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:
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Cream Cheese
- Dark Chocolate
- Dried Chilies
- Dr. Pepper
- Fennel Bulb
- Goat Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Maple Syrup
- Passion Fruit
- Poppy Seeds
- Sour Cherries
- Sweet Potato
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
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup raw, local honey
½ cup Greek yogurt (I used nonfat)
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.