Butterscotch Almond Bars are stuffed with goodies in every bite.
Butterscotch Almond Bars are stuffed with goodies in every bite. (Mel Barber — mbarber@yorkdispatch.com)

Hold on to your sweet tooth. We're diving into the kind of gooey, oozing cookie bars that can only be accompanied by a glass of milk and followed by sugar shock.

These Butterscotch Almond Bars are adapted from a recipe for Double Chip Toffee Bars on the Food Babbles blog at www.foodbabbles.com. With no toffee chips on hand, I improvised.

I added chopped almonds for a bit of crunchiness and butterscotch chips for their melted sweetness. The almonds I used were butter toffee flavored, but any sweet-flavored or plain almonds will do. I'd steer clear of chili lime flavored almonds and their spicy cousins.

This recipe makes a 9-by-13-inch pan of bars. Because the bars have a fudge-like level of sweetness, I opted to cut them smaller than usual, for 32 bars instead of 24. They still disappeared very quickly at the office.

Two things to watch for:

The initial base crust will be very crumbly and seem impossible to hold together. That's fine. It'll gain coherence while it bakes.

The bars will be incredibly gooey and soft when they come out of the oven. Don't try removing them from the pan. Let them fully cool before cutting, or you'll end up with half of the good bits stuck to the knife. The bars congeal as they cool.

Butterscotch Almond Bars

2 1/2 cups flour

2/3 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks), cut into cubes

1 egg

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup almonds

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick baking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving an edge overhanging on either side so you can easily lift the bars out later. Set aside.

For the bottom crust, mix the flour and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter cubes and either cut in or mix until the dough is crumbly. Add the egg and work until evenly moistened.

Leaving parchment paper overlapping the sides of the pan before the bars go into the oven makes them easier to remove later.
Leaving parchment paper overlapping the sides of the pan before the bars go into the oven makes them easier to remove later. (Mel Barber — mbarber@yorkdispatch.com)

Set aside 1-1/4 cups of the crust mixture. Press the rest into the bottom of the prepared baking dish (on top of the parchment paper), flattening with your hand or the back of a spoon. Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

While the crust bakes, put the butterscotch chips and vegetable oil in a microwave-safe dish and heat on high for 1 minute. Remove and stir. Return to the microwave for another 45 seconds. Stir until smooth and set aside.

Also while the crust bakes, chop the almonds in the food processor, aiming for a mix of fine crumbs and small chunks. Set aside.

Remove the crust from the oven and pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top.

Drizzle half of the melted butterscotch over the milk.

Stir the white chocolate chips into the reserved crust mixture. Sprinkle evenly over the bars.

Mix the chopped almonds and mini chocolate chips. Scatter over the bars.

Drizzle the remaining melted butterscotch over the top.

Return the pan to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden.

Remove the pan from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the bars have cooled, lift them from the pan using the parchment paper edges. Cut to preferred size and serve with generous glasses of milk.

— Reach Mel Barber at mbarber@yorkdispatch.com.