I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this yet, but I’m a no-nuts-in-my-desserts person. I just so happen to be married to the same kind of person (thank goodness!!), so whenever a recipe calls for any type of nut (pecan, walnut, peanut), I omit it and just add extra of something else so the consistency stays the same.
Don’t get me wrong — I LOVE nuts in general (um … OK, OK, keep your mind out of the gutter, folks, you know what I mean), just not in my baked goods (I adore them in salads, actually) or ice cream. So that’s my disclaimer to anyone looking for a dessert containing nuts on this blog. It ain’t gonna happen. I take that back. I’ll let ya know they’re part of the ingredient list, but I’ll always leave them out.
That being said — these cookies? They call for toasted walnuts, chopped. I just add more broken toffee candy bar pieces. I’ve been making these for years now and figured out the perfect amount of extra candy bar that doesn’t exceed the cookie dough, rendering it a big melted toffee gooey mess. I also make them just a tad smaller because they are so rich and decadent, most folks broke them in half, so I figured, why obliterate the beautiful chocolatey goddess? Just make them smaller and adjust the cooking time.
I found these one year on epicurious.com and they have been a go-to treat every Christmas (and for special gifts, such as Teacher Appreciation Week). True story: My daughter’s teacher told me they were the best cookie she’s ever eaten and her neighbor, with whom she shared them, asked if they were actually homemade — was she sure they weren’t from a bakery? I think that’s a pretty darn good testament to how good these things are.
OK, I’ll shut up now, so you can partake in these melt-in-your-mouth wonderful treats.
Giant Chocolate-Toffee Cookies
- 1/2 C all purpose flour
- 1 t baking powder
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 lb. bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped [I’ve always used bittersweet chocolate and it’s OK to use chips, just make sure to use 2 C]
- 1/4 C (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 3/4 C (packed) brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 T vanilla extract
- 5 1.4-ounce chocolate-covered English toffee bars (such as Heath), coarsely chopped [DO NOT use the Heath toffee bits — they do not work the same as the actual candy bar. Skor also works and you’ll see that’s what I had to use this time, but I prefer Heath because the toffee isn’t as hard and it’s creamier in taste. Also, freeze the candy bars so they’re easier to smash into bits. If you omit the walnuts like I always do, you’ll want to use 8 candy bars — no more, no less.]
- 1 C walnuts, toasted, chopped
1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; whisk to blend. And just in case you don’t know what that might look like, I’ve included a picture here:
2. Stir chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Cool mixture to lukewarm. You don’t have to use a double broiler if you don’t have one. I have a middle burner with less BTU and a special “melt” setting, so that’s what I do. You could also just put your burner on super low and keep an eye on it, stirring constantly. As you can see in this picture, I used dark chocolate chunks.
3. Using electric mixer (I used my hand mixer because I didn’t want to get my stand mixer down — either will work, of course), beat sugar (remember that it must be PACKED brown sugar) and eggs (room temp is key here, people! If you forgot to pull your eggs out, run some hot water and put your eggs in a bowl and let them sit a few minutes; this will help bring them to room temp quickly) in bowl until thick, about 5 minutes. Do not think you are done at 4 minutes or 4 minutes 30 seconds. Beat the crap out of that stuff so it’s nice and frothy.
4. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. I like to use Molina Mexican vanilla, but any vanilla will do.
5. Stir in flour mixture, then toffee
and nuts. The best way to “chop” the toffee bars is to freeze them and then smack the hell out of them on the side of your counter. It’s almost therapeutic in releasing any anger you might have bottled up inside. Once you smack them all, as you open each candy bar to throw into your bowl, you can manually break up bigger pieces because you don’t want the chunks too big. Again, magic number of candy bars if omitting the nuts is 8.
Sorry, folks, I took a lot of pictures when I mixed these puppies up.
6. Chill batter until firm, about 45 minutes. You can also leave it overnight. No need to bring to room temp — you want this dough nice and firm.
7. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. DO NOT use wax paper. It. Does. Not. Work. I tried it once because I didn’t have parchment on hand. Let’s just say, FAIL. I hate that the original recipe includes this option because it isn’t. Trust me.
8. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto sheets, spacing 2.5 inches apart. I do about 1/8 cupfuls. Make sure you give the cookies a lot of room because they do spread out nice and round. I also make sure they’re pretty round mounds of dough so they spread uniformly and look all purdy.
9. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 15 minutes. I have always found that my larger cookies baked for about 18 minutes and the smaller ones, shown here, for about 14-15 minutes. You just need to make sure they’re cracked on top.
10. Cool on sheets. I pull mine off after about 8 minutes. If they stick, they need more time to cool. Also, the puffiness subsides and they flatten out. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)
As I mentioned, I made these for my daughters’ teachers for the last day of Teacher Appreciation week. We included a letter that said, “Thanks to you, I’m one smart cookie!” — yes, inspiration from Pinterest. I threw them into little baggies. Man, they don’t look as pretty in the pictures I took as they did in person, but you get the picture. No pun intended.
The only ribbon I had was red raffia. I’m sure you can make them so much cuter.
I’m telling you right now, if you need to take a dessert to a cookout or party or bake sale (or maybe you just want to make your family smile), make these. You will bring people to their knees.
Do you have a favorite cookie recipe? This ranks in my husband’s top three. I’ll be sharing the other two later.
A special thank you to all who have served, are serving and are family of those serving in the military for all that you sacrifice so that we can enjoy the freedoms of this great country.