These are less cookies and more candies, although they are in the Cookies chapter of the MSBH (under the subheading “Fancy Cookies”). Regardless, they are gluten free as there’s no flour – just almonds, butter, sugar, cocoa, and a few other minor ingredients. The taste and texture is pure chocolate toffee candy. Delicious!
There is definitely a knack to making these, however, and I can tell it will take me a few tries to perfect them. The process itself is a little involved – after all, you’re making candy rather than cookie dough. First you get yourself some sliced almonds and you toast them in the oven. While still warm from the oven, you crush them with a rolling pin.
I first thought that perhaps this step could be done in the food processor if one was in a hurry, but you really should take the time to do it, if only to enjoy the aroma that wafts up from the warm almonds while you crush them. It’s heavenly. And it didn’t take too long in the end – just a minute or so.
The finely crushed almonds are then mixed with dutch processed cocoa. This step smells really good too.
Then you make the caramel/toffee stuff. Mine is very yellow in color because I used some Irish butter I had on hand. I don’t know if that was a good idea or not – I’ll have to make it with regular butter and report back. In any event, it boils for a while and you have to use a candy thermometer to make sure it gets to the proper temperature.
Then it is simply mixed in with the almond/cocoa mixture and spooned onto the baking sheet.
The recipe instructs for “rounded teaspoons” and I discovered you have to take that quite literally. My smallest cookie scoop is about a tablespoon in size and it was far too big. My first batch ran together horribly and I ended up with one big amorphous cookie. (It tasted fine, I just broke it into big shards by hand.)
So with the next pan, I reduced the size of the individual cookies to a teaspoon and also notched the temperature on my oven down about 15°F. And lo and behold, the cookies turned out much better! They still seem awfully big so I might try to make them even smaller next go-round.
From the oven, you carefully transfer each cookie to cool on a rolling pin in order to give them a curved shape as they cool. You don’t have to do this, but it does make them more interesting for sure.
They are quite pliable until cooled and then they are very brittle. Mine were also kind of greasy, which may be due to the type of butter I used. I let them sort-of “dry out” on a paper towel. About an hour after baking, they were no longer greasy at all.
They taste like a fancy Heath Bar – chocolate and toffee, crisp then chewy. I packaged a bunch of them up, separated by tissue paper, and gave them away at some meetings I had this week. Everyone loved them – they were a huge hit. I think if I make these a few more times I could get really good at it.