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Posts Tagged ‘toffee bits’

Within minutes of cracking my eyes open and my feet hitting the chilly carpet, the morning sunshine was overshadowed by gloomy sadness—it’s the same tinge of grief that creeps in every September 18, the anniversary of my best friend’s unspeakable death.

Since 22 years of heartbreak can’t be mended with a bottle of Patrón and Duct tape, the next best thing for me is baking. So after I got off the phone with Darya’s dad, Darryl, I wiped my tears with a lotion-y Kleenex and cranked the oven to 350°.

6 and a half layer bars

I recalled a story her mom, Carmen, told me recently. One time, Carmen put a pan of 7-layer bars in the oven and had to leave the house so she asked Darya to turn the oven off when the timer was done. Well, Darya did just that. She turned the oven off but she didn’t take the bars out of the oven. The bars continued to bake and caramelize and as Carmen puts it, “…best bars we ever had and we can’t seem to duplicate that.”

In sweet memory of my friend, I tried to recreate what she had done so many years ago. I changed up the recipe a little because I thought adding caramel, milk chocolate toffee bits, and salty pretzel crumbs could only make the bars better. I was right.

Just remember to turn the oven off and let them sit in there for a while.

6 and a half layer bars

What makes these eight-and-a-half layer bars? I swapped (pretzels for nuts) and added a few ingredients (caramel and toffee bits) from traditional 7-layer bars and, because I’m not a raging fan of coconut, I only use half the coconut most recipes call for. A sprinkling really.

Eight-and-a-half layer bars

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

3/4 cup pretzel crumbs

11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) butter, melted

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 cup milk chocolate toffee bits

1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping (such as Mrs. Richardson’s butterscotch caramel)

1/2 cup (or your desired amount) shredded coconut

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Stir together cracker and pretzel crumbs with melted butter. (I use a blender to make the crumbs and then add the butter.)
  3. Dump and firmly press the crumb mix into pan.
  4. Evenly scatter butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and toffee bits onto crust.
  5. Drizzle on about 1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping.
  6. Sprinkle with coconut, reserving a tablespoon or two.
  7. Pour condensed milk over coconut. Sprinkle with last bit of coconut.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn off oven. Leave bars in oven for about 15 minutes before transferring pan to a cooling rack.
  9. Cool completely before cutting into bars. Store in airtight container.

With sweet memories of my BFF,

Staci

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There were only two checkouts open at our local, monopoly of a liquor store and the lines felt as long as a Pioneer Woman book signing at the Mall of America. When I saw a rep giving out samples of Kringle Cream, there was no way I was stepping out of line to try his teeny cup of rum-based cream. But soon the guy had us passing samples to each other through the line as he was digging for his last bottles and we were begging for seconds. I added it to my ongoing liquor store shopping list and headed out.

butterscotch Kringle Cream cookies

I picked up a bottle of the sweet liqueur just a few weeks later because I wasn’t sure if it was just a Christmas holiday thingyou know, because it’s called Kringle.

Kringle Cream

As it turns out the Kringle name comes from a hand rolled Danish not Kris Kringle, which means we should be able to keep it stocked in our pantry all year long. (Store Kringle Cream in the refrigerator once you open the bottle. If there’s any left of course.) 

back of Kringle Cream bottle

A few days ago I was thinking about how much I like the cream cheese dough for minty cream cheese cookies and how easy it would be to add booze and switch out the mint chocolate chips for a complementary chip or candy. Nutty Kringle seemed like the perfect liquor to combine with butterscotch and chocolate covered toffee pieces so I took a shot (1/3 of a cup actually) and made cookies. They are a keeper!

Butterscotch Kringle Cream Cookies

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 cup butter-flavor shortening

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup Kringle Cream, or any rum or butterscotch cream liqueur

2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups butterscotch chips

3/4 cup chocolate toffee pieces

(There are not eggs in this recipe.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium-high until smooth. Add shortening and beat until creamy.
  3. Add white sugar and brown sugar, beating until combined and smooth. Pour in Kringle Cream and beat on medium until incorporated.
  4. Starting with 1/4 cup flour, beat on medium-low and then add the rest of the flour in two batches, scraping down sides of bowl in between.
  5. Stir in by hand butterscotch chips and toffee pieces.
  6. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Press down slightly with the back of a spoon or your fingers. The cookies don’t spread as they bake so they are about the size that you place them on the pan.
  7. Bake 12-14 minutes or until just barely browned. Don’t over bake. The tops need to be baked not doughy, but when the tops are done, they are done. Remember the cookies have cream cheese and you want them to be soft.
  8. Cool 10 minutes in pan and then transfer to a cooling rack. Store at room temperature. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

If you like baking cookies with cream cheese, here’s my favorite White Velvet Cutouts.

Sweet boozy wishes,

Staci

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