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Category Archives: Cookies

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

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Looky what I did! I kind of feel like a rock star, having made my first batch of cookies post-baby, and not even the bar kind. The kind you actually form the dough into individual balls before baking.  I still haven’t recovered the sleep I lost over them since devoting this kind of time to baking requires staying up at night while the baby is sleeping, but they were oh so worth it.  And who am I kidding, I do that every night anyway! :)

Mel worked hard to perfect her recipe, and the cookies are truly wonderful.  Soft and chewy, which is my favorite cookie texture, with the crunch of macadamia nuts and the complimentary sweetness of white chocolate.  Cookie perfection.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

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1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
12 ounces white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup toasted coconut (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with a handheld mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) until the mixture is well-combined. Add the vanilla and eggs and beat until the mixture is creamy and light in color, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the salt and baking soda until incorporated, then stir in the flour until just combined; a few streaks of flour are OK. Add the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts and mix until combined and no streaks of flour remain.

Roll tablespoon (or slightly larger) size balls of dough and place on silpat or parchment lined baking sheets, 1 to 2 inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes and remove from pan to cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough.

*Veronica’s Notes: if using unsalted butter, increase salt in the recipe to 1 1/4 teaspoons.  If your macadamia nuts are roasted and salted like mine, you might want to reduce the amount of salt. I omitted it completely since both my butter and nuts were salted. I added toasted coconut to half the batch (unphotographed because they were gone by the time I broke the camera out), and although they weren’t the classic white chocolate macadamia nut cookie, they were even better in their own class. I like both versions so I recommend you try half and half!

Recipe source: slightly tweaked from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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Chocolate-Glazed Honey Macaroons

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Once upon a time I entered some honey macaroons into the Kansas state fair and won a  blue ribbon for them.  Then I promised you I would share the recipe.  Well I may be a bit slow, but a promise is a promise!  I thought this was the perfect time since I’m giving away a gallon of coconut oil and this recipe has some in it.  I figured one of you guys would need a lot of ways to use up that coconut oil once the giveaway was over.  (I’m still packing just in case the winner agrees to let me move in until the oil is gone. hehehe)

We have a special honey class in our state fair baking competition and I won for the cookies last year.  I had never entered the honey cookies category before, but knew from looking at past year’s cookies what I wasn’t going to do, which was a flour-based cookie.  I wanted to do something different that the other bakers hadn’t.  I did lots of brainstorming and finally decided that a honey coconut macaroon might be nice.  Luckily I found a great recipe at Gourmande in the Kitchen and all I had to do was create a glaze for them.

Less heavy than a normal macaroon, these are light, sweet, tender, and very moist.  And the coconut-flavored chocolate just puts them over the top.  I love these cookies because not only are they tasty, they also are allergy friendly (gluten-free, dairy-free) and healthy (good fat & naturally sweetened).  I do hope you enjoy them!

For more coconut oil recipes, check out my Coconut Oil Coffee, Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Vegan Gluten-Free Mounds Cake, Dairy-Free White Cupcakes, Homemade Magic Shell, and Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake Pops.

Honey Coconut Macaroons

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Cookies
2 ¼ cups (180 g) unsweetened shredded coconut
2 large egg whites
¼ cup (60 g) raw local honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of fine sea salt

Honey & Coconut Chocolate Glaze
¼ cup dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon local raw honey

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Process the coconut in a food processor until very fine.  Whisk together egg whites, honey, vanilla, and salt until combined, then stir in the coconut until completely moistened.  Using a small cookie scoop, portion out the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake until pale golden in spots, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Make the Glaze: Place the chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at 50% power.  Stir, then repeat. Stir until residual heats melts the chocolate completely, then stir in the coconut oil and honey. Drizzle over the cooled macaroons and serve immediately, or allow to set before storing.  It takes this glaze several hours to set up, but the cookies are so moist they will  not suffer for being left out.

