Toffee-Nut Bars

December 17, 2010

The comforting aroma of brown butter, especially during cold wintry days, is the culinary equivalent of your favourite over sized-sweater...the one that comes down to the knees and can be worn over leggings (mine is grey, and nubby, and super-warm.) When I'm freezing, I can't wait to throw it on, sit on the sofa, and curl my legs up into it. The scent of Brown butter makes me feel the same way. It's relaxingly familiar, and unlike a woolly sweater, completely edible. I've said it before, but it bears repeating, if I knew the world was coming to an end, I would pour brown butter over everything, Everything. It's sooo good.

These scrumptious bars come together relatively quick, but as I've just come off of a cupcake-making bender, anything that does not require dividing batter into tins or piping frosting out of a constantly clogging tip, is a cake walk. Yes, I went there.

Toffee-Nut Bars (adapted from Hershey's) Print

Crust ingredients
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, cold and cut into bits.
1 cup of packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of chopped walnuts (you may use pecans or almonds too.)

Brown Butter Toffee ingredients
2/3 cup of butter (cut into Tablespoon-sized pieces.)
1/3 cup of packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1/4 teaspoon of salt

Topping ingredients
1 cup of chopped dark chocolate (or chips)

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang (for easier removal.) Lightly butter or spray the foil. Set the pan aside.
Prepare the crust: In a large bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Whisk to combine, making sure any sugar lumps are removed. With a pastry blender or your fingertips, work the pieces of butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly.
Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Sprinkle the walnuts in an even layer over the top of the crust. Set aside as you prepare the toffee.
Toffee: Place the cut-up butter into a small saucepan. Melt on low heat. Once it has melted, raise the temperature to a medium/low. Keep stirring, and cook until the butter turns light golden and becomes aromatic (it will become foamy at first, so don't be alaramed.) Remove from the heat and add the brown sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar has dissolved into the butter. Return to the stove and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for about 30-40 seconds.
Immediately pour the toffee over the walnuts and crust.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, until the topping is bubbly and light golden.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the hot bars. Let it sit for a few minutes until it melts. Gently spread the chocolate over the entire pan.
Cool completely before cutting into bars.


  1. Oh my goodness!! This looks so rich, buttery, delicious. Plus it's covered in chocolate. Wonderful :)

  2. So irresistible and devilishy scrumptious



  3. these look incredibly buttery and delicious

  4. I want to work on the Northwestern too, so that when the day comes that you get their cooking job, you can make delicacies like this for me. They look unbelievable!

  5. I love the brown makes everything taste so much better. These look fabulous!
    (And so does the limoncello tart!)

  6. Oh Valerie! Nick's Toffee-Nut Bars look so good. I just woke up in a weird position and could't fall back asleep due to the pain. Well, the pain of sleeping oddly and taking care of my family all week;-) Anyway, point is I would love one of these with my coffee right now. That would make me forget the about the fact that I can't move my neck from side to side (smile)...
    p.s. missed you!
    p.s.s. you are getting good at making headers.

  7. Yum, yummy!! They sure look juicy!! If my oven worked, I'd certainly make these! But I guess it'll have to wait a while,

  8. Wow, your last few posts all look de-lish! (Well, all of yours always do, but I'm just trying to catch up.)
    Happy Holidays to you!

  9. First of all... your description of brown butter was mouthwatering... but more than that. I can relate to the favourite sweater and cuddling on one's favourite chair on a winter's day. For sure. And, like you, I love brown butter...
    Secondly, your photography is simple, and simply gorgeous. The next best thing to biting into one of those delectable treats.
    I don't make squares anymore... and I wonder why when I see this. Maybe I am about to start!

  10. Hhehe I love that 'brown butter is like a over-sized sweater' statement! These bars look soo good. I somehow manage to burn a lot of butter while browning it!


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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