Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ruffies

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I'm determined to continue as I have, working on the cookbooks, posting fun stuff here, taking care of our animals, training for the next American Cancer Society Fundraising marathon...

Ruthie's promised to beef up and train with me for the next marathon.

I'm trying my best.  But there's something new in the mix, some little thing that has managed to distract me ever so slightly.  Her name is Ruthie.  She has puppy breath.

Already getting into trouble.


She has been with us a short three days but we've already elaborating on her given name:  Baby Ruth, Ruffie, Piranha.

My poor slippers aren't going to survive much longer.

Determined to give her the love she deserves and I can't help but give her, keep her from eviscerating our house and footwear, and finish everything else on my "to do" list, I've inured myself to little sleep and a wardrobe of sweatpants and slippers.

I can't say that the recipe I'm about to divulge is terribly original or at all the work of a "master baker," closet or otherwise.  But I can say that they are stupidly delicious and just a little bit silly.  Almost as silly as an 8-week-old puppy.  Hence, I've named these Ruffies.  (*NOTE* These are NOT intended for dogs but are a human treat.  Between the toxic and deadly chocolate and the sugar, this would be the worst dog treat ever devised).


RUFFIES

INGREDIENTS

For the base

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

2 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

3 cups all purpose flour (I use King Arthur Flour)

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (can substitute vanilla extract)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder



For the Toffee:

1 cup sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter

1 teaspoon salt

For the remaining mix-ins:

1  (9.7 oz) bar Scharffen Berger 62% cocoa semi-sweet chocolate (I only use this one since it's a lovely chocolate AND a very thick bar which makes for generous chunks instead of anemic slivers of chocolate)

2 cups Ruffles potato chips, broken up into slightly smaller pieces

1 cup roasted and sea salted almonds

PROCEDURE

Make the toffee:

•Combine the butter, sugar and salt in a large saucepan, attach a candy thermometer and stir constantly, over medium heat, until the temperature reaches soft crack (280º - 290º)

•Pour onto a parchment lined sheetpan and allow to cool completely.

For the base:

•Preheat oven to 350º

•Spray a 9" x 12" baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

•In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugars and butter until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla.  Mix thoroughly.

•Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly between additions.

•Whisk together the dry ingredients and add to the batter.  Mix until just incorporated.

•Break the toffee into 1/2 inch size chunks and chop the chocolate into nice sized chunks.  With the mixer on low, add the toffee, chocolate and almonds until integrated.

•Pat 1/2 the dough into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle with 1/2 of the potato chips.  Top with the remaining dough and press to create an even layer.  Shove the remaining chips willy nilly into the batter.



•Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes (check at 40 minutes to make sure your oven isn't running hot and this isn't baking faster for you...see note) or until the middle starts to firm up and the edges of the dough begin to brown.  A slightly underdone bar isn't a bad thing.  (NOTE!  A reader found that an hour was too long for her and the Ruffies were too hard to cut, which is a huge bummer and a waste of expensive ingredients.  Every oven is different and I use conventional NOT convection, so I always put directions to check the nature of the baked good itself and not just go by timing.)