Last week I asked my coworker what he wanted for his birthday, coffee crunch bars, or chocolate cupcakes. I don't think he was really paying attention (this happens a lot since I routinely turn around to inform him of whatever song is stuck in my head, or solicit his opinion on what to eat for lunch. Sometimes, I just turn around and tell him I'm really, really bored. He is kind of long suffering.) but after some more prodding on my part, he settled on coffee crunch bars. Okay, maybe I was pushing them a little since I had just read the recipe in February's issue of Bon Appetit.
So, the other night, I got out all my ingredients, chopped up some good chocolate (to replace the chocolate chips), whipped up the recipe (very quick, very simple) and consigned it to the oven. By the way, this smells absolutely phenomenal while it's baking. Now, I don't exactly know what was going through my mind--I mean, the recipe is called Coffee CRUNCH Bars, but for some reason, I had it in my head that they would be kind of soft, like blondies maybe. I sliced them into bars while they were still somewhat pliable, but when they cooled--ooh, man. I almost cracked a couple of teeth! I can only attribute this to the fact that I overbaked them, because these are almost like biscotti. And although they look kind of good, especially in cross section, I did not feel they were up to my usual standards. So, the next night...I decided to make cupcakes, using a recipe that I had used many, many, many times before. And this is what happened:
FRICKIN' FRACKIN' !#$!!%$$@!#$^^%%^$!!!!!!!! I guess I overfilled the cups, but oh gosh! Cupcake fail! Anyway, I made a half hearted attempt to cut around the overflow, thinking I could hide the ugliness under ganache, but no. It was not to be. I brought the coffee crunch bars in, instead. And you know what? With a quick dip in tea or coffee...they are pretty good. My coworker ate 6, so I guess they pass! If you try this recipe, don't overbake them!
Coffee Crunch Bars, from Feb 2009 Bon Appetit
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup semisweet chips
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 325. Whisk first 3 ingredients to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in another medium bowl until blended, about 2 minutes. add espress powder and almond extract; beat 1 minute. Stir in flour mixture in 3 additions, mixing until just absorbed. Stir in chocolate chips and almonds. Turn dough out onto ungreased rimmed baking sheet. Using hands, press dough into 12 inch square. Pierce all over with fork at 1 inch intervals. Bake until edges are lightly browned and beginning to crisp, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on sheet 1 minute. Cut into 48 bars and transfer immediately to rack to cool.