Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies (Take Two!)

Hello!

Toffee Chocolate Chip CookiesWhen I was little, the end of December marked the end of winter magic. Christmas decorations stored away and holiday break only a memory, all that was left to January and February was school and snow. Now, however, I revel in the coziness and quietness of the winter months. If the change is a result of growing older, I’m not sure, but it’s nevertheless the time of year where I crave chances to write and bake (you can only imagine how I’ve spent these past few weeks at home).

It was on a recent chilly evening that I whipped up a batch of Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies. I shared a different recipe for these a while back, but ever since I saw a salt-sprinkled and chocolate-heavy version in a recent issue of Bon Appétit, I’ve been meaning to revisit it. Whether you have a case of the winter blues or you look forward to January as much as I do, let this be a reminder that sometimes, it’s just cookies, in all their brown butter and chocolate toffee bit goodness, that you need.

Two kitchen notes, before we begin. First, you may be tempted to rush the chilling of these cookies – I don’t blame you – but this dough requires thirty minutes to an hour in the fridge for best results. Second, you can, of course, skip the toffee bits and simply use whatever leftover Christmas chocolate you have on hand. The cookies will still be delicious (I promise!). With that said, if you have the ability to splurge on ingredients, this is an instance where it’s entirely worth it.

Toffee Chocolate Chip CookiesToffee Chocolate Chip Cookies Loosely adapted from Bon Appétit

ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (alternatively, use 1 cup light brown sugar with 1 tablespoon molasses – works like a charm!)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 chocolate toffee bars (such as Skor or Heath), chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • Coarse salt, for sprinkling

to make

  1. Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently, until it foams, browns, and smells somewhat nutty, five to seven minutes. Pour into a separate bowl and let cool slightly.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until combined. Scrape down the bowl, then mix in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Reduce speed to add flours, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the toffee pieces and chocolate chips by hand.
  4. Let dough chill for thirty minutes to an hour. (I haven’t tried it overnight, but I’m sure results will be similar!).
  5. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease or line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop dough into small 1-inch balls and place in rows. Sprinkle each cookie with salt.
  6. Bake cookies for nine to eleven minutes, or until golden brown and firm at the edges. Let cool before transferring to a baking sheet, and enjoy!

Have a lovely Wednesday!
Bella

Psst. If you’re asking, “Bella, is that a bandana with cookies on it?!,” you’d be correct. It’s from the wonderful Madewell x Milk line, and it’s my current go-to accessory when styling my tote! If you’d like it for yourself, you can find it HERE.

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High Five / 16

Hi friends!

High Five 16How are you? I’m writing this after a few snowy days at home, but you’ll hear no complaints from me. Whether it’s a result of the cold New England weather or the start of the new year, I can’t say, but I feel like I ended the week on such a productive note! I’m not sure what’s in store for the weekend, but I’ll be sure to save time for a reading session (my pile of library books is growing bigger by the day) and recipe experiments (I have numerous dishes bookmarked in Deb’s most recent cookbook).

I also wanted to share a new High Five, particularly because I feel like I’ve been reading, watching, and creating galore as of late. With that said, here are a few highlights – books, movies, articles, and the like – from my winter break. How was your week?

[1] To start, the last show I saw in 2017 was also among my very favorites. Sense and Sensibility is currently playing at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge and like the Jane Austen novel it’s based after, it’s all at once witty and heartfelt and thoughtful. I was so lucky to see it twice – first with two close friends, next with my mom and sister – and I was blown away by the minimalist set, the sharp dialogue (and complementary sound design!), and the ease at which the actors moved through the roles each time. I think there’s nothing more to say except kudos to the entire cast and crew. It’s playing until January 14th, so if you’re in the Boston area, I’d encourage you to check it out for yourself. If you can’t make it, join me instead in reading Sense and Sensibility at some point this spring. You can’t go wrong with an afternoon or two of Jane Austen.

[2] Speaking of Jane Austen, have you ever seen The Lizzie Bennet Diaries? It’s one of my favorite web series, and I bring it up only because there seems to be another channel that I like just as much. Shipwrecked Comedy is, as they write on their website, dedicated to “[creating] comedic historical literary content.” It’s a goal I think they’ve well accomplished with such projects as Kissing in the Rain, Poe Party, and their latest, a noir short film titled The Case of the Gilded Lily. I loved how the script and set paid homage to classic Hollywood mysteries, and I couldn’t get enough of the stellar cast and the roles they took on. It’s not long either; at only forty minutes, you could even fit in a viewing this afternoon! (All credit to my sister, Lulu, for the introduction).

