Toffee Pecan Dreams

Here is yet another “Dream” cookie from my most favorite cookie cookbook ever, “400 Sensational Cookies” by Linda J. Amendt.  If you forgot, or if you have never heard of a “Dream” cookie before, let me fill you in.  The secret ingredient to these dreams in instant vanilla pudding mix.  The pudding mix gives these cookies a cakey, and super soft, almost, dough-like center that is absolutely mouthwatering.  Because of the instant pudding mix, you must make these cookies immediately; do not freeze or chill the dough because it will alter the texture and shape of these cookies and they will be ruined.  If you want to freeze them, do so after baking.
I never knew how much I loved toffee until I had them in a cookie.  My mom used to send me these wonderful  “Christie Cookies“, a gourmet cookie company headquartered in Tennessee. All of their cookies and brownies have wonderful bits of toffee inside.  Until now, Christie Cookies have been a yearly tradition that my mom sends me whenever I am stressed out at school or work.
Well, I have now found my “Christie Cookie” replacement:  Toffee Pecan Dreams!  These dream cookies are packed with 2 cups of toffee bits, and paired nicely with crunchy pecan pieces…a perfect combination.  What I find ironic, is that I used to HATE nuts when I was little.  I told my mom to make brownies, cookies, and cakes, with “No Nuts!!!”  I am quite the opposite now.  I believe that nuts, especially pecans, which are my favorite, add a nice crunch to the already sweet flavors in a dessert such as in chocolate chip or toffee cookies.  Why wouldn’t you want nuts?
I made these Toffee Pecan Dreams for our small groups at church last Sunday night, and one of my friends told me:  “I normally don’t like cookies, but these I really, really like”.  Her husband even ate three cookies.  I had a few leftover Toffee Pecan Dreams, so the next day I took them over to my in-laws.  My mother-in-law, Paula, said “This is the best cookie  I’ve ever put in my mouth!”  Paula would never lie to me, she is too honest, so you have to believe her when she says these are amazing!
You’ve got to try these cookies soon!  The original recipe calls for dark brown sugar, but I used light brown sugar.  Let me know how they taste if you use the dark kind!  Enjoy!!!
Toffee Pecan Dreams
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (3.4 oz or 102 g) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups toffee bits
1 cup chopped pecans
1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper
2.  In a bowl, whisk together flour, pudding mix, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined.  Set aside.
3.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter, shortening, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  Scrape sides down of bowl.  On low speed or using a wooden spoon, gradually add flour mixture, beating until just blended.  By hand, fold in toffee bits and pecans.
4.  Using a cookie scoop or spoons, drop tablespoonfuls (15 mL) of dough about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.  Bake one sheet at a time in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges start to turn lightly golden.
5.  Immediately slide parchment paper onto a wire cooling rack.  Cool cookies for 5 minutes, then transfer from parchment paper to cooling rack and cool completely.
Yield:  3 1/2 dozen cookies
Adapted from “400 Sensational Cookies” by Linda J. Amendt

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