Toffee Bars (Dairy-Free!)
Some recipes are more special than others, and there are always reasons behind that. Food ties in strongly to childhood and nostalgia, and that’s why these bars strike a particularly deep chord within me.
Along with Entenmann’s chocolate frosted donuts. Man, do I yearn for those on an almost daily basis. But we’ll get into that one another day!
My mom baked these cookies once to twice a year when I was growing up, and I loved them. Toffee bars are pretty basic, and I love making different versions (like this Passover version, for instance). This is a dairy-free cookie recipe, but sometime I’ll share my butter-laden one with you, too!
The reason these bars work in so many different recipe versions is that the base is a cookie dough that’s baked flat and then covered in chocolate and almonds. If I’m doing a dairy version, I’ll also use Heath bits. But no matter how these bars are made, they rock!
Once the chocolate cools on the bars and hardens, you can cut them into even(ish) squares. I cut mine relatively small so I can pop several into my mouth in one sitting. Practical considerations here, people. If they were too big, I wouldn’t be able to eat as many!
These are also great for parties because one batch makes a ton of squares. I packed these up for a party and they held out for a good five minutes. With about 40 people in attendance, that’s not too shabby.
If you don’t like the taste of Earth Balance buttery sticks, use margarine. Its flavor is a little more subtle in these bars. And you can also opt to toast your almonds, but it’s by no means necessary. I believe in simplifying life as much as possible.
Whether or not toffee bars hearken to your childhood nostalgia, they’re a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. What could be better?
- 1 cup margarine or similar product, softened (I used Earth Balance vegan sticks)
- 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (non-dairy)
- 1 and 1/2 cups sliced almonds, partially chopped (instructions below)
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
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.
Pat the cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, making a large rectangle. Don’t spread the dough to the edges of the pan, since it will thin out while baking. Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle on the chocolate chips. Wait five minutes. While you’re waiting, put the almonds in a sealed baggie and pound a few times with a heavy object (I used the bottom of a sturdy plastic cup).
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.
Cut into squares and serve!