chewy chocolate toffee cookies

I just don’t feel like there is enough time in the day.  Mornings quickly are turning to evenings which are succumbing to earlier and earlier bedtimes because I seemingly can not keep my eyes open long after 930pm, that is, unless you offer me popcorn and another episode of Downton…but even then, I sometimes struggle to say ‘yes’ and before the final credit has drifted across the screen and the final notes of the theme song have reached my ears, I am up the stairs, buried under the covers, awaiting sleep…

 I finally just sat down for the evening, it’s going on 9… I spent a fairly normal day at the hospital, where I walked in and the fire alarms were going off and yet, everyone was going about their normal business…which is pretty par for the course in terms of fire alarm conduct.  It always worries newbies and students … coming out of their tiny conference room wondering if they should be darting to an exit somewhere.  I am curious if there is a different/louder/ominous alarm when there is a fire in which we do actually need to evacuate the hospital.  I pray we never have to learn this.

Traffic to and from work was not shabby, however the potholes created by this winter weather may swallow my car if the city of Cleveland doesn’t take action soon…and I spilled coffee on my car seat  - turns out my down parka is a suitable rag and warm winter coat.  Another reason why I only wear dark colors…I am a walking disaster.  I threw together a chicken mexican casserole that did not contain a cream of something soup and put to use leftovers that otherwise would have found themselves in the trash tomorrow morning…which reminds me, tomorrow is trash day.  As the casserole was bubbling over in the oven and the sharp cheddar cheese was browning to a lovely golden hue, I ran.  Three miles.  Nothing crazy, nothing fast.  But something.  Squeezed in.  That is what it has become lately.  Squeezed.  Scrunched.  Smooshed.  The fix to this – morning workouts.  Hahahahaha…I have tried.  I have turned off alarm clocks.  Alarm clocks in different rooms that required me to stumble out of my bedroom, the goal – wake my ass up.  Laughable.  I stumble back to bed and over sleep and just run while dinner is cooking or forgo a proper dinner and insert the go-to egg sandwich or bowl of popcorn.

It is well into the evening, dinner and shower are checked off the list, dishes may be done or I am putting those off until the following day because I can still see the counter and well, that means I still have spoons and a drinking glass or two, however just last week I caught a certain someone drinking out of the creamer cup (the one with the spout)…sadly, he wasn’t using the spout.

It is dark outside and has been since I left work at 4:30-5 and now is the time that I have to tinker around in the kitchen and here, my own small corner of the Internet…but the light is gone.  And I haven’t learned how to properly take pictures in my house with artificial light.  I know there are bells and whistles to make this easier, however I am stubborn and well, I just like my natural light and you wanna know what is so crazy?  I adore winter light, however I experience so little of it nowadays.  She describes it just perfectly.  A dish that in the summer and fall I could whip up and snap pics from start to finish in one evening during the week…takes me well, all week or something I can only accomplish on the weekends.

Winter just takes a whole new schedule that I never ever plan for and never organize until about Valentine’s Day … just when the days begin to become noticeably longer and the light reaches further into the evenings.  Just about the same time, energy begins to seep back into my bones and I begin to feel more like a human and less like a sloth in full hibernation.

Some nights though…some nights I get everything in plus a batch of cookies.  And I am satisfied with iPhone pics of the process…filters make a world of difference and with few other options, it just has to be OK.  In all honesty, it took me 2+ nights to bake them all off…because once it hits 9:30pm, I shouldn’t have the oven on, because I can’t keep my eyes open and I don’t respond to fire alarms.  I don’t like to live life so close to the edge.

I used leftover toffee that, well, didn’t exactly work out.  Don’t ask…Just know, you can’t win them all…but screwed up/leftover toffee or peanut brittle works wonders when stirred into cookies and brownies.  A change in expectations…that is all.  Don’t have screwed up toffee because you are a freaking rock star and you would never seemingly waste 2+ pounds of butter before succumbing to the fact that perhaps your mother’s stove just isn’t suited for candy making…well you will need to crush a few Heath bars.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews

chewy chocolate toffee
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups + 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ Cup Dutch Process Cocoa Powder (I have also used Special Dark blend)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 + ½ Sticks Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, loosely packed
  • 1 Cup White Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Cup Crushed Toffee bits
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Scrape down the bowl with rubber spatula.
  3. Reduce speed of mixer to low, and slowly add dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips and toffee bits.
  5. Refrigerate dough for about one hour to firm up dough.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Shape dough into 1 to 1+1/4 inch round balls and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on tray for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

 

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap…Chocolate Pistachio Sables

‘Tis the season for garland.  24 hours of Christmas carols on the radio.  Christmas movies overflowing on Netflix…which leads to White Christmas and continuous loop finding their way into the same sentence.  Rooftops outlined in twinkle lights…making me question people’s idea of what a straight line actually is … because if it means wavy, they are  spot on – or maybe their houses need re-roofed and if that is the case, I am just being an ass…however, butthead or not, I continue to wish people would stop outlining their houses in lights if they have no desire to make the lights straight or if they have a crooked roof.  They make these for a reason.  And since I am on a roll here… let’s talk about the infamous Leg Lamp and  A Christmas Story or as I refer to as the worst Christmas movie … ever.  I am fully aware of this so-called crazy stance against an ‘American classic’…but, I can’t pretend to like something that awful.  I tried, I failed.  I stand firm in my distaste.

