Caramel and toffee, take 2, or building a better cookie

I promised a further investigation into the use of the caramel recipe of a prior post on this site.  Here’s what I discovered so far:

Mixing the caramel into a toll house type chocolate chip cookie dough was interesting in taste but doesn’t have a good appearance, at least not the way I tried to make it.  Putting toffee into the cookie dough worked much better.

First things first:  the cookie recipe.  1st, the original Toll House Chocolate Chip recipe (yup, that’s the one printed on every bag of Nestle’s Toll House Chocolate Chips, the recipe the Ruth Wakefield sold for a lifetime supply of chocolate chips!), and 2nd, America’s Test Kitchen’s “improved” version.

Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies (half recipe)

Recipe Type: American Classics, Chocolate, Cookies, American

1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour, (1 cup + 2 tbs)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 lb unsalted butter, softened ( 1 stick)
3/8 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup + 2 tbs
3/8 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, (6 ounces)
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Mix softened butter, sugars and vanilla until creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beting well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips (plus the 1/2 cup of optional chopped nuts).

2. Spoon cookie dough (rounded tablespoon) onto ungreased baking sheet and bake 9 to 11 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer cookies to cooling rack.

Yield: 2.5 dozen

Now, as much as the original recipe is the “gold” standard, I think the ATK version is the platinum standard.cookie 3

Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies Redux

Author Notes
Why this recipe works: Rich and buttery, with their soft cores and crispy edges, chocolate chip cookies are the American cookie-jar standard. Since Nestlé first began printing the recipe for Toll House cookies on the back of chocolate chip bags in 1939, generations of bakers have packed them into lunches and taken them to potlucks. But after a few samples, we wondered if this was really the best that a chocolate chip cookie could be. We wanted to refine this recipe to create a moist and chewy chocolate chip cookie with crisp edges and deep notes of toffee and butterscotch to balance its sweetness?in short, a more sophisticated cookie than the standard bake sale offering.
Melting a generous amount of butter before combining it with other ingredients gave us the chewy texture we wanted. Since we were melting butter, we browned a portion of it to add nutty flavor. Using a bit more brown sugar than white sugar enhanced chewiness, while a combination of one egg and one egg yolk gave us supremely moist cookies. For the crisp edges and deep toffee flavor, we allowed the sugar to dissolve and rest in the melted butter. We baked the cookies until golden brown and just set, but still soft in the center. The resulting cookies were crisp and chewy and gooey with chocolate, and boasted a complex medley of sweet, buttery, caramel, and toffee flavors.
Avoid using a nonstick skillet to brown the butter; as the dark color of the nonstick coating makes it difficult to gauge when the butter is browned. Use fresh, moist brown sugar instead of hardened brown sugar, which will make the cookies dry. This recipe works with light brown sugar, but the cookies will be less full-flavored. Our winning brand of chocolate chips was the Ghirarelli 60% cacao bitterswett chocolate chips, for a better flavor and more complex taste.

Author: America’s Test Kitchen
Source: Season 10 “The Cookie Jar”

a “perfect” chocolate chip cookie

Recipe Type: America’s Test Kitchen (PBS), American Classics, Chocolate, Cookies, Desserts, American

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 8 3/4 ounces
1/2 tsp baking soda
14 Tbs unsalted butter, 1 3/4 sticks
1/2 cup granulated sugar, 3 1/2 ounces
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, 5 1/4 ounces
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips, or chunks
3/4 cup chopped pecans, or walnuts (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large (18- by 12-inch) baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.

3. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be used, but will require 3 batches.)

5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

Servings: 1
Yield: 16 cookies

So, I used the ATK cookie and tried taking the caramel sauce and mixing it into the batter.  Big mistake, as it dilutes the batter, and the cookie spreads too much and cooks much faster.  The result was a flat sheet of dark brown cookies joined to each other.toffee cookie


Another use of a form of caramel is english toffee, and I tried a recipe from Arizona.  This recipe is not without hazards, as I will describe.  The idea of putting toffee into a cookie is a nice touch, as the toffee has nuts, you get the crunch of the nuts and buttery goodness of the toffee in one bite.

