High Country Baking: Toffee-topped shortbread
High Country Baking
I’ve loved toffee since I was a kid and have collected recipes that feature it for years. This one is a favorite: a brown-sugar shortbread with a mild toffee taste complemented by a dark chocolate topping heavily sprinkled with toffee candy. Crunchy and rich, it’s a winning combination. The recipe comes together quickly and is very straightforward; it’s so easy that I’ve used it when baking with children.
Toffee topped shortbread
Make in a 7 1/2 inch tart pan with a removable bottom or an 8-inch springform pan. This recipe works at any elevation.
- 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold (room temperature if using a mixer)
- 1 yolk from a medium egg
- 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
- 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup chopped toffee candy bars (I use Heath bars)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 if your pan is dark metal) with a rack in the center position. If using a springform pan, unlock the sides, flip the bottom over so the lip faces down and relock the sides onto the bottom. This makes cutting the baked cookie easier. Grease your pan with a baking spray that contains flour and set it aside.
To make in a food processor, place the flour, brown sugar and salt in the bowl and pulse until combined. Cut the chilled butter into 12 to 18 pieces, add to the bowl and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add the egg yolk and vanilla, and pulse until the dough starts to form large clumps.
To make with a mixer, cut the room-temperature butter into 12 to 18 pieces and place them, with the brown sugar and salt, in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until well combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the egg yolk and vanilla, and beat until just blended. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough is uniformly moistened and begins to form large clumps.
For both methods, scrape the dough into the prepared pan and smooth and level it. If the dough is sticky, either wet your hands or press it through a piece of plastic wrap to make a uniformly flat crust.
Place the pan on a foil-lined baking sheet to catch any drips that come through the pan’s removable bottom. Place both in the oven and bake until the dough just starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, and the top is set and looks dry but is still soft when touched lightly, 20-25 minutes. Times will vary depending on your oven and the pan you use. When done, remove the baked shortbread, in its pan, to a cooling rack. It need not cool entirely before continuing with the recipe.
While the crust is baking, prepare the topping. Chop the chocolate into quarter-inch pieces. Combine them with the cream in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about one minute at low. (I use setting No. 4 on my microwave.) Remove the bowl and stir. If some chocolate pieces are still visible after stirring, microwave again for 30 seconds and stir again. Chocolate burns easily, so remove it from the heat before it is entirely melted and stir to complete the process. You can also melt the chocolate with the cream in a double boiler over simmering water. In either case, stir the mixture until it is smooth and shiny.
Spoon or pour the warm chocolate mixture over the warm shortbread, and spread it evenly to within a quarter-inch of the shortbread’s edge. Sprinkle the chopped toffee pieces evenly over the chocolate and lightly press them into it. Place the pan in the refrigerator until the chocolate is set. When the topping is firm to the touch, remove the pastry from the pan and cut it into wedges. Store the cookies in the refrigerator, well-sealed, for six days or freeze them for two months. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm.
Editor’s note: This recipe is a variation of one published in “The Weekend Baker.”
Vera Dawson’s column “High Country Baking” publishes biweekly in the Summit Daily News. Dawson is a high-elevation baking instructor and author of three high-altitude cookbooks. Her recipes have been tested in her kitchen in Frisco, where she’s lived since 1991, and altered until they work at elevation. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.