Coconut Brown Butter Cookies

This cookie made me a believer in brown butter. I have tried baking with it before and was always skeptical if it was worth the time it took to make it. I think I was probably doing it wrong. In this recipe, with very clear instructions, I finally achieved brown butter perfection and the ensuing nirvana provided by eating way too many of these cookies.

IMG_1470

Don’t take my word for it. I had seven other independent parties verify their outstanding deliciousness. I made them on a bit of a whim – the tab had been open for awhile in my browser, and I wanted an easy little something sweet to serve to friends after dinner that night. Little did I know I was discovering what will surely be an oft-repeated staple of my cookie repertoire. Again, Deb can do no wrong. I should just give up all other sources of recipes and start making everything she posts.

IMG_1471

Coconut Brown Butter Cookies
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 T water
½ c sugar
¾ c packed brown sugar
1 egg
½ t vanilla
1 ¼ c plus 3 T all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
¼ t table salt
4 c (240 g) unsweetened coconut flakes (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 c chocolate chips (optional – opinion was divided here. I preferred them with, Brad without)

  • Brown the butter. I am not even going to try to replicate the instructions. Click through and follow the original. Like I said, this is the first time I’ve ever gotten it right. Keep in mind that you’ll need to chill the melted butter for at least an hour, so build that into your anticipated cookie-making schedule.
  • Heat oven to 350. In a mixer, beat together the chilled brown butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg, then the vanilla, scraping down the sides as needed.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add this to the butter in two additions, then add the coconut in two additions, stirring just to combine.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips if using.
  • Line a few large baking sheets with parchment. Scoop out tablespoons of dough and leave space between as these will spread a decent amount. Bake 9-10 minutes, until the cookies are nicely browned all over. These are really best the first day or two.

Seeded Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe might have been made for me – it hits that perfect mix of sweet treat with a healthy twist. It’s a fine line trying to make something you really want to be a dessert just a little bit healthier. Go too far and you have an inedible block of quinoa, almond butter and cocoa nibs. I speak from experience.

IMG_1460

These cookies tread that line perfectly. A little whole wheat flour, restrained use of sugar, throw in some oh-so-healthy seeds for good measure. Just pay no attention to that stick of butter. You could easily make these without the added seeds and they would be a very respectable chocolate chip cookie. I love the added texture and flavor the seeds add and intend to think about adding a handful of seeds here and there when trying new recipes in the future.

IMG_1461

Seeded Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from the New York Times

¼ c plus 2 t sunflower seeds
2 heaping T pumpkin seeds
1 T chia seeds
½ c oats
½ c whole wheat flour
½ c all-purpose flour
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
¼ c sugar
½ c brown sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 c chocolate chips

  • Heat oven to 350 and line two large baking sheets with parchment.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds and oats. Set aside.
  • In another medium bowl, combine the whole wheat and all-purpose flours, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to thoroughly combine.
  • Add the flour mixture and beat just to combine, then stir in the seed mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • As with most chocolate chip cookie recipes, this will taste a little better if you cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. However, I rarely have that kind of foresight, so I just plowed straight ahead and baked them immediately. Scoop out tablespoonfuls of dough, spacing a couple of inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake 11-13 minutes until the edges are just starting to turn golden and the centers are set. Makes about 3 dozen.

Magic Almond Cake

My baking has slowed dramatically as of late, and it has taken me way too long to write this post. But I am still going to do it even with a couple of weeks’ delay because I so loved this cake. It is perfect in its simplicity and versatility.

IMG_1457

 

There is no shortage of almond cake recipes, should you be so inclined to search one out. On one particularly productive baking day, when I wasn’t even looking to make an almond cake, the recipe on the bag of Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal caught my eye because of one unique ingredient – coconut flour. Of course I have a container of this stashed in the fridge. Even if you don’t, I think it would be worth investing in one so that you could use it to make this cake and have it as your go-to summer dessert for the next few months. The small amount of coconut flour really adds a nice undertone and sets this apart from other similar recipes I’ve made.

IMG_1459

 

This cake begs to be topped with berries, but if you don’t have any of those handy, a drizzle of some chocolate sauce or caramel, or a big scoop of ice cream would be delicious.

Magic Almond Cake
adapted from Bob’s Red Mill

6 T butter, room temp
½ c sugar
2 eggs
¼ c whole milk
½ t vanilla
¾ c almond meal or flour
¼ c coconut flour
¼ t salt
1 t baking powder

  • Heat oven to 350 and grease an 8 inch round cake pan.
  • In a medium bowl or mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then the milk and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the almond and coconut flours, salt and baking powder. Add to butter mixture and beat just to combine.
  • Pour into prepared pan. Bake about 25-30 minutes, pull it from the oven when a tester comes out barely clean. This will taste good for 2-3 days.

