Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Coffee-Toffee-Almond Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
sweet and bitter. bitter and sweet. such a good combination. I had one of these after lunch, after the bars had come back to room temperature since they had spent the night in the fridge -- and damn they are good. Cold, they are fine, but underwhelming. At room temp the coffee flavor pops out, complementing the sweet toffee and crunchy almonds even more and turning them into something different.
we saw the coffee covered almonds at Starbucks a few weeks ago and finally broke down and bought some for me to bake with. At first I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them and I just put them on a shelf. Then, when I didn't really have the time to deal with it (naturally) I started thinking of flavor combinations and got the idea of a chocolate chip cookie, enhanced with almond and coffee extracts with the coffee covered almonds added as the chunks.
I made the base recipe and meant to add espresso powder to the recipe as well to enhance it even further, but I forgot. I did add a 1/4 tsp each of almond and coffee extracts and that worked well. And then, simply because I found an open bag when I reached into the drawer full of baking goodies, I added most of a bag of heath bits. It was a good decision.
I would have baked these as individual cookies, but time just was not on my side (12-hour work day, drive home, change to cycling clothes, 30 minutes on bicycle, into the shower, and only then make some cookies...) so I made the cookie dough exactly as the recipe told me to, then sprayed a 9x13 pan and patted them into that, and baked them at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. perfect.
once they came out of the oven I let them cool for just a few minutes before covering the (still hot) pan and putting them into the fridge. That way when I got up in the morning they were chilled and perfect for turning out and cutting. Took the pictures, then brought them into work for consumption.
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temp
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsps light corn syrup
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp coffee extract (no extract? sub some instant espresso instead -- maybe 1 tsp?)
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup heath bits
3 cups chocolate chips
1 cup coffee coated almonds (or whole almonds)
Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets (I used insulated and my cookies came our perfect) with parchment paper or silpats. If making bars, spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray and pat the dough evenly into it. Bake for 20-25 minutes until brown around the edges and mostly done in the middle.
Cream the butter and the sugars until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition, then add the corn syrup, vinegar and extract and mix to combine.
Add the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix until the flour is incorporated. Fold in the nuts, chips, bits and whatever chunks you feel like adding.
Divide the dough by tablespoonfuls on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes until they are just set on the edges but still soft in the middle. Remove from the oven and let cool.
The bars really benefit from a trip to the fridge before cutting, but they taste best at room temperature. What a conundrum!