One thing I did to help get me motivated for baking was to sign up for Betty Crocker's 24 Days of Cookies. On November 23, I started getting an email every day with a link to a cookie recipe. (You can see the recipes sent out so far at: https://www.bettycrocker.com/menus-holidays-parties/mhplibrary/seasonal-ideas/24-days-of-cookies.) I wasn't able to start baking immediately, but the recipe for Toffee Bars caught my eye (technically, this is not a cookie recipe, but the crust is very like a cross between a cookie and shortbread). I wanted to make something to thank the mom of one of my daughter's friends for babysitting while my husband and I went to a movie (Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald, which despite some die-hard fans' criticisms is the only movie that has ever inspired me to go to the theater to see it more than once), and these bars fit the bill. They require normal ingredients that I typically keep on hand, they are easy and reasonably quick to make, and the taste is likely to appeal to a wide variety of people. Also, I didn't plan ahead very well, so I needed something to be ready fairly quickly:)
My daughter helped me make them, and the only change I ended up making to the recipe was to use more chocolate chips. The recipe calls for 2/3 cup, but I used at least 1 cup, maybe more. I basically sprinkled the 2/3 cup over the crust and realized it wasn't going to be enough for what I considered adequate coverage, so I ended up just grabbing the bag and sprinkling chips until I thought there were enough for a thin, but consistent layer of melted chocolate.
They took very little time to make, but you do need to budget time for cooling because the melted chocolate takes awhile to cool down enough not to make a big mess (this is important only if you are trying to give them to somebody not in your house, otherwise any mess is totally worth it). Because I was planning to cut the bars and pack some in a gift box, I wanted to avoid chocolate smeared all over everything. I did not budget sufficient time for the chocolate to cool, so I put the pan in the fridge for about an hour, and that cooled the chocolate just enough so I didn't make a huge mess getting bars out of the pan and into the box, but 2 hours probably would have been better. Another thing to note is that once the pan has been in the fridge for several hours, the bars can be a bit iffy to get out of the pan because I think some melted butter from the crust has solidified. A metal spatula is your friend at this point, because once you've eaten one of the bars, you will not be able to stop and you might be tempted to break the pan if you can't get the bars out, so desperate will you be to eat another one.
Here's a link to the recipe: https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/toffee-bars/846dec40-5fd2-41d2-929a-54dc5bfbf3ca.
And here's what my finished product looked like:
|These bars were gone in about 15 minutes at my house!|