Recipe source: adapted from Gourmande in the Kitchen

Cranberry Bliss Cookies & Cookie Swap Recap

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Happy new year!  While most food bloggers are recapping 2012 with their top recipes, I’m totally disorganized and sharing an unseasonal recipe instead, weeks after I’d intended to.  Hey, give me a break, I still don’t have my head on straight after the hectic holiday season and still have one holiday party to go to before I’ll feel truly like I can settle back into a normal routine.

It’s been a while since I shared a recipe, and I wanted to share the yummy cookie recipe I used for  my cookie swap. I know most people are probably drinking green smoothies and training for marathons to attain lofty new year’s resolutions, but I’m going to share this cookie recipe anyway because I really don’t want to wait until next December to do it.  You can save it for next year, but if you have some dried cranberries left over from your holiday baking, why not use them up in these cookies?  I promise those you share them with won’t complain about cookie season being over.  But they might blame you for not making their goal weight loss this week.  :)

This recipe is for a super ginormous batch that makes about 9 dozen cookies, which is great if you are planning on sharing lots of cookies.  If you’d like a more moderate single batch (wuss), you can refer to That Skinny Chick Can Bake‘s recipe, which is what I used to make my ginormous recipe.

Cranberry Bliss Cookies (large batch)

*Note: the pecans need to be toasted so do this step first to avoid frustration.

Printable recipe
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1 ½ cups (3 sticks / 12 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups (10 ¼ oz) vegetable shortening
2 ¼ cups (1 lb) sugar
2 cups (1 lb) brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
3 large eggs
6 cups (1 lb 9 ½ oz) all-purpose flour
2 ¾ cups dried cranberries, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1 ½ lbs Ghirardelli white chips or chopped white chocolate

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment (I used foil this time) and set aside.

Cream butter, shortening and sugars. Add vanilla, salt, and baking soda and mix well. Add the eggs in while the mixer is running and continue to beat until well combined. Add flour and beat on low to combine. The mixer will be very full at this point so be careful to keep the flour from going over the edge before it is mixed in. Transfer the batter to a very large bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients until incorporated.

Scoop out tablespoonfuls of dough and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes or till golden. Cool for a few minutes on baking sheet then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 9 dozen.

*To toast the pecans, place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350F for about 4 minutes, or until fragrant and toasted. Remove and cool completely.

Recipe source: adapted from That Skinny Chick Can Bake!

***

Cookies from Kristin Moya to Devangi Raval; photo by Devangi.

I know I’m all kinds of evil, but I soon will be announcing a Postcard Project Candy Swap for February.  Don’t blame me, the people have spoken and have begged for more swapping throughout the year.  We’ll see how many actually sign up once they realize it could interfere with resolution number 1: lose weight!  lol

Red Velvet Pinwheel Cookies made by Paula Hartson; photo by Carmel Hodge.

As for the cookie swap, it was so much fun this year (OK, last year–I’m still not adjusted to this being a new year)! I added a Facebook page where we could all connect and gush about the cookies we were baking and receiving, and share pictures, and we just had a blast.

Cookies from Carmel Hodge to Paula Hartson; photo by Paula.

I toughened up and was pretty in-your-face about coming through with the cookies, whereas last year I tried to keep it totally positive. Well sometimes you gotta be tough or people will walk all over you!  Last year six people flaked out and I didn’t know what to do beyond apologize to the those who were left in the cold as I couldn’t afford to make and mail that many cookies (6×3 dozen would be 18 dozen! Yikes.).  Because of my new zero tolerance policy for flakes that I stated in the sign-up form (all flakes are blocked from future swaps), we only had 3 this year, though there were more participants.  I also clued in this year and when those three people didn’t come through with their cookies, I asked for “cookie angels”–volunteers to fill in and send extra cookies to the cookie orphans.  That worked great as there were so many who were eager to share more cookies and no one was left in the cold this year.  Apologies to those who didn’t get all their cookies last year!  I’m a better hostess now so please give me a second chance. :)

Cookies from Marlo Edwards to Paula Hartson; photo by Paula.

All in all the cookie swap was a roaring success, the highlight being raising money for kids cancer and the mixer I got as a reward (see this post if you missed all that).

Cookies from Paula Hartson who volunteered as a cookie angel for Shania Ortiz; photo by Shania.

