This months Baketogether was proclaimed to be a BakeTogetherParty by our fearless leader Abby Dodge. Why a party? To celebrate the release of Abby’s latest book, the fabulous Mini Treats & Handheld Sweets ~100 Delicious Desserts to Pick Up and Eat! The drill remains the same (and please join in with us anytime!); take a look at The Rules and each month switch up Abby’s recipe to fit your taste and publish your version by the end of the month…I just snuck this in on time didn’t I?
So maybe you are wondering how I got from adorable little Apple Mini Pies to these Coffee-Toffee Bonbon Squares. How the heck did I pull that rabbit out of a hat? I know…that’s quite the adaptation isn’t it? Well, it’s my own version of ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ I guess; if our challenge is to take inspiration from Abby’s post and mix it up to make our own…well I certainly did just that. I admit I’ve pushed the limits of this notion a bit so bear with me. Abby sent me a copy of her book. Her mini pies are in the book. This recipe is in the book. Therefore I proclaim the ‘switch it up’ works if I make this dessert instead of mini pies; and well, there is butter in both of them! As much as anything I thought it would be great for you to see something totally different from Abby’s new book and besides, these were just too good to miss. How can you go wrong with chocolate and coffee and toffee and nuts and caramel anyhow?
Abby calls these Coffee-Toffee Bonbon Bites and I had the best of intentions. But I also had company here and as often happens a couple of my friends like to see the photo business in progress. I started to cut that tray of goodness into little bites and I do believe my neighbor actually guffawed; to quote, ‘What is that? Is that a serving?’ OK, maybe a bit dainty for the guys so I acquiesced and cut squares, the equivalent of 4 bites. Which were eaten as if they were a bite; inhaled maybe more like it. SO good. A thin brownie layer that is more like a semi-soft cookie is topped with coffee ice cream doctored with your choice of ingredients and then topped with more fun stuff. Abby always encourages her fans to ‘switch it up’ and I always do. For this recipe I found some coffee ice cream that was already doctored by some guys name Ben and Jerry; Coffee with Toffee and a Whiskey Caramel Swirl. Oh yeah. Their toffee was huge chunks of Heath Bar though so I actually ended up removing most of them (I wanted that toffee in EVERY bite!) and I threw in some Heath Bar Brickles. I liked that whiskey business though so I opted to drizzle my bars with a bit of caramel to which I added my own whiskey. Did I already say, ‘Oh yeah?’
My only lament is that they are gone. Which might be good; without help I do believe I could have devoured that entire tray. Here’s my version…but certainly mix them up as you choose; I’ll include some more of Abby’s ideas in the Notes too!
A layered dessert with a brownie crust, ice cream topping and a bourbon flavored caramel drizzle.
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 6 Tbsp butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder; sift if lumpy
- 3/4 cup (5.25 oz) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
- 1 pint container coffee ice cream
- 2/3 cup toffee bits; either plain or chocolate covered
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
- Caramel Sauce - (I melted some caramels with a bit of half and half but use homemade or a prepared product too)
- 2 Tbsp bourbon (optional)
- Line a 9-inch square pan with foil, leaving about a 1 inch overhang on each side. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the foil.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
- Put the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat to melt the butter; stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cocoa and whisk until smooth. Add the sugar and whisk until blended.Let cool until warm to the touch but not hot.
- Add the egg and vanilla and whisk until well blended.
- Add the flour mixture and the chopped nuts and mix with a spatula until just blended.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with small bits of brownie sticking to it; approximately 11 to 13 minutes.
- Put the pan on a wire rack and let sit until completely cool.
- Lift the brownie layer out using the foil overhang handles. Line the pan with new foil, peel the foil from the brownie layer and then return it to the pan with the fresh foil. Place it in the freezer.
- Remove the ice cream from the freezer and let it soften; approximately 20 minutes. Add the toffee bits to the softened ice cream and stir. If the ice cream starts to actually melt; put it back into the freezer for a bit; we want it softened and able to be stirred but not melted.
- Spread the ice cream over the brownie layer and return to the freezer and let it set up for approximately 15 minutes before adding the topping.
- Warm the caramel sauce just enough that it will drizzle; add bourbon if using and mix well.
- Remove the pan from the freezer, and top with the chopped nuts and drizzle with the caramel and return to the freezer.
- Freeze until hard; about 3 hours minimum.
- Remove the pan from the freezer and remove the brownie layer from the pan using the foil handles.
- Peel the foil from the dessert and discard.
- Cut into Abby's mini bites using 8 cuts both directions or my bar size using 4 cuts each direction. If using immediately simply store on a cookie sheet in the freezer or store in a covered container in the freezer for up to two weeks. I used wax paper in between layers since I had drizzled caramel on the top
Abby's original recipe called for sprinkles on top; I opted to use toasted pecans and a bourbon caramel sauce but she offers twists on each of her recipes. For this recipe they include:
Skip the nuts in the brownie layer Instead of toffee in the ice cream, try bittersweet chocolate, mini chocolate chips, finely chopped toasted nuts or sweetened, shredded coconut, toasted.
Instead of sprinkles for the topping, use the same amount of toasted, chopped hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans or walnuts; or crushed peppermint candies or chopped toffee pieces or peanut butter chips.
Switch up the ice cream to any flavor you like!
To Enter: Easy Peasy…just leave a comment; if you’re a Baketogether participant you can enter Abby’s giveaway too and both end at midnight, September 30, 2012. I’ll use Random.org to chose a winner on October 1, 2012. I’ll announce the winner officially via email and, of course, I’ll mention you on Twitter if you include your Twitter handle in your comment. The winner will have 24 hours to contact me with both your mailing address and how you want the book inscribed and Abby’s publisher, The Taunton Press, will mail it out to you wherever you live! If I don’t hear from you, sadly, I’ll move onto the next person.
Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy of Mini Treats & Handheld Sweets;
however all commentary is my own.
The book for the prize winner is being donated & mailed by
The Taunton Press and personalized by Abby Dodge.
For more info on the book check it out here on Abby’s Web Ad (trailer & videos coming soon)