Saturday, June 12, 2010

52 Cookies - Chapter 23

As you may have read previously this week, it's been a busy one.  Make no mistake, I needed a quick cookie for this week.  I even got called out by my mom on Friday evening at Jenna's softball game because I hadn't made the Cookie of the Week yet.  I already knew what I was going to make and that they wouldn't take long.  I just wasn't sure when I was going to squeeze out some time to get it done, even if they were quick.  Evan had two baseball games on Saturday.  Fortunately, lightning called Jenna's game short on Friday night, so I got home earlier than expected.  Sometimes things just have a way of working themselves out.

So, all the rage on the baking scene lately has been salted caramel this and salted chocolate that.  Either way, you see a bit of a trend...SALT!  And not just any old salt.  When I was growing up, and much into my adult years, there was salt.  Plain and simple.  Just salt.  Nowadays, (I sound so ancient making a statement like that) there is sea salt, coarse salt, kosher salt...
When do you use which kind?  I tend to keep sea salt on-hand.  I just like it more than the old-fashioned iodized table salt.  One time, I accidentally bought some coarse salt.  It's been around for awhile, but it came in great use for this week's cookie.  Regular table salt just wouldn't do for a recipe of this nature since it serves the purpose of not only flavoring, but also somewhat of a topping, like on a big soft pretzel.

My mom commented, after sampling one of these, that they are almost like candy, and I could not agree more.  They are so very yummy and I will definitely add this recipe to my repertoire of giftable food.  These would make a nice little something to give someone as a thank you or whatever, in a jar with a pretty ribbon or a cute little food container. 

This was another find from my Everyday Food magazine put out by Martha Stewart and her huge conglomerate of food media.  It makes about 24-36 cookies, depending on how big you cut them.  By the way, a very positive feature of this recipe is that I was able to make these in 30 minutes, start to finish!

Salted Toffee-Chocolate Squares

What You'll Need:
13 graham crackers
1 bag (8 oz.) toffee bits
1 1/2 cups toasted, coarsely chopped almonds
1/2 cup sugar
2 sticks butter
3/4 cup (4 oz.) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Here's What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking pan with foil.  I used my jelly roll pan and it seemed to work out fine.  A slightly large cookie sheet would do the trick too.  Place the graham crackers in a layer on the cookie sheet.  I noticed the graham crackers are smaller now that they used to be.  The actual sheets of crackers are smaller!  Everything is getting smaller, but the price is staying the same.  After you have the graham crackers on the cookie sheet, sprinkle the toffee bits evenly on top.  Now, sprinkle the toasted almonds on top of that.  Set it aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the butter and sugar over medium-high heat until the butter has melted.  Try not to dwell too much on the fact that there are 2 sticks of butter melting in front of you.  Bring the butter/sugar mixture to a boil.  Now, reduce the heat and cook at a rapid simmer, swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture is syrupy.  It should take no more than 2-3 minutes.  Very quickly, pour the sugar mixture evenly over the top of the almonds/toffee bits/graham crackers.  Bake this until the sugar topping is bubbling, 12 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the top.  If you don't have bittersweet chocolate, you can use regular semi-sweet chocolate chips.  For something like this, though, I like to use a bar of chocolate and chop it myself.  The random size of the chopped chocolate just looks better to me than the evenly uniform sized chocolate chips.  Personal preference.  I splurged on a bar of Ghiradelli chocolate.  Heaven!  As soon as you get the chocolate sprinkled on, go ahead and sprinkle the coarse salt.  Go ahead and cut into 2 inch squares.  Now let it cool completely on a wire rack.  As is customary with me and baking cookies, I had to have one before they were cooled and ready to be eaten.  Some are actually better warm, after all.  These are delicious.  I love the salty-sweet combination.  Perfection, without a doubt.

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