Tag Archives: will bake for food

Chocolate Almond Buttercrunch Toffee

On Saturday morning, I participated in Will Bake For Food, a food blogger’s bake sale organized by bloggers Jenny M. and Jenny R. to benefit the Emergency Feeding Program of Seattle/King County.

Food bloggers making treats to provide food for the needy?  It was just crazy enough to work.

The room hummed with excitement even before the sale started, with bloggers arranging their wares and chatting with each other.  Then the exciting news came that there was a line of customers already.  They had all brought canned goods or cash, which they traded for tickets to buy goodies with.

When the doors opened, the crowd surged in like it was Black Friday.  Hands full of tickets, they swarmed around the room snatching up pretty little packages of cookies, muffins, cakes, and baked goods of every sort.

The treat I decided to make for the bake sale was David Lebovitz’s Chocolate-Almond Buttercrunch Toffee.  Even the name sounds delectable, doesn’t it?  And aside from exercising a certain amount of vigilance to avoid burning myself with drops of molten toffee, it could hardly be easier to make.  And this toffee—well, let’s just say it puts store bought toffee to shame.  It has just the right amounts of chocolate and nuts to make a perfect vehicle for the smooth, crunchy toffee center.  Crisp, fresh, and with a smoky caramel taste that will have you going back for just one more piece, then another, then just a tiny last bit

Chocolate-Almond Buttercrunch Toffee

(from David Lebovitz)

  • 2 cups toasted almonds, chopped between fine and coarse
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ cup butter, cut into pieces
  • a big pinch of salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped, or 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Fleur de sel (optional, but recommended)

Lightly oil a baking sheet.  Sprinkle half the nuts into a rectangle about 8” by 10” on the baking sheet.

In a medium sized heavy-duty saucepan, heat the water, butter, salt, and both  sugars.  Cook, stirring as little as possible, until thermometer reads 300 F.

Have the vanilla and baking soda handy.

Immediately remove from heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla.

Quickly pour the mixture over the nuts on the baking sheet.  Try to pour the mixture so it forms a relatively even layer.  If necessary, gently but quickly spread with a spatula, but don’t overwork it.

Strew the chocolate pieces over the top and let stand 2 minutes, then spread in an even layer.

If using, sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel.  Sprinkly the remaining nuts over the chocolate and gently press them in with your hands.

Cool completely and break into pieces to serve.  Store in an airtight container, for up to ten days.

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Seven Layer Cookies

I’ve been test-driving recipes, trying to decide what I should make for Will Bake For Food, a bake sale on November 12th to benefit Seattle’s Emergency Feeding Program.

Baking?  Not necessarily my super power.  But it’s for a good cause, and should be a lot of fun, so my kitchen counter is piled high with sugar and chocolate chips.  I plan to force my coworkers to eat up the surplus goodies from my test batches and no doubt they will have some opinions, which is all to the good.

Last weekend I made a batch of seven layer cookies.  This recipe is courtesy of my friend Christie.  She made them for me years ago, and wrote down the recipe on a little piece of notepaper in her pretty handwriting, and I folded it and tucked it away in my recipe box like a treasure map.  I remember her saying how easy they were, but mostly I just gobbled up as many as I could, as quickly as I could.

She was right, they are dead simple.  These cookies are easy enough that you could even make them with a young helper, and will be done and in the oven before they (or you!) get bored and wander off.  As they bake, the house fills with the rich scent of the sweetened condensed milk, which I imagine is exactly what heaven smells like, on a balmy day when the winds are from the south.

They are chewy and sweet and rich, with each bite full of little nubbly bits of butterscotch or chocolate or nuts.   And that elusive taste that hovers just beyond description, the one that you know but can’t quite place?   I’ll give you a hint: the secret ingredient is love.

Seven Layer Cookies

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Melt butter in 9×13 inch pan.  Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs (to form crust).  Sprinkle on chocolate chips.  Sprinkle on butterscotch chips.  Sprinkle on coconut.  Drizzle on sweetened condensed milk.  Sprinkle on nuts.

Bake at 350 F for  30 minutes.

Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

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