Cookie Swap Stats:

Participants 2011: 52 2012: 72

Number of packages sent 2011: 162, 2012: 216

Number of cookies swapped 2011: 1,944 2012: 3,574

Money raised for kids cancer: $3,574 (2012 only)

Number of smiles created 2011 & 2012: countless :)

Easy Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Cookies/Muffin Tops {3 Ingredients}


This is one of those super easy recipes that many people seem to know about, but no one knows where it originated.  While there are many online sources for the recipe, I got mine from my friend Teri, who just spouted off the short list of ingredients during a conversation about holiday baking, and I decided I had to try them myself.

Teri calls these cookies but I call them muffin tops because they truly are the texture of a muffin, not a cookie.  In fact, I’ve seen people (hi, Jorie!) use this same recipe (with and without the chocolate chips) to make full-blown muffins, so there you go.  Bake them whichever way you like and no matter what you call them, they’re delicious, and a great last minute treat to add to your holiday spread.

Easy Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Cookies

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1 (18.25 oz) box spice cake mix
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 (12 oz) bag semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini because I made small cookies)

Preheat oven to 350F and line cookie sheets with parchment or silpat mats.

Empty cake mix into a mixing bowl and whisk well until there are no lumps. Mix in the puree, then stir in the chocolate chips. Use a cookie scoop to portion the dough out onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just firm. Remove to cool on a wire rack and repeat with remaining dough.

Recipe source: Teri B.

*******

I hope you guys have a happy Thanksgiving and if you are traveling for the holiday, travel safe!  I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but this is the first year since meeting my husband that we are not going to his parent’s house for Thanksgiving.  His cousin Mike (who was his best man at our wedding) got married in Jamaica and their wedding reception is this Saturday…and I’m making the cake!  It’s been crazy trying to get it baked without taking time off but I will have all Thursday and Friday to finish it so it’s all good…still…please pray for me!! lol!  If you know my track record, you know I need every bit of help I can get. :)  (If you don’t know my track record, you can see both my wedding cake failures here.)

One last note, I’m ending the fundraiser for Suzie on Saturday because she now has her hospital & doctor bills from her first hospital stay ($9,600 total) and not all of them are accepting payments–some are threatening to send her account to collections if she doesn’t pay in full.  So I’m ending it a little earlier than I planned so she can get at least enough to cover those that are threatening her.   If you wanted to help but forgot or weren’t able to before, if you are able to give even a few dollars before the fundraiser ends, I would so greatly appreciate it.  I would love it if we could reach $2,000 by Friday night!  And my offer for the carrot cake recipe still stands–I will email everyone who makes a minimum $5 donations my top-secret blue ribbon carrot cake recipe!  You can click here to make a donation.

Again, happy Thanksgiving! Have an extra bite of stuffing for me…and pecan pie too. :)

Small Batch Coconut-Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}


This month my Secret Recipe Club blog assignment was to Delicious Existence.  (Gotta love that blog title!)  On Twitter, Danielle (that’s my sister’s name, I love her already!) describes herself as a social worker, holistic health coach, lifestyle motivator and kitchen magician.  And after perusing her blog, I’d have to agree with the last two–all her wonderful vegan recipes are definitely motivating and magical!  Although not a vegan myself, I have mad love for their choice and actually try to eat vegan or vegetarian at least once a week, which isn’t too hard for me since I prefer fat and carbs (the good and bad kind :)) over meat anyway.  Over time I’ve been so wonderfully surprised how delicious & satisfying a completely meatless, dairy-free, and egg-free meal can be.

Don’t believe me?  Check out Danielle’s Herb Pinwheels, Jalapeno Popper Panini, Triple Chocolate Lust Cookies (I’m so making these!), Zucchini, Onion & One Pepper Stew, and Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Pie with Dark Chocolate Drizzle–just a few of the contenders for the recipes I marked to try.  I have gone vegan before and found it challenging to find enough variety, but Danielle is clearly a master.  Definitely go to her blog to get some inspiration!

