Aside from the Farmers Market on Thursdays there are four options for grocery shopping in Westwood, Los Angeles; the little neighbourhood clustered around the bottom of UCLA and Bel Air, and reaching outwards towards Brentwood (think Desperate Housewives but in the middle of a city) and Beverly Hills. If you're only after snacks and frozen food you head to Target, which I would describe as Woolworths meets Boots meets Tesco Metro meets Dunelm Mill. While I find it is good for kitchen implements and Essie nail polish, I only every buy olive oil there. Trader Joe's is great and I go there often, but it is all own brand, think the Marks & Spencer food hall. I adore Whole Foods, it is Waitrose meets a farm shop meets Holland & Barrett but it is desperately expensive. I usually find myself shopping at Ralphs, which is basically Tescos with all the things in the wrong aisles and a scary American frozen food department in the middle.
While skirting around the frozen section to get from dairy to the vegetable section I always pass the end of aisle displays on the frozen section, which are usually as frightening for junk food phobic people like me. However, after walking past the new candy display there over the last few weeks, each time debating with myself if I should pick up a pouch of mini Rolo's from it (while most British chocolate has been ruined by American manufacturing, Rolo's are still pretty edible) the idea came to me. If they are mini Rolo's, why can't I use them instead of chocolate chips in my favourite Lorraine Pascale triple chocolate chip cookies I make at least once every two weeks from her book Baking Made Easy (it is rather brilliant, easily one of my favourite baking books of recent years) so they have little caramel puddles in them?
They came out fantastically, exactly how I wanted them to. The milk chocolate of the rolo, the plain chocolate of the cookie and the little caramel pockets came out perfectly, and I especially loved the little brittle bits of burnt caramel you got around the edges of the biscuit where some of the mini Rolo's had burst in the oven. However, something was missing. Honestly, considering how many salted caramel recipes I have been Pinning onto my 'Pudding Lane' and 'Cakes & Cookies' Pinterest boards recently, and how many scoops of Salted Caramel Ice Cream I have been consuming from Sprinkles in Beverly Hills I can't believe it took me so long to realise what the addition of some nice, flaky pieces of sea salt would do to my cookie. Makes around 10 cookies.
- 100g (4 oz) Unsalted Butter, softened
- 200g (7 oz) Soft Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Large Egg
- Vanilla Extract
- Pinch of Salt
- 165g (5 1/2 oz) Plain Flour
- 30g (1 1/4 oz) Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate Soda (Baking Soda)
- 200g (7 oz) Mini Rolos (in the US this is one pouch with a handful left over)
- Large Sea Salt Flakes (I use Maldon)
Beat together the sugar and the butter until well combined. This is really easy to do in a kitchen mixer (I use a Kenwood but I know most people have Kitchen Aids) but can be done by hand. Add the egg and a few drops of vanilla extract and beat until smooth and well combined. Add the cocoa, cooking salt, cocoa powder and flour. Mix until everything is combined. Add the Rolos and mash with a spoon until they are distributed through the cookie dough, but be careful not to break up the Rolo's. Divide and roll the dough into 10 small-ish balls and space them across two baking sheets covering in non stick baking parchment. Sprinkle each cookie ball with a generous pinch of the large sea salt flakes. Bake in the oven at 190 degrees celsius (375 fahrenheit) for 12-15 minutes. The cookies should have spread out a bit, be slightly cracked on top and some of the Rolo's will have burst and leaked into little puddles around the cookies. Remove from the oven and leave to stand on the trays for about 5 minutes. Using a spatula carefully lift each cookie onto a wire rack to cool, being sure not to break off the little puddles of burnt caramel; you want to leave these, solid attached to the sides of your cookies as they are one of the best bits. Enjoy! You're lucky. You don't have to photograph them before you eat them.
What are your favourite types of mini chocolate/ candy, and have you ever had them in a cookie before? As a kid we all had Smarties Cookies, and last year I posted a recipe for my M&M Cookies (I also use M&M's in this double chocolate cookie dough too). When I get back to England I really want to try using mini bites of Cadbury's Crunchie. I can't stand peanut butter, but on the display next to the mini Rolo pouches there were pouches of mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups; I bet they would be great in chocolate cookies too!