Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chocolate and Toffee Stuffed Brown Butter Cookies

I took part in my first cookie exchange this year.  The cookie exchanges I've been familiar with are ones that work like a Secret Santa, in which one person bakes cookies for another person.  The cookie exchange that I took part in was quite different (and much more enjoyable) since each person made cookies for everyone else.  We decided to keep the numbers under control and we made about 4 or 5 cookies for each person.  We all had a great time and everyone made some delicious cookies.  Plus, we each got to go home with each other's recipes!

When I first heard that we were doing a cookie swap, I wanted to make some over-the-top cookies for my girlfriends.  Jessica from How Sweet Eats has made some pretty extraordinary cookies, so when I saw the title of her newest endeavor, I knew I had found the cookie for the cookie exchange.  Let's take a minute to talk about these three amazing ingredients:

1. Brown butter.  I'd never even heard of brown butter until it popped up on Jessica's blog.  Basically, unsalted butter is melted and separated into fats and milk.  The milk solids will start to brown over low heat and give the butter a rich, nutty taste.  And that smell - wow.  Amazing.

2. Chocolate shavings.  Need I say more?

3.  Toffee.  I LOVE Heath bars.  When I worked at Cold Stone, one of my favorite combinations was banana ice cream with  Heath bar bits.  I love that crunchy, nutty taste AND it's covered in chocolate.  Put a chunk of it in the middle of cookie dough and you have the most delicious cookie ever.

Now, when you're melting the butter, be sure to keep it over low heat and watch it carefully.  First, the butter solids will separate and you'll see white bits on the top of the butter.  The bits can go from brown to burnt relatively quickly.  Bring it back to room temperature before you mix in the sugar, but don't leave it out for too long or else it'll begin to congeal.

I usually have this "bake everything at 350F" rule, but these cookies crisp up pretty quickly so I reduced the temperature to 325F for the second batch I made.  10 minutes is a generous estimate for how long you should leave them in the oven, so make sure you keep your eye on them...

The brown butter gives the whole cookie a nutty taste, and the bite of toffee in the center is really nice.  Plus, the cookies are flecked with semi-sweet chocolate shavings.  It's an amazing combination of flavors and I will certainly use the brown butter as a base for cookies in the future.  These were almost too good to give away, that was until I remembered I was trading them for 5 other varieties of cookie! :)  The cookie swap was great fun and I have some new recipes to try out!

Chocolate and Toffee Stuffed Brown Butter Cookies
Yield: 3 dozen
Prep Time: 40 min        
Bake Time: 8 - 10 min

-                1 1/3 c flour
-                ½ tsp baking soda
-                ¼ tsp salt
-                1 stick unsalted butter
-                ½ c brown sugar
-                ¼ c sugar
-                1 egg + 1 egg yolk
-                1 tsp vanilla extract
-                1 (4 oz) bar semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
-                Heath candy pieces,  coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 325F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

Heat butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir butter until it melts and continue to stir until brown bits appear in the bottom of the saucepan.  Immediately remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside. 

Add butter to a large bowl with the sugars and whisk until the sugars have dissolved.  Add in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and combine.  Add in dry ingredients about 1 c at a time and combine completely after each addition.  Fold in the baking chocolate shavings.

Form dough into balls and make a well in the center.  Fill with 1 or 2 pieces of Heath candy bar.  Roll dough back into a ball, covering the Heath candy pieces.  Add more dough if necessary.  Place on a baking sheet and place in oven for 8 - 10 minutes.  Let cool slightly on a baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack. 

Adapted from How Sweet Eats


  1. Ooh, I love toffee in cookies. Yours look great--hope your cookie exchange was fun!

  2. Oh my gosh, cookies just can't get any better than that. What flavor! I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog till Monday night and I'd love it if you'd stop by and link your cookies up.


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