Chocolate Almond Toffee Bars. Good!

Chocolate Almond Toffee Bars

Chocolate Almond Toffee Bars

Here’s the recipe for Chocolate Almond Toffee Bars which I mentioned in my last post. It’s from Anna Olson, Food Network TV chef and cookbook author.

No doubt Anna’s original recipe is great, and I’ll have to try the recipe as written some time. When I wanted to make it recently, I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand and didn’t have time to go to the store to get what I was missing. Thankfully, my modifications worked out just fine.

Here are my substitutions:

  • quick oats instead of rolled oats
  • salted butter instead of salt and unsalted butter
  • 4 well-crushed Skor bars instead of Skor toffee bits
  • chopped walnuts instead of almonds
  • aluminum foil instead of parchment paper

These CAT Bars are good. No, very good! And, they make a great gift. If you’re giving them away, don’t forget to keep back a few pieces to enjoy yourself!

Chocolate Almond Toffee Bars
(Makes 25 to 36 squares – depending how big you cut them!)

1-1/2 cups (375 mL) rolled oats
1/2 cup (125 mL) graham cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (250 mL) Skor toffee bits
1 cup (250 mL) chocolate chips
1 cup (250 mL) sliced almonds
1 can (300 mL) sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease and line an 8-inch (2 L) square pan with parchment paper so the paper hangs over the sides of the pan.

Stir oats, graham cracker crumbs and salt in a bowl to combine, then stir in melted butter. Press crumbly oat mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle Skor bits evenly on top, followed by chocolate chips and sliced almonds. Pour condensed milk evenly over top (it will sink as it bakes).

Bake until top is golden brown and the edges are bubbling, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Cool to room temperature in the pan, then chill for at least 4 hours before slicing into squares.

Celebrity chefs inspire adoring foodie fans

I spent this past weekend at the Seasons Christmas Show at the International Centre in Toronto. No, not shopping for Christmas decorations, gifts and baking. I was working at the Egg Farmers of Ontario‘s booth where we were giving out recipes for holiday baking and entertaining, and selling microwave egg cookers. (The cookers make excellent poached eggs, not to mention great stocking stuffers!) I’ll admit I did slip away from the booth a couple times to check out the show, but most of the time, it was work, work, work….

Our booth was located across the aisle from the Toronto Star Theatre, one of the presentation stages at the Show. Occasionally there was a lull in the activity in front of our booth; when no one was picking up recipes or asking a question about the nutritional value of eggs, I and the staff at our booth were entertained by the demonstrations on the cooking stage.

The presenters, who included Food Network‘s Chefs Anna Olson and Anthony Sedlak from FoodTV, as well as Elizabeth Baird, Executive Food Editor for Canadian Living magazine and Chef James Smith from George Brown College, attracted large crowds. As the weekend progressed, I made a few mental observations about the crowds and the high-profile cooks.

* Lots of talk, but not so much cooking! Most of the cooking dems went on for nearly an hour, but some presenters spent much of that time talking, not cooking. The crowds seemed content to sit and listen to cooking tips and techniques, food facts, and stories about what happens behind-the-scenes of a televized cooking show, despite witnessing a minimal amount of chopping, stirring and actual cooking.

* It tastes great – or so we’ve been told! Once the demonstration was over, samples of the finished dish were not typically provided for the gathered crowd to taste. Having done quite a few cooking demonstrations in my life, I know from experience that it can be a challenge to find a recipe to demonstrate for a large group of people that can also be easily sampled by the crowd. The problem is neatly solved by simply demonstrating the recipe but not offering samples of the finished product. This seemed to be the solution for a number of the presentations at the Toronto Star Theatre. I did notice that over at Canadian Living magazine’s stage, there appeared to be samples at each of the cooking dems.

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