What's Up, Cupcake? Menu

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sweet Treats Saturday: Toffee Bars

Wow. It's hard to believe that the last time I posted a Sweet Treats post was in 2012. I really didn't do much baking in the last 6 months. Between pregnancy aches and pains, and then trying to jump-start the post-pregnancy weight loss, it just wasn't on my radar. Oh and moving across country. That can put a hitch in the baking plans.

Being in a new home, making new friends... well, I think that definitely calls for me to start baking again.  After all, what better way to make people like you than to fatten them up with sweets? Ok, maybe not quite, but I do like bringing a dessert to most events.  This dessert made it to one of them.

So one of the mom's groups that I signed up for organized a wine and painting party.  I don't know if you have these in your area... I had never heard of it in California. But I thought it was pretty genius.  They walk you, step-by-step, through a simple acrylic painting.  You supply wine and snacks for your group.  You leave with a painting that may have been created while your vision was a bit fuzzy... and hope you still like it the next day. Well, if anything, you have a lot of laughs, and something to hang in a bathroom.

I brought these toffee bars as a little celebration dessert.  I'm surprisingly happy with how my painting turned out. It helped that I admired it at the end of the night while munching on one of these little bits of heaven.

They're very rich, but so good. If you love toffee, you've gotta try this.

Oh, and there are a few steps, but they're pretty fast and easy. So don't let that deter you.

Chocolate Toffee Bars
Recipe slightly modified from Cookies and Cups
Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly

For the crust:
1/2 c melted butter (1 stick)
2 c shortbread cookie crumbs
3/4 c toffee bits

For the top layer:
1 c melted butter (2 sticks)
1/2 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 c toffee bits
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the middle layer:
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c peanut butter chips
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tbsp butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x13" baking dish with non-stick spray.
2. Prepare crust by melting the 1/2 cup of butter in a medium bowl.  Add the cookie crumbs (you can finely chop up your cookies or use a food processor) and toffee bits.  Stir until combined and press into the bottom of the baking dish. It will not cover every inch, but try to get an even cover over the base as it will spread when cooked.
3. Bake for 10 minutes until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
4. In a separate bowl of a stand mixer (or a bowl to use a hand mixer) begin making the top layer, cream butter and sugars together until smooth.  On medium speed, add eggs and vanilla.  Slowly add in dry ingredients until just combined.  Then add the toffee and chocolate chips.  Set aside.
5. In a medium saucepan, make the middle layer.  Melt the peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, butter, and condensed milk over low heat until completely melted and smooth.  This should not take long.  Remove from heat and pour over the cooled crust.  Spread it evenly to coat the whole crust.
6. Drop top layer by spoonfuls all over the middle layer.  It will spread out while baking, but try to cover most of the toffee layer.
7. Bake for approx 25 minutes, until the topping is set and lightly golden.
8. Let cool for a couple of hours before cutting.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Time flies... but I'm back!

Wow. Has it really been 4 months?? I'm sorry to have been gone for so long, and boy have I missed it!

Things have been a little hectic here. Ok, 'a little' is an understatement.  A lot has gone on. Not only did Ian enter our lives in March, but on top of adjusting to life with a little one we decided to pick up and move across country.  That's right, we moved from California to North Carolina. Whew!  We were ready for some change and wanted to do it while Ian was little so that he could grow up in this wonderful area.  Moving was hard. Not just because of the logistics of a baby, but my hubby and I were both born and raised in California.  The majority of our family was there and all of our friends except those who had left previously.  But I think we've been adjusting well to North Carolina. The people are friendly, the weather is beautiful (but toasty), and the scenery is incredible.  I'm really looking forward to settling down out here. Now to find the craft stores...

Recent family picture taken in our new home state of North Carolina. Recognize the dress?

So with all of these changes, we've finally been able to get Ian on to some sort of routine, and he's now sleeping in his crib which leaves a little more time to get organized and get crafting again!  I've been working on getting my new craft space in order. Oh it's beautiful! I can't wait to show you pics. Just a few final touches and I'll be ready.  It's a nice, bright space which will be perfect for all of the grand crafting plans that I have in store.

I've started small - just personalizing some cross stitch projects that I made for Ian. I'll post the final pictures of those as well.  But I do have some fun things in store.

This left me to wonder the direction of What's Up, Cupcake?

I don't want to make huge changes to the content - you're my readers for a reason and you seem to enjoy my sewing projects and recipes (I hope!). But I do want to keep it relevant to what's going on in my life.  So. Sweet Treats Saturday will remain, but a little less frequently for the moment.  I'm still working on losing baby weight (ok, in truth, the baby weight is done, now I'm just working on the weight that I wanted to get rid of before baby), so I'm trying to resist the temptation of sweets. But I would love to share some of the new recipes I have been trying - both sweet and savory.

In addition, I'm excited to start sewing clothes again! My shape has definitely changed so it'll be interesting seeing what patterns will still work and which I'll have to modify.  I would love to make clothes for Ian too but I find that the patterns for baby boy clothes are a little lacking. Prove me wrong, please! I'd love to see links to cute baby boy clothes that I can make myself! Until then, I'm going to make some crafts for him. I already have a little lovie security blanket planned and I'll share my process with you.  I'll be trying my hand at dying fabric and sharing some fun ideas I've seen on other mommy blogs and pinterest.  I promise not to inundate the blog with just baby posts though!

So, while I get my craft room in order and ready to share, here are some pics of one of my favorite rooms that is finished (for now) and that I love!  It's Ian's nursery...

It's hard to believe, but Ian has almost outgrown that playmat on the floor.  We keep it downstairs now, but he's on the verge of sitting up at which point I don't think it will be able to hold his interest anymore.
I love his bookcases - it's probably my favorite part of the room.  They're filled with books and toys that Ian received as gifts.  And the little panda bear plush in the top corner is mine from when I was a baby. The bottom of the bookcases are bins that contain all of his toys.  It's one of my favorite finds and I got it from Land of Nod.  Oh, and hanging in the corner is my Little Prince embroidery that I made several months back.

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