[3] If a movie night is in your weekend plans, let me offer a suggestion: Their Finest, a 2016 release about the British Ministry of Information’s film-making attempts during World War II. I’m not one to turn down a British historical drama, and so when Lulu and I both had a free night, we jumped at the opportunity to finally rent it. I’m so glad we did. The film has a number of strong elements, including an intriguing storyline, a surprisingly sweet romance, and an engaging cast, led by actress Gemma Arterton. One critic writes that it “is a charming and thoughtful movie, about people making a charming and thoughtful movie.” You can’t sum it up any better than that. (Looking for music, not movies? I’ve found the soundtrack to be equally wonderful and certainly worth a listen.)

[4] It seems that mysteries are the theme of the week! Continuing the podcast kick I’ve been on, I started the ten-episode murder mystery series, “Deadly Manners,” on Tuesday; I’m only on the fourth chapter, but I already know I’ll be listening to the end. Taking inspiration from Clue, the podcast chronicles a dinner party at the home of the wealthy Billings family – a party that quickly takes a turn when one of the guests is found dead on the floor. With LeVar Burton narrating and Kristen Bell voicing Mrs. Billings (alongside several other stars), the line-up couldn’t be better, nor could their exaggerated, animated portrayals. I’m excited to see how the mystery wraps up – I have my predictions – but in the meantime, I’ll encourage you to listen to Episode One.

[5] January always ushers in a number of blog posts about resolutions and fresh starts. I love to read them, but I myself tend not to make long lists of goals. Rather, I choose a word that I hope will define the year ahead, and for 2018, I’ve decided on “aware.” That in mind, here’s a random assortment of links and pieces that have resonated with me as we kick off the new year:

  • I’ve long been a fan of Hannah’s writing; she captures small moments with such grace, and even her tweets read like poetry. You can then imagine how quick I was to sign up for her newsletter.
  • I’m in the process of clearing out my social media feeds, and it feels so good. It’s likely a cue I’ve taken from one of my new favorite sites, Reading My Tea Leaves. Erin’s dedication to clearing clutter and living simply is contagious.
  • Just after finishing The Hate U Give, Aneeqah’s thoughts ring truer than ever. As the YA community continues to advocate for diverse literature and representation, I think we’d do well to keep her thread in mind.
  • The theme for Rookie’s January issue is Utopia, introduced by Tavi in her monthly editor’s letter. It’s a powerful piece of writing, hitting on all of the right notes.
  • And finally, I’ve fallen into the archives of the blog 600 Acres, but I have no regrets. Like the best comfort dishes, Posie’s writing and recipes remind me of the shared power of cooking and baking.

And on that note, have a terrific Saturday.
Bella

Psst. I’m a fan of snow days as much as the next person (and I clearly love to write about them!), but these extreme temperatures can be dangerous. We need to discuss climate change at all levels, but in the meantime, please consider donating coats and other cold-weather clothing to your local shelters.

2017 End of the Year Book Survey

Hi friends, and happy Saturday!

How are you? Can you believe it’s the last weekend of 2017? I love the calls for reflection and organization that come with the start of a new year, and from conversations with friends, I know I’m not the only one. That in mind, I’m hoping to use today and tomorrow to tend to my planner, look ahead to a few 2018 projects, and, of course, read my final book of the year (!!).

Speaking of books, I’m really excited to participate in Jamie’s annual end-of-the-year reading survey. I completed it a few years back, and I enjoyed the opportunity to look over and assess the books I had read. 2017 personally proved an excellent year for reading, and I know I can name numerous titles that I will surely recommend for years to come. There are a number of novels coming your way, so I have only three final notes: I tried my utmost best to name books only once (variety!), I kept to the bookish questions only, and HERE‘s the link if you want to join in on the fun too.

Number of books you read: 52 (but we’ll see if I can fit in one or two before Sunday night!)
Number of re-reads: Just one! I love to revisit Caroline Kennedy’s A Family Christmas every holiday season.
Genre you read the most from: YA contemporary, per usual.

1 Favorite Books1. Best book you read in 2017?
Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno, We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, and How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore | Is it okay if I cheat a bit at this question? Though I read fewer books in 2017 than I would have liked, narrowing down my favorites still proved difficult. I settled on the three above, all of which entered my life at exactly the right time (and I will gladly gush about them to anyone who asks). Literature at its finest.

Runner-ups, because three just wasn’t enough: Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert and The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

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