I love Christmas.  I swear.  I love…

The decorated trees – deciduous and coniferous alike- to be draped in twinkle lights – making city centers absolutely magical.

Christmas caroling…or at least the charming idea of such an event.  An activity, I believe, I missed out on by merely being born in the wrong decade/century.

Christmas Eve midnight church service.  Where it begins at the top of the final hour of a day full of anticipation and preparation, squished into pews among friends and family.   There is a gentle buzz of conversation that rises and falls as the church fills with followers…This is a place where we celebrate the reason for the following day, Jesus Christ’s birth…where the service ends as the first minutes of Christmas day arrive and we stand and sing Silent Night by candle light.  This is my favorite tradition.

And of course…

Cookie swapping or exchanging or trading – whatever your circle goes by is fine, because when it comes to cookies and friends – umm, it’s just bonkers amazing!  (and yes, I just followed up church service with cookies)  And who to take cookie swapping to the next level than we food bloggers.  I have seen this food blogging cookie swapping extravaganza from afar for the past 2  years and finally decided to join in all the fun this year.  Julie from The Little Kitchen and Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil  have created quite an event….inviting food bloggers from anywhere and everywhere to join together to not only bake and swap cookies and share our love of butter, sugar, and flour…but also raise money for Cookies For Kids’ Cancer and to spread Christmas cheer.

From explaining this event to others not in the food blogging community, most are floored by the friendliness, friendship, and trust that is and has always been overflowing in this dear community.  It is not surprising that people baking cookies and cakes and pies in their kitchens aren’t lovely people, but that a group of people, who in all rights are competing for the same audience and readers, are so willing to work together and achieve together and be such a tight knit bunch.  And the trust…many have asked me ‘ you mean, you are going to eat cookies shipped to you from a stranger’…without thinking, my answer has been a quick and firm ‘yes‘.  And trust me, the cookies have been delicious!

In our efforts to raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and with help from the lovely sponsors, we as a food blogging community raised over $13,000.  Wow, right?

To say I am thankful to find myself in and among these folk is an understatement.

Once we signed up, we were then emailed our cookie swapping matches.  I mailed my cookies to Laurie from Crunchy Gooey;  Carly from Icing on the Cake; and Shari from Tickled Red.  I devoured cookies from Deanna in New York – she baked crunchy molasses cookies that took me right back to my grandmother’s kitchen.  Deanna, so good!  Valerie, from Pursuit of Sweetness , made banana bread sugar cookies with a brown sugar cinnamon glaze that took me by surprise.  It is no secret, that I am not a ‘fan’ of banana baked goods (as mentioned here and here), however these cookies –  HOLY SMOKES!  I had to hide them from myself in the depths of my freezer behind the bacon and well, more bananas.  Could not, would not stop eating.  And finally, Cait from The Patriotic Baker baked chocolate peppermint sandwich cookies – think homemade peppermint Oreos – yeah they are as good as you think they might be.  Girls, you seriously out did yourselves!  Plus, the packaging … seriously?!?  I need to up my game next year.  Game on food bloggers.  Game on.

So what cookies did I mail across the country?  Chocolate Pistachio Sables.  A chocolate shortbread like cookie…AKA durable when in the hands of the United States Postal Service.  Chopped bittersweet chocolate…because what is the harm in more chocolate?   And pistachios….a punch of salty nutty flavor and peeps, they are GREEN!

‘Tis the season.  ’Tis the season.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap…Chocolate Pistachio Sables
 
Ingredients
  • 2+1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2+1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1+1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped (salted or unsalted)
  • Flaky sea salt (used Maldon)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar, and vanilla, until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Reduce mixer speed to low, and add dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Beat in egg white.
  3. Fold in chopped chocolate and pistachios.
  4. Divide dough into 2 sections and form into 2 logs measuring about 8 inches x 2 inches or so. Wrap tightly in parchment paper (or plastic wrap or tinfoil) and place in fridge for at least 3-4 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F.
  6. Cut logs into ¼ to ½ inch thick cookie rounds and place cookies on parchment lined cookie sheets about ½ inch apart from each other. Sprinkle cookies with flaky sea salt
  7. Bake in preheated oven for about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on tray for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to finish cooling.

