We’re in the middle of…a bit of an adjustment period. A Moving Adjustment Period. This is the time, after arriving in a new city, where it is perfectly acceptable to drive around aimlessly gawking until you’re lost beyond belief. Or cut across three lanes of traffic because you forgot your turn was coming up.
Nothing in this place is familiar. Frankly, it’s taking some getting used to. Little things are different. Like the oven makes a totally different sound when it’s done preheating and it always catches me off guard. And we don’t know where to go to get excellent Mexican (GASP! I can’t live like this!) The other day, I was in a very familiar department store that was laid out in very same way as the same store in our old location. After spending a good hour in there, I think I forgot where I was, because I came out, saw a completely different view from the door and had a mini freak out. I thought I stepped into another dimension.
ZOMG, what happened to that weird buffet restaurant that clearly used to be a Chi-Chi’s!?? What is this BIZARRO WORLD?!
Oh yeah…I moved. The re-purposed Chi-Chi’s is in another state. Whoops.
Anyway, we’re learning the ropes. Adjusting to this exciting new world. While the surroundings aren’t familiar yet, these quick and simple bar cookies are an old favorite. Comforting in a time of change, ya know? 🙂
Toffee Squares! I remember these from holiday treat trays when I was a little girl. I know my mom has this recipe on a handwritten card in her collection somewhere. A sweet, buttery, nutty shortbread-like crust topped with a layer of silky milk chocolate and crunchy chopped nuts. They totally have the caramel notes you expect from a yummy square of English toffee. So simple, yet so delicious. These literally take seconds to throw together. Cream together butter, brown sugar, vanilla and the yolk of one egg. Add the flour to bind it all together, press into a greased 9×13 inch pan and toss in the oven. When they come out, lay squares of milk chocolate over the top, let them soften up a bit and spread it across the entire pan like frosting.
Try not to lick the knife…. Eh, lick the knife if you want. No one’s looking…
The entire thing is finished off with chopped nuts. I recommend pecans, but if you’re like me and happen to have just about every nut in your freezer EXCEPT pecans, you can use whatever you have around. I went with sliced almonds. You could also leave them off completely if you’re not a fan.
TOFFEE SQUARES (Recipe Source: Betty Crocker’s 1963 Cooky Book)
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar (either light or dark will work)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 7 to 8 oz. milk chocolate, broken into squares (I used two large Hershey bars that were somewhere around 4 oz. each)
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a 9×13 inch pan with foil and grease well with cooking spray.
- Cream butter, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla together with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add flour and salt and mix until combined and soft dough forms.
- Press the dough into the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges with a rubber spatula or fingers. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top.
- Remove from oven and immediately place chocolate squares on top. Let stand for a few minutes until softened, then spread evenly across the entire surface. Sprinkle with nuts. Allow the chocolate to set and cut into bars. Makes about 32 squares.