ENGLISH TOFFEE BARS – Sweet Indulgence!

english toffee textWhen I harken back to Christmases past, one thing that stands out is the English Toffee Bars my best friend’s mother made every year. Besides my mom’s fudge, English Toffee Bars were a favorite.

Not only are they very easy to make, but they freeze well. As Queen of Freeze – this is a major bonus for me! And, while we’re on the subject, don’t forget to freeze the unused egg white that comes with the used egg yolk.


  • 1 cup butter, soft
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed (I use dark brown)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • about 7 oz milk chocolate candy bar, broken into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped well & lightly toasted

Preheat oven to 375º Fahrenheit.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar for 3 minutes. englishtoffee8Add the yolk, vanilla, and salt. Beat 1 minute. english toffee9Add the flour and mix on low speed, just until flour is incorporated. english toffee10Place dough on a piece of parchment paper, and pat it out to 11.5″ x 11.5″, trying your best to keep it of even height.english toffee2 Slide parchment on onto a rimless cookie sheet. Place in preheated 375º F oven. Bake 11-14 minutes, rotating once, until browned. Remove from oven. english toffee3Immediately, top hot dough with chocolate bar pieces and let sit for 2-3 minutes , until chocolate softens.english toffee5Spread chocolate. english toffee6Sprinkle with toasted nuts, pressing very lightly so nuts adhere to chocolate.english toffee1 Cool bar on cookie sheet about 20 minutes so it sets. Slide parchment onto counter. Slice off uncoated edges, then cut slab into squares while still soft (if you wait until they’re hard, they’ll break when cut). Once bars are completely cool, refrigerate to firm up.

NOTE: The cut-away edges still make good eating – they’re just not very pretty.


Looking At Oatmeal/Chips Cookies In A Whole New Light! Or Not.

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Oatmeal is known for its cholesterol lowering properties.  So can we go one step further and assume oatmeal cookies are good for you?  Hmmmm?  Well, I think you know the answer to that.  I AM the queen of rationalization but even I can’t make that leap.  That being said, a tasty dessert – in moderation – can be good for your mental well-being.

My philosophy is that if I’m going to indulge, the food better be worth it.  That’s why I cook from scratch – I tailor food to suit my family’s taste AND I know what goes in it.  No additives or cheap low-grade ingredients.  Baking from scratch is really not difficult nor is it as time consuming as you might think.  And, like anything, the more you do it, the faster it gets.  So pour that glass of milk and set it in the refrigerator, ready to go for when these OATMEAL/CHIPS COOKIES come out of the oven!


  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 ¼ cups uncooked oatmeal
  • ¾ cup flour (I used organic all-purpose)
  • ½ tsp baking soda (make sure you use soda, NOT powder – they’re not the same)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ – 1 cup chips (I used half chocolate chips and half butterscotch chips)

Toast the walnuts until they just start to darken and you can smell them.  Toasting nuts and seeds enhances their flavor and makes them crispier.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the shortening, butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until everything is well blended.  If you don’t have an electric mixer (yet another kitchen item you really should have!), you’ll have to mix the cookies by hand – not too difficult with this recipe.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  Add the oatmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl.  Before turning on the mixer again, use your spatula to mix the dry ingredients together.  (You could mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, but I do it this way to save dirtying an extra bowl.)  Then turn on the mixer and blend until the dry ingredients are ALMOST fully incorporated.  Finally, add in the walnuts and chips, and blend either by hand or on a low speed of your mixer – just until the chips are evenly dispersed throughout the dough.

Preheat your oven to 375º Fahrenheit.  Spoon the dough onto  nonstick or greased cookie sheets.  I prefer using a dark, nonstick cookie sheet – the cookies don’t spread as much so they’re thicker, and they bake quicker.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.  Set hot sheet on stove for 3 minutes, then remove cookies to a wire rack to completely cool.  Letting the hot cookies set for 3 minutes allows them to set – they’re still molten when you take them from the oven, and trying to remove them from the cookie sheet immediately will lead to a real mess – and probably a lot of bad language.

NOTE:  If you’re in the market for cookie sheets, don’t waste your money on those sheets that have 2 layers with air in between.  I’ve never found them to be as good as the inexpensive dark, non-stick kind.  Just my opinion.

Enjoy your cookies with a nice glass of ice cold milk, and hope that someday they’ll discover that oatmeal in cookies is still good for you.  I’d be glad to help with the research!