Last week, in the midst of planning the final touches on my son’s Bar Mitvah(so much more on that later), I was obligated to bake for a crowd. When ever I bake for a crowd, I turn to some sort of bar cookie. I rifled through several books (The Magnolia Cookbook, The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 125 Cookies, Baked, and From my Home to Yours) before settling on these bars by Nancy Baggett. I generally am not attracted to a bar baked in anything less than an 11″ x 17″ pan, but I made an exception for these. So glad I didn’t follow my own rules. I cut them a little smaller, to make it feel like I had more than I did, and everyone who ate them got a little bite of heaven.Everything tastes better with bits of toffee – don’t you agree?
Coffee Pecan Crunch Bars with Coffee Cream Icing
for the bar:
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 Tbsp ground coffee beans
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
8 oz.(two sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. espresso powder
1 Tbsp. hot water
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
3/4 cup heath bar pieces
for the icing:
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tbsp. unslated butter, room temp
1 1/2 tsp. instant coffee disolved in 2 T hot water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
for the bar:
• preheat oven to 325*
• butter a 9″ x 13″ metal baking pan.
• whisk the flour, ground espresso, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. set aside
• in a small bowl, dissolve the 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of instant espresso with 1 tablespoon of hot water. set aside.
• in the workbowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, coffee mixture, and vanilla extract until combined and creamy.
• turn your mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients until well mixed(do not overmix)
• add the pecans and the toffee pieces.
• spread the mixture, evenly in your prepared pan. once distributed, take a piece of wax paper, lay it over the top and press firmly with your hand and press it out until evenly distributed and smooth. remove the wax paper.
• bake for 23-25 minutes or until the edges are beginning to darken. cool on a wire rack.
for the icing:
• combine the 1 1/4 tsps. of instant espresso with 2 tablespoons of hot water. set aside
• in the metal bowl of your electric mixer, cream the butter, vanilla, and the coffee mixture until smooth.
• add the powdered sugar and mix unitl you do not see any lumps.
• using an off set spatula, spread the icing over the cooled bars. work quickly as this icing hardens quickly. let sit for 1 hour before cutting into individual bars.
• store in an airtight container for 1 month.
The Urban Baker / SusanSalzman.com