Mascarpone Chocolate Toffee Bars (adapted from Giada De Laurentilis)
Vegetable cooking spray
1 pound refrigerated sugar cookie dough or chocolate chip cookie dough (recommended: Pillsbury)
2 (1.4-ounces) chocolate-toffee candy bars, coarsely chopped, divided (recommended: Skor) OR 1 c. crushed Health bar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips (recommended: Ghirardelli)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature (or 8 oz. cream cheese if mascarpone is unavailable)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted * see Cook's Note
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 7 by 10 3/4-inch nonstick baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. Lay a 6 by 18-inch piece of parchment paper in the pan, allowing the excess paper to overhang the sides. Spray the parchment paper lightly with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the cookie dough, 1/2 of the chopped chocolate-toffee candy pieces and vanilla extract. Using damp fingers, gently press the dough into the prepared pan. Using the tines of a fork, prick the dough all over. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the crust is lightly browned. Cool for 15 minutes.
While the cookie dough is baking, place the chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a medium microwavable bowl. Cook on high for one minutes and stir until all chips are completely melted. Cook another 10 seconds if needed to melt chips. Cool the chocolate mixture for 10 minutes.
Whisk in the mascarpone cheese until the mixture is smooth. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate mixture over the cooled crust. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate-toffee candy pieces and sliced almonds over the chocolate mixture. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until the chocolate layer is firm.
Peel off the parchment paper and cut into 1 1/2 by 2-inch bars. Serve at room temperature.
*Cook’s Note: To toast almonds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned.