Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Cheer: Salted Chocolate Toffee Squares

Ahem! Attention please. I've decided to magically create three more weeks before Christmas Day. I mean, I'm totally ready to see my family and (magically) I actually have all of my shopping done. But I've done a total of ONE Christmas Cheer post so far and I had BIG plans of blogging really often during December. There is just not enough time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There's just NOT. (Hence the argument for blending holidays.) Even though I've listened to Christmas music since August and made ornament wreaths for the last six months, I should have heeded my own advice and decorated my tree two weeks before Thanksgiving. I didn't fully get the tree and mantel exactly how I wanted them until, oh, last week. (But now I do really, really love them.) And I finally made a mailbox topper, well, yesterday. And somehow during all this rain, I'm totally going to put up wreaths on our front windows because they make me happy. And they will keep on making me happy until at least mid-January. Unless I can come up with a Harry Potter spell to give me some time. Wait, I need Hermione's Time Turner...! Who's with me??

If you're also running short on time and need an easy, quick recipe that still promises marvelous results, I can definitely help you out today. (Because why would you want to spend any amount of time making something that's not marvelous?) I've made four recipes of this in the past two weeks. Two for a catering event, one for a birthday party, and one for Christmas presents. And it was marvelous every time. You don't even have to use a candy thermometer. Bonus.

It's just slightly adapted from a recipe my mother used to make often when I was little. She called them Butter Pecan Turtle Cookies, but somehow, I felt like changing the name. They're chewy and crunchy at the same time, with a layer of toffee that is so super good. Mmmm!

Let's commence with the actual recipe, shall we?

Salted Chocolate Toffee Squares
Makes one 9x13 pan

Crust layer:
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened (*I recommend using an unsalted butter and adding a flaky sea salt between the toffee and chocolate layers)
1 c. whole pecan halves

Toffee layer:
2/3 c. butter (*see note above)
1/2 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
flaky sea salt, to taste

Chocolate layer:
1 c. milk chocolate chips (or use half milk chocolate and half dark or semi-sweet)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the crust ingredients with an electric mixer until particles are fine. Pat firmly into a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Arrange pecans evenly, top side up, onto the crust, pressing them into it slightly. Set aside.

To prepare the toffee layer, combine butter and brown sugar in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan. (I recommend a non-stick pan.) Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until entire surface begins to boil. (The mixture will start looking light - almost "fluffy.") Boil the mixture about 30-40 seconds, still stirring constantly. Immediately remove from heat and pour the hot toffee over the pecans and crust. You may need to turn the pan a few times to coat the edges of the crust. Place the pan in the oven for about 10-20 minutes, watching for the entire surface to become bubbly and the crust to become light golden brown. (My oven takes about 15-16 minutes.)

Remove from the oven, sprinkle evenly with sea salt, and immediately follow with the chocolate chips. (I won't tell if you decide to use a little more than one cup.) After a minute or so, they will have melted - slightly swirl the chocolate for a pretty finish. Cool on the counter for about 30 minutes and then in the fridge for about an hour. I recommend storing these at room temperature after letting them set up in the refrigerator. They can be *very* difficult to cut otherwise!

P.S. I would imagine that these would be perfectly fine with salted butter and no addition of sea salt. I just had a TON of unsalted butter that I got on a recent sale - so, of course, I used that.

This is what happens when your camera needs an extreme closeup.
You catch a whiff of chocolate and start thinking, 
"Um, yeah, that'd make a cute picture with a bite out of it..."


  1. Kristen, thank you so much for the extra time before Christmas. I need it! Thank you, too, for this lovely recipe.

    Best wishes for a merry Christmas and a healthy and happy new year.



Your comments make me smile! Don't worry if you don't have a Google account - you can comment anonymously, but just leave your name, too. Let me know you were here, even if this is an "old" post. =)