Let the holiday baking extravaganza begin! I am excited to share with you one of my very favorite treats for the holidays. Something about munching on one of these sweet chocolate toffee bars with a cup of tea or a big glass of milk just makes me feel ready for St. Nick, even if I have yet to accomplish even a tiny fraction of my Christmas to do list.
This recipe starts with a classic, buttery shortbread base with a hint of cinnamon and studded with chocolate chips. Top the shortbread with more chocolate in a thin layer, then top that with sugary, crunchy toffee bits. I find the finished bars completely irresistable and have to share the batch, because I can rarely stop at eating one!
Of course, you could easily swap out just about anything for the toffee bits – peppermint candies, mints, M&Ms, you name it. To be honest, these are perfectly good for just about any time of year, but I’ve been making them around Christmas for several years now, so they just channel holiday spirit to me.
What are your favorite holiday baking traditions? I’m always looking for more inspiration, and actually find baking a welcome break from so many of the other tasks that pile up at this time of year. After all, baking produces a tangible, usually delicious, result, and what stack of presents to wrap or cards to address doesn’t look more manageable with a little treat by your side? So go ahead and dive into the holiday baking. It’s a good thing for you & yours all around! : )
Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Bars
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips, divided
- 1 1/2 cup toffee bits
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9”x13” baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on at least two sides that will allow you to lift the bars out after they bake. Lightly grease the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
- Combine the flour, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
- Combine the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix briefly. With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture. Mix until flour is just barely incorporated. Add 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Stir by hand using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to evenly distribute chips.
- Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and, using a spatula or your hands, press the dough down and into each corner. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the shortbread is golden and bubbly.
- After removing the pan from the oven, immediately sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips over the crust. Cover the pan with foil and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. Using a small spatula or spoon, spread the softened chocolate evenly over the crust. Quickly sprinkle the toffee bits over the layer of melted chocolate.
- Let the bars cool to room temperature. (Or, if you’re in a rush, help them along with a few minutes in the fridge or freezer.) Use the foil to lift shortbread out of the pan, then cut into bars and serve. Bars will keep for at least 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.