Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Triple Chocolate Toffee Big Batch Brownies

Triple Chocolate Toffee Brownies

The beautiful thing about making a big batch of brownies like this is that all you need is a big bowl, a big baking pan and basic multiplication skills. Easy peasy…right? Except for the fact that schools around the country are having big budgetary problems and I mean BIG. Boston Public Schools is $61 million short on funds. Sad to say, some of our kids might not get a decent enough education to do basic calculations so I’ve gone ahead and done the math needed in this recipe for them (and you), just in case.

BPS Bake Sale (1)

A determined group of parents who have set out to raise awareness about this seemingly insurmountable problem decided to “draw on their years of experience” running bake sales. The situation is dire, but I was in stitches when I read their announcement:  Parents Organize $61 Million Bake Sale to Bridge FY14-15 Boston Public Schools Deficit—Group hopes to raise $508,333 per minute to offset devastating Boston Public School  budget cuts.

If you know your ABCs and can read this recipe, the result is a plentiful bounty of brownies that are moist, dense (just to be clear this is  a good quality in a brownie, not in our children) and chewy with a full-on assault of chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate morsels (or chips) and milk chocolate all happening under the same brownie  ‘roof’ with crunchy, buttery, salty, caramel toffee bits—they’re crazy-good. But, even they aren’t enough to alter the crazy-bad education budget situation.

When it comes to school committees and the PTA, I’m not the biggest go-getter, let’s-get-the-rally-started kind of person, but I try my hardest not to be the biggest slouch either.When I get the call to arms from my fellow parents, I’m there. Make some muffins for the bake sale. Done. Donate a cooking class for the fundraiser. Also done. I’ve even organized umpires for several hundred youth baseball games (my one and only non-food contribution to the world and by far the most mind-boggling.)

I may not be on the front line of community activism, but I really appreciate those who are. Lately, the real heroes around here are a group of dedicated parents from around the city who have banded together to tackle this devastating budget problem. They are not professional lobbyists, just a smart group of parent advocates. These folks are not just looking out for their own kids—they’re looking out for all the children in the city.

After going to budget meetings, visiting the State House and talking to lawmakers, they realized that city officials aren’t looking for long-term solutions. Triple Chocolate Toffee Brownie Instead of seeking out ways to increase the insufficient budget, they are looking at how to ‘make do’ with what has been allocated. In Triple Chocolate Toffee Big Batch Brownie terms:  It’s futile to keep divvying up such a small batch. Every student will end up with mere crumbs. Boston needs to find the ingredients to bake a bigger batch so every kid gets an adequate helping. There are lots of reasons why city and state officials don’t want to go down this road (I’ll spare you my cynical rant on this for now), but that’s where these parents are trying to direct the conversation.

I so admire their commitment (while maintaining a sense of humor no less) that I was inspired to bake something for the sale. Turns out I couldn’t contribute my home baked treats because they were restricted to selling only commercial products. But I went ahead and whipped up a big batch of these Triple Chocolate Toffee Big Batch Brownies for the soldiers on the front line to enjoy for themselves. It was my way of giving them a big ‘Thanks’.




Triple Chocolate Toffee Big Batch Brownies

Yield: 24 (2 1/2 inch brownies)

Store leftovers in airtight container in single layers separated by parchment paper or foil. Brownies may be frozen up to 1 month if double wrapped in plastic and then in foil.


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
  • 3 sticks of butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 7 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces Heath English Toffee Bits


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 350°F. Line an 18 x 13- inch rimmed baking sheet lengthwise with foil, pushing in the corners, pressing up the sides and leaving some overhang. Cut a second piece of foil to fit the width of the pan and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in semi-sweet chocolate morsels or chips and set aside.
  3. Melt butter and unsweetened chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until chocolate mixture is completely smooth. Remove bowl from saucepan and whisk in sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, whisk in vanilla and coffee powder. Stir in flour mixture until no white streaks remain.
  4. Combine milk chocolate and toffee bits in a small bowl and set aside.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and use spatula to spread the batter into the corners of the pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes – brownies will have begun to set around the edges, but will still be moist in center. Remove from oven and spread the milk chocolate and toffee mixture evenly over the surface of the brownies. Return to oven and bake for additional 2 to 3 minutes. Skewer inserted into the middle of the pan will come out with a few moist crumbs. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours.
  6. Using the foil overhang as a handle, lift the brownies out of the pan and cut them into 2 1/2-inch squares to serve.
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April 14th, 2014 at 8:38 pm

A perfect pairing: politics & brownies

April 14th, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Very lively combination, indeed.

Karen Zerby Buzzelle
April 16th, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Best brownies ever! Such treat – thank you!

April 17th, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Your Welcome!


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