Thursday, February 28, 2013
Chocolate Bourbon Toffee Cookies
One of the most universal pleasures of life is savoring food. It is never most fully appreciated alone, but within relationship it is a powerful force. In the past couple weeks, I've had many menu decisions to make, but one that is very dear to me involves Zack. I don't take these choices lightly, because I believe they really matter. Every six weeks he leaves his home office in Ballard to spend the week working with his company of coworkers near Carlsbad, California. These are great people and this is a blessed job. It matters a lot to me to send him with treats that are special. Treats that show these people he rarely sees how much we appreciate them. Baking and cooking is not an routine endeavor. It is my love language, and as a result, one of OUR love languages as a couple. For Zack's one year anniversary with the company they sent us treats. One of the items was chocolate covered, almond crusted toffee squares (Zack loves toffee). I decided to re-commission them into cookie stuffings and this is the recipe I came up with. It's a Zulie original. The response from his coworkers this week has been strong, so I knew I needed to write up a recipe to share.
Makes 16-24 cookies, depending on size
Note: I used milk chocolate and almond covered toffee from Shari's Berries, but I realize I wont often have that lying around. Skor bars would be the most readily available substitution, though many companies make a chocolate covered toffee, so just use what you like and/or the best you can find. Almond Roca would work awesome too!
For the Cookie dough
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
about 5 oz chocolate covered toffee candy (such as Skor bars or almond roca), chopped
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans or almonds (or not, if your toffee candy already has a nutty crust)
Maldon Smoked Salt flakes or other smoked salt
For the ganache swirl
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 oz good semi-sweet or dark chocolate
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
To make the ganache swirl: In a pourable glass measuring cup, heat the cream for 20 seconds in the microwave till very hot, and add the chocolate. Let it sit on the counter for a minute allowing the chocolate to melt. Now whisk it together and add the espresso powder and salt. Let stand at room temperature.
Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for 5 minutes at least. It should be light and fluffy. Add egg and mix thoroughly, then add vanilla and bourbon and mix another 15 seconds or so. Slowly add the flour mixture till just mixed in. Now, turn off the mixer and dump in your toffee and nuts. Pick up your ganache cup and get ready to pour. Turn the mixer on its lowest setting and stream in the chocolate ganache. This toffee mixin/ganache step should only be about a 5-10 second process. You want the ganache to ribbon through the dough, but not mix fully in and turn the cookie entirely chocolate.
At this point, you have two options, you can scoop the dough now and bake, just like you would a chocolate chip cookie, OR allow the dough to cure in the fridge for 24-48 hours, which will make it even more delicious and I strongly recommend it. Should you choose the latter, dump the dough out onto a large piece of parchment paper and form it into a log, rolling it into the paper and twisting the ends to secure. You could use wax paper or foil here too.
Whenever you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Scoop your cookies, or slice from your log, sprinkle with a few flakes of smoked salt and bake for 9-12 minutes in the center of the oven. Check them at 9 minutes. When they are fully set and just barely coloring they are done, but you can also go a few more minutes, if you like a more golden cookie or more crisp edges.