chockablock and whiplash.

I've gone a tad over the edge in my obsession with summer fruits, what with all the Bing cherries and black raspberries and what not. So I've decided to try and break the trend, forcing my hand away from the fruit bowl and into the pantry, where if you move the flour and brown rice sacks aside, there's a heavy, solid block of dark chocolate waiting to be chopped and melted. The upcoming Lake Anna weekend was inching ever closer, and I couldn't show up empty handed, but even then my efforts to steer clear of the fruit were thwarted by a request for a Jewish Apple Cake at breakfast time. I also baked key lime meltaways, which I think technically counts as a fruit, and also chocolate caramel crack(ers) which are definitely excused from the category, and a recipe I haggled from my Aunt Lorie, a molasses cookie with golden raisins and walnuts that she calls Hermits. But no matter, what I really want to tell you about is the cookies: chocolate toffee cookies with toasted walnuts.

Now these cookies are nothing to shy away from based on the ingredients list - they contain one whole pound of chocolate. As I watched the butter and chopped chocolate melting together in the bowl of a double boiler, my eyes grew wide in terror at the sheer volume of it all, it was silky and shiny and completely mind-boggling. The chocolate is swirled into the creamy batter before mixing in chockablocks of chopped toffee bars and crunchy toasted walnuts. Really, I get weak in the knees just thinking about it. Once they're baked, they're more like brownies than cookies, despite their round shape. The outer shell gives way under the slightest pressure of the teeth and reveals a dense, soft center dotted with cribbly bits of toffee and the snap of toasted walnuts.

Now despite the watersporting induced whiplash I'm still recovering from (thanks to muscles relaxers, magical little pills), I still managed to savor the flavor of these morsels, and their pomp didn't go unnoticed. Rave reviews came pouring in, like from Matt, who called them "brilliant." I tried not to let my chest swell, filling up with pride like that isn't good for someone with whiplash but I smiled to myself knowing that yeah-they are brilliant!

Chocolate Toffee Cookies
From SmittenKitchen

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups (packed) brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
7 1.4-ounce chocolate-covered English toffee bars (such as Heath)
1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; whisk to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool mixture to lukewarm.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla.

Stir in flour mixture, then toffee and nuts. Chill batter until firm, about 45 minutes.*

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Drop batter by spoonfuls onto sheets, spacing two inches apart. Sprinkle with a pinch of flaky sea salt, if you’re using it. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheets. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

* I found that at 45 minutes, the dough was extremely soft set and unsuitable for scooping. It was nearing midnight and there was no way I could stay up any longer, so I let the dough chill in the fridge overnight. I wouldn't recommend this, it was hard as a rock with all the chocolate melted into it, so if you choose to chill this dough overnight, roll it into a log and slice and bake them instead of scooping. You'll get tendinitis in addition to your whiplash.

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