Friday, July 31, 2015

Soft Lemon Coconut Cookies

When I think about cookies, it’s really easy to think about fall cookies: cinnamon cookies, gingersnaps, things with apple. Summer is a little harder. When I think of summer, well, I think of ice cream and you can’t really make ice cream cookies. Maybe ice cream cookie sandwiches, but that’s a hassle. I guess lemon and coconut do fit the bill for a summer cookie. The flavors make me think of a sunny place, so I guess that works!

This recipe makes a very small batch, which is great, but I hadn’t realized that when I decided to make them this week. I just thought the flavors sounded like a winning combination, and I was very interested in the use of cream cheese in the dough. My batch made just over a dozen cookies, but I did make them larger than I usually make cookies. I used my larger cookie scoop, and each cookie used about 1-1/2 tablespoons of dough. I also realized that I was supposed to sprinkle the coconut on top of the cookies, instead of adding it to the dough. Oops. I figured it would work out, although maybe look a little less fancy.

These baked up fairly well, although I was a bit worried that they’d brown too much on the bottom before baking all the way through. They’re ok though. They didn’t spread or flatten while baking much, and I flattened the second tray of cookies. Both turned out, so it’s up to your preference. The cookies have a cake-like texture, and the combination of cream cheese, lemon, almond, and white chocolate is irresistible.

Soft Lemon Coconut Cookies
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
Zest from one large lemon
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup sliced toasted almonds
1/3 cup shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a large mixer bowl, add the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and brown sugar. Beat on medium until light. Add the egg, vanilla, lemon extract, and lemon zest and stir to incorporate. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and stir on low until the dough comes together. With a spatula, stir in the white chocolate chips, almonds, and coconut.

Using a medium cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. Allow 2” between each cookie.

Bake for 12-16 minutes (depending on the size of your cookies), until lightly brown along the edges. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from One Sweet Mess

Friday, July 24, 2015

Triple Layer Nutella Bars

We are travelling to Nanaimo, British Columbia this summer so I wanted to make some Nanaimo bars. I have made a couple of different Nanaimo bars, with different flavors in the filling. It being so hot this summer, Nanaimo bars are perfect as they are no bake cookies. I was searching online and found this recipe, which were originally called Nutella Nanaimo Bars.

These cookies take a lot of liberty with the classic Nanaimo bar recipe, so much so that I didn’t want to call them Nanaimo bars. You have to bake the bottom crust, and it’s a chocolate crust rather than a graham/coconut crust. A traditional Nanaimo bar has a custard powder-based filling. I have made other variations that didn’t use custard powder, so I guess that isn’t so terrible. I feel more comfortable calling these Triple Layer Nutella Bars.

I made these over the course of a couple of days. When my house is so hot, it’s hard to do much of anything so one step a day was sufficient. I did have a problem with the base, as the original recipe called for ½ cup butter, which was way too much. I had to keep dabbing away pools of melted butter as the base baked. I changed the recipe to read ¼ cup, which is the amount I think would work best. Despite that struggle, these bars are fantastic! I love the Nutella filling, and the chocolate base is very tasty. These won’t last long!

Triple Layer Nutella Bars
2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup Nutella
1 tablespoon milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 or 9-inch pan with foil.

In a large bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, cocoa powder, and coconut. Add the butter, egg and vanilla and stir with a spatula to combine. The mixture will be crumbly. Press into the base of the prepared pan.

Bake for 15 minutes, until set. Cool on a wire rack while you make the filling. 

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and powdered sugar on medium until light. Add the Nutella, milk and vanilla and stir on low until smooth. Spread over the partially cooled crust. Refrigerate until cold.

Combine the chocolate chips and shortening in a small bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth. Drizzle the chocolate on the chilled bars and smooth the chocolate so that it evenly covers the bars. Chill until set.

Lift the bars from the pan and peel away the foil. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Cherry Almond Refrigerator Cookies

This summer I have been doing small batch baking, and refrigerator cookies are great when you don’t want to make a ton of cookies. Most refrigerator cookies make two logs of dough, and you can refrigerate or freeze the dough for quite a long time. For most people, having some extra cookie dough on hand is a great thing. For me, since I like to try new recipes all of the time, I can just make a half batch and then I’ll move on to something else.

This recipe was described as a Christmas cookie, and I guess cherries and almonds are a festive combination. I think of cherries in the summer though. The original recipe called for candied cherries, which are really hard to find in the store this time of year. I used well drained maraschino cherries, which worked fine. The only difference was that as you stirred the cherries in to the dough, the dough turned a tiny bit pink.

Like I said, I made a half batch, but that still made 30 cookies. Do make sure that the cherries are chopped finely; otherwise they won’t slice cleanly. You can cut these are thin or as thick as you want. I used ¼” as a guide, but my cookies were probably a bit thicker. I love anything with almond extract, and these are no exception. I also adore maraschino cherries, in all their unnatural glory. Paired together, these cookies can’t be beat!

Cherry Almond Refrigerator Cookies
½ cup sliced almonds
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped maraschino cherries

Finely chop the almonds in a food processor; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium until light. Add the egg and almond extract and beat again until combined. With the mixer running on low, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the chopped almonds and cherries and stir with a spatula to combine.

Divide the dough into two halves; shape each half of dough into an 8-inch log. Wrap each dough log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Slice the dough into ¼” slices and place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned along the edges. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for several minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Betty Crocker

Friday, July 10, 2015

Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was cleaning my kitchen not too long ago and I was trying to get some stuff moved off of the main counter. One of the things sitting there was a jar of coconut oil, which I had on hand when I made a vegan cake for my coworker. I know that there are millions of uses for coconut oil, but I forget that I have it. I decided to search and see what I could find. I found these chocolate chip cookies with coconut oil, and since my husband loves chocolate chip cookies, I thought these were perfect.

These aren’t too different from a regular chocolate chip cookie, just the coconut oil is different. I find coconut oil a bit tricky to work with, as it becomes liquid at a low temperature (77 degrees). When I made the cake, I used coconut oil in the frosting and it just wouldn’t stay in place because even at room temperature the frosting was starting to melt. The cake and frosting tasted great, but didn’t look the best.

I struggled a bit with these cookies. My house is so warm, and it hasn’t been below 80 degrees or so in weeks. My coconut oil was liquid, and I hoped that would still work. I made the dough, and it was super crumbly, didn’t hold together at all. I refrigerated it and hoped for the best. It was rock hard after refrigeration, so I had to let it sit out for a while. In the end, the cookies, didn’t turn out perfectly shaped and maybe kind of lumpy. Still, they taste very good, and the coconut oil adds to these cookies. Perhaps I should try them again once the house isn’t so hot!

Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies
1½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup coconut oil, room temperature
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat the coconut oil, brown sugar and sugar until incorporated. Add the egg and vanilla and stir to combine. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Add the chocolate chips and stir on low to combine. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Shape the dough into 1-1/4” balls and place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden around the edges. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Recipe from Alida’s Kitchen