Thursday, June 5, 2008

So You Want to Write a Book Six and Chocolate Nut Toffee Bars

Hi Writing Friends,

What's with this photo? I took it several years ago at the hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It has only a tangential connection to anything in this particular post. Guess it's related to my love of all things cowboy. (See little story below.)

I've missed you. Ta-Da! This was a very busy spring. Lots of classes, but now Lifestory Writing Classes are over until fall so I think I'm going to do better on keeping up with the blog. Look below. Tip Six on what you need to know if you want to write a book.

So You Want to Write a Book -- Tip Six: What books are similar to yours? Often, writers proudly say, “There is no book like mine.” Unfortunately, that is not necessarily a good sign. If there are no such book, it means the publishers have chosen not to publish such books. Re-think your premise. You might be able to save your project.

I have been attacking some neglected chores. Like cleaning up my office. Here is where I make a confession. I cannot resist the offer of a free magazine. That means I have a stack of single issues. Like the November 2006 issue of The Writer I came across. In it is mentioned a writing problem I have -- and I sort of like it -- sometimes I just leave these in -- but sometimes I'm strong and remove them. Two examples from The Writer: Don't write: "I gave him a smile." Do write: "I smiled [at him]." Don't write: "I gave his hand a shake." Do write: I shook his hand." Okay -- that second one I agree with. Even I wouldn't write, "I gave his hand a shake." Unless, of course, it was Blackie, the black lab who used to live behind us. Then I would probably write, "I gave his paw a shake." Actually, my personal favorite is, "I gave him a look."

And now -- what we were waiting for -- chocolate. No surprise -- I haven't actually tried this recipe. Note it is copyrighted, but since the author is extensively credited and her newsletter is plugged, maybe I will be forgiven.

I wanted to include this toffee recipe because it reminded me of when I was a child and was confused by toffee and taffy. I knew I liked one of them and the other pulled out my loose tooth. That was almost as bad as my confusion about calvary and cavalry. Now I was a great fan of western movies when I was about five. What a relief when the cavalry arrived. Soldiers on horseback, uniforms with gold buttons and braid, bugles. The fort was saved. I loved it. So I was very excited when I learned we were going to visit my grandparents' church -- Calvary Baptist. I waited and waited, through the entire sermon. Finally, I complained to my mother. She tried to explain to me. I tried to explain to her. Finally, I gave up. That was the day the cavalry did not arrive. Different kind of being "saved."

All the more reason to savor today's toffee recipe. It would take the calvary to keep me away.

Chocolate Nut Toffee Bars Recipe
Peggy Trowbridge Filippone,Your Guide to Home Cooking.FREE Newsletter. Sign Up Now!
Toffee cookie bars are loaded with chocolate chips and peanuts, then topped with more chocolate and Butterfinger candy bits. It is important not to over-bake these cookie bars. You do not want them too crispy.

1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped honey-roasted peanuts
1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, at room temperature
2 (1.76 ounces) Butterfinger® Crisp Bars, crushed (see Note)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 15-1/2- x 10-1/2-inch jellyroll pan with nonstick foil. In a large bowl, beat brown sugar and butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and
vanilla, beating until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour, half at a time. Stir in miniature chocolate chips and peanuts by hand. Mixture will be thick and sticky.

Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer with the back of a mixing spatula. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden. Do not overbake. The cookie bars should still be a bit soft.

Immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips and let rest for 2 minutes to let them melt. Spread the melted chocolate into an even layer and sprinkle with the crushed Butterfinger® pieces.

Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes to set chocolate, if necessary.

Bring to room temperature to serve. Cut into bars to serve. Yield: 36 to 48 bars, depending on cut size

Note: Instead of the Butterfinger® candy bar, you may use toffee baking bits or even crushed bits used for ice cream toppers. Chocolate Nut Toffee Bars Recipe © 2008 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to, Inc.