Monday, January 11, 2010

Salted Toffee Fudge Cookies

Not an epic fail. But not my best recipe either. I really like the combination of salt and chocolate. It's become pretty popular in fine chocolates and in ice creams. I wanted to see if I could use the combination in a cookie. I tried this a while back but didn't blog about it because I knew I would try it again, and I was confident that the second time would result in perfection. Well.

It's a good cookie in theory--a sweet chocolate cookie with almond toffee pieces in the dough, a sprinkling of kosher salt on top. Here's the problem--toffee melts. Yep. Which I figured out the first time I tried this. So, this time, the plan was that I was going to stabilize the toffee by stirring the almonds into it, bake the cookies at a lower temperature and there would be no meltage. *nodding* Rrriiigght. I tried. I admit I like the toffee itself this way, but it's not so much with the stable.

At any rate, here's the recipe. The dough is pretty much the recipe for Chocolate Crackle Cookies, with a little more flour. Give it a try. Seriously. They're very delicious. Sweet, crunchy, salty, buttery. Just strangely delicate and difficult to manage from pan to cooling rack.

Salted Toffee Fudge Cookies *click here for printable version*
Makes about 6 dozen

For Toffee:
1/2 lb. butter
1-1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. roasted chopped almonds
Melt butter and add sugar stirring constantly until golden brown or 290 degrees. Stir in almonds. Spread on greased cookie sheet and cool. Break into small (no larger than 1/2") pieces.

For Cookies:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tbls. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/3 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 c. milk
Kosher salt or sea salt for sprinkling

Heat oven to 300 degrees.
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and light-brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until will combined. Add melted chocolate. With mixer on low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk until just combined. Stir toffee pieces into batter by hand (use as much of the toffee as you like--up to the full recipe).

Drop by large spoonfuls onto lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Allow to cool on pan for at least 5 minutes, then remove to rack to cool completely.

So, a couple of things about this recipe.

First, about the toffee:

If you haven't made toffee before, you're going to think it's not going to come together, the sugar and butter will separate and you'll think you've made a mess of it. KEEP COOKING (and stirring). Trust. You'll start to see some caramel-colored ribbons going through the mass of sugar and then it will all change to the right color, it won't be grainy, it will be smooth. And THEN AND ONLY THEN take it off the heat.

Now, about the cookie/pan/removal situation:

The toffee will melt when you bake the cookies. It just will. But it will resolidify as the cookies cool. You just have to give it time. The longer you can leave the cookies on the pan (or liner) before trying to move them, the more success you'll have. It might be a good idea to use parchment and just slide the parchment, with the cookies on it, off the pan to allow for more cooling time. Assuming you're adept with sliding things--which, frankly, I'm not. If you don't want to do that, leave the cookies on the pan to cool for 5-10 minutes. When you are ready to remove them to a rack, use a spatula that has a rather sharp edge like this.

And try to get under a chocolate portion rather than a toffee portion. That way, you'll have a lot more success getting under the entire cookie without it bending and breaking.

I like the idea of this cookie so much that I'm going to try some other possibilities for the cookie dough itself to see if that changes the results. And if anyone has ideas about how to stabilize the toffee, I'm all ears.

TGIP Rating--Salted Toffee Fudge Cookies--Delicious. A good recipe in theory, but it still needs some work.

Next up: German Chocolate Cake. Strangely, I don't think I've ever made one.

P.S. Please bear with me while I try to learn how to use mr.'s new camera. F stops and depth of field and ISOs are all Greek to me.

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