I chose her coconut-chocolate chunk cookies to make for this month’s reveal, which is totally random, I know.  If it was December, they’d fit right in since that’ s the month everyone starts baking hoards of them to give away.  And these would be a great addition to your cookie tins this year!  But it’s the week of Thanksgiving and there’s not a speck  of cinnamon or pumpkin or even sweet potato in the recipe I chose.  I’m sorry, but you guys know about my obsession with coconut oil.  Did you really think I could pass up a recipe for cookies that contained not only my beloved coconut oil, but chocolate as well?  I think not.

You guys, these are so good.  Crazy good.  So good that I’m glad I kept it a small batch recipe so I could only eat a dozen at a time.  OK, so I didn’t really eat them all myself…but I did eat quite a few.  Both times I made them.  Yes, I made them twice this month, and will be making them again in a larger batch in December.  They’re so good!

The coconut flavor is perfectly balanced with the semisweet chocolate, IMHO.  You just would not believe how wonderful the coconut oil makes these cookies taste.  So much better than using an extract!  The cookies are sticky-crispy on the outside and the middles are soft & chewy-my favorite texture for a cookie, and I believe the corn syrup helps with it.  The original recipe did not call for corn syrup, but I wanted to use ingredients that most people would have in their kitchen so instead of making a flax seed egg (mixing flax meal with water creates a binder similar to egg), I decided to use something else that was sticky to bind the cookie together.  (You could also use agave nectar for a more natural cookie.) I used more corn syrup in the first batch and the cookies were a lot more chewy and a lot more crispy at the edges, and I think I’ve improved them by subbing a tablespoon of the corn syrup for milk (I used almond milk but coconut would obviously work great here), making the cookies softer but still crispy-chewy.

Whether you’re vegan or not, if you like coconut, I think you’re going to love these cookies!  If you don’t believe me take my friend Kevin’s word for it (it was his birthday and I gave him some, along with an accidentally egg-less version of this banana bread)–he cracks me up!

I call Kevin “Obiewan,” thus his Star Wars reference. :)

Thank you Danielle for sharing your fabulous recipe!  It pleases Jedi masters and padawans alike. :)

Coconut-Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}

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1/4 cup (1 7/8 oz / 52 g) virgin coconut oil, melted & cooled slightly (measured solid)
1/3 cup ( 2 ½ oz / 72 g) packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup or agave nectar
1 tablespoon milk of choice (I used almond)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
¾ cup (3 oz / 85 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat mat.

In a small mixing bowl combine the coconut oil, brown sugar, corn syrup, milk, and vanilla. Stir until blended, then add the baking soda and salt and stir well. Add the flour and mix well, using your hands if necessary, then stir in the coconut & chocolate, again using your hands to combine. Roll the dough into 12 (1-inch) balls, making sure there are three chocolate chunks per cookie. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden at the edges. As soon as you remove them from the oven, use a spatula to push any misshapen cookies into place so that they retain a round shape. Allow to cool on baking sheet for five minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.

Makes 1 dozen cookies.

Recipe source: adapted from Delicious Existence

I learned this trick from fellow SRC members Katrina & Liz–to whip any misshapen cookies back into shape, as soon as they’re out of the oven, scoot them into a round shape with your metal spatula.  Easy peasy and looks so much better!

To check out the other Group C SRC recipes, click the linky man below!  As always, thank you for being the bestest hostess with the mostest Miss Debbi!



Raspberry Almond Fudge Cookies


My good blogger buddy, Jenna, is having a baby girl in October and I rounded a bunch of her other blogger buddies together to throw her a virtual celebration.  After all, we are scattered across the United States, and meeting for a real baby shower is out of the question.  So we’re doing the next best thing, and boy have we all got some treats for you, Miss Jenna!

Being the crazy cake lady, you’d probably assume that I’d be the one to supply the cake.  Well, surprise, no cake from this corner today!  There are three reasons for this:

1) After scanning Jenna’s blog to verify my recollection, there is a distinct lacking of cake to be found, so I thought maybe a different type of sweet was in order.

2) I’m a terrible procrastinator and though I invited the other guests three months ago, I only got around to making my recipe for the shower recently.

