Last week I was looking for a new cookie to try and I came across Lisa Yockelson's recipe for "Buttercrunch Melt-a-Ways" in Baking By Flavor (would you believe there is an entire chapter in this cookbook devoted to buttercrunch recipes). The reason I chose this recipe is because it uses melted butter and you can mix together the batter in just a few minutes using nothing more than a spatula. I was also intrigued by Yockelson's introductory text to the recipe, where she described them as follows: "Spotted with fragments of toffee, bathed in butter, and covered in chopped almonds, these cookies nearly vaporize in the mouth. I find them totally irresistable."
The ingredients are flour, baking powder, salt, melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, almond extract, chopped Heath Bars, and finely chopped almonds. Essentially, all you have to do is mix the ingredients together and wait 5 minutes for the butter to fully absorb. The resulting dough dough is moist, but fully manageable. You form the dough into balls and roll them in the chopped almonds before putting them in the oven.
The recipe also instructs you to roll the just-baked cookies twice in powdered sugar. I thought this step was completely unnecessary. First of all, I think that these cookies are pretty darn attractive, and I didn't want to obscure the lovely chopped almonds with powdered sugar. Second, I thought that the cookies were going to be sweet enough without the powdered sugar, given the inclusion of so much toffee in the batter (I used Heath Bits O Brickle toffee bits instead of chopping up Heath Bars -- these are straight toffee bits with no chocolate). Finally, whenever I take something to the office that's coated in powdered sugar, the inevitable result is messy trails of powdered sugar all over the carpet.
I tried a cookie fresh out of the oven and I did not think it was anything particularly special. The texture was indeed buttery and melt-in-your-mouth tender, but I wasn't bowled over by the flavor, which was a little bland. I couldn't detect the toffee bits at all. However, Tom couldn't stop raving about them and I received quite a few incredibly enthusiastic reviews from the office. I tasted another cookie the following evening, and I don't know what had changed (maybe the toffee had firmed up after a day in the refrigerator, where I'm storing all of my cookies these days due to the humid D.C. summer weather), and it was absolutely delicious. I'm now a convert. I made the cookies again later in the week for some friends and I think I'm going to mix up another batch tonight for Tom to give to his golf buddies tomorrow. These cookies are just dreamy, and the fact that they're so easy to make makes them seem all that much sweeter.
Recipe: "Buttercrunch Melt-a-Ways" from Lisa Yockelson's Baking By Flavor.