English Toffee

Author Notes

There are recipes that call for roasted nuts. The toffee is cooked to 290 degrees and the roasted nuts are layered on a sheet pan. Next, the toffee is poured over the nuts. We prefer to use raw almonds and roast them in the butter-sugar mixture, which infuses the nutty flavor into the toffee and creates a toffee that isn’t overly sweet.

We add a dose of “Vitamin L-O-V-E” which translates to a lot of stirring – absolutely key to a successful batch of toffee.

We use a combination of both milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Our favorites are Belcolade and Callebaut. Callebaut milk chocolate has caramel undertones and marries nicely with the toffee.

Author: Donna Gabrilson, Goodytwo’s Toffee Company
Web Page:

1 lb unsalted butter
1 lb granulated sugar
1 Tbs water
8 oz raw almonds, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
Melted milk and dark chocolates (recommended: combination Belcolade and Callebaut)

1. In a saucepan, melt the butter and then add the granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and cook to 260 degrees F.

2. Stir in the raw almonds and continue cooking to 290 to 300 degrees F. Remove from the heat and add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

3. Immediately, pour the mixture onto a sheet pan that is upside down and covered with heavy aluminum foil.  Spread to an even thickness.   Cool and cover with melted chocolate with additional crushed almonds as an option added after the chocolate.

I tried making this toffee, and it didn’t work.  I think I know the reasons for the failure.  The 1st thing to be sure all the sugar is dissolved into the butter, and to do this on lower heat.  Then, stirring continuously, gradually increase the temperature of the mixture to 260 degrees F, add the raw nuts, and take the temperature of the mixture to 290 degrees F.  Immediately remove from the heat, and add the vanilla, let the vanilla steam for 1 minute (mix well), then pour out on the prepared surface.  Let cool and set up overnight, then covered with the mixed chocolate followed by the finely chopped nuts, first the top side, and when set, flip over to coat the other side.

The failure is that the mixture can separate out the butter oils and turn into a hard mass of crystalized rock!  If it is poured out before it sets up as a rock in the pan, it still is a tasty mix of sugar/nuts with toffee crunch!  I used some of this (without coating with chocolate) in the cookie dough, and got a nice toffee cookie.cookie 2

In a final note about the above toffee recipe, the source of the recipe, the shop “GoodyTwo Toffee,” in Scottsdale, has closed (although they are apparently still selling toffee online).

So, what have we learned?  Caramel sauce and cookie dough should be mixed by creating a standard size cookie, and taking a ½ teaspoon of caramel sauce on the top and press into the dough but not all the way down!  I need to experiment with a thicker dough to make a chewy cookie that can withstand the caramel addition.  The toffee cookie works well, but again, I will try a different batter and might try the chocolate coated toffee (which will prevent the toffee itself from melting as the cookie bakes).  I might try some other toffee recipes to find a more fool-proof recipe as well.  More results to come!


About trustforce

A well trained amateur chef, I have learned by taking some master classes and doing a lot of reading and experimentation. I cook and enjoy many different cuisines. The fun is getting it right, with great taste and presentation. The smells and appearance add to the pleasure of eating well. I can enjoy a great Chicago style hot dog or an Italian beef sandwich, or have equal pleasure from haut cuisine. All my recipe postings are extensively tested by me unless I state otherwise. I will sometimes post a recipe that sounds like it should be good before I actually make it myself, but I will always come back and revise the "untested" recipe after I've made it, with valid comments to keep old posts accurate and current. If I am not the originator of a recipe I will always correctly attribute the source author, even if I have modified the recipe. I will occasionally post reviews of local restaurants on the site. The big problem that I have with eating out is that I know too much about restaurants and I find it hard to ignore or forgive sloppy technique or bad ingredients. I pull no punches in my restaurant reviews!
This entry was posted in Baking, Chocolate, cookies, Cooking, Dessert, food/restaurants/recipes, Recipe and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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