My Grandma's Toffee Bars

This is my all time favorite Christmas cookie.  My Grandma has made these since I was little, and there is nothing that evokes the feeling of Christmas more for me.  One taste of these cookies and I am overcome by a wave of nostalgia...I can smell the Christmas tree and see all of the ornaments that have always been there, hear the laughter of my family all around me, see us all gathered around the large table that is still at my Grandparent's house, and feel my sister's hand in mine as we would sneak out of our beds to open our stockings before anyone else in the house awoke on Christmas morning.  I don't see all of my family on Christmas anymore since we're all spread out around the country, but I will always have these memories  and a sense of tradition that they each helped to instill in me.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

My Grandma's Toffee Bars
Toffee barsToffee bars with pecans

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 Hershey's milk chocolate bars (1.55 oz each), or about 9 ounces milk chocolate
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until just combined.
  3. Mix in egg yolk and vanilla.
  4. Add flour and salt and mix until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Spread the dough onto a greased cookie sheet with your hands, leaving about 1/4 inch all around the edges.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes
  7. Remove from oven and place chocolate all over the large cookie.
  8. Place back in hot oven for about a minute to just melt the chocolate.
  9. Spread chocolate evenly over the cookie (all the way to the edges) and sprinkle with pecan pieces if you are using them.
  10. Cut the cookies into small squares and allow the chocolate to set before serving.
makes about 60 squares

Oh, memories!Oh, memories!

Notes on my Grandma's toffee bars:
  • I usually try to replace some or all of the apf in a recipe with a whole grain alternative.  Not for these!  I'm sure it would work, but then they wouldn't be the same and the sameness is what is important for these.
  • Same story for the chocolate.  I usually prefer dark chocolate, but for these it needs to be milk chocolate, and preferably Hershey's, to be historically accurate.
  • Note that the chocolate is too thin in the pictures above.  I misread the recipe and only put about half of the chocolate that is normal (I realized this while making them, but didn't have any more chocolate to remedy the situation).
  • Some years, my Grandma would replace the milk chocolate with an equivalent amount of Andes mints.  I *highly* recommend doing this.

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