3) Because of my procrastination, I had to make something that served double-duty and could serve as both a treat for her shower and could be submitted as one of my entries into the fair, since it’s crunch time and fair baking is pretty much the only baking I’m doing right now.

Thankfully, I was able to come up with a solution!  I actually first made her something else that didn’t turn out like I’d hoped, so when I realized that the cookies I was entering into the fair for the “Special Chocolate Cookies” category would be perfect with a raspberry glaze, and the pink color would also make them baby shower-suitable, I rejoiced.

I have won three ribbons for my almond fudge cookies in the last two years and this year I wanted to change them up and enter them into a new category.  Since they are flourless, they are super fudgy and mostly consist of toasted almonds and chocolate.  I thought adding a raspberry element would be a perfect compliment to the almond/chocolate flavors and I’m so pleased with how they turned out.  The original recipe is really good.  But this is even better-absolute heaven!  Super chocolatey with chunks of Ghirardelli Dark & Raspberry chocolate squares throughout, the raspberry almond flavor is enhanced further by raspberry and almond extracts, and a raspberry glaze with almond garnish.  I love these and Jenna, I hope you love them too!

I suspect my first creation, which involved lemon and raspberry and poppy seeds, might have been more up Jenna’s alley if it had turned out as good as it did in my imagination, and I also feel guilty for not being the cake maker for this shower since it’s pretty much understood that I’m the cake supplier for all special occasions.  However, Jenna did jokingly beseech her readers to mail her some chocolate to satisfy a craving a while back.  Well, these cookies are definitely chocolatey and the bonus of making them instead of a cake is that I can ship them!  Be looking for them in two days, Jenna–I mailed you some this morning.  Enjoy!

Raspberry Almond Fudge Cookies

Plan ahead: the cookie batter needs to be refrigerated overnight so make it the night before you plan to bake them.

Printable recipe
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1 cup raw, unsalted almonds
½ pound semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon raspberry extract
6 Ghirardelli Dark & Raspberry Chocolate Squares, chopped

Glaze
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons raspberry extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Sliced almonds, for garnish

Lay almonds on a microwave-safe plate and toast in microwave in 30-second intervals on high, stirring in between, 3-5 times until nuts are fragrant. Cool to room temperature. In a food processor, grind nuts until very fine, almost like flour. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler; remove from heat and set aside. Beat the eggs with an electric mixer on highest speed, gradually adding the sugar and salt. Continue beating until ribbons form; about 10 minutes. Fold in the chocolate-butter mixture. Gently add the ground almonds and then fold in the chopped dark & raspberry bar. Cover and refrigerate overnight or 8 hours.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a cookie scoop to form the dough into 1-inch balls. Place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart and immediately place in the oven. Bake until the center of the cookies are no longer wet-looking, 10-14 minutes. Allow to cool one minute on sheet before removing to rack.

To make the glaze, stir the powdered sugar, cream, and extracts together until smooth. Add additional cream to thin, if necessary.  Drizzle over cooled cookies and immediately sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Check out the other virtual shower bloggers!

4 Little Fergusons (Midwest USA): 11 Lessons To Determine If You Are Ready For Parenthood
A Little Lunch (Eufaula, OK): Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice Scones
City Songbird (Greensboro, NC): Merry Christmas, Alice!
Eats Well With Others (New York, NY): Peanut Butter and Honey Ice Cream
Hunting for Bliss (Bozeman, MT): Garam Masala Deviled Eggs
Pinking Shears & Broccoli Spears (Newark, DE): Making Food Good For Your Baby
Sydney Shares (Eugene, OR): Baby BLTs 
That’s Some Good Cookin’ (Salt Lake City, UT): Cheesecake Cookie Bars
The Pajama Chef (Bloomington, IN): Iced Tea with Ginger-Mint Simple Syrup
Two Dogs In The Kitchen (Sterling, MI): Spicy Asian Meatballs
Veronica’s Cornucopia (Wichita, KS): Raspberry Almond Fudge Cookies
Very Culinary (Sacramento, CA): Toasted Orzo and Chickpea Salad
Words on Wendhurst: A Gift For Jenna and Alice

