It’s happened several times since that day I decided to bake my way out of self-pity. Things happen, or they don’t, and suddenly I’m swimming in thoughts of doubt and self-loathing. Such a completely unnecessary and useless place to be. Rather than take residence in that spot I reach for the butter. The process is for me – the creaming of sugars, stirring in of eggs and flour, and the folding in of chocolate – but the cookies are not.
Somewhere in that process of taking raw ingredients and combining them in a way that after they meet a hot oven they come out smelling sweetly intoxicating, I forget what got me here in the first place and I am content to have created. I am eager to share and better for the smiles that result from that sharing.
I’ve called it Random Acts of Cookies. I wrote about it before and the response from all of you was so encouraging that I wanted to keep the sweet movement going. And today, along with the help of some very dear friends, I’ve come bringing some tools to entice you to bake with us and share with others.
Sally J Shim of Shim + Sons and her partner Joke Vande Gaer of Tokketok have created stunning gift tags and recipe cards for us. Also, if you head over to their collaborative site, SHIMTOKK you’ll find more fun downloads and ideas on how to package your cookies to give. Pretty great, right?! I couldn’t be more honored and happy to have these ladies a part of our movement.
Crazy big thanks to Sally and Joke for their incredible talents and for their willingness to work with me on this. Also, to you for encouraging me to continue with the movement. Thank you.
Now, let’s bake and share.
Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars
I requested chocolate chip cookies often as a child and often my mom would respond to such a request with perfectly crisp and toffee-like cookies. On occasion she would skip the scoops and dump the dough straight into a pan and opt for bars in place of cookies. I didn’t mind one bit. I took this idea and tweaked it slightly – more brown sugar for even more toffee flavor, cream cheese for a subtle tang, and espresso powder to make that chocolate really pop.
1 stick (4 oz) butter, soft
½ cup (4 oz) cream cheese
1/2 cup white sugar (4 oz )
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed (12 oz )
2 tsp vanilla (1/4 oz)
3 1/2 cup All Purpose flour (1 lb. )
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
12 oz chocolate, chopped or 1 bag chocolate chips (bittersweet, if you can find them).
Spray a 10” square cake pan with pan spray. Line the bottom with parchment then spray again.
Pre-heat the oven to 350*F
Cream the butter, cream cheese, and the sugars until very light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes on medium high. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Continue mixing while adding the eggs one at time. Make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Combine the flour, soda, powder, and salt in another bowl. With a whisk to combine. With the machine on low, slowly add the flour. Mix until just combined, taking care not to over mix. When the flour is just about combined add the chocolate. Turn off the machine and finish mixing by hand to prevent over-mixing.
Bake at 350* for 35-40 minutes, until the center is just set and the edges are deep golden.
Let cool in the pan.
I may have added more chocolate to this batch. I’m okay with it if you are.
Click on the links below to download for yourself. The first is the recipe card and the other are tags you can use to package your cookies. Also, I’d LOVE for you to share your Random Acts of Cookies stories. Join me on Facebook and tell us all!