Toffee Pecan Bars

Toffee Pecan Bars 

Makes 24,  2 2/3 x 1-inch [6.5 cm x 2.5 cm] bars

Source: Joy of Cooking

A bar made up of a chewy, nutty toffee layer spread over crisp shortbread and topped with a thin layer of dark chocolate and nuts. Very similar to English Toffee candy, but in a cookie form.

Crust

cup

all-purpose flour   (plain)

3

ounces

95

grams

1

 Tbs

sugar  (caster)

 

 

22.5

ml

tsp 

salt     

 

 

0.6

ml

4

Tbs 

cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2

ounces

60

grams

2

tsp

milk

 

 

10

ml

Filling

1

cups

chopped pecans

6

ounces

170

grams

5

Tbs

unsalted butter, cut into pieces

ounces

75

grams

cup

packed light brown sugar 

4

ounces

115

grams

2

Tbs

clover or other mild honey

 

 

30

ml

1

Tbs

milk

 

 

15

ml

tsp

salt 

 

 

0.6

ml

1

tsp

vanilla

 

 

5

ml

Topping

 

cup

semisweet chocolate chips

1

ounces

45

grams

2

Tbs

finely chopped pecans

 

 

10

grams

Preheat oven to 350F [175C].
Grease or line with foil an 8” [20 cm] square baking pan (or 7" x 11" [18 cm x 28 cm] pan).

Crust:

Mix dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, and salt).
Using a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingertips, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
Sprinkle milk over the top and stir in to blend.
Knead until the milk is distributed and the particles begin to hold together.
If necessary, add a teaspoon or two more milk, until the mixture holds together but is not wet.

Alternatively, in a food processor, process the dry ingredients and butter in on/off pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; be careful not to over process. A bit at a time, add the milk, and process in on/off pulses until the particles begin to hold together; if necessary, add just enough additional milk so the mixture holds together but is not wet.

Firmly press the dough into the pan to form a smooth, even layer. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F [175C].
Bake the chilled dough for 10 minutes; set aside to cool slightly.
Toast pecans, stirring occasionally in a baking pan, until very lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes:
Set aside to cool.

Filling:

Combine butter, sugar, honey, milk and salt in a medium, heavy saucepan and, stirring frequently, bring to a boil over medium heat:
Boil the mixture, uncovered, for 3 minutes; remove from the heat.
Stir in the toasted pecans along with the vanilla.
Spread the mixture evenly over the baked layer.
Bake until the toffee mixture is bubbly, golden brown, and just slightly darker at the edges, 17 to 20 minutes.
Remove the pan to a rack to cool slightly.

Topping:

Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top:
Let stand for several minutes until the chocolate chips partially melt, then smooth across the surface with a table knife to  partially spread the chocolate. (The surface should not be completely covered with chocolate.) Sprinkle pecans over the top and press in slightly.

Let the chocolate cool until thickened but still slightly soft, then cut into bars; let cool completely before lifting the bars from the pan. Retrace the cuts to separate the bars, if necessary.

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