we used bagged English toffee bits instead of crunching up a couple candy bars. We’re living on the edge. We could snap at any time. We’re crazy.
First thing, you’ll need to chop up some almonds and toast them. You could also use sliced almonds, but our house is full of nuts, so we had whole ones lying around. Spread the chopped or sliced almonds out on a cookie sheet covered in tin foil. The tin foil makes transporting them from the cookie sheet to anything else much easier. We made some extra because toasted almonds are delicious. Pop them in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
While the almonds are toasting, toss the ball of cookie dough into the bowl of an electric mixer, or leave it there if you just made it. Add vanilla and about half a cup of toffee bits and mix until the toffee is distributed evenly through the dough.
Press the dough into a parchment or wax paper lined pan and prick it all over with a fork. We used the size pan that the recipe suggested, but we could have definitely ised something bigger like 13×9″, as the cookie crust was pretty thick and took longer to cook than expected.
The almonds should be about done by now, so let’s check them out.
Mmm, they’ve turned a medium brown, and they’re very fragrant. Wait a bit before snacking, though, because they’re awful hot. Leave the oven at 350 and bake the cookie dough for about 15 minutes. Since ours was thick, it took about 20. When the crust is done, let it cool for about 15 minutes. 5 minutes in, you can start making the topping, which I very conveniently did not photograph. It’s simple stuff, though. Microwave a cup of chocolate chips (we used 60% cocoa) with a teaspoon of vegetable oil in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth. Let it cool for about ten minutes, then stir in a cup of mascarpone cheese. Once the mixture is smooth again, spread it on the cooled cookie crust.
Over the chocolate topping, sprinkle the toasted almonds and another half cup of toffee bits.
Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until the chocolate is firm. Here in the frigid northlands, we use the garage. These work well cut into about 1″ squares, and they can be served at room temperature.
Mascarpone Toffee Bars
Adapted from Food Network
1/4 cup sliced or chopped almonds
1 pound sugar cookie dough (refrigerated, from a mix, or from scratch)
1 cup English toffee bits, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup mascarpone cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast almonds for 10 minutes on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Meanwhile, mix sugar cookie cookie dough with vanilla and 1/2 cup toffee bits. Press into greased and parchment lined 7×11″ pan. Prick all over with a fork, then bake crust in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, microwave chocolate chips with vegetable oil in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Cool for 10 minutes, then stir in mascarpone cheese until mixture is smooth. Spread over cooled crust, then top with toasted almonds and remaining toffee bits. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until chocolate is firm. Serve at room temperature.