Kumquat & Coconut Cookies {Grain & Sugar-Free}

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Whew, two recipe contests in the same week!  I don’t know what’s come over me.  It must be all that state fair competitive spirit leaking over into my everyday baking life!  This one is for Baker Bettie’s Cookie Wars, in which she charged us with a mission to invent a cookie using at least two of the following ingredients:

  • Avocado
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Basil
  • Beer
  • Coffee
  • Cranberries
  • Cream Cheese
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Dried Chilies
  • Dr. Pepper
  • Fennel Bulb
  • Garlic
  • Goat Cheese
  • Grapefruit
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Hazelnut
  • Honey
  • Kumquat
  • Maple Syrup
  • Marshmallows
  • Mint
  • Passion Fruit
  • Peach
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Rosemary
  • Sour Cherries
  • Sweet Potato
  • Tomato

I’m really curious to see how many people are daring and creative enough to use tomato, vinegar (wait, I’ve done that and it’s fabulous! lol), beer, rosemary, etc.  I’m thinking there are going to be a few savory cookies in the mix!

But me, well, you know my affinity for sweets, so that’s what I went for.  I didn’t intend to make a wholesome cookie, it kinda just happened in the evolution of my creative process.  Here’s how it went.

My first inclination was to create a yogurt and honey spice cookie, which I knew would be a cake-like cookie because of the honey, and since I don’t like cakey cookies unless they’re part of a whoopie pie, I figured I’d also make a yogurt and honey filing for them.

Then I remembered the bag of coconut flour in my refrigerator that I won from Nutmeg Nanny’s giveaway several months ago, and thought it would work well here since the honey and yogurt would add a lot of liquid that usually isn’t in cookies, and you need more wet ingredients in any coconut flour recipe–it’s very thirsty and absorbs lots of moisture.  (I know this from a previous failure.)

I scanned the list again, trying to see if any other ingredients would pair well with the flavor of coconut and pondered over the kumquats.  I’d never had them but had seen them at the grocery store from time to time and always assumed they were miniature oranges.  I remember asking Dennis, “What is the point of these?  It would take forever to peel enough of these to make them worth eating!”  But I Googled kumquats anyway, to see if they might work for me in my cookies.

I found out that the skin is the part that is sweet and delicious, and the inside is very sour.  Most people eat them whole to savor the contrast of sweet and sour.  (I tried this after buying them, and whoo-ey, even the sweet peel wasn’t enough for me to dig the sour explosion on the inside.  But the flavor is very good-very similar to an orange.)  I also found a recipe for kumquat chocolate chip cookies that described the kumquat peels as being great after baking because they get chewy like pieces of candy.  OK, I was sold.  I had to find me some kumquats.

Find them I did, and then I went to work.  I’m pretty happy with my creation!  These cookies have an exotic flavor profile, with a semi-tropical feel.  The honey wasn’t quite enough to balance the sour yogurt and and kumquats (yes, I totally tasted the raw dough. I always do. :) ), but the stevia made them nicely sweet like any good cookie should be.  I love the kumquat flavor, it is a perfect match with the coconut.  I added the spices because a recipe I have from my friend, Marina, called “Cream Cheese Cookies” uses them, but I honestly can’t say they really pronounce themselves on the palate.  They sort of just add a layer of mystery in the background to the overall exotic flavor.

The texture is soft and moist and very tender, which isn’t my usual choice for a cookie (I’m in the crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside camp), but these are so unique that it doesn’t strike me as “wrong.”  These cookies are supposed to be different, and it’s actually a nice texture…not unlike shortbread.  The one downside is that coconut flour makes them a bit grainy and while they’re not a dry cookie, the flour makes you thirsty after eating one.

