Smoky Salted Almond Toffee Bars

Smoky Almond Toffee Bars

These. Bars. Are. Epic.

There are certain desserts I can’t stay away from. Snowball cookies (a.k.a. Russian Tea Cakes) are in that category. If they’re on a plate, I’m eating every last one. There’s no doubt about it. And when I’m presented with toffee bars, the same dang thing happens.

Add caramelized smoked almonds, and guess what? It’s known in my brain as, “Give these away now now now before I eat every last one.”

Sometimes when I’m busy brainstorming recipes to post three times a week or stuck in a baker’s block rut, I don’t take the time to fully appreciate what drew me to create this blog. Luckily, I had a reminder the other day.

Smoky Almond Toffee Bars

Every now and then, I have a day at work that makes me want to quit. It’s rare, since I’m lucky enough to love my job, but it happens. I worked really hard on something that I cared about, and it just didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to because of a little detail that I’ll call bureaucracy. That’s the b-word in my life. It’s what limits creativity with arbitrary, often pointless rules.

Smoky Almond Toffee Bars

I got home that day feeling pretty weepy, and before I knew it, I was pounding away at smoked almonds with a rolling pin. Boy, was that therapeutic. And as I pressed dough into the baking pan in front of me, I was reminded of how lucky I am. Because not only do I work in a job I love, but I have another love that I foster here at home and share with you. And it’s not at all accidental that this love lets me crush things with my hands from time to time. Better than a punching bag, y’all.

Caramelizing smoked almonds is really easy. All you do is melt some butter, add brown sugar, and wait until it gets nice and bubbly. Then you stir in the almonds, and poof! Crack in a skillet, people. And it goes so unbelievably well with chocolate.

Smoky Almond Toffee Bars

If you’ve never had a toffee bar, then I should probably explain that there is no actually toffee in them. You can add Heath bits, but that’s notΒ traditional. It would taste good, mind you. But I honestly have no idea how toffee bars got their name. If you know, please enlighten me. My nerd self wants to know.

Smoky Almond Toffee Bars

If you’re into baking desserts that will literally leap off the plate and into people’s mouths with astonishing rapidity, this is it. Just beware: it might be hard to stop. But that’s the joy of baking, isn’t it? Creating wonderful treats that are impossible to resist. And I can tell you, it has a heckuva lot more soul than red tape.

 

Smoky Salted Almond Toffee Bars

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, softened (separate from butter below for almonds)
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed (separate from brown sugar below for almonds)
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 oz. smoked almonds, partially chopped (instructions below)
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil, leaving enough to hang over the sides. Coat with cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the margarine and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolk and extracts and mix again. Gradually add the flour, mixing until just incorporated.
  3. Pat the cookie dough onto the prepared pan evenly. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. While the dough is baking, make the caramelized almonds. In a medium nonstick skillet, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and stir. When the mixture becomes bubbly, stir for one more minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the smoked almonds. Spread the hot almonds out on a big plate or piece of waxed paper to cool.
  5. Remove the square pan from the oven and sprinkle on the chocolate chips. Wait five minutes. Remove from the oven.
  6. Using an offset spatula or knife, spread the melted chocolate evenly over the surface of the bars. Sprinkle on the almonds and let the chocolate set. If you’d like to speed up the chocolate hardening, put the pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  7. Cut into squares and serve!
http://justaboutbaked.com/smoky-salted-almond-toffee-bars/

 

 

Mir

I fulfill many roles in life: wife, mother, teacher, everlasting learner. This site is dedicated to one role that expresses my creativity in ways that I find consistently challenging and rewarding: baker. Inventing new ways to enhance food, especially if that food involves chocolate or peanut butter (or both!), is a passion of mine. I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.

This Post Has 34 Comments

  1. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    I definitely have days like that, too! And I’m glad almond chopping is therapeutic! I will have to try that because these bars look amazing! I love the smokey and toffee flavors. Looks like the perfect Friday treat!
    Gayle @ Pumpkin ‘N Spice recently posted…Barbecue Chicken Pita PizzaMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Chopping, pounding, crushing. It’s all therapy, Gayle! Happy weekend!

  2. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg

    Baking is such a wonderful therapy for me as well, Mir. These bars are so perfect. πŸ˜€
    Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg recently posted…Vanilla Birthday CupcakesMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Erin! It calms me down most of the time!

  3. Ami@NaiveCookCooks

    haha I have been having those sort of days a lot lately!! And I feel often times those are the times, when best of our creativity comes out! These look amazing!
    Ami@NaiveCookCooks recently posted…Tres Leches Rice Pudding β€œIce Cream”My Profile

    1. Mir

      I’m sorry, Ami! But at least something good comes out of it, I hope!

