CHOCOLATE FUDGE COOKIES with TOFFEE and DRIED CHERRIES
Well it is official … I have completed my first Cookie Carnival baking challenge!
This proved to be a very tasty start to my “CC” baking adventure.
A few of those closest to me might find the following words hard to believe … but I followed the recipe exactly as it was written. Additionally, I took the time to make sure I had all the ingredients prior to rolling up my sleeves, in hopes of avoiding my usual “be right back, gotta run to the store” routine. Being the proud owner of a bag of dutch-process cocoa powder, recently purchased on an excursion to Penzys’ Spice Store, I was pleased to see that it was one of the key ingredients. I bought this dutch-process stuff not knowing exactly what it was or when it was best used … but I just had to have some because … well … I just needed it. OK, I might not have needed it then … but now I do! Dutch process cocoa is chocolate that has been treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its color and give it a milder flavor. It forms the basis for much of modern chocolate and is used in ice cream, hot cocoa and baking. The Dutch process accomplishes several things: lowers acidity, increases solubility, enhances color and lowers flavor.
The directions call for one cup of plump, moist, dried cherries. Please, if anyone else found themselves squeezing the cherries thru the bags to find plump, moist ones let me know. I did not know exactly how I would determine the plumpest and moistest bag of dried cherries but ultimately I left the grocery store with, what I had deemed, the best bag available.
Love the English toffee bits in these cookies. One thing I would do differently next time is making sure that I used only the toffee bits and not the “toffee dust”. I just measured and dumped … without realizing I would be adding a good bit of “toffee dust” to my dough.
Take heed … have your wooden spoon handy … the instructions do not lie. The batter is very stiff and the use of the wooden spoon vs the mixer does allow you to see that you are distributing all the “mix-ins” as evenly as possible.
The only challenge I had was calculating the “right” baking time. I found that 12-13 minutes produced the cookie that was barely set in the center and just firm around the edges. Fist-sized cookies are the only way to go … less trips to the kitchen!
Debbie’s DO’s and DON’TS: We ate these cookies hot from the oven, just barely warm and totally cooled! I am surprised to report that we enjoyed them the most totally cooled … you could really distinguish the individual flavors. So, DO try them at room temperature and DON’T forget to make a second batch!