Friday, April 19, 2019

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies


My friend goes to Hawaii every year in the spring and she usually brings me back some wonderful treat from the island. This year, she brought me back what is basically a Hawaiian version of Nutella, but a chocolate macadamia nut version rather than a chocolate hazelnut version. I knew that I would be able to make something really great with the spread!

I went looking for recipes, and my primary idea was to make some sort of thumbprint cookie. Although I didn’t like thumbprint cookies when I was a kid, I have made several thumbprint recipes that I do like. I searched for Nutella thumbprints, and came across two recipes. One was a butter cookie, rolled in chopped hazelnuts. The other was a coconut cookie. While the first recipe was more what I was thinking of, macadamias are oily and they don’t chop cleanly. I decided to go with the coconut thumbprints, as I figured coconut is also a flavor I think of when I think of Hawaii.

Ok, I’ll admit that I didn’t read the recipe correctly when I made the cookies. I made the dough, then stuck it in the refrigerator. My first batch didn’t turn off very well, as the dough wasn’t sufficiently chilled. I put the dough balls into the refrigerator to chill for a little while longer and the cookies turned out better. The cookies contain a lot of butter, and they do spread if they aren’t chilled when you bake them. The flavors are a little different than you’d expect, as you think they will be filled with Nutella. You can certainly use Nutella if you don’t have the fancy chocolate macadamia spread.


Coconut Thumbprint Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 -1/4 cups flour
About ½ cup chocolate nut spread

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium until smooth. Add the egg, egg yolk, coconut extract and vanilla and beat again on medium to combine. Add the coconut, salt and cornstarch and stir on low to combine. Add the flour and stir on low until just combined.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, place the balls on a large dinner plate, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

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

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until browned along the edges. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then make an indentation in each cookie with your thumb or the end of a wooden spoon. Allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack.

Once the cookies are cool, spoon the chocolate nut spread into the indentations. Allow the cookies to set before serving.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Chewy Chocolate Espresso Cookies


I'm traveling this week, so I brought cookies early in the week this time. I suppose that I could have not bothered, but I wanted to bake. It was a very busy weekend, with my husband and I attending two plays, I had ballet rehearsal, I needed to pack for my conference, and had other work tasks to get done before I left for my conference. Needless to say, my weekend was not very relaxing and I think I needed a few more days in there to accomplish everything. But at least I had time to bake!

This recipe is a classic chewy chocolate cookie, with the addition of espresso powder and I bit of molasses. I knew that the espresso wouldn't be a pronounced flavor. Typically when you add espresso or coffee to chocolate, it simply brings out the chocolate flavor. I thought that may also be true of the molasses, as I don't think you can really taste that flavor, but it does add to the richness of the chocolate. This recipe is very simple, but does take a little extra time since you have to chill the dough. The dough is very soft, almost like thick batter, but it firms up with refrigeration. I chilled my dough for an hour and it was fine; longer chilling would likely just help the flavors infuse together more. It's a simple recipe, but the cookies come out picture perfect and delicious!


Chewy Chocolate Espresso Cookies

¾ cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons salt
Additional sugar

In the microwave, melt the butter. Transfer the melted butter to a large mixer bowl and allow to cool slightly. Add the cocoa powder and molasses and stir on low to combine. Add the sugar, egg, vanilla, and espresso powder and beat on medium until smooth. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and stir on low to combine. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to three days. 

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

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, roll them in additional sugar and place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until set. Do not over bake. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
 

Recipe from Bakers Brigade

Friday, April 5, 2019

Apricot White Chocolate Cookies


I am starting to think of cookies that are better reflections of spring. I don’t frequently bake with dried apricots, and I came across this recipe and thought it would be great. Ages ago, I had a favorite Pillsbury Bake Off recipe that was a bar cookies with apricots. I should look for that recipe and make those again, as they were great.

This recipe combines apricots, white chocolate chips, and sliced almonds. The original recipe had you soak the apricots in hot water to soften them, but the apricots I had were fresh out of the package and I didn’t feel the need to soften them. I don’t reconstitute other types of dried fruit-- well, except for the dried fruits used in the Christmas cake, which are soaked on booze. 

The recipe here is a half recipe, which still makes three dozen cookies. My dough was a little dry, so I ended up adding an extra egg yolk to make sure the dough would hold together. That seemed to do the job, and the cookies baked up perfectly. I have to admit that I wasn’t super excited to make these cookies, but I really like them! The apricot chunks with sweet white chocolate and the slight crunch of the sliced almonds are perfect together. 

Apricot White Chocolate Cookies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sliced almonds

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

In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Beat on medium until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Stir in the apricots, white chocolate chips, and sliced almonds.

Scoop the dough using a medium cookie scoop, using about 1-1/2 tablespoons of dough per cookie.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until cookies are set and lightly browned along the edges. Allow the cookie to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.