This past month, I’ve had the pleasure of participating in the 2013 Food Blogger Cookie Swap, an internet-wide cookie party. As most of you already know, I love baking cookies and sharing them any time of the year, but it’s particularly fun during the holiday season. The Food Blogger Cookie Swap is hosted by the fantastic Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen. Last week, I sent out three packages of cookies to my three cookie matches, Joanne, Erin, and Devangi, and have been receiving delicious packages from Taylor, Allison, and PJ.
Brainstorming ideas for the perfect cookie to send out didn’t take too long, in fact, I’ve had this idea in the back of my mind ever since I visited the Salt and Straw ice cream shop in Portland in July. Every flavor I tried was delicious, but my favorite scoop was a vanilla ice cream swirled with almond brittle and salted ganache. The combination of flavors was amazing, and I knew that I would have to incorporate them into a cookie.
Once I had a pan of almond toffee sprinkled with sea salt and coated in a thick layer of dark chocolate, I whipped up a batch of chewy cookies full of vanilla and folded into the dough a good amount of the toffee bits. Melted butter and egg yolks keep the cookie crisp on the outside, and chewy on the inside, providing a wonderful contrast to the soft chocolate and toffee bits. They’re an accessible rendition of the ice cream flavor, and if you have the chance to make them, I highly recommend serving them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, to get the full Salt and Straw experience.
These cookies are now all over the country, hopefully making someone’s holiday season a little bit sweeter.
If you’d like to check out all of the other cookies entered in the cookie swap, there will be a link available within the next few days, which I will make sure to post on Twitter and Facebook, so don’t miss out on some holiday baking inspiration!
Salted Almond Toffee Cookies
Makes 4 dozen cookies
½ batch salted almond toffee (recipe follows), broken into chocolate-chip sized pieces
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon table salt
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 325F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt, and whisk to combine. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the flour and baking soda, and fold gently with a spatula to combine.
- To form the cookies, take 1 tablespoon of the dough and roll it into a ball. Split the ball in half and essentially turn it insides out. Place the rough edges of the split dough ball facing out, while the smooth sides, now become the middle of the cookie. Place the cookie on the baking sheet, 1 rough side facing up and 1 facing into the sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake for 8-11 minutes, switching the positions of the pans halfway through the baking period. Once they have set on the edges and have fissures on top, remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Salted Almond Toffee
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted and divided
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sea salt, for sprinkling
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, white sugars, and salt over medium heat, then cook, stirring occaisionally until the mixture reaches 250 degrees. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 300 degrees. Add the almonds, stir quickly to combine, then pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth into a thin layer. Sprinkle with a few pinches of sea salt. Evenly distribute the chocolate chips on top of the toffee and let sit for a minute to melt, then spread into an even layer using an offset spatula. Let the toffee cool before using it in the cookies.