This is a most excellent and very different type of bar – a very sophisticated and delicious combination of chocolate, coffee and toffee. They are crunchy, but not dry; chocolaty, but not sweet; rich and buttery, but not heavy tasting.
Here’s the ironic thing about this particular batch of bars. I made them for a dessert buffet at my school and you know how it is when you donate something to a buffet- you glance over every so often to see how much is left – hoping that your particular donation is the first to go because it’s so yummy. Doesn’t everyone want their dessert to be the best it can be? Well, this particular night, these bars were hardly touched!!! I’m not used to that!!! They ended up in the ‘left-over’ pile to sell in church the next morning……. Sigh
Don’t let my story scare you away from these. I have made them many times and they are A+. Trust me! (Notice the low temperature on the oven! I’ve ruined these in an oven which is set too high!)
Here’s what you need:
2 Cups flour
½ t baking powder
¼ t salt
2 sticks + 2 T butter (no substitutions here please or they really will end up in the ‘left over’ pile)
1 ¼ C packed dark brown sugar
2 T instant coffee powder
½ t almond extract
1 C semisweet chocolate chips
½ sliced or slivered almonds
Here’s what you do:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. (Notice the low temperature)
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar for a full 2 minutes.
Then add the dry coffee powder and almond extract. Beat for another 1 minute. Add in the flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing well after each addition. Finally, add the chocolate and almonds.
Turn out onto an ungreased baking sheet. I know, it looks hopeless, but it turns out great every time! Using your hands, shape and convince the dough into a 12 inch square – let the warmth of your hands help the butter behave!
Pierce all over with tines of a fork at about 1 inch intervals.
Bake until the edges are slightly brown – about 40 minutes. Cool for 1 minute and immediately cut into small squares. I start in the middle and work my way evenly to each edge. Notice that I trimmed away the ‘not-so-pretty-but-oh-so-tasty’ edges. You should end up with about 48 squares.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. These really crisp up and live up to their title as they cool.