They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. This is only a half-truth—it is the way through a woman’s heart as well, or at least that is what I have observed from my own experience. One might think that the heart is located in the stomach. I don’t know. I’ve never bothered to crack open an anatomy textbook.
|COME TO ME CHILDREN.|
These cookies began when I was reaching for a stack of cookbooks with which to press my tofu and realized that hey, there was this neat little dessert recipe book nestled in between the volumes of Cooking Light and the bread machine manuals! Salty Sweets, to be specific.
The 2009 book was written presumably at the end of salted caramel’s rise in prominence, where it simply sat in the spotlight like the dessert ham it is (as this NYT article would have us to believe)—and as such, salt in desserts was not exactly brand-spanking new. By now, the addition of expensive salts to desserts is so ubiquitous one might not even need to include the descriptor “salted” at the beginning of yet another caramel recipe, or perhaps on top of another salty chocolate cookie. This may not have been the case back in the dark ages of 2009. Perhaps Christie Matheson was breaking ground here by suggesting we pour salt not only in our caramel but on our vanilla cake and in our chocolate ice cream and on our pecan pie. Who knows? All I know is that my mother somehow picked up this book and it has festered on our shelves for years, untouched.
Now, we shall make cookies. With salt. Lots of salt.
|And chocolate, if you haven't noticed.|
These particular cookies are much simpler than they sound: just whip up a small batch of candied pecans, make a basic cutout cookie dough, and top with melted chocolate, salt, and the prepared pecans. Easy as pie! Easier than pie, actually. Pie’s pretty hard.
Before we begin, some tips on making cutout cookies. I’ve always found them to be quite difficult in that they rarely keep their intended shape, mostly because I am a baking plebe and can hardly fulfill the most basic of tasks let alone cutting out a cookie, for chrissakes. For example: I have found, through trial and error and sweat and tears, that thoroughly chilling the dough both before and after rolling and cutting out shapes prevents that stubborn melting of the edges, which can turn your gingerbread man into a gingerbread blob-beast. And that is something that nobody wants. In an emergency case, you can even press the cutter back into the cooked dough just after taking them out of the oven and cut off those extra misshapen bits. Will admit that I did just that here. No shame.
In retrospect, I probably should’ve taken up the challenge of hunting down the real cookie cutters and not just used a drinking glass.
Eh. Doesn’t matter; had cookies. Here’s the recipe.
Salty sweet toffee cookies with dark chocolate glaze and candied pecans
Makes about 15 cookies
Adapted from this sweet potato cake
7 grams ● coconut oil ● ½ tablespoon
25 grams ● sugar ● 2 tablespoons
1 grams ● salt ● 1/8 teaspoon
1 grams ● cinnamon ● ½ teaspoon
50 grams ● pecan halves ● ½ cup
1 grams ● vanilla extract ● ¼ teaspoon
To make candied pecans, start by placing parchment paper on a baking sheet. Set aside. Then, melt coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sugar, salt, and cinnamon and stir to combine. Add nuts and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar caramelizes and the nuts are toasted. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour nuts on prepared baking sheet and use a fork to separate nuts into a single layer. Let cool completely before using.
Toffee cookies with dark chocolate glaze
Adapted from Salty Sweets
113 grams ● nondairy margarine, softened ● ½ cup
113 grams ● coconut oil, softened ● ½ cup
220 grams ● dark brown sugar ● 1 cup, packed
32 grams ● silken tofu, blended until smooth ● 2 tablespoons
250 grams ● all-purpose flour ● 2 cups
6 grams ● salt ● 1 teaspoon
113 grams ● bittersweet chocolate ● 4 ounces
1 recipe candied pecans (see above), chopped
Fleur de sel to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add tofu and mix well. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter-sugar mixture and combine.
Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. Once chilled, roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to about ¼ inch thick. Cut out 3-inch round circles and place the cookies on baking sheets.
Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Let cool completely on baking sheets.
To finish, melt chocolate over very low heat and brush on top of cookies. Sprinkle fleur de sel on top of chocolate. Garnish with a bit of candied pecan. Let chocolate cool and harden before serving.
|And that, my friends, is why we need geometry.|
So how do these cookies measure up? Quite well, actually. I’m not exactly sure where the “toffee” bit comes in, since the base is just a regular ol’ sugar cookie with brown replacing the granulated. But I’m not complaining. That bit of extra molasses adds a definite hit of flavor that pairs well with the caramelized pecans and salted chocolate. And the texture—hoo boy. We’ve got soft, caramelized cookie with snappy, hardened chocolate and crunchy pecans. What more could you want?
Oh yeah: another one.