Thursday, September 19, 2013

Turtle Cookies

Turtle Cookies - made September 4, 2013 from Rock Recipes
I had a failure moment with these cookies.  When I first saw the picture on Rock Recipes, my brain processed the cookie as being a thumbprint cookie.  You know, make a crater in the center of the chocolate dough ball, bake then fill said crater with caramel and drizzle with chocolate.  After all, I've made Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies that were classic turtle cookies before.  So that's what I expected these to be.
The dough was a little soft so I chilled it briefly before I portioned it into dough balls, rolled the balls in chopped, toasted almonds then made a crater in the center of each one for the "thumbprint".  I froze them once they were properly cratered and stored them in my freezer until I needed to bake them.
Above is what went into the oven and below is what came out.  Eek. They spread like any typical cookie and there was no hint of any crater-like impression.  In fact, they even puffed up in the middle like any drop cookie.  Okay then, these are not thumbprint cookies.  I went back to the original recipe to see if I had done anything wrong. I had deliberately left out pushing a piece of caramel in the middle before baking because I didn't want the caramel to get hard and had planned to fill the (non-existent) crater with melted caramel after baking. Other than that, I'd followed the recipe pretty faithfully. Near as I can tell, I was just operating under the wrong assumption.  They're Turtle Cookies all right, just not thumbprint cookies.  My bad.
Fortunately, they were still good turtle cookies, chocolaty from the "good" cocoa and chewy because I underbaked them slightly. Since they were already chocolate cookies with nuts on the outside, I turtle-ized the first batch by spreading some chocolate ganache (leftover from the Chocolate Turtle Cake) on top then adding some salted caramel over them. I thought they were pretty good, despite my prejudice about nuts in cookies.

I baked off the rest of the cookies for work at a later time and for one batch (not pictured), I put a Rolo in the crater of the unbaked cookie, hoping it would melt and flow like the caramel on Rock Recipes' blog as it baked.  Um, not so much.  The Rolo melted and sank liked the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz when you threw a bucket of water over her; in other words, it melted around the edges and the middle just flattened down because the bottom had melted but it was a bit blobby.  Not impressive.  To hide the imperfection, I used up the rest of my ganache to cover up the melted Rolo blobs and sprinkled mini chocolate chips on top.  A little baking sleight of hand there.  And it seemed to have worked because this is another recipe where I had 2 people stop by my office to thank me and tell me the cookies were good, one person email me asking for the recipe, a 4th coworker emailed me to let me know this may have been her most favorite of all the treats I've brought in and another thank you note left by the vanishing platter of cookies. I already had the pics from the first batch of Turtle Cookies so I didn't think to take a picture of the Rolo version but maybe I should have. I didn't realize they'd be such a big hit at work.
Always nice to be appreciated :)
I've posted the original recipe as is below in case anyone wants to make Turtle Cookies that are thumbprint-less.
The naked version

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup very good quality cocoa (I used Pernigotti)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (I used chopped toasted almonds)
3 dozen individually wrapped caramel candies
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine thoroughly.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the sweetened butter. Mix only enough to incorporate flour. Do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Roll into 1 inch balls and dunk one half of the ball into the chopped pecans.
  6. Place on parchment lined baking sheet 3 inches apart with the side dunked in pecans facing upward. Press down slightly. Gently push one caramel candy half way into the center of each cookie ball. (see #9 below)
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees F. Do not over bake or cookies will be brittle.
  8. Cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool thoroughly. 
  9. If you want to make something closer to my version, do not bake the cookies with the caramel candies.  Instead, bake the cookies as is then, once cool, drizzle with melted chocolate and caramel.  Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips or more chopped toasted nuts if desired.

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