Toffee Bit Cookies with Chocolate Drizzle

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A few weeks ago, I was out running errands and bought this bag of toffee bits. Because I’m weird and why not?!

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I had no plans to actually do anything with them, it was one of those “on a whim” purchases that I didn’t think through but the baker in me thought would be a good idea.

IMG_0145It was.

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These cookies are delightfully soft and chewy with a little crunch from the toffee bits and some melted chocolate drizzled on top to give a contrast to the colour of the cookies/toffee bits.

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I’m sending packages of these to my sister at college and a couple of other friends scattered around the country and I can’t wait for them to try them. There’s nothing better than getting letters or packages in the mail (except maybe surprise flowers showing up on your doorstep ;)) and when the packages include cookies, it’s a winner.

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Toffee Bit Cookies with Chocolate Drizzle:
Makes 35 large cookies (size 30 cookie scoop)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. hot water
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup toffee bits
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, for drizzling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream together the butter and both sugars until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add to batter, along with the cream of tartar and salt. Stir in the flour until just incorporated, then stir in the toffee bits.
  3. Scoop batter onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until edges are nicely browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  4. Once cookies are cool, melt the chocolate and drizzle over the cookies.

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Salted Caramel Apple Pie

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I have a confession to make.

I work in a pie shop – baking pies – but pie isn’t really my thing.

To be fair, desserts in general aren’t my thing. I’m more of a cookie/macaron girl than cakes and pies. Which probably explains why most of the recipes on here are either cookies or macarons.

My sister is actually the pie maker of the family. Every Thanksgiving and the occasional Christmas she makes a killer apple pie so I’ve never really felt the need to experiment with pie making.

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A couple of weeks ago though, I went to Hood River for their annual “Fruit Loop” with a couple of friends and got a little crazy buying apples, pumpkins and doing an 11am cider tasting. If you’re ever in Oregon, go to Hood River. It’s so beautiful and on a clear day, you can see both Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. Autumn colours, a clear day, and killer views with best friends. It doesn’t get better than that.

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But back to the pie.

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This pie is good. And I say that as an ambivalent pie-eater. Thinly sliced apples grown in beautiful Hood River, comforting spices, salted caramel and Four & Twenty Blackbirds perfectly flaky pie crust. You really couldn’t ask for more in a pie.

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I lit an apple candle while I was making this and that combined with the smell of the pie as it was baking made my house smell like Autumn. It was perfect.

The top of this pie is a lattice. I have five lattice strips going each direction (horizontally and vertically, 10 strips total). I cut one strip for each direction into three pieces and braided it for a little extra somethin’, but if you want to just do a regular lattice with no braiding, the pie will still look gorgeous.

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Put on your favourite apron and get to work. I promise you won’t be disappointed 🙂

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Salted Caramel Apple Pie: 

Serves 8

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 4 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup ice

Filling: 

  • 1/2 cup salted butter caramel
  • 5-6 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Egg Wash: 

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Raw sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

Crust: 

  1. Stir the flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl.
  2. Add the butter pieces and coat with flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula.
  3. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-size pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay; be careful not to overblend).
  4. Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a large measuring cup or small bowl.
  5. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture, and mix and cut it in with a bench scraper or spatula until it is fully incorporated.
  6. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, using the bench scraper or your hands (or both) to mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining.
  7. Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine.
  8. Shape the dough into two flat discs, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow.
  9. Remove one disc of dough from the refrigerator and place on lightly floured surface; roll out into a 12″ circle.
  10. Transfer dough to a pie plate, and press into the bottom and sides of pan. Leave overhanging dough in place and put in fridge for about 30 minutes.
  11. Remove second disc of dough, roll out and cut lattice strips (I cut 10 lattice strips and sliced two into 3 strips for braiding). Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Filling: 

  1. In a large bowl, toss apple slices with lemon juice. Transfer to a colander and leave to drain for 10 minutes.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
  3. Return apple slices to bowl and toss with the sugar mix.

Assembly: 

  1. Remove pie plate from fridge.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, put half of the apple mix at the bottom of the pan, making sure the bottom of the crust is covered. Drizzle over 1/4 cup salted butter caramel and cover with remaining apples. Drizzle the last 1/4 cup caramel over the apples.
  3. Weave the lattice on top of the pie, then tightly roll up the overhang into the top of the pie plate and crimp the dough. Place dough in fridge for 30 minutes to rest the dough.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. When you’re ready to bake, brush lattice and pie edges with egg then sprinkle the raw sugar on top.
  6. Place pie on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minute. Check to see how fast the edges are browning; if browning faster than rest of pie, cover with foil. Bake for another 30-40 minutes until crust is brown and bottom of the crust is fully baked.
  7. Cool and enjoy slices with ice cream, custard, or whipped cream.

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Quick Puff Pastry Chocolate-Hazelnut Rolls

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Guys and gals, Joy Wilson (Joy the Baker) is back with another baking bootcamp series with the folks at King Arthur Flour!

