When I worked at the Akron Beacon Journal, a colleague told a new hire -- tongue-in-cheek -- that she had to bring cookies during her first two weeks on the job. She did, and the tradition of Rookie Cookies was born. Thereafter, all newbies were told to expect this duty. I don't remember any of them even questioning it. Later we came up with Deserter's Dessert (this came back to haunt me when I took a voluntary layoff nearly two years ago) and Boomerang Brownies for those who came back to the paper. I just realized we should have demanded something from those returning from maternity or paternity leave. A missed opportunity!
This recipe is from the wonderful cookbook The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle. They are as addictive as the author warns. As a matter of fact, hold on a second. . . . OK, I feel much better. Darn, crumbs on my keyboard.
Toffee Pecan Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour*
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups English toffee bits, such as Skor or Heath (I used Heath bits with chocolate)
1 3/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
Position a rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with foil (or parchment paper) and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars at medium-high speed until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla. The dough will look a bit curdled, which is fine. At low speed, add the flour mixture a little at a time, mixing just till blended. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the toffee bits and pecans (I just dumped them in and turned the mixer on for a few whirls. Wood doesn't go in the dishwasher, after all).
Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons (a cookie dough scoop works fine, too) onto prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart. Bake, one sheet at a time, until cookies are starting to turn golden brown around the edges, 14 to 16 minutes (Important: In my oven, it took about 10 minutes, so check them early!). Do not overbake. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
(* NOTE: The first time I made these, the cookies were sticking to the sprayed foil. After ruining a few that then had to be consumed immediately, I found I had to pry them off carefully and slowly with a metal spatula to keep them whole. I discovered one solution, if you don't have the time or patience to deal with the prying, is to add 1/2 cup flour to the batter at the start, and bake on sprayed parchment paper. The flavor is the same, but the cookies are a little puffier and the consistency is firmer and less lacy, therefore easier to remove. Either way, they are very tasty. I think I prefer the lacier version that's more work. Of course.)