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Christmas cookies: Sea-Salt Coffee Toffee Bars

For the first layer:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tablespoons instant coffee crystals

For the second layer:

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla or dark rum

1 ½ cups coarsely chopped hazelnuts, almonds or other mixed nuts

½ to 1 tablespoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring between additions. Add instant coffee crystals and blend until well incorporated.

Pat batter into ungreased 9- by 13-inch baking pan in an even layer. Bake until edges are lightly browned and center is puffy, 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, stir sweetened condensed milk and butter over low heat until butter melts. The mixture will thicken and become smooth. Stir in vanilla or rum, remove from heat and let sit until bottom layer is done baking.

Sprinkle nuts over baked bottom layer and pour hot sweetened condensed milk mixture evenly over nuts, using spatula to spread. Return to oven and bake until top is golden and bubbling, 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately sprinkle desired amount of sea salt over bubbling toffee top. Cool slightly in pan and cut into bars. Bars can be kept up to one week in airtight container.

Yield: Makes 18 to 24 bars.

Freezeworthy: No.

Submitted by Deborah Roy Harrington, Seminole

Mazzaro's Italian Market

Christmas cookies: Sea-Salt Coffee Toffee Bars 12/02/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 13, 2013 10:20am]

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