Saturday, January 17, 2015

Buttery Toffee Croq Tele

Buttery Toffee Croq Tele

The little-known Croq Tele has become one of my very favorite cookies. After making them and having them enjoyed recently by my adult HiSET students, I got to thinking about how I could take these buttery chunks of shortbread yumminess to the next level. Having come off my Christmas toffee-making extravaganza just a few weeks ago, toffee is what popped into my head almost immediately. After tossing around in my head how I would incorporate the toffee into the little cookie nuggets, I decided to put in two forms of toffee: powder form to replace some of the sugar, and tiny bit form to give some crunch and extra toffee punch to them. 
Well, it worked incredibly well, in my opinion. What I ended up with was a tender shortbread nugget that is just sweet enough and with a deep, rich, nutty, buttery flavor. I guess I didn't quite get the crunch I was looking for in each and every little nugget. Only some of them have bits of toffee that ended up big enough for that. They also have a slight saltiness to them, so if you're a salty-sweet fan, you will probably enjoy these. I am hooked.
I did make my own toffee for these, because I'm the crazy person who does that sort of thing, but I think you could buy a bag of Heath Toffee Bits and they would work fine. Because I made my own, though, I have plenty of leftover toffee powder and bits to make these again. And I will.

Buttery Toffee Croq-Tele (TV Snacks)
     --adapted from At the Baker's Bench who adapted it from Field Guide to Cookies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, stir almond flour, toffee powder, toffee bits, sugar, and salt.
Beat flour and cold butter until mixture turns sandy in texture. Add almond/toffee/sugar/salt mixture and beat until small clumps form. (If you don't see clumps forming after a couple of minutes, stop the mixer and squeeze some of the sandy mixture in your hand. If it holds together, it's ready.)
Use a teaspoon to scoop out small balls of dough. Pinch the dough in your hand until it holds together. Place on prepared cookie sheet about an inch apart. 
Bake at 325 degrees for 15-16 minutes, or until tips/edges are browned.
Cool cookies on pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. 
Store in an airtight container or freeze for later consumption.

Makes about 9 dozen little cookies

English Toffee Powder and Bits
(Note: You can pulverize some Heath Toffee Bits [without chocolate] if you don't want to go to the trouble of making your own toffee.)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
1. Line a baking sheet or 9x13 glass dish with parchment paper or non-stick foil. 
2. In a heavy saucepan heat butter and sugar to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly with a silicone (not rubber) spatula. Boil over medium heat until it reaches 300° Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. Pour into prepared pan and evenly spread with a silicone spatula. Allow to cool completely.
3. Break toffee up into big chunks with your hands and place toffee into a food processor*. Pulse the processor until toffee reaches the texture of tiny pebbles or raw sugar. 

4. Using a medium mesh strainer/sifter, sift the toffee bits in batches. Sift the powder into one bowl, and then pour the larger bits into another bowl. Store what you don't use in airtight containers for later use.

Makes about 3/4 cup powder and 1 cup bits. Use the extra to make some toffee chocolate chip cookies or use as an ice cream topping. They'll keep in a zip top bag for a few weeks as long as you keep them in a cool, dry place.

*If you do not have a food processor, you can place toffee in a gallon-size freezer bag and pound and roll toffee with a rolling pin until you reach the desired consistency. Be careful because the toffee will make tiny holes in the bag, so you will probably need to transfer the pulverized toffee bits and powder to a bowl before going through the sifting process.

Pulverized toffee in food processor
Toffee separated into bits and powder with a strainer
Almond flour, toffee bits and powder, salt and sugar
See how it holds together when you squeeze the mixture?

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