Heath Bar Cookies – The Ultimate Chocolate Toffee Crunch
I swear this has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day. If you love someone you will NOT make them these killer cookies, a frighteningly addictive combo of all four basic food groups: sugar, salt, fat and crunch. Plus chocolate.
Not sure if that’s Aunt Emma talking or Carol herself, but either way the description is accurate. Only mystery is why the title doesn’t mention “easy” and/or “quick.”
A great super-simple recipe based on saltines sounds like something that would be right there on the box or at least out in general circulation, yet I’d never seen it before. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s obscure; until fairly recently I was the only person in America who didn’t know about single-serve coffee pods.
But when I Googled saltines heath bar there were only 12,400 hits. Not a lot as these things go; chicken cornflake crust brings up well over a million.
The first 20 recipes – sufficient, I felt, for casual research – described a great many variations. Impressive considering that there are only five ingredients and two of them (butter and brown sugar) must be used as-is for success.
Chocolates were all over the map although chips predominated. Toppings included every nut you could think of as well as actual heath bars. My favorite? Several sites mentioned a kosher version with matzoh instead of saltines and since saltines are already kosher that must mean kosher for Passover – no mean trick for a confection that was more than once (I’m sorry to say) referred to as Trailer Trash Toffee .
Oh well. Mild for the internet, I suppose.
And now that we get to the nitty gritty l have to confess there is a Valentine’s aspect, Carol’s recipe came on the February page of her annual gift Calendar.
The cookies are on the left, under some pecan bars I’m now afraid to try. E. B. Browning’s How Do I Love Thee…(For Georgy from Lizzie) is on the right. But just in case you didn’t bring your magnifying glass – and because I changed it a little anyway – here’s the recipe for
AUNT EMMA LEE’S HEATH BAR COOKIES (via Carol Cardon)
sufficient saltines to pave a 10 x 15 ” jelly roll pan – 1 sleeve , conveniently enough
1 c. butter
1 c. dark brown sugar
6 – 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate ( 55 – 65 %), as chips, feves or chopped
1 heaping c. ( 4 oz) almonds, toasted and chopped.
1. Heat the oven to 400. Line a 10×15 ” jelly roll pan with tinfoil. Pave it with saltines, cutting as necessary for complete coverage.
2. Combine butter and sugar in a heavy saucepan and bring to a low boil, stirring. Allow to boil, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Mixture will be smooth and thick, bubbling and heaving. It’s about soft ball stage if you use a candy thermometer but this isn’t a recipe where you really need a candy thermometer.
3. Spread the butter sugar mixture over the saltines. It will seem scant. There is enough. Try to get the layer as even as possible. Bake for 6 – 8 minutes, depending on your oven. This is bringing the candy up to hard toffee temperature, so it’s better to err slightly on the overcooked side.
4. Sprinkle the chocolate over the surface and let it melt – return the pan to the turned off oven for about a minute if the chocolate chunks are so big they need a little encouragement. Spread the melted chocolate evenly, then scatter on the nuts and gently press them in. Chill until firm.
5. Reverse the sheet of material onto the work surface, peel off the foil and break into irregular pieces.