I’ve been sitting here, trying to craft a clever story that would segue into the glory that is these cookies. but guess what? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Because these cookies are NOW. They’re everything. The New New. And I can’t stop eating them. They’re at once brown buttery, brown sugary, crisp-chewy, and butterscotch-y. So let’s cut the nifty foreword and get right down to it.
With all of our busyness these days, I can understand that you may scoff at a recipe that has an ingredient that to you have to make before you even begin. A crunchy, buttery, sweet-salty homemade cashew brittle is the cornerstone of these super delicious cookies. Ingredients made of ingredients! What is my problem?
But! I promise you that the extra steps are worth it. If you’ve ever made toffee or peanut brittle or somesuch, then you know how dead simple it is. Actually, dangerously simple. As in, you could really make some everyday of your life (not that I endorse that). The recipe for the cookies calls for making just half a batch of cashew brittle, and you’ll really only need half of that to put into the cookies. So you will have leftover brittle, calling your name from the countertop and tempting you at every turn. Sorry.
Of course, you could just use storebought peanut brittle, but you’d have leftovers from that as well, and you know you’d just end up eating that, too–I’m just being honest, here. So I say go for it–make half a batch of the really good homemade stuff, put some in the cookies, and then some in your face. Life is short and beautiful, friends! Ain’t nobody got time to waste good brittle.
Cashew Brittle Cookies
Makes 20 3-inch cookies
I’m going to warn you before you begin–even when you just make half a batch of the Roasted Nut Brittle, you will have about twice as much as you need to make this amount of cookies. Unfortunately, halving the brittle recipe is about as low as you can go without running the risk of burning it due to having too little boiling candy in the pot while cooking it. However! An excess of brittle is not a terrible thing. You can double the dough recipe here to make about 40 cookies if you want to use all the candy at once, or you just uncontrollably munch on the remaining brittle like I do.
Freezing the dough balls before you bake them is key to minimizing the candy melting off the cookies as they bake. You’ll still get some ooze even when they’re frozen first, but it’s the kind that will make you go “ooh…!” not “ugh.”
If making candy from scratch is not your thing, storebought peanut brittle is a-ok. (But of course I strongly urge you to try making your own–it is so good, it’s almost criminal.)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 batch Roasted Nut Brittle (made with raw cashews, chocolate drizzle omitted), or storebought peanut brittle, chopped into roughly 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups chopped bits)
Position oven racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, dark brown sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl a couple of times. Add the egg and beat 1 minute more. Reduce the speed to low and stir in the dry ingredients until well-blended. Stir in 1 cup of the brittle chunks.
Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, portion out the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, 10 dough balls to a sheet (I stagger them because these cookies spread a bit–two rows of three cookies alternated with a row of two). Using the remaining 1/2 cup of brittle chunks, shove two or three bits into the top/center of each cookie (avoid pressing them into the sides of the dough balls, because as the cookies spread, the candy may ooze and run off the cookies onto the sheet pans). Place the baking sheets in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Bake the cookies until they are lightly golden all over, firm at the edges, but still slightly soft in the centers, about 13 minutes. Let the cookies rest on the sheets for 3 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in single layers, separated by sheets parchment or waxed paper.
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