If I was trying to impress you, I might tell you.........well, I just might tell you how I worked for weeks developing these delicious cookies: testing, tweaking, experimenting and doing trial runs until I reached a phenomenal final result. Or how a carefully selected panel of taste-testers judiciously sampled each variation, meticulously critiquing them before this presentation to you.
But since none of the above is true and these cookies came about quite by accident, my post today is simply to share an incredibly delicious treat. You see over the weekend, I was preparing a favorite shortbread cookie recipe to serve with a Blueberry-Key Lime Sorbet (recipe this week!). While preparing the simple, four ingredient shortbread dough, I noticed a bag of toffee bits sitting on the counter. That innocent bag got creativity rolling. When I glanced at the sea salt container next to the oven......... well, it sealed the crazy concoction that only my foodie-crazied mind could invent!
I love the delicious"salted-caramel" flavor that has become popular recently in everything from fine chocolates to ice cream sauce, brownies and cupcakes. As I mixed the shortbread dough the thought occurred to me, "Why not take this wonderful recipe, update it a bit and have some fun? - After all, I've been making it the same way for over twenty-five years!".
I rolled out the dough, showered it with toffee bits and sprinkled it with a bit of sea salt. You can see the results in the pictures: shatteringly crisp, buttery, sweet - with just a touch of crunchy sea salt accompanying each bite. All my samplers LOVED them and I think we have a new family favorite!
Salted Toffee Shortbread Cookies
¾ cup butter, softened
¼ cup shortening, softened
½ cup sugar
2 cups flour
½ cup toffee bits (if you aren't familiar with toffee bits you can learn more about them here)
coarse sea salt
sugar for sprinkling
1. Cream butter, shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add flour and mix until well blended.
2. Roll out on a lightly floured surface until fairly thin. Sprinkle with toffee bits and cover with plastic wrap. Gently roll over plastic wrap, pressing toffee bits into the dough. Remove plastic wrap and sprinkle lightly with sea salt, crushing salt between your fingers as you sprinkle. Cut out desired shapes, sprinkle lightly with sugar and place on an ungreased sheet pan, spacing ½ inch apart.
3. Bake at 350 for 10 to 14 minutes or until light golden. Remove from pan and cool on a cooling rack. You can cut any remaining scraps of dough into snack size pieces and bake these as directed. These won't be as pretty, but just as tasty. A dear friend of mine plays a game with leftover dough pieces like this and calls the game "States" - she bakes the scraps and everyone has to guess which state in our country the odd-shaped pieces might resemble! Store cookies in airtight container or freeze.
You can vary the thickness of these cookies with wonderful results. I also made a version that was twice as thick and they received rave reviews as well. The thinner cookies were great as partner for the sorbet but we actually liked the thicker ones a little better for snacking - really either way, you can't go wrong!