In the beginning it wasn’t all love and sugary treats for Alex and Cherlene Wright, owners of Crack’d Toffee. Their first round at love was dramatic and implosive, ending with Alex thinking Cherlene was crazy, and Cherlene thinking Alex was a jerk. Standard stuff for college romances. But then years later a love letter brought them back into each other’s arms. Despite initial shock and skepticism from friends and family, they’ll be celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary this year. In this month of love, the Wrights are an example of second chances, of tweaking the recipe to get it just right.
The same goes for their toffee, those deliciously addictive, sweet, buttery shards of chocolate-coated, hand-cracked candy. The original recipe is a family one from Cherlene’s best friend, and it came steeped with rules and traditions. The recipe could be shared, but it couldn’t be written down. If someone new wanted the recipe, he/she had to watch it be made. It was long beloved, which made what happened next a bold, potentially catastrophic move: Cherlene started adjusting the recipe. The saving grace of her intrepid experimentation? Her version was better, and quickly became the new gold standard — even for her best friend’s family.
For years, Alex and Cherlene would toss around the idea of selling the toffee, but it was always in more of a dreamy, “wouldn’t it be amazing” kind of way. When an injury jolted Cherlene out of her career in Redwood City’s public service sector, selling toffee suddenly became a viable adventure. Since opening up their “toffice” almost three years ago, Cherlene has developed five unique toffees. But whether it’s coated in dark chocolate or white, the original, premium dark roast or vegan, one thing is certain: one bite won’t be enough.
Crack’d Crispy Chocolate Toffee Cookies
This recipe is courtesy of Cherlene Wright. Her secret tip? Mix and match-dark toffee and white chips or vice versa, for a fun, tasty contrast.
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup softened butter Crisco
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
11/2 teaspoons good vanilla extract
2¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
11/2 cups Crack’d toffee (any kind), chopped into
small chunks (think chocolate chip size)
1 16oz package of chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350ª.
2. Prepare a few baking sheets with parchment.
3. In a standing mixer, beat the butter, Crisco, and sugars until fluffy.
4. Add the vanilla, and then the eggs one at a time, mixing in between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure everything is combined.
5. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt.
6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined.
7. Add the chocolate chips and toffee, mix until just combined.
8. Pop the cookie dough in the fridge for 15-30 minutes. This isn’t a requirement, but it will make scooping the cookies easier.
9. Scoop the cookie dough into roughly tablespoon-sized balls. Make three rows of three on each cookie sheet, leaving at least 2” between each dough ball — these cookies will spread so you want to give them plenty of room.
10. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350ª.
11. After removing from the oven, let them sit on the cookie sheet for a minute or two, and then use a spatula (because they may still be soft) to transfer to a wire cooling rack. They will crisp up as they cool.
Did you know? Ten percent of Crack’d Toffee’s quarterly proceeds go to charity. For more about Crack’d and to place your order, head to crackdtoffee.com.
This story was published in the February print edition of Climate Magazine.