 

Recipe Adapted from Bon Appétit December 2013

Pumpkin Pie Biscotti

Holy October.  Or mid-October.   Or, Holy, I just ate an entire fun sized bag of Halloween candy-ober and now I am sick to my stomach-ober.
Wish the stomachache was fun-sized.

I am not sure I know what to say…and whatever I do say, I am going to sound like our mothers.

Soooo…

Well….

Holy October.

How much is too much Candy Corn?  And hiding it in my car’s glove compartment for sugar attacks on my commute to and from work is totally normal right?  I might have a problem with Halloween candy.  Can I schedule my own intervention?

And well, to ease the pain of the months flying by …( I have heard an ugly rumor that Christmas supplies are able to be purchased at Kohls, wwwhhhaaattt?) aaannnddd  to curve those sugar cravings like an adult…I made you some pumpkin pie biscotti…because what goes better with that warm cup of coffee than a cookie?   A dunking cookie at that….

Nothing.  That is the answer you were looking for.  Nothing goes better with a cup of coffee than a cookie…well, perhaps a doughnut (donut?), but I don’t fry things ( it’s a toss up of being afraid of a large pan of hot oil and a dozen+ warm donuts (doughnuts?) in my kitchen, at my fingertips… in combo with very little self control) …so biscotti is what you are getting.  And please don’t tell me about baked donuts (doughnuts?)…I have tried them and well, they aren’t the same.  Perhaps it is a mind thing – I don’t doubt it, placebo would totally work on me, but I want my doughnuts (donut?) fried.  It is a splurge anyways…so might as well go all out, yo.

But, hey…enough with the donuts (doughnut?) … I made biscotti.  Totally not fried, but twice baked.  Take that.  Did you know that?  Biscotti are twice baked.  I bet you knew that.  Y’all are no dummies… You probably also know that the origin of the word itself  means twice baked/cooked.  That second baking gets them nice and dunk-able…errr, crunchy.  Errr…delicious.

The flavors of fall and a touch of pumpkin.   All wrapped up in a cookie.   These don’t have quite the ‘snap’ that traditional biscotti have, but I blame the pumpkin … It would make dirt moist and eatable.  Man, I hate the word moist.  And there I go saying it again.  Even in my head, I don’t like the sound of the word.

 

And on a completely different note…Have you watched Derek on Netflix (a Netflix Original Series)?  I think it might be one of the best shows I have seen in such a long time….such a great mix of heart warming comedy and heart breaking tragedy… I would highly recommend it …and if you aren’t a fan of Ricky Gervais, no worries…his role as Derek is so unlike anything I am personally familiar with him playing.  Downside?  Only 7 episodes.  Upside?  You can watch them all in one day …

Pumpkin Pie Biscotti
 
Make 8 to 12 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 + ¾ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ Cup Firmly packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ginger
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Clove
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • ¼ Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • ¾ Cup Coarsely Chopped Walnuts
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Place butter in small saucepan over medium heat and melt. Add chopped walnuts. Cook, stirring constantly until nuts are browned and fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool while preparing biscotti dough.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla.
  5. With mixer on low (or by hand, but easier using a mixer) beat pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients. Dough will initially be crumbly but will eventually become a moist and form into a ball.
  6. Stir cooled walnuts into dough.
  7. Empty dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a log that is 2 inches wide and about 10 inches long. Place log on a parchment paper covered baking sheet (or lightly greased) and bake for about 24 to 27 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300F.
  8. When log has cooled enough to touch, transfer log to a cutting board, and using a sharp knife (bread knife is great for this) cut the log into ½ inch thick pieces on the diagonal. Place biscotti cut side down and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and flip the biscotti so the other side is facing up and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes.
  9. Transfer biscotti to wire rack and let cool completely before enjoying.

adapted from Cooking In an Apron

Oatmeal Pecan Scotchies

Food is quite the memory jogger.  A trigger of sorts.  Much like music.  Or certain smells.

I don’t know if everyone is like this, but I want to think that a warm chocolate chip cookie takes everyone back to their childhood – I think my first memory of a chocolate chip cookie and looking back, probably the first time I took comfort from food or felt love through its simple preparation, was when our first childhood dog – ‘Puppy’ – original, I know…died.

