Toffee Cutouts |

Toffee Cutouts

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Toffee Cutouts

Love English toffee? Mmmm – that wonderful combination of hard caramel and chocolate. If so, you’ll like this cookie. It combines tender shortbread with tiny pieces of toffee and pecans, and then tops it all off with a semisweet chocolate glaze. If that isn’t enough to make you smile, consider that the dough comes together in a matter of minutes, is made entirely in a food processor and the cookies keep well and can be frozen.If you’re in a hurry, you can forget the chocolate glaze. The cookie is good with or without it.Vera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude.Toffee CutoutsThis recipe makes about two dozen 2-inch cookies

IngredientsCookie1 cup of all purpose flour1/8 teaspoon salt1/3 cup of firmly packed dark or light brown sugar2 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch1/2 cup of cold unsalted butter (one stick)1 teaspoon vanilla1/2 cup of pecans

1/3 cup of toffee bits (these are in the baking section of the grocery store, near the chocolate chips; Heath Bar and Skor both make them. If you can’t find them, finely chop Heath or Almond Roca bars) Granulated sugar to sprinkle on top of the cookiesOptional Glaze3 ounces of semi sweet chocolate1 teaspoon mild vegetable oil (I use canola)Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with the rack in the middle position. Cover a baking sheet with Reynold’s Release foil or use a non-stick pan. Don’t grease the pan or the cookies might spread. Put the flour, salt, brown sugar and cornstarch into the bowl of a food processor and process until well mixed.

Cut the cold butter into eight pieces and add it, along with the vanilla, to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse in short spurts until the mixture looks like cornmeal. Stop well before it becomes a smooth dough.Add the pecans and pulse until they are finely chopped. Again, don’t let the dough form a ball.Add the toffee bits and process until they are just mixed in.Dump the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper and gently gather it together into a flat disc, about 6 inches across. Place another sheet of plastic wrap or waxed paper on top of the disc. Roll the dough in between the sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper to a thickness of one-quarter inch. Don’t roll it any thinner or the cookie will be crisp rather than tender. Remove the top piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper and cut the dough into cookies with a cookie cutter. Use a simple-shaped cutter; this cookie doesn’t keep a precise enough form when baked to be cut into an intricate shape. If you don’t have a cookie cutter, use a drinking glass to cut the dough into round cookies. Carefully transfer the cookies to your baking sheet, spacing them about one inch apart. Gather the dough scraps into a disc, roll it again, and cut out more cookies.Sprinkle the tops of the cookies lightly with granulated sugar.Bake the cookies until they are just beginning to color. The time this will take will vary, depending on the size of your cookie cutter, your oven, and the thickness of your cookies. It usually takes about 20-22 minutes when I cut them with a 2-inch round cutter.

When the cookies are done, place the baking sheet on a cooling rack for a few minutes until the cookies are set enough that you can move them off the sheet onto the cooling rack. Let them cool completely.To make the optional glaze: Chop the chocolate into small pieces and melt them. I do this in the microwave: Place the chopped chocolate in a small bowl (I prefer plastic because it cools more quickly than porcelain), and heat at a low temperature (I use #3) for a few minutes, checking every thirty seconds. Remove the chocolate from the microwave while there are still a few lumps and stir until it is melted and smooth. You can also melt the chopped chocolate in a double boiler. Add the vegetable oil to the melted chocolate and stir again, until it looks smooth and shiny. If the mixture is still quite warm, let it rest until it feels tepid.Dip the top side of each cooled cookie into the chocolate, so that it is partially covered. If any chocolate gets on the bottom of the cookie, gently scrape it back into the bowl of glaze. Place the cookie on the cooling rack until the chocolate glaze is set. You can also refrigerate the glazed cookies for 15 minutes or so to set the chocolate.This recipe is a variation of one found in Williams Sonoma’s Cookies and Biscotti.If your group or organization would like to sample and review a baked good for inclusion in this column, contact Vera Dawson at veradawson@aol.comLiving in Summit County is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the High Country successful.

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