The Search for the Chocolate Toffee Bars Recipe

These days finding a recipe should be simple, right? When I was trying to make the chocolate toffee bars, with a few minutes search I should have the recipe in hand. I had:

  • The Internet
  • My mother’s recipe box
  • A copy of Word of Mouth, the cookbook my mother worked on.

Like everything in 2020, it wasn’t quite so simple. Nothing online seemed to be what I remembered. It might have been a “back of the box” recipe so I searched some of the ingredients. Nope.

Looking through my mom’s recipe box, there were a lot of recipes that I’d forgotten about. About a dozen recipes for brownies (and as my cousin reminded me, even a chart rating brownie recipes), but not much in the cookie department. My own recipe box didn’t yield anything except a mess.

Then I went to the copy of “the cookbook” (as it’s referred to by my family). My mother forgot to take hers to California and wanted a copy of it. I sent her mine and took one I found in Boston. The cover looked different from what I remembered. Imagine my surprise when I turned to the index and found—blank pages. The book I’d picked up was a dummy copy for the cover and binding. Oops.

My brother has a copy and I asked him to look it up. There are 14 recipes under “Chocolate” but none of them were the bars.

Since I was on the phone with my friend Laura, I asked her to look up under “Cookies”. Believe it or not, there was no category for cookies, but there are listings under Desserts, Candy, Chocolate, Frozen Desserts, Pastries, Pies and Sauces.

This was getting crazy. I knew my cousin would know. I sent her an email describing what I remembered and minutes later had the recipe.

From the cookbook.

Under “Pastries” and titled Trivial Pursuit Treats.

Of course.




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