Sunday, December 12, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Salted Toffee-Chocolate Squares

For our book club meeting, we had a cookie swap. There are several recipes that I want to try, so I couldn't make just one! Plus I didn't want to do anything traditional. The swap was fun, and I am excited about the book we chose to read: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shafer. Here are the two cookie desserts I made and a bonus recipe from a friend.

Salted Toffee-Chocolate Squares
~makes 24

*13 graham crackers
* 1 bag (8 ounces) toffee bits

* 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted natural almonds

* 1/2 cup sugar

* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

* 3/4 cup (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chopped
or chocolate chips
* 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place graham crackers in a single layer on sheet, edges touching. Sprinkle toffee bits and almonds over graham crackers.

2. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and butter to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is syrupy, 2 minutes. Immediately pour over graham crackers. Bake until sugar topping is bubbling, 12 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate and salt over graham crackers. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 2-inch squares. Let cool completely on sheet on a wire rack. (Store in an airtight container, up to 1 week.)

Found in May 2010 edition of Everyday Food magazine.

Jeweled Lace Cookies
~makes 4 dozen
* 1/3 cup brown sugar
* 1/4 cup corn syrup
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup rolled oats
* 1/4 flour
* 1 pinch of salt
* 1/3 cup dried cranberries
* 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, chopped

1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets. In a medium saucepan, stir together the brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter over medium heat until smooth and bubbling, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. In a bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, and salt; stir into pot, then stir in the cranberries and pistachios.
2. Drop rounded teaspoons of the mixture about 3 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake until bubbly and a shade darker, 9 to 10 minutes. Let cool for 1 minute before quickly transferring each cookie to a rack using a thin metal spatula; let cool completely.

Found in December/January 2007 edition of Everyday with Rachel Ray magazine.

From My Experience: The top recipe was sooooo delicious! They have a crunchy, chocolaty, toffee taste, so if you like Heath bars or toffee flavored desserts, you will love this recipe. They were very easy to make too. Once they are baked, they are one big sheet dessert. I used a pizza cutter to break it apart, which I reccomend. It also helped to make my cuts in between the individual graham crackers. Then I cut each cracker into thirds. They are pretty rich, so that size was perfect. They are really crunchy on the day you make them, but soften the next day (still good though). I forgot to add the salt, so I am curious how it would taste with that altering flavor.
The lacies also tasted good, but better on the next day. They turned out very crispy, but softened with each day. They baked better on the upper rack. On the lower, they spread very thin, and then unevenly baked. I was unsure about how it would turn out, so I followed the required amounts for the oats, cranberries, and nuts, however I think it needed more of the chunky ingredients. You could be creative with it like adding coconut flakes, raisens or other dried fruits, varying nuts, cinnamon chips, etc.
I didn't use pistachios, but instead a nut mixture and then threw in some trail mix. They were a little difficult to scrape off the cookie sheet, so make sure to slide the spatula under them while they are still hot. I left them on the sheet to cool because they were too brittle to put on my cooling rack. This recipe was a little more complicated to make, but it was fun to try nonetheless. Have fun!

Bonus Recipe: This was a friend's recipe for the cookie swap. She came over to my house to make them, but didn't follow the recipe correctly and they turned into brownies. We heard from someone at the party that these cookies are super, so I am going to make them sometime, maybe during the holidays!

Red Velvet Cookies
* 1/3 cup cocoa
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1/4 cup sour cream
* 1 tablespoon red food coloring
* 1 egg
* 1 package of sugar cookie mix

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, stir cookie mix, cocoa, butter, sour cream, egg, and food coloring.

3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 8-9 minutes.

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