23 December 2012

Christmas Craziness and Toffee Bars

It's the night before the day before Christmas. The stockings are still three steps from finished; the tree is losing needles every time we turn around; the presents aren't wrapped; I found out two hours ago that, surprise, I'm making Christmas dinner for the family! and Little Bear just threw up his antibiotics for the second time today. All over me. Ho. ho. ho.

So how am I industriously using my time now that LB is finally napping? (Other than blogging, silly). No, I'm not doing any of the things on my rapidly growing list: I'm baking cookies!

Toffee bars are one of the traditions Matt grew up with every Christmas; they're something he would really miss if they didn't show up. He was good enough to say, knowing that I was stressed by everything else that must be done, that he didn't mind if they appeared later in the Christmas season... but I really wanted to do something nice for him, so here we are.

I also grew up with toffee at Christmas, but I really like my mother-in-law's recipe:

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup cold butter. Pat into a foil-lined, greased 13x9 pan. Bake for 12 minutes.

In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup room-temperature butter over low heat until bubbly. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons honey, 1/2 cup heavy cream, and 2 tablespoons syrup and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it reaches a boil. Allow to boil 1 minute without stirring, then pour over hot crust.

Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped evenly over the toffee. Bake another 12 - 15 minutes, until the toffee bubbles. Sprinkle up to 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips on top and allow to melt for 2 minutes, then swirl across toffee with a spatula. Cool completely. To remove, invert pan on a cutting board, then peel away foil.

I'll get a photo up once they are out of the oven and cut!

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