Saturday, February 5, 2011

Coffee crunch bars

This is a most excellent and very different type of bar – a very sophisticated and delicious combination of chocolate, coffee and toffee. They are crunchy, but not dry; chocolaty, but not sweet; rich and buttery, but not heavy tasting.
2 Cups flour
½ t baking powder
¼ t salt
2 sticks + 2 T butter (no substitutions here please or they really will end up in the ‘left over’ pile)
1 ¼ C packed dark brown sugar
2 T instant coffee powder
½ t almond extract
1 C semisweet chocolate chips
½ sliced or slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. (Notice the low temperature)
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar for a full 2 minutes. Then add the dry coffee powder and almond extract. Beat for another 1 minute. Add in the flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing well after each addition. Finally, add the chocolate and almonds.

Turn out onto an ungreased baking sheet. I know, it looks hopeless, but it turns out great every time! Using your hands shape and convince the dough into a 12 inch square – let the warmth of your hands help the butter behave!

Pierce all over with tines of a fork at about 1 inch intervals.

Bake until the edges are slightly brown – about 40 minutes. Cool for 1 minute and immediately cut into small squares. I start in the middle and work my way evenly to each edge. 

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.