The problem with making cookies for the holidays is that everyone has a different favorite. I can’t go through a holiday season without making jam thumbprints for my husband (his favorite) or brownies for my co-worker (her favorite) and so on and so forth. Every year I make 3 or 4 of the old favorites that without, whining would certainly commence. Then, I always try some new ones to be added to the rotation.
And, before my designated “Christmas Baking Day” (yes, I actually take a day off of work to do it), I had to bake a bit early since our holiday parties seemed to span a 2-week time frame. So, when I saw this recipe on epicurious.com, I thought it sounded like the perfect missing puzzle piece to my cookie line-up.
The original recipe comes from a booked called Very Merry Cookie Party by Virginia Van Vynckt and Barbara Grunes. I made the recipe in the second way suggested – with the inclusion of toffee bits.
I am actually a bit embarrassed to show how easy this recipe is, since only about 30 minutes total gives you an entire 9 x 13 of these sweet morsels. They are so good that only within about 4 days from my first batch, I will be making another for yet more holiday occasions.
Thanks to Very Merry Cookie Party for this amazing recipe – and the newest member of my holiday cookie favorites.
Makes about 48 squares (on 9×13 pan)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
7 to 8 ounces milk chocolate, broken into pieces, or 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1/2 cup toffee bits
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment. (or spray a nonstick pan with baking spray)
Prepare the crust. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. On low speed, gradually beat in the flour just until mixed. The dough will be stiff. Pat the dough evenly over the bottom of the baking pan.
Bake in the center of the oven until pale gold on top, about 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and scatter the chocolate pieces evenly over the crust. Return the pan to the oven for 1 minute. Remove the pan again and, using a knife, spread the chocolate evenly over the crust. Sprinkle evenly with the almonds.
Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Using a sharp knife, cut into small squares, then carefully remove from the pan with a small offset spatula or an icing spatula.
Tags: almonds, bake, baking, Barbara Grunes, bars, brown sugar, butter, chocolate, christmas, cookies, dessert, epicurious, flour, holiday, milk chocolate, recipe, salt, squares, toffee, toffee bits, vanilla, Very Merry Cookie Party, Virginia Van Vynckt