Anyone will tell you that the process of creating your own baking recipes is a difficult one. There’s this “science” to baking that we bakers know about and live by…how just the right amount of yeast, baking powder, or egg whites will make sandwich bread, fluffy biscuits, or a soufflé rise perfectly…how flour packed into the measuring cup is actually a different amount than flour fluffed into the cup…even how soft the butter is affects how the water and fat molecules in butter react in a recipe. The science of baking is often the reason so many of us home bakers leave the recipe creation and testing up to the pros – let them figure out the nuances and tell us how to overcome them. I’m totally fine with that!
So when I came across the idea for these chocolate chip toffee bars, a) I knew I would need extra time at the gym this week, and b) I knew the America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe was the only recipe that I would want for these bars. It is by far my go-t0, most beloved chocolate chip cookie recipe and if I were to combine toffee (uh yes please!) with any chocolate chip recipe, there was no question which one it would be. And when I tell you that the toffee bits melt into the cookie dough and that the two blend into a rich caramel-milk chocolate cookie bar, I’m not lying. I swear, this cookie bar was heaven. Soft centers with a little crunch on top and the occasional nibble of a toffee bit that survived the oven temperature. Seriously, go make these now and don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that the ATK/CI recipe is anything but perfection (both for cookies and bars like this one). And, I can’t stress this enough – when you’re looking for a fabulous recipe, be sure you know who really created it – it makes all the difference in the world to have a truly credible recipe to work with.
source: inspired by Not Without Salt, cookie bar base recipe from The New Best Recipe by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated
- 2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup Heath toffee bits
- Adjust the top rack of the oven to the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil so that the edges of the foil overhang two sides of the pan; grease the foil with butter or cooking spray.
- Whisk the first three ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl, mix the butter and sugars together until thoroughly combined. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until just combined. Add in the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until the mixture is just combined – do not overbeat. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Spread half of the dough out in the bottom of the baking pan with slightly damp fingers to prevent sticking. Sprinkle the toffee bits over the dough. Crumble the remaining dough over the toffee bits – don’t worry about filling in all the gaps; the dough will bake together.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the bars when tested for doneness. I used a dark pan which took 34 minutes – remember that baking times will differ with different pans. Allow the pan to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before carefully removing the bars in the foil from the pan. Allow the bars to cool completely before slicing.