These Toffee Triangles are crunchy and rich
Vail, CO, Colorado
Editor’s note: Living in the Colorado high country is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the mountains successful.
My love affair with toffee goes so far into my past that I sometimes wonder if I was born with it (“Congratulations! You have a daughter … six pounds, brown hair and with an unquenchable passion for toffee.”) I collect every recipe that boasts a toffee taste and this one for Toffee Triangles is a favorite.
It’s a pleasing mixture of ingredients. The brown sugar gives the crust a distinct toffee taste, which is complemented nicely by the pecan and chocolate topping. Crunchy and rich, everyone likes the combination. The recipe comes together quickly and is very straightforward; it’s so easy that I’ve used it when baking with children. And, cut into long triangles, the cookies are pretty enough to serve to company.
The fastest way to make this little gem is with a food processor. Use it to mix the dough and chop the chocolate and nuts. However, the dough can also be prepared with an electric mixer or by hand and the chopping can be completed the old-fashioned way as well.
I’ve stored these cookies in the refrigerator, well-sealed, for six days and I’ve frozen them for over two months.
Make in a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom
Or in an 8X8 inch baking pan
8 tablespoons (one stick) of unsalted butter, at room temperature if using a mixer; chilled if using a food processor
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar, packed firmly
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 teaspoons of vanilla
1 egg yolk from a large egg
1 cup of all purpose flour
5 ounces of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup of toasted pecans, chopped
Step One: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position. Grease the tart pan. If the pan you are using is dark metal, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. If you are using an 8X8 inch baking pan, line it with Reynold’s Release non-stick aluminum foil or regular aluminum foil. If using regular foil, grease it well.
Step Two: Make the crust in either a food processor or by mixing. To mix, Cut the room-temperature butter into about eight pieces and place them, with the brown sugar and salt, in a medium bowl. Beat until well mixed. Add the vanilla and the egg yolk and beat until just blended. Add the flour and mix (on low speed if using an electric mixer) until the dough is uniformly moistened and begins to form large clumps. To make in a food processor, place the flour, brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of the food processor and pulse until combined. Cut the chilled butter into eight to 10 pieces, add to the bowl and pulse until the mixture looks like course meal. Combine the egg yolk and vanilla in a small bowl, add them to the processor and pulse until the dough starts to form large clumps.
For both methods, scrape the dough into the prepared pan and smooth and level it. Since the dough is sticky, either wet your hands or press through a piece of plastic wrap to make a uniformly flat crust.
Step Three: Place the pan on a foil-lined baking sheet. The foil will catch any drips that come through the tart pan’s removable bottom. Place both in the oven and bake until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and the top is set and looks dry. This takes about 26 minutes in my oven. Times will vary depending on your oven and the pan you use. When done, remove the baked crust, in its pan, to a cooling rack. It need not cool entirely before continuing with the recipe.
Step Four: While the crust is baking, chop the chocolate into half-inch to quarter-inch pieces. Combine it with the three tablespoons of cream in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about one minute at low. Remove the bowl and stir. If, after stirring, some chocolate pieces are still visible, microwave again for 30 seconds. Stir again. Chocolate burns easily, so remove it from the heat before it is entirely melted and stir to complete the process. You can also melt the chocolate with the cream in a double boiler over simmering water. In either case, stir the mixture until it is smooth and shiny.
Step Five: Spoon or pour the warm chocolate mixture over the warm crust and spread it evenly to within a half inch of the crust’s edge. Sprinkle the toasted pecan pieces evenly over the chocolate and lightly press them into it. Place the pan in the refrigerator until the chocolate is set. When the topping is firm to the touch, remove the pastry from the pan and cut it into sixteen wedges. If you are using an 8X8 inch pan, you may want to cut the cookie into fingers (4 inches long and about one inch wide) rather than triangles.
This is a variation of a recipe in The Weekend Baker.
Vera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact Dawson with your comments about this column and/or your baking questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.