Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chocolate-toffee cookies

These cookies are amazing. They're like the world's best brownies, but in a handy cookie form. (Not that brownies aren't handy, but cookies are more so.) They are fudgy and decadent, with crunchy toffee bits and that delightful papery skin that the tops of brownies have. They call out to be topped with ice cream, or at the very least to be dunked in a very tall glass of milk. I brought two to work today, and struggled all day not to devour them at once.

Don't be alarmed by the high ratio of wet ingredients to dry, or the runny consistency of the "dough" ("batter" would be more appropriate, I think) after you've combined the wet and dry ingredients. This is basically a brownie batter that gets chilled so that it's marginally scoopable--and yes, after enough chilling, it is thick enough to be scooped out onto a baking sheet.

Another note: the instruction to use baking powder instead of baking soda (which is more commonly used in cookies) is not a typo. That's what the recipe says, and as far as I'm concerned it's just another aspect of the "brownies as cookies" theme. None of the other quantities is a typo, either: not the amount of flour (half a cup, no joke) or the number of eggs (I know four sounds like a lot, but it works) or the amount of chocolate (okay, I didn't quite use a whole pound--more like 14-15 ounces, since that's all I had--but it's worth it, seriously) or the sugar (question: can you have too much brown sugar? answer: no).

And a final word of caution: when the cookies have finished baking, resist the temptation to nibble as soon as they're cool enough to handle. I know I usually advocate eating things as soon as possible after removing them from the oven, but in this case good things (and less exasperation) come to those who wait. The bits of toffee will re-harden (it melts in the oven), and it will be easier to peel the parchment paper off of the underside of the cookies. If you don't wait, you risk leaving significant chunks of cookie goodness on the paper.

Okay. With all that out of the way, the recipe:

Chocolate-toffee cookies
Makes a whole heck of a lot

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 pound (8 ounces) chocolate-covered toffee--with or without nuts, as desired--coarsely chopped

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Place chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl set over (not touching) simmering water. Stir frequently until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth, then cool to lukewarm.

Using electric mixer (stand mixer or hand mixer, it doesn't matter), beat sugar and eggs in a large bowl until thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in cooled chocolate mixture and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, then chopped toffee. Chill batter until relatively firm, at least 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop batter onto sheets (I recommend using a squeeze-release ice cream scoop like this one for even portioning--they come in various sizes and are useful for all sorts of things), spacing 2-2.5" apart. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 12-15 minutes. Cool completely on sheets. (Can be made 2 days ahead; store in an airtight container at room temperature.)


Brave Sir Robin said...

FSM!!! I WILL make those in the very near future!!!!!!