All in all, these aren’t the typical American cookie, but I think they’d be perfect with tea.  In fact, I think I’m going to enjoy a few with a hot cup right now…

Kumquat & Coconut Cookies

Printable recipe
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½ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup raw, local honey
½ cup Greek yogurt (I used nonfat)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coconut flour
5 packets NuNaturals stevia powder
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon mace
¼ teaspoon salt
½ lb. kumquats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk the butter and honey together in a small bowl until combined, then whisk in the yogurt until combined, then the eggs and vanilla. Doing it in this way emulsifies the butter so that it doesn’t harden and get clotted when you add the cold yogurt and eggs.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the coconut flour to get any clumps out, then whisk in the coriander, ginger, mace, and salt. Add the honey & yogurt mixture, and stir with a spoon until mixed. The dough will be thick and will get thicker upon standing. Set aside.

Pick off the small stems from the kumquats, then roughly chop them, removing seeds as you go. I don’t have a great knife, so I sliced each kumquat into four slices, then quartered each slice, otherwise I just would have gone nuts chopping like I do with nuts. Add the chopped kumquats into the cookie dough along with the coconut and mix well with your clean hands.

Scoop the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets with a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop. You can place them fairly close together as they will not spread. Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown around the edges.

Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Notes: coconut oil can be substituted for the butter to make these dairy-free. If you are using a different brand or form of stevia, add it in to taste. There is no gluten to toughen the cookies, so you can mix and re-mix to your heart’s content as you add ingredients to get the right balance to suit your tastes.

Bird’s Nest Cookies

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Most of my readers probably know by now that I’m a Christian.  What might surprise you is that I don’t celebrate Christmas and Easter as Christian holidays.  We do the secular stuff with our families, exchanging gifts, hunting for baskets, but we do not recognize any affiliation of those holiday traditions with our faith.  We recognize Christ as our savior, remember his birth, life, death, and resurrection, but we do not do it just because it’s Easter or just because it’s Christmas–holidays that ultimately have pagan roots and nothing to do with Christ, despite the emphasis put on Him during this time by many. Not that I despise that emphasis, it’s actually refreshing, but we choose to keep these holidays secular while keeping our focus on Christ year-round.  Make sense?

*crickets chirping*

Hello?  Is anyone left?  Hopefully I didn’t lose everyone by starting out on such a serious note.  I have lots of thoughts on this subject…and maybe I should share them some day.  I was thinking about starting a “my faith” page on my blog where I can file my thoughts on spiritual matters in more detail.  Let me know if you’d be interested.

Anyway, whether you celebrate Easter or not, these moist chocolate macaroons shaped into nests with white chocolate truffle “eggs” are a perfect spring-time treat!  I made these a couple years ago and nearly forgot about them until I ran across the photos I took.  Perfect timing!  I hope you enjoy them, I know our family did!

Bird’s Nest Cookies

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2 squares (2 oz) unsweetened baking chocolate
2 egg whites, room temperature
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped*
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 (14 oz) bag sweetened shredded coconut
16 to 18 white chocolate Lindt Lindor balls (2 bags), or other egg-shaped candies

Move the oven racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 275 degrees. Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Melt baking chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave on high 30 seconds at a time. Stir after each stop until melted; set aside.  With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the egg whites on high until stiff and glossy. Add the salt, vanilla extract, powdered sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate. Beat until mixed. Stir in the coconut and hazelnuts. Scoop into mounds with a small (size 24) ice-cream scoop or a 1/4th cup dry measuring cup. Place on cookie sheets and make an indent in the middle with your thumb.

Place both cookie sheets in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Switch the cookies to the opposite shelf halfway through baking. This will prevent over-browning. Meanwhile, unwrap the candy.

Move cookies to a cooling rack and allow to sit for five minutes, or until they are barely warm to the touch. If you place the truffles on top while they are more than barely warm, they will melt into goo. If you are using candies with a shell, wait until the cookies are cool to place them on top, or the shells will crack. For the truffles, working quickly, set the Lindt balls on top of the cookies. Let cool completely. The Lindt balls may drip a little so you may want to place a sheet of parchment underneath the cookies.

*To toast the hazelnuts, place them in a small bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir, and microwave another 30 seconds. Immediately rub together in a paper towel to remove a little of the excess skin. Leave most of the skin on. Chop coarsely and set aside.

Makes 16 to 18 large cookies.

