White Chocolate Toffee Bars (Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap)
Sometimes it’s hard to get into the swing of Christmas – there’s so much to do, so much going on, that it seems like the whole season just swoops on by before I’m ready! But one thing I have managed to get done this year, at least, was one good cookie swap.
The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, that is! This was a fun event dreamed up by Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil, and Julie of The Little Kitchen. With their hard work and amazing organizational skills, they coordinated over 22,000 cookies getting sent around the world as part of this swap! Thanks to both of them for putting together this opportunity for me to participate in a cookie swap, even though most of my close friends are in another state. If you would like to be notified when they do this again next year, go to this page to sign up.
So, each of us were to make 3 dozen cookies of one recipe, then send 1 dozen to each of 3 bloggers, whose contact info we received from Julie and Lindsay. In return, we would receive 3 dozen cookies different cookies. Then, we will all post our recipes on the appointed day (today). A great way to stock up on delicious goodies for the holiday season AND get some yummy new recipes.
I had planned to take pictures of the cookies I received to put up here, but alas, they were gone so fast, no pictures got taken (my boyfriend, the King of Sweet Teeth, was in hog heaven with all those cookies around). Somehow, a picture of the empty containers wouldn’t quite have the same impact. Thank you to Lauren of West Coast Girl, East Coast Life for some seriously delicious Eggnog Snickerdoodle cookies. Can’t wait for that recipe to get posted! And also many thanks to Anh-Chi of Foodie Next Door for the yummy ginger snaps!
I agonized for a long time about what kind of cookies to send. My first couple of thoughts were, of course, recipes I’ve made for friends that were popular. But they weren’t really appropriate for shipping. Finally, I settled on these toffee bars. Beautiful, delicious and festive, AND they (hopefully) travel well, being firm bars.
I hope that the recipients of my cookies received them in reasonable condition. I stuffed the boxes with so much parchment paper and bubble wrap, there was barely enough room for the cookies!
Enough rambling – here is my recipe for White Chocolate Toffee Bars. These are easy to make, make a bunch, and can be easily customized with toppings of your choice. Enjoy!
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1⁄4 teaspoon (heaping) salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 5 ounces high quality white chocolate chopped
- 1⁄2 tsp coconut oil optional
- 1 pinch salt
- 1⁄4 - 1⁄2 cup shelled pistachios toasted, chopped
- 1⁄4 - 1⁄2 cup dried cranberries finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13" (11.5" x 16.5" (half sheet pan) for double batch) rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Whisk together flour and salt. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add egg yolk and vanilla and mix until combined. With mixer on low, add flour a little at a time until fully incorporated. Do not overmix.
Turn the dough out onto your lined cookie sheet. Using your very clean, bare hands (a spatula will stick, hands won't), press the dough evenly into the pan to the edges.
Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, until firm and light golden brown. As with all baking, start checking early - all ovens are different and you can always bake more, but you can't take back burnt.
Meanwhile, melt white chocolate, coconut oil and salt in microwave in 30 second bursts, just until melted, stirring vigorously after each burst (chocolate burns easily, so go cautiously). Stir until well combined. Pour over top of cookies and use an offset spatula to spread evenly. Sprinkle toppings over the white chocolate, pressing lightly to make them stick, if needed.
Using ends of parchment paper, lift entire sheet of bars out of the pan and cool on a wire rack until chocolate is fully set. You can leave it on the sheet pan and put into the refrigerator to speed setting, if desired. Allow bars to cool completely before cutting (if you try to cut while the chocolate is still soft, it will drag instead of cut cleanly). When chocolate is set but not rock hard, cut the bars into diamonds by first slicing diagonally along the length of the cookie sheet in 1.5 inch intervals. Then cut lengthwise vertically every 2" or so, to the edge of the sheet. Or, just do simple squares.
Store in an airtight container.