I've had Orangette's recipe for Coffee Crunch Bars stuck with a magnet onto my fridge for quite some time now. The only thing keeping me from making them was my lack of sliced almonds, which seem to constantly be sold out at the local supermarket. But I finally got them, and quickly whipped up a batch of these.
While they were in the oven, the timer ticked faithfully...I had set it for 45 minutes as it stated in the instructions. Soon the tasty fragrance of almonds turned into a darker, burned smell. I checked the clock...still 15 minutes to go. I went online to make sure I had written everything down right...wait, why wasn't the recipe on Orangette anymore? And why did it smell like my bars were burning? I googled the recipe and found this information on a (fantastic) blog called The Bitten Word : I wasn't the only one who had been given the wrong instructions, the baking time had been written down wrong! It was supposed to be 25 minutes instead of 45. I raced to the oven and pulled them out just in time...the edges were a little dark, but once the bars had cooled and I tried one, I knew I hadn't failed. They are DELICIOUS. Smoky coffee flavor mixed with the delicate crunch of almonds and luxurious chunks of chocolate...the perfect companion to Chai Latte or a tall cold glass of milk. Highly recommended, unless you've made a New Year's resolution about self-control.
MOLLY WIZENBERG'S ORIGINAL RECIPE:
Coffee Crunch Bars
Adapted from Leah Reich and her grandmother, Mamie Chaiffetz
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup tightly packed dark muscovado sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsp. instant espresso or instant coffee powder
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used bar chocolate broken up into chunks for a more rustic look)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another medium bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer, beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the almond extract and instant espresso, and beat 1 minute more. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture in three doses, mixing until just absorbed. Stir in the almonds and chocolate chips. The dough will be thick. Turn the dough out onto an ungreased (approximately 12-inch x 17-inch) rimmed baking sheet. Using your hands, press the dough evenly into a 12-inch by 12-inch square. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the top looks set. Cool in the pan for 1 minute; then, while still hot, cut into 24 (2-inch by 3-inch) bars. Transfer immediately to wire rack to cool completely. Bars will crisp as they cool.
Note: Bars will keep, sealed in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 5 days. Their flavor improves with time.
Yield: 24 bars
p.s. the fellas over at The Bitten Word suggested trying this recipe out with an egg included if you want a more brownie-like consistancy...I'm thinking about it...though the original recipe is just DELISH...