Toffee Cookie Bars

Hello there– You know that addicting toffee that people make at Christmas?? So so delicious!  Just in case you’re reading Tammy, it was the best Christmas gift — I’m remembering that jarful you gifted us.

Well, this is the cookie version of that toffee, more crumbly and tender, but studded with almonds and toffee bits, topped with chocolate.  It really is delish, in that toffee candy sort of way!

6  tab. butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup plain toffee bits, divided*
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup whole toasted almonds, chopped

With an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and powdered sugar until it forms a thick paste.  Then beat in the flour and salt until it looks like sandy crumbs.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the toffee bits.

Spray a 9″ square baking dish (or 11″x7″ baking dish) with cooking spray and then spread the crumb mixture into the dish.  Pat it down to make a smooth even surface.

Bake the cookie layer at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the cookie layer when it comes out of the oven.  Let them sit 5 minutes to soften and then use a broad knife to spread the chocolate evenly over the cookie layer.
Sprinkle on the chopped almonds and remaining 1/4 cup toffee bits.

Let the cookie bars sit until they cool to room temperature and then cut them into neat little squares.


Chocolate Toffee Caramel Cake

Hello all–  We’re still in Wisconsin here.  And still waiting for snow.  I checked the weather report today and it’s suppose to snow later in the week, the day after we leave!!  Meanwhile it’s sunny with a cold wind that will take your breath away!  OK, that’s all for the weather report– will send along more Wisconsin news (and photos!) in a couple days…

So now here’s the cake– crunchy toffee bits, tiny his of chocolate and caramel sauce and wrapped in and around a moist tender cake.  With a scoop of ice cream, just grand!  I think you’d like it!

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1  1/2 cups canola oil
5 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
8 oz. bag toffee bits
1  1/4 cup mini chocolate chips*
1 cup caramel sauce

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the brown sugar, white sugar, oil land eggs.  Add in the flour, baking powder and salt and keep beating.  Beat in the milk.  And finally, fold in the  mini chocolate chips (save out 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top the finished cake)  and toffee bits (save a handful to sprinkle on the cake later).

Spoon the batter into a large bundt pan or tube pan that has been sprayed well with cooking spray.  Pop it into a 325 degree over for 80 or 90 minute (!!) until the cake is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pan for at least an hour.

Remove the cake to a large plate and Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top and sprinkle on the reserved mini chocolate chips and toffee bits.

* I like mini chocolate chips more than the standard size, because they don’t sink to the bottom of the cake and spread the chocolate more uniformly.

Caramel Toffee Pecan Cake



Hi all– Thanksgiving gone– was yours a good one?  We had the day with our daughter and all her husband’s dear family up here in San Francisco.  Good times talking around the table, passing babies from lap to lap and sampling Brian’s mom’s incredible pecan pie.  It was a sweet day all around.

And here is another pecan dessert– a little simpler than pie and large enough to feed a crowd.  There’s all those nutty pecans and sweet bits of toffee to give a little texture to this tender cake.  I think it would finish out a Christmas dinner ahead just fine.

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
5 eggs
3 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
8 oz. bag toffee bits
1  1/2 cups pecans, chopped (save out a few to top the cake)
1 cup caramel sauce*

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the oil, sugars, and eggs with an electric mixer.  Then beat in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Finally use the mixer to blend in the milk and continue to blend on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Stir in the toffee bits (save out a couple spoonfuls to sprinkle on top the cake) and the chopped pecans (save a few of those for on top too).

Spoon the mixture into a bundt pan or tube pan and bake at 325 degrees for 80 to 90 minutes (long time!)– until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

When you’re ready to serve the cake, drizzle on the caramel sauce and sprinkle toffee bits and pecans on top.

*The recipe I worked from told how to make your own caramel sauce from scratch.  You can mix up your own favorite1 — but I’m happy with store bought caramel- just easier!


Toffee Pecan Banana Bread

IMG_5267Hi all– This is our old family banana bread recipe.  I remember the square little waffled metal pan that my mom would bake it up in.  And my Grandma Rose made it too– usually slightly burnt, but still delicious!

I love it because the recipe’s so usable–get it into the oven in less than 10 minutes when you suddenly find you need something sweet for friends coming in.  And you can add all kinds of treats to make it even better.  Every Thanksgiving, at school my kids change out the banana for pumpkin and bake up 30 loaves in the cafeteria ovens! With whipped cream on top, it’s dessert.  So here’s my new favorite version with toffee and pecans.  Hope you like this old, but new, favorite.

1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 smashed bananas
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Heath (of Skor) candy bars, cut to nice little bits
1 cup pecans, chopped

IMG_5237Smash the bananas in the bottom of a mixing bowl with a fork until they are a smooth pulp.  Then stir in the oil, sugar and eggs.  Add in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix it just til thoroughly blended.  Finally, fold in the toffee bits and pecans.

Spoon it all into 1 standard (of two smaller) loaf pans* sprayed with cooking sprays and bake it up at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.  It will make your kitchen smell glorious!

*I like my 7″ long smaller loaf pans to make 2 loaves.  One to eat, one to give away!  And my mom used a 9″ square baking pan.

Banana Almond Toffee Cake

IMG_1815Hello there–  Every year at school we have a “parent volunteer appreciation party.”  The principal decorates the cafeteria, the choir kids come in and sing their little hearts out, teachers fill a table full of snacks for the parents and the students are all happy because they get ten extra minutes of recess while all this is going on.  So here’s little my contribution to the festive event:

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tab. butter
3 Heath toffee bars
1/2 cups sliced almonds (or walnuts or pecans)
2 bananas, smashed to a pulp
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

For the topping, in a small bowl stir together the 1/4 cup flour and brown sugar.  Then cut in the butter with a pastry blender (or a couple of forks) until it breaks into pea size crumbles.  Chop up the Heath candy bars (trying not to nibble too many bits) and add the candy and the almonds to the flour mixture.

To make the cake itself, smash the bananas in a new bowl.  Beat in the sugar, eggs and oil.  Then stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla.  Spoon the batter into a 9 or 10″ cake pan or spring form pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle on the topping and pop it all in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, until it is done, firm to the touch.

IMG_1763This is delicious warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a mug of your favorite tea.

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello Cookie Lovers– In the never ending search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, I’ve made a significant step forward.  These things are delish!  We baked up a batch this afternoon in Ani’s kitchen and I’ve eaten way too many since then.  I hope you do give them a try…

1 1/4 stick of butter (3/8 pound)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1  3/4 cup flour
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup dark chocolate chocolate chips*
1 cup toffee candy bars, chopped to bits**
1 cup chopped pecans

Cream the butter, sugars, egg and vanilla together with an electric mixer.  Then add in the flour, baking powder and salt.  And then beat in the chocolate, toffee bits and pecans.  Line up spoonfuls of the thick batter on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes until the cookies are golden brown.

* I had a big dark chocolate (85% cocoa) chocolate bar and just chopped it up in place of the chocolate chips.
** Heath or Skor candy bars will do the trick.

In the thin crispy cookie versus the thick chewy cookie debate, these are definitely on the crispy side– just perfect to my way of thinking.