Blog Browned Butter Toffee Cookies
Firmly ensconced in this snowy Vermont winter, it's difficult to think that mid-February could be the beginning of spring by any stretch of the imagination. But to the ancient Romans it was, and they held a festival each February 15 to welcome the season of fertility and growth. About 1500 years ago, February 14th was declared by the Pope to be a commemorative day for a priest named Valentine, who had been martyred for performing secret marriages for Roman soldiers and their sweethearts. Somewhere along the way, the remembrance of Saint Valentine and the celebration of spring's delights of the senses evolved into the romantic holiday we celebrate today. However it happened to come about, Valentine's Day brings welcome splashes of color, fragrance, sweetness, romance, and fun to a long winter, and it has long provided an opportunity for hopeful suitors to move their courtship to the next level.
Of course you don't have to save your Valentine's Day greetings for your one true love; it is too delightful a holiday not to share it with all the people in your life you are fond of. You could send cards, but why not take a personal approach and bake Valentine's Day cookies instead? This week's recipe incorporates toffee and chocolate for an edible Valentine that's part cookie, part confection, and totally delicious. Like caramel, toffee begins with plain white sugar and butter and, through the magic of heat and caramelization, turns the sugar's bland sweetness into something aromatic and complex. To underscore the toasty flavor of the toffee, I browned part of the butter for the dough. I coated the tops of the cookies with dark and white chocolate ganache, marbled together for an easy, but pretty, effect.
Have a lovely Valentine's Day,
To Decorate: When both Ganache mixtures (recipes below) are slightly cooled and thickened, but still pourable, spoon some dark chocolate Ganache onto a cookie and spread evenly to edges. Pipe white chocolate Ganache onto chocolate Ganache in small dots or wavy lines, then drag the tip of a paring knife through the white chocolate to create a marbleized effect. Let the chocolate cool and firm up, then pipe small dots of white chocolate Ganache around the edges of the cookie.
Note: If at any time you need to warm the Ganache to the right consistency, you can heat it in the microwave, but be careful; just a few seconds will do the trick.