  4. Renee@Two in the Kitchen

    These bars look delicious!! I love all those yummy nuts on top!!
    Renee@Two in the Kitchen recently posted…Kahlua Frozen Mudslide DessertMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Renee! If I pile nuts on, I can call it my protein fix of the day. πŸ™‚

  5. Heather - Butter & Burlap

    You bake the most amazing things!! I bake (and the binge eat what I baked) when I’m feeling down, or frustrated. Then I go on a mad cleaning spree! I hope these bars made you feel better πŸ™‚
    Heather – Butter & Burlap recently posted…Mini Orange Muffins with Sweet Brown Sugar Orange GlazeMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Heather! For me, baking has the opposite effect. I actually don’t want to eat it all (most of the time) if I’ve worked really hard on it. But there are recipes out there I just can’t resist! And I wish I went on cleaning sprees. I’m not wired that way! πŸ™‚

  6. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    Mir, I also love how therapeutic baking can be! the whole process of creating, enjoying and savoring. . glad you had these toffee bars after that hellish day. The next time I have a rolling pin in hand, I will think of you. πŸ™‚ and these bars look sooooo good!! love the caramelized smoked almonds!!
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom recently posted…Simple Caprese SaladMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Alice! You have to try the almonds. They’re awesome. Definitely think of me next time. I use rolling pins for therapy!

  7. Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    Yum! love the complex flavors and anything toffee is amazing πŸ™‚
    Medha @ Whisk & Shout recently posted…Lots of Food + 18 in New York!My Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Medha! I am in total agreement!

  8. mira

    Baking is definitely a great therapy to me! Love these cuties, you are the queen of dessert bars! Pinning to try them!
    mira recently posted…Creamy Roasted Garlic And Lemon Hummus And Finn Crisps ReviewMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Mira! You know how much I love bars. All the bars!!

  9. annie@ciaochowbambina

    I. Must. Make. These. I am dying over here! Love everything about this post and this dessert! You nailed it!

    1. Mir

      Thanks so much, Annie! They’re hard not to eat all of…

  10. Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary

    Baking, or anything doing anything in the kitchen (butchering meat anyone?), really is THE best form of therapy. Maybe we are all a little crazy, those of us with a food blog or in the food industry, but I’ll take a little crazy with my therapy in the kitchen any day! πŸ™‚ I’m glad you found solice in your baking, and I am even more glad you chose to share it with all of us, because these bars look dang delicious! Love the smoky, salty, sweet, crunchy flavors you have going on… and all wrapped up into one bar? I’ll take 3 (or 12)! Looks devine and sounds even better. Already pinned! πŸ™‚
    Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary recently posted…Garlic & Rosemary Chicken Skewers {with Lemon Aioli} #NSNThrill4UrGrillMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I think we ARE all crazy, Cheyanne! But in a totally good way. I would take 12. But you can have the other 3. πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for pinning!

  11. Michele @ Two Raspberries

    this looks so savory and flavorful! I can see why these would remind you of all the good-ness that comes from baking! YUM! have a great weekend!
    Michele @ Two Raspberries recently posted…Fresh Salad with Sauteed PotatoesMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Michele! You, too. I’m excited about what I baked this weekend, so more savory and sinful to come!

  12. Anu-My Ginger Garlic Kitchen

    These almond toffee bars look delicious and indulging!! Also loved these smoked almonds on top!
    Anu-My Ginger Garlic Kitchen recently posted…Coconut Milk Banana Strawberry Smoothie Topped With Toasted CoconutMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Anu! Those almonds are my kryptonite. πŸ˜‰

  13. June @ How to Philosophize with Cake

    Those sound scrumptious! Love the smoky flavors in here πŸ™‚
    June @ How to Philosophize with Cake recently posted…Vegan rhubarb-stuffed French toastMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, June! Smoky goes surprisingly well with sugar. I’m into it!

  14. Harriet Emily

    Woooooooowwwwww – where have these beautiful bars been my whole life?! They are definitely epic. I’ve never used smoked almonds in a dessert before – what an amazing idea!! The flavours in this sound absolutely divine. What in incredible recipe, you are seriously so talented!!
    Harriet Emily recently posted…SKETCHING: FACESMy Profile

    1. Mir

      And you are seriously too kind, Harriet Emily! I hope you try the smoked almonds. It’s totally addictive!

  15. Mary Frances

    Oh my gosh yes, sweet and smoky is the bomb. Seriously, toffee and almonds fo’ life! I wouldn’t trust myself around these bars for a moment … but … excuse me while I go get some therapy on πŸ™‚

    1. Mir

      Get that therapy on, Mary Frances! Baking is the way to do it!

  16. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust

    The red tape in teaching is why I didn’t go back. I loved the teaching, the subject, the work but I couldn’t handle the b-word. These bars would be an addiction for me too. Almond toffee bars don’t last in my house!
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted…No Bake Oreo CheesecakeMy Profile

    1. Mir

      It’s definitely the hardest part of the job to deal with, Dorothy. Teaching itself is amazing. It’s all the stuff around it that gets really, really tough. Anyway, thanks so much! They never last in my house, either. Mainly just because of me!

  17. Sneha

    Heyya.. I can see why these would remind you of all the good-ness that comes from baking..Baking is definitely a great therapy to me! Love these cuties, you are the queen of dessert bars.. πŸ™‚ I will have to try that because these bars look amazing! I love the smokey and toffee flavors.Yum! love the complex flavors and anything toffee is amazing πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    Sneha recently posted…Fathers Day 2015 June 21st Best Wallpapers For Facebook,Whatsapp,Desktop …My Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Sneha! Baking is my favorite form of therapy. Other than eating it, of course…

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