Sunday, January 25, 2009

coffee crunch bars

when i first flipped through the february issue of bon appetit the coffee crunch bars caught my eye. i knew that i had to make them. i chocolate? almonds? and crunchy? what's not to like?

yesterday i really wanted to make a pie. but all the pies that i wanted to make were fruit pies calling for fruit that is not in season now (of course). so i flipped through a few cookbooks looking for a dessert to make and nothing was tempting me (which is weird...i mean...when did i get so picky about making delicious desserty things?), just one of those days i guess. but then suddenly i remembered the coffee crunch bars and i was excited and ready to go!

only one thing...about a week ago erin and i were emailing back and forth and i mentioned this particular recipe in bon appetit that i really wanted to make. i found the online link and sent it to her. i also looked at the recipe reviews while i was there and, sadly, they were not favorable. one thing that stuck with me was that a lot of people claimed the finished product tasted of burnt butter. this wasn't enough to turn me off of the recipe completely (obviously) but the negative reviews loomed in the back of my mind i decided to tweak a few things to ensure that my finished product end up as tasty and satisfying as i knew it could be. below is the recipe as it appears in the magazine with my changes noted.

coffee crunch bars

(bon appetit, february 2009)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (i used vegan margarine)
1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (i just chopped up baking squares so mine were more chunks than chips)
1/2 cup sliced almonds

preheat oven to 325. whisk first 3 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.

using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in another medium bowl until blended, about 2 minutes. add espresso powder and almond extract; beat 1 minute.

stir in flour mixture in 3 additions, mixing until just absorbed after each addition. stir in chocolate chips and almonds (dough will be thick).

turn dough onto ungreased rimmed baking sheet. using hands, press dough into 12-inch square.* pierce all over with fork at 1-inch intervals.

bake until edges are lightly browned and beginning to crisp, 45 - 50 minutes**. cool on sheet 1 minute. cut into bars and immediately transfer to rack to cool. store in airtight container.

*my largest baking sheet is 11x17 so i knew the 12 inch square wasn't going to happen. my rectangle was 11 by, maybe, 8. it was just shy of being as tall as the rim on the baking sheet.
**i set my timer for 45 minutes but kept an eye on them as they cooked. i took them out after about 30 minutes.

with my changes in size and cooking time i ended up with bars that are the texture of chewey brownies and have a lovely espresso taste. not too sweet but not bitter either. kris and i enjoyed them with a cup of coffee with a splash of amaretto for dessert. true, they might not be crunchy as the originals are meant to be, but they also do not taste of burnt butter so i think i won.



Kris said...

Not as sweet as a normal brownie, which is good.

Chris said...

Ah! Perfect late night, caffeine-filled study snack (/perfect for my current procrastination)! Coffee and chocolate really are a match made in heaven...