Friday, February 27, 2015

Toffee squares and the Oscars

Toffee squares / Quadradinhos de biscoito com chocolate e amêndoa

This year I felt less prepared for the Oscars compared to previous years, for I did not watch many of the movies, but it was a lot of fun anyway – I had my favorites even among the movies I hadn’t watched.

Michael Keaton did not take the award home, unfortunately – it is hard to compete with an Oscar-bait role as the one played by Eddie Redmayne – but it was pure joy to see Alejandro Iñarritú up on the stage so many times (too bad the most important award of the evening was delivered by an idiot).

I still haven’t watched Whiplash and Boyhood, but loved both Patricia Arquette and J. K. Simmons’ wins, and their speeches as well – Patricia kicked serious ass with that speech, didn’t she? And so did Graham Morton.

The weekend is upon us and I’ll try to catch up on the Oscar movies I haven’t seen yet, and nothing better than a little tasty something to go with the movie session: these bars are easy to make and you probably have all the ingredients at home.

Toffee squares
slightly adapted from Epicurious

1 cup (2 sticks/226g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (175g) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour

280g (10oz) dark chocolate, chips or finely chopped – the one I used has 53% cocoa solids
1 ¼ cups almonds, toasted, cooled then coarsely chopped

Crust: preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly butter a 22x32cm (9x13in) baking pan, line it with foil and butter it as well – I used a 20x30cm (8x12in) pan.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. Turn off the mixer, add all the flour at once then mix on low speed just until a dough forms – it will be stiff. Pat the dough evenly over the bottom of the baking pan – I used a small spatula to spread the dough onto the pan and thought it made the job a lot easier. Prick the dough all over with a fork.
Bake in the center of the oven until pale gold on top, 20-30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and scatter the chocolate pieces evenly over the crust. Return the pan to the oven for 1 minute. Remove the pan again and, using a knife or spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the crust. Sprinkle evenly with the almonds, then press lightly with your fingertips to make sure they stick to the chocolate layer.

Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack*. Using a sharp knife, cut into small squares, then carefully remove from the pan.

* my chocolate did not set at room temperature, so I refrigerated the bars for 1 hour to make it firmer (but don’t leave them too long in the fridge before cutting for it will be difficult to slice through the base)

Makes 24


Isa said...

I haven't see Boyhood but love Patricia Arquette too and her "electrified" speech !

lisa is cooking said...

These bars would be delicious for a weekend of movie watching! I didn't watch many of the oscar-nominated movies this year either. I need to catch up!

Laura (Tutti Dolci) said...

I adore toffee, these squares look scrumptious!

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