Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Bars

from melskitchencafe.com

*Makes 36-50 bars, depending on how big they are cut

The Crust:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 ounces bittersweet, semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped (if you don't have a scale, use about 1/2 cup)

The Topping:

6 ounces bittersweet, semisweet, or milk chocolate, finely chopped (again, if you don't have a scale, use about 1 cup)

1 cup toffee bits (or about 4 Heath bars, chopped)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To make the crust, combine the all-purpose flour, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk together and set aside.

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Alternatively, place the butter in a large bowl and use a hand mixer. Beat for 3 minutes, or until the butter is smooth. Add the brown and granulated sugars and beat for an additional 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix briefly.

Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat in gradually (you can cover the bowl and your mixer with a towel to avoid flour flying all over the place or just mix in very slowly). Mix until the flour is almost incorporated. Add the 3 ounces of chocolate to the mixer and mix until the rest of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Do not overmix!

Line a 9 X 13-inch pan with foil, leaving long foil ends on the side. Lightly grease the foil.

Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and press down the mixture with a spatula and/or your fingertips. Bake the crust for 18-20 minutes, or until the crust is bubbling. Remove the crust from the oven and place the hot pan on a cooling rack.

Sprinkle the 6 ounces of chocolate over the hot bars and cover the pan with foil to let the chocolate melt. Let the pan sit for 5 minutes. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the softened chocolate over the crust. Sprinkle the toffee pieces (or cut up Heath bars) over the chocolate and press down gently with your fingers.

Let the bars cool to room temperature. If the chocolate is not set by the time the bars are cool, just pop the pan in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Using the long edges of foil as handles, lift the bars out of the pan and cut into bars.