One of the reasons that I love to bake is that people find homemade goods to be really special. Though my mother didn’t bake super frequently when I was growing up, I loved everything she baked. My favorite recipe was her toffee bars, and I always associate those cookies with feeling happy and nurtured.
So as part of my Passover quest to bake desserts that taste as though they contain flour, I make these toffee bars annually as a tribute to my mother and as an excuse to eat one of my favorite cookies. They’re classic and the base is mainly ground almonds. Yay protein!
The key to making good dessert on Passover is avoiding matza meal as much as you can. This recipe uses some, but not an enormous amount. The almonds fill in that gap beautifully.
See? Lots of almond goodness. And there is a nice but not too thick cookie layer that gets balanced out really well with all that chocolate. The more chocolate the better, especially on Passover!
One of my favorite toffee bar elements is the little edge of the crust that crisps up so nicely. I’ve been known to break off the edges and leave the rest of the cookie there, pretending that it was always a bit smaller. Shh. Don’t tell anyone!
You can always toast the almonds that go on top if you like, but that’s an extra step I don’t feel like taking. It might make the cookies ever so slightly better, but you have to weigh that incremental improvement against time and effort. I don’t think it’s worth it.
What is worth it, though, is making these bars. They will disappear and the people will thank you!
- 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1 cup matza meal
- 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup sliced almonds (I used blanched)
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, almond extract, and salt. Beat again. Slowly, add the ground almonds and matza meal until the ingredients are mixed and the dough is stiff.
Press the dough evenly into the cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until the edges are golden and the middle is puffed up a bit.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the crust and wait for five minutes. Then, using a knife or offset spatula, spread the chocolate over the crust. Sprinkle on the almonds.
Let the cookies cool and then place the pan in the refrigerator to harden the chocolate completely, about 20-30 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut the cookies into even squares. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.