your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven
rack in the center of the oven. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch (20 cm)
square baking pan with foil or parchment paper.
Shortbread: In a bowl, whisk the
flour with the salt.
In the bowl of your electric
stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment
(or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until combined. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides
and bottom of the bowl.
Add the flour mixture and beat just until
incorporated and you have clumps of batter (not a solid ball of dough).
Evenly spread the
shortbread batter onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Lightly prick with the
tines of a fork. Bake for about 20
minutes or until the shortbread is golden brown.
Remove from oven
and immediately scatter the chocolate chips over the hot shortbread. Return
the shortbread to the oven for a minute or just until the chocolate
chips start to melt. Remove from oven and, with an offset spatula or back of a spoon, evenly
spread the chocolate. Sprinkle the toffee bits or chopped nuts over the chocolate. Place the
pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the chocolate
has set, lift the shortbread from the pan using the edges of the foil. Place on
a cutting board and, with a sharp knife, cut into 16 bars.
Store in an
airtight container. These will keep for a couple of weeks at room temperature or in
the refrigerator. They can also be frozen.
Note: If using nuts
instead of toffee bits.
Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake in a
350 degree F (180 degree C) oven for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Let the nuts cool completely and then finely chop.