Christmas is eighteen days (gulp) away and what better way is there to countdown to the big event than to feature a cookie recipe each day? Think of it as a cookie recipe advent calendar. And to fill that advent calendar I’m featuring twenty five of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that are sure to fill your holidays with cheer. Bake them to fill your cookie trays, bring them to a cookie swap or eat them yourself; they are guaranteed to bring about holiday joy. And if you love baking as much as I do, making them is a fun filled gift unto itself. Enjoy!
These tasty treats adapted from King Arthur Flour are more of a candy than a cookie but they are the perfect addition to any holiday cookie tray. I prefer to use bittersweet chocolate because I love the flavor contrast with the rich buttery toffee. And the nuts? Pick whichever variety you like best. I used walnuts this time around but have also used pecans or almonds. They are all good! But because this candy, be sure to use a candy thermometer and watch the temperature carefully. The syrup goes from not done to over done in a matter of seconds.
CHOCOLATE BUTTE CRUNCH
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole walnut halves, lightly chopped
1 pound semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Melt the butter in a large, deep saucepan.
- Stir in the sugar, water and maple syrup and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Boil gently, over medium heat, until the mixture reaches hard-crack stage (300°F on an instant-read or candy thermometer). The syrup will bubble without seeming th change much for awhile, but be patient; all of a sudden it will darken, and at that point you need to take its temperature and see if it’s ready. This whole process should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
- While the sugar mixture is gently bubbling, spread half of the nuts, in a fairly closely packed, even single layer, on a lightly greased baking sheet.
- Top with half the chocolate.
- When the syrup is ready, pour it quickly and evenly over the nuts and chocolate.
- Immediately top with the remaining chocolate, then the remaining nuts.
- Wait several minutes, then gently, using the back of a spatula, press down on the chocolate-nut layer to spread the chocolate around evenly.
- While the candy is still slightly warm, use a spatula to loosen it from the baking sheet. When cool, break it into uneven chunks.
Yield: About 24 big bite-sized pieces