Are any of your family members living away from home? Do you imagine them lonely and longing for homemade treats?
Maybe you want to send them a care package, but don’t know what might ship well?
Perhaps you are lazy, but want to seem giving and skilled at baking?
Make Toblerone Shortbread!
I settled on this recipe for my oldest nephew’s first college care package last year. I figured shortbread would be sturdy and not subject to getting stale while in transit. And there are four Toblerone bars on top and I love Toblerone. In fact, I’m angry with myself for not thinking of adding Toblerone to a baked good myself.
I had my first Toblerone bar in Geneva during my college study abroad semester. I also left my roommate alone in a 40-year old man’s hotel room in Geneva. Alone in the hostel that night, sleep didn’t come easy (although it should have because I didn’t have to hear my roommate’s horse-like snoring) as I imagined what I’d say when calling her parents to inform them their daughter was missing. Or chopped up into bits, which would now, ironically, be an appropriate size for sprinkling on top of shortbread. Luckily she came back unscathed the next morning and I can focus my memories of Switzerland on what is really important–chocolate.
The hardest part of this recipe is getting the dough evenly spread in a 9- x 13-inch pan. I always give up and have thinner edges. These edges are unattractive and thus have to be cut off and eaten by the baker. It’s a rule.
As it turned out, my nephew had never had Toblerone before I sent him these bars last year and he loved them. So I made them for him again last weekend, because I’m giving and skilled at baking. And I’m childless and want visitors when I’m in the nursing home.
Candy Bar Shortbread from A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 (3.52-ounce) Toblerone bars, coarsely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Ms. Goldman says to stack two baking sheets together and line the top sheet with parchment, but I don’t do that because it’s crazy. But you go ahead and do what you have to do.
2. In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add flour and salt and mix to make a stiff dough that does not quite hold together.
3. Pat dough into a 9- x 13-inch pan lined with parchment paper (I make the parchment paper into a sling that I can then use to pull the bars out of the pan for easier cutting). Curse when you are unable to spread the dough evenly across the whole pan.
4. Bake until lightly golden (get ready for the best part…), 25 to 40 minutes. Get annoyed that she gives you a FIFTEEN minute range in baking times and make a snide comment to your husband about recipe development.
5. Sprinkle chopped Toblerone on hot uncut shortbread.
6. Let set for about 5 minutes and then spread melted Toblerone over shortbread (I use a small offset spatula).
7. Cut into small squares (I usually get about two dozen, including the thin edges I eat myself).
8. Put cookies in the fridge or freezer to set up.
I always become alarmed at the way the Toblerone oozes off of the cut shortbread edges, so I use the parchment paper sling to slide the cut bars back into the pan before putting the whole pan into the fridge. Of course, then I sort of have to cut the bars again, because the Toblerone spackles the cut bars back together as it hardens.
Pack the cookies and a couple of extra Toblerone bars and send to your ungrateful nephew who’s having far too much fun at college to ever acknowledge the arrival of a package.
Forget to take a picture of the finished bars before you pack up all the good-looking ones. Share a picture of a homely edge piece.