1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Old Bay
2/3 cup toffee bits
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2-3 cookie sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using a stand or electric hand mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine thoroughly. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until a very thick dough forms.
Fold in the chips and toffee.
Form cookies by dropping 1 heaping tablespoon of dough two inches apart (I like this cookie scoop that holds 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough).
Flatten slightly then bake until light brown on the bottom, about 12-13 minutes.
Slide them out on the parchment paper onto a wire rack and allow them to cool 1-2 minutes on the parchment or Silpat on the wire rack before removing the parchment/Silpat and allowing them to cool directly on the wire rack.
Cool completely before storing in air-tight containers.
One day my mom made something (deviled eggs? potato salad? I can’t quite recall) and asked me what the secret ingredient was after I tried it. The secret ingredient was, of course, Old Bay. I told her Old Bay doesn’t count as a secret ingredient in Baltimore because it is in everything.
If you are not from here, it sounds like an exaggeration but it really isn’t. It’s on fries, in dip, on crab laden soft pretzels, in shrimp salad, in crab imperial and of course, steamed crabs and crab cakes. I’ve made grits with it (served with Old Bay seasoned soft crabs), fried catfish dredged in it, made Thanksgiving for two with it, used it to season Chex Mix, made po’boys, jazzed up cauliflower, spiced hollandaise and so much more over the years.
It’s a lot but we love it. Most of the uses of Old Bay are savory but it isn’t unheard of to have it in something sweet. I’ve had Old Bay caramels, Old Bay chocolates and Old Bay toffee. I’ve eaten Old Bay caramel popcorn on the boardwalk in Ocean City. It struck me the other day that I have yet had it in a cookie.
That seemed wrong to me. The spices were very good with buttery caramel. I didn’t want to have to make my own caramel but I had some toffee bits I picked up at Hershey Park last weekend which provided a similar flavor and of course I added a lot of dark chocolate. The result? A cookie that tastes like a regular chocolate-toffee cookie for a minute but then a sharp, spicy note hits. It’s really lovely. If you like spicy-sweet-salty combos, this may be your new favorite cookie.
If you are a hardcore Old Bay lover, feel free to add some more to the dough.