Toffee Cookies with Chocolate and Cayenne

I hate Valentine’s Day. Wait, not quite correct. I hate all card-company made up holidays that make you think you need to purchase a (cheesy) card for someone and basically waste money. These holidays include both Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days too. Ugh, so gross.

Valentine’s the the most egregious though made up holiday.  Overpriced roses that have no smell whatsoever. A meal out that is meh at best and again, overpriced. Pressure for the whole evening and lord help you if you have just started a new relationship. Just wait and ask her/him out in March or something. Go out for Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day – it worked for me.

That said, I took a recent cookie recipe and make sweet little heart cookies with chocolate and then did the perfect thing – added cayenne. Hey, why not, right?

D&D_260816 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate – Ghirardelli
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Fleur de sel / Maldon
cayenne

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well. Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl, then add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, mixing until well combined.

Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.*

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out hearts with a cookie cutter and place the cookies on the baking sheet.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.

Bring water to a simmer in a double boiler, or set up a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan with water in the bottom. Melt the chocolate over the simmering water. When the cookies are cool, spread them gently with a thin layer of melted chocolate. Before the chocolate dries, sprinkle lightly with the pecans and a few grains of fleur de sel and a pinch or so of cayenne – let your conscious be your guide here. Let the chocolate set. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 20 – 24 cookies – all depends on your cookie cutter.

*It took more than 10 minutes – way more – just leave the dough in the fridge overnight.

Johnson Brothers – Old Britian Castles – pink.

Food Event Calendar

I’ve mentioned this previously in my post on Super Bowl planning, but wanted to elaborate further. You can go basically all year long planning for the next “food event.”

We’ll start at the beginning:
Winter – in general – root vegetables and even better, citrus!
Super Bowl – it’s sort of an appetizer version of Thanksgiving in early February.
Valentine’s Day – a stupid holiday created by Hallmark, but still another excuse to cook, usually sweet thing that make me slightly sick. Can you tell, I’m not a fan??
Mardi Gras – this is our regional thing, but I’m not one to turn down King Cake. Did you know that it was Mobile, AL thing before a NOLA thing? Shout out to the Moon Pie!Moonpie2-336x221
(Margarita Day is February 22nd – and this is important to me. Although, I must say, this is too early in the year. Margarita Day should be in August when we’re all hot and miserable – that’s when that particular drink makes lots of sense. And salt is required.)
St. Patrick’s Day – bring on the Guinness and whatever else you would like that might be remotely Irish. We all want to be Irish, even though I am Scottish.
Spring – in general – time for asparagus, fresh peas, you know – green stuff that’s good for you. Should be boring, but it isn’t.
Easter/Passover – again, peas, asparagus, eggs, and ham. I know I’m not a good mom since The Boy has never dyed eggs at home.
Mother’s Day – take someone out for a mimosa for brunch, You wouldn’t catch me dead at this experience because this is, yet another, another holiday created by the card industry. It also tends to screw up my birthday plans – ugh.
Memorial Day – it’s the beginning of summer – picnics, backyard grilling, and beer. An extra day off work. What more do you want?
Summer – in general – salads, lemonade, more grilling and if applicable end-of-year school parties.
4th of July – picnics, again, yet more grilling, finally some decent tomatoes and hot peppers, and the basil should be coming along nicely at this point
(Regional) Blue Angels’ Weekend – the above, but at the beach.
August – no one eats in August, it’s just too damn hot. And we are tired of salads and grilling.
Labor Day – the last hurrah of summer, grilling, really good tomatoes, and more peppers and basil.
Fall – in general – fall is strange in NW Florida. Advertisers try to make something out of fall, but really, it’s still just summer mostly.
Halloween – all kinds of sweets that make my teeth hurt to think about, and pumpkins and other assorted squash. But another excuse to make something different and it might just be cool enough to do some real work in the kitchen.
Thanksgiving – the food holiday to end all food holidays. A couple of weeks planning, and then you still make the same damn thing you always make. Sweet Potato Casserole anyone? It is excellent and that is true.
Christmas Eve – easy appetizers for Christmas Eve night. Last few years, this is fondue night – it really works for Christmas Eve – at least for me. One of our favorite things ever. Bread and Cheese – yep I’m there.
Christmas Day – depending on where we are, this can be a mini Thanksgiving or something totally different.
New Year’s Eve – Again, just an appetizer event – my favorite kind of meal.
New Year’s Day – Eggs Benedict for brunch and then left overs for lunch/dinner. And mimosas – you know – it’s the new year.
 and then we start all over again, if we’re very fortunate.