I was curled up on dad’s lap in our old gray (it wasn’t old yet) recliner and I was sobbing and mom, from the kitchen, offered to make cookies – ‘maybe that will make us feel better’.  I don’t remember the taste of the cookies or if we even ate them that night – I am sure we did, with large glasses of milk and spoons to fish out soggy lost bits and pieces. What I remember, as dad sat reassuring us that Puppy was in heaven causing ruckus up there, was that mom, while also mourning the loss of her beloved dog (even though she would holler and throw spoons in his direction from the back door when he would bark and howl), took time to bake us cookies – hoping they would ease our tears and cheer us up a bit.  Which, I am sure they did.

Cookies have that sort of power.  Especially if mom is making them.

Oatmeal Scotchies … guess what..you got it, comes with a memory.  Like any cookie, they remind me of my grandma.  As most things I bake do, but these are most definitely a Shirley memory.  On Wednesday evenings, grandma had church choir practice or perhaps it was the Women’s Society meeting…all I know, is that she was at church on Wednesday nights and the church was just 2 blocks from our house.  Therefore, Wednesday nights always guaranteed a visit from grandma and she normally brought a bake good ( and I wonder where I get this habit from).  Cookies or pie.  And if it was cookies…4 out of 5 times, they would be chewy oatmeal scotchies.

 

As grandma and mom sat and chit chatted and gossiped … we 3 kids scarfed down cookies, leaving just crumbs behind.  Sore jaws and crumbs.

I hadn’t had an oatmeal scotchie in years.  Years!  Quite devastating, seeing how the recipe for these magic little guys are on the back of the bag of Nestle butterscotch chips.  And when something is this good, there is really no need to tinker with the recipe.  Well, I kinda did…I added roasted pecans, because pecans kind of rock in cookies.  No?

Of all the cakes, cookies, and pies I have taken into work…I believe these cookies received the most hubbub.  The container was returned with a pleading of it being refilled with more.  People were hiding and stowing away cookies in lockers.  They were being eaten 2 and 3 at a time.  I wanna believe it was because these cookies were not only chewy and delicious, but because their flavor and texture and slight hint of cinnamon took them back.

Back to grandmas, school lunches, after school snacks, Wednesday nights.

Oatmeal Pecan Scotchies
 
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • ¾ Cup white sugar
  • ¾ Cup, light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1¼ Cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ Cup Roasted Pecans, roughly chopped
  • 3 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • One 11-oz bag butterscotch chip
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, until incorporated. Beat in vanilla.
  4. With mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated – the dough will be tacky.
  5. With a wooden spoon, stir in the oats, pecans, and butterscotch chips.
  6. Drop rounded spoonfuls of dough onto parchment lined (optional) baking sheets and bake for 7-8 minutes for chewy cookies or 9-10 minutes for crisp cookies.
  7. Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.

Adapted from Nestle TollHouse

Chocolate Pistachio Coconut Cookies

And here we go again.  I haven’t posted much in the month of January.  I blame Disney and Tim Riggins.

Ok, fine, just Tim Riggins.

I am not bragging, but I just finished the entire series of Friday Night Lights (thank you Netflix) in 1 week…and I am rounding up to 7 days, because it may have been closer to 6.  5 years of TV in a week.  Yikes.

For one week, I worked, ran, and watched FNL (friday night lights).  In that order.  I watched fake football instead of the real games.  I missed the entire Australian Open.  Congrats, Djokovic.  News?  You mean the world was still spinning this past week?  World news doesn’t really make it all the way to the make believe town of Dillon, Texas.  Sorry.

I am pretty sure I went to work last Monday with a Texas drawl from my weekend binder.  I said y’all at least twice.  And I fell in LOVE with  Connie Britton’s hair.  Seriously.

And oh, did you know that 3/4th of the cast from FNL (I just acronymed a TV show…sigh) has been on Grey’s Anatomy?  Coach Taylor was part of the bomb squad and was blown to smitherings.  Landry had a disfigured face and ended up dying on the table, whomp whomp..  Jess had a brain tumor and Dr McDreamy saved her life.  Smash is now a lowly intern.  And Saracan was a soldier who opted to have his leg amputated.  I am just hoping and a wishing that Tim Riggins will wander onto the set…

 

I was able to whip up a batch of cookies during this period of time – mainly because I promised/owed a co-worker cookies and I couldn’t procrastinate any longer – Texas football or no Texas football…cookies full of pistachios and coconut needed to be pumped out of my kitchen.  Good thing I can see the TV from my kitchen :)

 

5.0 from 1 reviews

Chocolate Pistachio Coconut Cookies
 
makes about 3 dozen
Ingredients
  • 2+1/4 Cup of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, tightly packed
  • 1 Box (3.4 ounce) Pistachio Pudding (not the sugar free version)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
  • ½ Cup Pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.
  4. Beat in pistachio pudding mix, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  5. With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  6. Fold in coconut, chocolate chips, and chopped pistachios.
  7. Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheet (parchment paper lined or UNgreased) and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.