Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Together Tuesday

It is kind of a dreary day here in CT, and we are supposed to be going to the beach for a few hours with friends :( The forecast is for some rain showers, so hopefully we don't get too rained on! If it is dreary where you are as well, then it is the perfect day to make some cookies! We made the sugar cookies below yesterday, recipe courtesy of one of my favorite food blogs, My Kitchen Cafe. The kids made their sugar cookies plain, then frosted them with a simple confectioners sugar/water frosting and dipped them in lots and lots of sprinkles. They used animal shaped cookie cutters. I have half the dough still in the fridge and plan to make the actual chocolate toffee cookies later in the week for a barbecue on Saturday.

Chocolate Toffee Sugar Cookies
adapted from Our Best Bites

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For decorating:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup toffee bits (such as Heath brand)
4 ounces white chocolate

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.

Shape the dough into 2 flat disks and wrap in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 1-2 hours (any longer than that and your dough will be too stiff too handle - if that happens, let it rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before rolling).

Take out the dough and roll 1/4-inch thick and cut into heart shapes. Place on parchment or silpat lined baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 1 inch apart and bake at 350 for about 10-11 minutes. The cookies should be very lightly browned around the edges so they aren't too soft and they don't fold and break when decorating with the chocolate and toffee. Remove to cool on a wire rack.

While the cookies are cooling, line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners. When the cookies are cool, melt the semisweet chocolate. Instead of dipping, I used a rubber spatula to "paint" the chocolate onto one-half of the cookie, coating the top and sides of the cookie. (I found that dipping made the chocolate glob in places and wasted too much by coating the bottom of the cookie.) Once covered in chocolate, place the cookie on the prepared baking sheet. Working with a few cookies at a time, sprinkle the wet chocolate with toffee pieces. Coat all the cookies with chocolate and toffee. Let dry completely (I popped mine in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to let the chocolate harden). When the chocolate is dry, melt the white chocolate and pour into a ziploc bag. Snip a small tip off one corner and lightly drizzle the cookies with white chocolate. Let the white chocolate harden (again, another trip to the refrigerator) and once the white chocolate has set up, the cookies can be removed from the tray (you may have to break of lingering pieces of white chocolate on the edges of the cookie).

Miss McKenna's cookies - she is turning into quite the baker ...

Master Holden's cookies - like I said last week, everything here is all about bugs. His cookies, while animal shaped liked Kenna's, have "Dirt" sprinkles on them ... crushed chocolate cookie sprinkles with little red and green candy ants ;)

While the kids were making those, I was busy making chocolate hazelnut turtle cookies. Yummm ..... The only thing I ate all day yesterday was chocolate cookie dough. I doubled the recipe and it made 3 dozen cookies. Would have probably made 4 dozen, had I not eaten all that batter ;) This recipe is also courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe blog.

Chocolate Turtle Cookies
adapted slightly from Cook's Country

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, separated, plus 1 egg white
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans, chopped fine (I used hazelnuts because I love chocolate and hazelnut together)
14 soft caramel candies
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in bowl. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined. Refrigerate dough until firm, at least 1 hour.

Whisk egg white(s) in another bowl until frothy. Place pecans in another bowl. One at a time, roll dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, then roll in pecans. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using teaspoon measure, make indentation in center of each ball. Bake until set, 10 to12 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.

Meanwhile, microwave caramels and cream in bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Once cookies are removed from oven, gently press existing indentations with teaspoon measure. Fill each with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon caramel mixture. Cool 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

* I went another route on the caramels and made seal salt caramel to use in the cookies instead. The saltiness of the caramel is perfect with the dark chocolate flavor of the cookies!

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