Monday, May 4, 2009

Cookie Carnival - February but it's May



It's been awhile since I participated in the Carnival! I had oven problems most of last year and finally broke down and bought a new oven in December. I have been baking lots since then. I did make the cookies for December in January, but didn't get to take pictures before the boys devoured them.

The cookies this month are called CHOCOLATE FUDGE COOKIES with TOFFEE and DRIED CHERRIES by Regan Daley. Oh my, my did they ever sound delish. A quick survey of the pantry and I had all of the ingredients except for the dried cherries and toffee bits. Hmm, I added the ingredients to the shopping list. It was hard not to run out and buy the ingredients and make them right then. But I'm on a budget, trying to only shop once a week and really trying to stick the grocery list. As long as the item is on the list it's okay to buy, if it's not then it's not an okay purchase.

The ingredients were purchased and I was going to make these for Valentine's Day for S, but had to many other things planned for that day so these sweet treats did not get made. A trip to the auto show on Sunday derailed my baking plans for Sunday. On Monday, the kids had no school, maybe I could get them baked, but time got away from me as I was in a cleaning groove. Finally, I was able to bake these on Tuesday and let me just say they were well worth the wait.

I was surprised at the amount of cookies that the recipe made. The recipe said to it would make 40 large cookies by dropping the batter by heaping tablespoons onto the baking sheet. I used the small scoop by Pampered Chef and the recipe made 81 cookies. Fresh out of the oven they are soft and gooey. Cooled a bit, they have a slight crunch but a soft middle. The boys liked them, that was a relief. S isn't home to try them, but I'm sure as soon as he gets home they'll be a hit with him as well, for he loves Heath bars and cherries, although usually separate.


Without further ado, the recipe for CHOCOLATE FUDGE COOKIES with TOFFEE and DRIED CHERRIES by Regan Daley.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup plump, moist, dried sour cherries
8 oz. bitter or semisweet chocolate chopped into chunks about the size of the cherries
1 cup English toffee pieces for baking such as Skor Bits

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. line two heavy baking sheets, not non-stick, with parchment paper and set aside. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together into a bowl and set aside. in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and both sugars until light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. beat in the vanilla. Stir in the flour-mixture in 3 additions, blending just until the dry ingredients are moistened. i find this part of the job easier with a wooden spoon, rather than a mixer, as I can see better which parts of the batter need more attention without over mixing. Stir in the chunky ingredients and mix until they seem evenly distributed. (the dough may be frozen at this point for up to 4 months: wrap the dough securely in plastic wrap, then in a plastic freezer bag. thaw the dough in the refrigerator without removing its wrapping before portioning the cookies and baking.)
2. Drop the batter by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets and place them in the center of the oven. If you have a large, evenly tempered oven, place the 2 sheets in at once, on two racks positioned close to the middle of the oven. Switch the position of the trays once dur­ing baking. If your oven is small, or tends to have hot or cold spots, bake one tray at a time so the cookies bake evenly.
3. Bake the cookies for 15-18 minutes, or until barely set in the center and just firm around the edges. Rotate the sheets once or twice. Cool the cookies on the tray for 3-5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before storing. (Feel free to eat them at any point.) Run the hot tray under cold water to cool it, dry thoroughly and repeat with remaining dough. Store the cookies in airtight containers, layered between sheets of parchment or waxed paper for up to 5 days.

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