I met Julia 30 years ago in P.M. Kindergarten, where she was my sworn enemy. Despite a year of screeching arguments across the art table, we became best friends a few years later, and now we share recipes from halfway across the country. About her Toffee Squares, Julia writes:
I don’t know how she did it, but my mom used to make 100+ dozen cookies every holiday season. But by the time she was my age, she had both an eight-year old and a four-year old eager to help make cookies and fond memories. The repeat stars every year were crescent cookies, green spritz cookies, and what we called toffee squares.
The first time I didn’t go home for Christmas was just a few years ago, and the one thing that was going to make this fact okay was if I could have some toffee squares. But I had never made them outside of my childhood kitchen and certainly not without my mother’s guiding eye; I was convinced they would be impossible to make. To my surprise, it turned out that for years I had been holding the key on my very own bookshelf – in the Betty Crocker under “Toffee Bars!” Well, as my coworker says, “That woman can cook,” and I quickly learned that this recipe was so magically easy, I could actually make them all by myself!
Happy holidays, and may you have the most fun making memories with your family.
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix butter, brown sugar, vanilla and egg yolk in large bowl.
- Stir in flour and salt.
- Press dough into ungreased rectangular pan (13x9x2 in.) or onto large pizza stone (I prefer baking with a pizza stone because there is no way to burn the bottom of the cookie without also burning the top).
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until very light brown (will still be very soft).
- Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips onto hot cookie and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Gently spread warmed chocolate chips over entire surface of cookie.
- Sprinkle chocolate with nuts.
- Cool in the pan for 30 minutes.
- Cut into bars while still warm (you can also try using cookie cutters for shaped toffee bars – see the musical notes in the top picture)
I live in Washington, DC, with my husband, Germán, and our Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Lily.