A couple of weeks ago, I hosted a dinner party at my house for some of my girlfriends. I had the menu down — crudités with romesco sauce and bagna càuda, pasta tossed with Tuscan kale — but no dessert. I panicked about finding the perfect fast, do-ahead, crowd-pleasing close to the meal, until I came across Molly Wizenberg's recipe for these coffee crunch bars in this month's Bon Appétit. When she described them as "the best cookies I had ever tasted," I knew I'd be making them.

Indeed, they were a hit at dinner, with their burnt caramel flavors, almond undertones, and biscotti-like crunch. It goes without saying that they pair perfectly with coffee. To see more pictures and make the exceedingly easy recipe, read more.

Coffee Crunch Bars

Coffee Crunch Bars

Coffee Crunch Bars

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups (firmly packed) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder*
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk first 3 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.
  2. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in another medium bowl until blended, about 2 minutes. Add espresso powder and almond extract; beat 1 minute. Stir in flour mixture in 3 additions, mixing until just absorbed after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips and almonds (dough will be thick).
  3. Turn dough out onto ungreased rimmed baking sheet. Using hands, press dough into 12-inch square. Pierce all over with fork at 1-inch intervals.
  4. Bake until edges are lightly browned and beginning to crisp, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on sheet 1 minute. Cut into 48 bars. Immediately transfer to rack; cool (bars will crisp as they cool).

Makes 48.

Make Ahead: Can be made 5 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

*I substituted the darkest roast of instant coffee available and doubled the amount to 4 tablespoons.