Sunday, March 21, 2010

Buttercrunch Melt-a-ways

Buttercrunch Melt-a-ways - made 3.21.10 from Baking by Flavor by Lisa Yockelson

Think of this as similar to a Mexican Wedding Cake (also on my blog as Buttery Tea Balls) - melt-in-your-mouth texture, rolled in powdered sugar but instead of nuts, it has toffee bits inside. It's also rolled in almonds before baking then rolled in powdered sugar - twice - after baking. I didn't have Heath bars to chop up so I used half a bag of the Heath toffee bits. Not sure I would've liked chocolate in these anyway but I may try them again properly with actual chopped-up Heath bars. The cookies don't spread so you can rely on the size of dough you roll out is the size of cookie you're going to get. Don't make these big. They have a high butter content relative to the sugar and flour so these are rich. A bite-size cookie is the perfect size to enjoy these.

2 ¼ cups unsifted bleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ pound (16 tablespoons or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsifted confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
4 packages (1.4 ounces each) milk chocolate-covered toffee bars (Heath Milk Chocolate English Toffee Bars), finely chopped
About 1 ½ cups finely chopped almonds, for rolling the balls of cookie dough
About 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, for dredging the baked cookies

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line the cookie sheets with cooking parchment paper; set aside.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.
3. In a large mixing bowl, stir the melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla and almond extracts, using a wooden spoon or flat wooden paddle. At this point, the sugar will form small speckled clumps in the butter mixture, but as soon as you add the flour, the sugar will disperse.
4. Stir in half of the flour mixture and the chopped candy. Stir in the remaining flour and mix to form a cohesive dough. Let the dough stand for 5 minutes to allow the butter to be absorbed into it. The dough will be moist but reasonably firm and manageable.
5. Place the almonds into a shallow bowl. Spoon out scant tablespoon-size quantities of dough and roll into balls. Roll the balls into the chopped almonds, pressing the nuts in lightly as they are rolled. Arrange the cookie dough balls about 2 inches apart on the lined cookie sheets, placing 12 to 16 on each baking sheet (depending on the size of the sheet).
6. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 13 to 15 minutes, or until set, with light golden bottoms. There will be a few thin cracks in the tops. Little bits of chopped candy will puddle at the base of the cookies, here and there.
7. Let the cookies stand on the sheets for 30 seconds, then remove them to cooling racks, using a sturdy, offset metal spatula. As you are removing them, detach any melted bits of candy from the base of the cookies, using a flexible palette knife or tip of a teaspoon. Cool the cookies for 5 to 8 minutes.
8. Line a work surface with waxed paper. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a shallow bowl. Wearing food-safe rubber gloves to protect your hands, carefully roll the cookies, a few at a time, in the sugar to coat, and place on the waxed paper. After 30 minutes, coat the cookies again.

Yield: 2 ½ to 3 dozen cookies

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