Well, you don’t really need an excuse to bake when it’s so cold and miserable outside (or ever, in fact) but the Bonfire Night seemed like it needed a little bit of a treat to celebrate. Celebrate what? I don’t really understand why there are so many fireworks and bonfires to remember that someone tried to burn down the Houses of Parliament but failed. No one really does the same for other failed terrorist plots. Maybe it’s just too early, you don’t really want to provoke terrorists too much.
Anyway, poor Guy Fawkes has been burnt so many times that I felt that Bonfire Night deserved some kind of contribution from my part. Not really sure about what kind of food is traditionally made on this day, I just decided to make something I’ve been craving for a while, some kind of cookies with salted caramel.
Salted caramel sounds quite pretentious and it is annoyingly all over the place, having emerged as a food blogger’s favourite. I am not one to steer clear of cliches though and, to be honest, the salty-sweet combination is more common than it appears at first: brie and cranberry, meat and chutney and most of Chinese food are only a few examples! I love all of these and I think the combination of the two tastes manages to bring the best out of both of them. Did I mention Wotsits dipped in melted chocolate? Try it.
If I was a proper “foodie” (how I dislike this word!) I would make my own caramel sweets. But I’m lazy. I came back from the department late and had about 45 mins before the fireworks to make these. I used Cadbury’s caramel bites for that batch, which was not caramelly enough, and fudge bits for the one I made today, which turned out to be too sticky. Next time make your own caramels, foodie.
Ingredients (makes about 20 cookies)
230 gr dark chocolate
60 gr butter
100 gr flour*
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
150 gr brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup caramel chunks (toffee, caramel bits, homemade caramels etc.)
Melt your chocolate with the butter, making sure it doesn’t burn! You can do it on the hob, in the microwave or using a bain-marie. Just do it slowly.
Whisk the eggs with the sugar and the vanilla extract until light and fluffy (in a food processor if you like) and add the melted chocolate. Add the flour mix (flour and baking powder) and mix with a wooden spoon until it’s fully incorporated. Finally, add the caramel chunks.
Place spoonfuls of the mix on baking paper and sprinkle with sea salt on the top. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 mins (maybe less, depending on how big your cookies are) at 170 degrees.
The top looks a lot like the shiny, crackly top of a good brownie and the cookies are chewy and very very chocolaty. They disappeared very quickly. By the way, I didn’t make the fireworks. I got lazy and decided to stay in, eat cookies and get drunk on beer, together with some other lazy people. Fireworks are overrated anyway.
*I made these gluten-free again by substituting the flour by equal parts of gluten-free flour, cocoa powder and ground almond for texture.
Note: I forgot to mention that they turn out better if you chill the dough first. I know many people are in the habit of doing that anyway but I’m quite lazy and impatient so I normally skip it. It really helps here!