A brown sugar cookie crust topped with chocolate, toffee bits, and pecans makes for rich-and-delicious Toffee Bars. And they're my Mom's absolute favorite!
In honor of my Mom for Mother's Day tomorrow, I decided to post a recipe that is right up her alley ... these rich-and-delicious Toffee Bars. My Mom loves Heath Bars (which you sprinkle on the top of these little beauties). And pecans. And ooey-gooey buttery sweet cookie crusts. And chocolate ... Oh, yes - she loves chocolate. Almost as much as I do. Which is a lot.
So don't these chocolate, pecan, and Heath Bar-topped, brown sugar cookie crusted Toffee Bars sound just perfect for her? (Hint, hint - the answer is 'yes.')
Also in honor of my Mom for Mother's Day, I decided to share two of my favorite memories of Mom from growing up.
Of course, many of my fondest memories ... far too many to count ... are of us working together in the kitchen. My Mom is one of those Moms who prepared a home-cooked meal almost every night of our growing-up lives. I truly don't know how she did it. As much as I love to cook, I still have difficulty getting a home-cooked meal on the table just several times a week (I try to cook for two nights worth every time I cook) -- and it's just my husband and myself. She worked full time, ran two kids around to all our 'stuff,' and still made delicious, well-balanced home-cooked meals each night. My hat's off to you, Mom.
I would help. And I loved it. I was Mom's sous-chef, and learned so much from her about baking and cooking all sorts of stuff, and about experimenting with different foods and flavors. Mom, like me, was always trying new recipes. She figured worst case was, if we didn't like something, she just wouldn't make it again. No harm, no foul ... I like that attitude.
I was also Mom's dishwasher. That part I absolutely DID NOT like.
But let's talk about a couple of memories that are not food related.
Fun Memory #1
I was a bit of a metal-head, music-wise, when I was in grade school and high school. So was my brother. (We were children of the '80s people, so please cut us a little slack on this. Okay?) I loved my heavy metal music and '80s hair bands ... and will admit that I am occasionally known to still to-this-day rock it out to AC/DC or the Scorpions while driving around in my Volvo. Which cracks me up. A Volvo-driving, AC/DC-listening, 41-year-old ... quite the funny picture.
Anyway, this leads to one of my favorite memories of Mom (and Dad) when I was growing up. See, when I was in the 8th grade and my brother was in early high school, my brother and I wanted to go to an Ozzy Osbourne concert. In Montreal.
I grew up in a very small town in Vermont, very close to the Canadian border, so Montreal was about a 3-hour drive. Well, do you think our parents were going to let us cross a border into another country by ourselves? And go from eensy-weensy little town where everyone knows your name to a huge city by ourselves?? And mix-and-mingle with an Ozzy Osbourne concert crowd by ourselves???
Nope. Absolutely not.
Solution? Mom and Dad went with us. To an Ozzy Osbourne concert. Coolest parents ever.
Fun Memory #2
When it came time to go to college, my brother left Vermont and went far, far away - moving to North Carolina to go to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. When it came time for me to go to college, I received an offer of a full academic scholarship to ... wouldn't ya know ... the University of Vermont ... just one hour away from the town I grew up in (and, therefore, just one hour away from my parents). I was immensely grateful for the scholarship, don't get me wrong, ... and the University of Vermont is a fabulous school ... but, I was ready to have and assert my independence.
So how was I going to go to college just one hour away from home? ('Cause you can't just pass up a full scholarship to a great school, right?. That would be c-r-a-z-y.)
Well, I made a deal with my parents. We agreed that, no matter what, my parents could not come visit me without calling and planning that visit in advance. My stance? If you couldn't drop in on my brother ('cause he was a 17 hour drive away), then you can't just drop in on me. Mom and Dad agreed. They're good-and-reasonable parents like that.
Now, picture it's the second week of my freshman year of college, on a lazy Saturday morning. About 9:00 in the morning, the phone rings.
Just who do you think it was?? I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count.
Yup, it was my Mom.
The conversation went something like this...
MOM: "Good morning! Your Dad and I just wanted to check and see if it was okay to come see you today. We've got to run a few errands up that way, and we'd really love to see you."
ME: "Well, ... sure ... I guess that would be okay."
MOM: "Great! 'Cause we're downstairs in your dorm."
Now, Mom ... crank up some Ozzy, make yourself a batch of these Toffee Bars, and give me a call. And if you happen to be making that call from 'just downstairs,' I'd love it.
Happy Mother's Day, everyone!
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Source: Adapted from a friend's family recipe
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 c. light brown sugar (firmly packed)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. all-purpose flour (or white whole wheat flour, which is what I use)
1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped pecans
3/4 c. chopped Heath Bar or Heath toffee bits
For the crust:
1. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk, vanilla, and salt.
2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour and mix until just combined. The dough will be stiff.
3. Pat dough evenly into the bottom of a 9x13" coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees until pale golden on top, about 15-20 minutes.
For the topping:
4. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the crust. Return pan to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes until the chocolate chips are beginning to melt.
5. Remove the pan from the oven and spread the chocolate evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the pecans and Heath bar toffee pieces evenly over the chocolate.
6. Let cool completely in the pan. Use a sharp knife to cut into small squares.