Chewy Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes: About 2.5 – 3 dozen, depending on the size you make them

Every year for Christmas, I love to make Mexican wedding cookies. Powdered sugar, butter, flour, and pecans: you really can’t go wrong with that. I’ll certainly be making those sometime soon. But I think I have a new holiday cookie tradition in these chocolate toffee cookies. I made them for the first time last year around Thanksgiving, and I’ve made two batches in the last week alone.

So, these cookies are good. These cookies are very, very good. Let me tell you why:

1. The dough tastes like actual fudge.
2. There is half a pound of chocolate in one batch. And you know how I feel about chocolate.
3. There are big, crunchy, buttery chunks of Heath bar in almost every bite.
4. There is a marvelous contrast between the chewy, brownie-like cookies and the crunch from the candy and the nuts.
5. While they are chewy, they’re not excessively so, and as you chew the chocolate flavor just blooms in your mouth.
6. The sea salt sprinkled on top cuts the chocolate in just the right way so that you’re not completely assaulted with richness.
7. They make your kitchen smell like a chocolate factory as they bake.
8. They keep really well, if you can resist eating them all in one day.
9. They won me “Best in Dough” in a cookie competition at work.
10. Seriously, the dough tastes like fudge.

For the chocolate, I used half Ghirardelli bittersweet chips, and half Scharffen Berger semisweet chipped from a bar. I wouldn’t recommend Nestle for these babies — no, they deserve the splurge of nicer, smoother, fancier chocolate. Try to think of these as the first date of cookies. You wouldn’t wear your comfy flannel pj pants on a first date, would you? Flannel pjs are great and all for sitting around the house while you eat peanut butter out of the jar and watch reruns of The Office (I mean, not that I do that or anything), but special occasions call for special pants. That’s all I’m saying.

(Um, better photos forthcoming…)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
generous 1/4 tsp. salt
8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 6 T. brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 & 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 1.4-ounce Heath bars coarsely chopped*
scant 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped**
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (I use Maldon brand, but fine-grain sea salt will work too)

In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a small, metal bowl, combine chocolate and butter. Place over a pan of simmering water and melt chocolate mixture, stirring frequently. Make sure you don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the simmering water — you essentially want to melt your chocolate by steaming it.

(You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave (in a non-metal bowl, of course); zap it at 15-second intervals, stirring each time.)

Once chocolate is melted, set bowl aside and cool mixture to lukewarm.

In an electric mixer, beat eggs and brown sugar until thick, about five minutes. Beat in vanilla and chocolate. On low speed, add flour mixture. By hand, stir in toffee pieces and nuts.

The dough will be very soft — now it’s time to chill it for 45 minutes. Don’t skimp on the chilling time!

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I would encourage you to invest in parchment paper for these cookies if you don’t already have it on hand. It makes dealing with them so much easier once they’re baked. You’ll see.

Now, this next part deserves a little elaboration: I use a regular spoon to scoop the dough into rounded balls, about 1.5 inches in size. I also keep a little dish of water nearby to dampen my thumb and forefinger, so I can more easily push the dough off the spoon and onto the cookie sheet. It’s a strange dough, both sticky and dry, but if you use the water technique, you shouldn’t have a problem with the scooping. Once scooped, give the cookies about an inch-and-a-half between them on the baking sheet. Sprinkle dough with sea salt and lightly press salt into dough with your fingertip.

Bake for 12 – 14 minutes, until cookies appear cracked and dry on top, but are still soft to the touch. Cool cookies on baking sheet for one minute. Then — this is important — slide the parchment paper with cookies still on it onto a cooling surface. Now let the cookies cool completely on the parchment. Be sure not to take them off the paper until they’re completely cool, otherwise you will tear out their sweet, soft middles.

Now, if you can, wait a few hours to eat them. They really get better once they’ve had time to cool and rally their molecules to awesomeness.

*I’ve only used Heath bars with this recipe, but I imagine Skor bars would work as well. I’ve upped the amount of Heath bars from the original recipe, so if you’d prefer fewer fantastic toffee bites, cut it down to 2 or 3 Heath bars.

**To toast almonds: preheat oven to 350. Spread almonds in a single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Toast for 5 – 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.

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One response to “Chewy Chocolate Toffee Cookies

  1. Yay! I know how much you wanted to win that cookie contest. Congratulations! 🙂

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