In her last series we made triple berry cinnamon swirl bread, apple pie biscuits, gruyere and green olive rolls, and whole wheat oatmeal honey bread.

Our first challenge in this series are these quick puff pastry chocolate-hazelnut rolls.

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If the words “puff pastry” freak you out, I understand. Making your own puff pastry is a long process that requires a lot of patience (something I don’t have a lot of), time and sanity. I made a lot of it during my time in culinary school and it was always a two day process.

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Fortunately, these little gems are made with quick puff pastry that you can put together in no time at all. It eliminates the long lamination and folding process, leaving you with more time to eat these rolls.

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It’s the ideal situation.

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These delicious rolls are filled with a hazelnut spread, hazelnut pieces and chocolate shards. I made my own hazelnut spread because I live in Oregon and hazelnuts are our thing {recipe is down below}. You can however, buy hazelnut spread/paste through King Arthur Flour or use nutella and just omit the extra chocolate pieces.

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So we have flaky puff pastry layers filled with hazelnut-chocolate goodness topped with a glaze that will have you dancing around your kitchen.

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Just me? Okay.

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If you’re interested in making these and entering the baking bootcamp contest, make these and take a picture. Follow Joy (@joythebaker) and King Arthur Flour (@kingarthurflour) on instagram, and post your picture with the hashtag #bakingbootcamp. You’ll be entered to win a one-year supply of King Arthur Flour and a baking essentials boxed valued at $250!

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Quick Puff Pastry Chocolate-Hazelnut Rolls
Makes 12 {via Joy the Baker}

Ingredients:

Puff Pastry: 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 20 tbsp. (2 1/2 sticks) high quality salted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 2/3 cup ice cold water

Filling: 

  • 1 can (11 oz.) hazelnut praline spread OR homemade hazelnut spread (recipe below) OR 1 1/4 cups chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 3 tbsp. salted butter, melted (use only if using canned hazelnut praline spread)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate

Homemade Hazelnut Spread:

  • 2 cups whole hazelnuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp. hazelnut oil

Glaze: 

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tbsp. heavy cream, depending on how thick you want your glaze

Directions for homemade hazelnut spread (optional): 

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Spread hazelnuts on baking sheet and bake until hazelnuts are fragrant and skins are splitting.
  3. Place hazelnuts in a tea towel and wrap around; let sit for 10 minutes to steam then remove skins from hazelnuts by rubbing the towel around them. Set aside.
  4. In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Place over medium heat until it turns to a caramel colour (do not stir). Once colour has been reached, turn off heat and add hazelnuts, stirring to coat in the caramel.
  5. Pour out onto a sheet pan with greased parchment.
  6. Once set, break up and put pieces in a food processor. Process until you see fine crumbs, then continue processing until it begins to resemble a nut butter. Add hazelnut oil and continue processing until it reaches your desired consistency.

Directions for rolls:

  1. To make the puff pastry, in a medium bowl combine the flour and salt.
  2. Add the cold, cubed butter and toss to coat.
  3. Use a pastry cutter or your hands to quickly work the butter into the dough. It will be very crumbly with large bits of butter throughout the dough. That’s right.
  4. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in all of the water. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, quickly stir to incorporate the dough. The dough will be slightly wet and sticky with occasional patches of dryness. That’s right. Try not to overmix the dough.
  5. Flour a work surface well and add the dough. Pat it into a rough, about 1 1/2-inch thick rectangle. You will still see chunks of butter and if there seems to be bits of dryness, that’s ok. The dough will come together with each roll.
  6. Flour the rolling pin, and roll the dough out in front of you into a rectangle about 10 to 12-inches long and about 8-inches wide.
  7. Fold the bottom third of the dough over the middle of the dough. Fold the upper third of the dough on top of the middle fold. Rotate the dough one-quarter turn, and repeat. Pick the dough up and use additional flour on the counter to prevent the dough from sticking.
  8. Roll out, fold, and turn the dough at least 6 or 7 times.
  9. When done, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1-hour or overnight. If you refrigerate the dough overnight, let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before rolling.
  10. When ready to make the rolls, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a muffin tin with butter or nonstick spray and set aside.
  11. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and, on a well-floured work surface, roll the dough into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle.
  12. If using the hazelnut praline spread, in a small bowl stir together the spread and melted butter.
  13. Spread generously with hazelnut praline spread, or chocolate hazelnut spread.
  14. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and chopped chocolate.
  15. Begin rolling from the long or tall end, finishing seam side down.
  16. Slice into 12 even rolls, about 1 1/4-inch thick.
  17. Place in the prepared baking tin and bake until golden brown and bubbling 24-28 minutes.
  18. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool until just barely warm before glazing.
  19. Whisk together the powdered sugar and water or cream to create a thick and smooth glaze. Frost the rolls and enjoy!

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