Toffee & Hazelnut Cookies

These are pretty darn good if I do say so myself – chewy in the middle, crisp round the edges, with swirls of toffee and crunchy chunks of naturally sweet hazelnut. They’re remarkably simple as well – and the necessary toffee-bashing is great for stress relief… as, of course, is a cup of tea with a couple of cookies. How can you resist?

150g butter or margarine
125g pale brown sugar
100g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
Splash of milk
300g plain flour
½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
150g hard toffee (I used Werther’s Originals)
75g hazelnuts

Makes about 18 cookies.

First of all, get your toffee and hazelnuts ready. Place the toffee in a plastic bag (you can use a sandwich bag, but be aware that it will split quite quickly – I happened to have a clear cellophane bag to hand which was more durable) and bash it with something suitable – I used the pestle from my pestle & mortar; you could also use a meat tenderiser or a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. You want to make sure the chunks aren’t too big, as they will melt & your cookies could end up too gooey – if you’re using Werther’s Originals, I’d suggest making sure each one is broken into at least 4 pieces. Next, chop your hazelnuts – use a long knife for this and, keeping the end of the blade nearest the handle on the chopping board, rock the other end up and down to chop the nuts. If you keep lifting the knife up and chopping down with it, your hazelnuts will go flying off in all directions!

Next, melt the butter, leave it to cool for a few minutes, and then mix it with the two sugars. Beat in the vanilla and the egg, the splash of milk, and then the flour and bicarb. It should look pretty dry at this point – but soft and sticky enough to form into blobs. Finally, mix in your hazelnuts & toffee chunks.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Grease a baking tray & line it with greaseproof paper (the margarine will help stick the paper down). Form the dough into blobs about the size of a golf ball and place on the baking tray about 5cm apart (they will spread out as they cook, so it’s worth cooking them in two batches rather than trying to squeeze them all on in one go)! For slightly chewy cookies – which is the way I like them – cook for about 22 minutes, until the edges are golden-brown, but you can take a few minutes off if you’d like them to be softer.  Let them cool for ten minutes or so (the toffee will melt as I said, so beware, it’ll be molten when they first come out!) and then scoff them with a cuppa while they’re still warm. Mmmmm.