Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Given a choice between sweet and savory, I will always choose savory. Friends ask me how I can keep baked goods in my house and my answer is simply that I am not all that tempted by them. Of course, I would love to have a cookie or brownie now and then, but I resist because I can. If there are pretzels, popcorn, chips, or even day-old french fries around however, it's all over for me. I made mashed potatoes today to put on top of a vegetarian Shepherd's pie and I caught myself licking the bowl much as someone else would do with cookie batter.
That being said, I do love my chocolate. And I really love chocolate and caramel together. And I really love toffee. When I saw that Smitten Kitchen made these cookies - I knew I had my treat for this week. I was unable to resist these and you won't be able to either. They are barely a cookie - almost no butter or flour. They are held together by eggs and chocolate, and yumminess - much like a flourless chocolate cake. I usually think nuts in cookies are a bad thing (except in these), but the walnuts added great texture and flavor.
A long time ago, I read that it is unnecessary to butter your cookie sheets when making cookies. There is so much butter in most recipes that the dough itself acts as it's own Silpat. I always follow that advice (one less step in the prep), but in this case - because there is only half a stick of butter, I would either grease them or use parchment paper, or a Silpat.
Let's talk about melting chocolate. You will often see a double boiler in recipes. A true double boiler is two pots that are roughly the same size so one can fit inside the other. Water is put in the bottom pot and things that can burn easily, like chocolate, are put in the top. You can easily re-create the effect by placing a heat-proof bowl in a pot with just a little water. Be sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water and also keep the water at a simmer instead of a boil. This will prevent too much steam from coming out of the pot and potentially ruining the chocolate. Similarly, when you remove the bowl from the pot, have a towel ready and immediately wipe the bottom of the bowl to, again, keep steam from the chocolate.
Giant Chocolate-Toffee Cookies
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
Makes about 18
Instead of buying individual toffee bars, I bought an 8 oz. package of Heath baking bits. This saved a little work, but the bits are very small. If you want larger pieces of toffee in your cookies, I would buy the individual bars called for below and chop them.
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 lb. bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
5 1.4 oz. chocolate Heath or Skor bars, coarsely chopped
1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl; whisk to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in top of a double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool mixture to lukewarm.
Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, then toffee and nuts. Chill batter until firm, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto sheets, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheets. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)