Recipe source: The Cooking Photographer

Question of the day: if you celebrate Easter, what are your favorite traditions?  Our family (technically Den’s family–mine doesn’t really celebrate) always does a Easter basket hunt, even for the adults. I love hiding them almost as much as finding them! :)

Cookie Brittle


All right, it’s the last day of cookie week!  Here’s another great recipe from Marina, and as with all her recipes, this one is a winner.  (Literally, the woman has hundreds of ribbons for her baking!)  These cookies are exactly what the title suggests.  Cookie brittle is the perfect cross of cookie and brittle, is super crunchy, buttery, studded with toffee, and garnished with chocolate.  I bet these are great with the almonds, but I made mine without.  These are perfect for gifts!

Cookie Brittle

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 (7.8 oz) packages toffee candy bars, chopped fine
½ cup almonds, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine butter, vanilla and salt in medium bowl and beat with electric mixer until fluffy. Add flour, sugar, chopped toffee candy, and almonds if desired. Blend well. Press mixture into 15 x 11 inch cookie sheet with sides. Cover with waxed paper and flatten with rolling pin to edge of pan. Discard paper. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. While still hot, cut into diamonds or squares. Cool completely. Drizzle with chocolate if desired.

Recipe source: Marina C.

Chocolate Chip Macaroons


Jacqueline is in the front, kneeling on the far right.

After I started The Postcard Project, I went to anysoldier.com and got the address for a female soldier in Afghanistan that I could correspond with.  (If you don’t know any soldiers that are currently serving, I recommend this site–it’s the only place I’ve found where you can get an address for a soldier you don’t know.)  Through our letters, I have come to understand how important mail is to soldiers.  I was moved by how happy I could make this woman just by sending her a few pages of my craziness, blabbing about things most people could care less about.  When she replied with her gratitude, answering all the questions I had asked and telling me about herself, I felt the connection we had made, all thanks to the Postal Service and the exchange of a few letters.

I asked her in my first letter if there was anything I could send her to make her happier while she was serving overseas.  She replied, much to my glee, that her team (I love how she said “her team” and not “I”–it just shows how selfless soldiers are) loves snacks, especially homemade, and if I could send some that would be great, but if not, “the letters are great also, it shows that someone really cares and values what we are doing.”

I don’t think she had any idea how happy her request for homemade snacks would make me.  Anysoldier.com tells us not to send homemade goodies if the soldiers do not know us (for safety reasons, most likely), so I had not hoped that I could take my baking love out on her.  But she must have felt like she knew me after only one letter, and I couldn’t have been more delighted by her request.  My favorite way to make people happy is by making them goodies, so I literally was jumping up and down and squealing to my husband “she wants homemade snacks!!!” like I had just gotten a Kitchenaid stand mixer for Chrstimas.  I think it makes me happier to make and give the treats than it makes the people who receive them!

I did some research and found a good article on the best cookies to ship long distances, and macaroons were listed as a cookie that gets better with time, so I immediately decided I would be including some macaroons in the boxes.  (Yes, there were more than one.  I couldn’t help myself.)

So along with a batch of homemade butterfingers and 3 pounds of seasoned crackers, I included a tin of these chocolate chip macaroons.  I had saved a very simple & easy (also multiple blue ribbon-winning) recipe using sweetened condensed milk, and I kicked them up a notch by adding in some mini chocolate chips…because chocolate makes everything better.

These were wonderful fresh from the oven, and as promised by the article mentioned above, did taste even better the next day!  They are moist and chewy–nice and soft when warm from the oven, and more dense & rich the next day.  Hopefully they were like bites of nirvana by the time they made it to Jacqueline and her team, and from the feedback I got, they must have been close!

Chocolate Chip Macaroons

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (14 oz) package sweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla, then stir in the coconut and chocolate chips with a spoon or your hands until well blended. The mixture will be very sticky. Refrigerate for two hours, or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat mat to prevent sticking (like I said, this dough is sticky!). Using a cookie scoop, drop dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about golf ball size. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until coconut is toasted. Cool completely on a wire rack and store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag(s).

Recipe source: adapted from Allrecipes

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