Berry Pie Crumble Bars

I’ve made these three times in one week. Twice with strawberries and once with blueberries. They were devoured every time. One pan (mostly) by me, one pan at a gathering my mom went to, and a third by some friends and our kids. If that’s not enough to get you motivated, I don’t know what would.

IMG_1449

Simple, flexible, delicious, reasonably healthy (as far as desserts go) – these bars will be a wonderful staple through spring and summer to bring to cookouts or have on hand for afternoon snacks. I would like to try them with rhubarb as in the original recipe, but so far haven’t had any when I needed it. I think the tartness of that fruit would be a really nice counterpoint to the berries.

IMG_1456

Berry Pie Crumble Bars
adapted from One Bowl Baking via Smitten Kitchen

1 c oats
1/2 c + 2 T all-purpose or white whole wheat flour (I tried with both and did not notice a difference)
scant ½ c brown sugar
heaped ¼ t table salt
heaped ⅛ t baking soda (what an obnoxious measurement)
6 T unsalted butter, melted
1 t cornstarch
1 T lemon juice
1 T granulated sugar, divided
2 c berry of your choice

  • Heat oven to 350. Grease an 8-inch square pan. This recipe is easily doubled for a 9×11 inch pan.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Drizzle with the butter and mix until evenly distributed.
  • Set ½ cup of the crumble aside and press the rest into the bottom of the pan.
  • Top with half the fruit. Sprinkle with the cornstarch, then with the lemon juice, then with half the granulated sugar.
  • Spread the other half of the fruit on top, then sprinkle with remaining half tablespoon of sugar. FInish by sprinkling the last half cup of crumble on top.
  • Bake about 35-40 minutes, until the crumble is toasty and the fruit is bubbly.
  • Let cool in pan. I found these best in the first day or two, but still tasty for another day or so after that.

Double Strawberry Bread

Today was the first day of the year that felt like summer. Our poor old lab just wandered the house panting all day. It was perfect timing for the warm weather as I had some mom friends and their little munchers over to play and we got to bust out the new water table. Huge hit.

photo (8)

I wanted to make something kind of summery, but as a trip to the farmers market in mid-May in northern Ohio let me know, we’re still a long way from getting anything aside from leafy greens and ramps around here. So I settled on using some giant frankenberries from the grocery store and a jar of this delectable strawberry jam I had just received courtesy of my new jam of the month club subscription from Confituras. (Yes, I know I have problems.)

IMG_1446

The original recipe says the jam is optional, but I think it’s essential. Maybe because I was working with such good stuff. I used half the recipe for a loaf and the other half for mini muffins (kid-friendly of course). Judging by the speed at which they both disappeared, I think they were enjoyed by moms and kids alike. There are definitely worse ways to bide your time while waiting for local berries to show up at the market.

Double Strawberry Bread
adapted from Saveur
3 c flour (I used a white pastry flour, all-purpose would be fine too)
1 t baking powder
1 heaping t cinnamon
½ t kosher salt
1 ½ c sugar
1 ¼ c canola oil
4 eggs
1 t vanilla
4 c strawberries, chopped (this is about one large container)
½ c strawberry jam

  • Grease and flour two 9-inch loaf pans.
  • Heat oven to 350.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  • In another medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla for about a minute.
  • Combine the two, stirring just to combine. Fold in the strawberries.
  • Pour half into each loaf pan. Spoon a 1/4 cup line of jam down the middle of each, then use a knife to swirl it around.
  • Bake for just about an hour, removing from oven when a tester comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pan for about a half hour, then flip onto your serving plate.
  • For mini muffins, I skipped the jam, which was sad, and just sprinkled the tops of each with a little coarse sugar. These baked in about 10 minutes.

Sweet Potato Date Muffins

I have been baking kind of a lot lately, but not posting much of it. Why is that? Lots of the stuff has been healthy. I should say Healthy with a capital H. And the problem when you try to make baked goods Healthy is that they often don’t really warrant sharing.

My incentive for all this virtuousness is a certain little 14-month-old boy who would be perfectly happy to consume nothing but berries, milk and bread, and often does just that. So I’ve taken to trying to hide some other parts of the food pyramid in forms he will eat. I realize I am not the first parent to pull this. The real trick lies in finding something I want to eat too.

Image

Again, Good to the Grain comes through. This cookbook, if I haven’t already beaten the topic to death, deserves a spot on every baker’s shelf. It is consistently wonderful and allows me to have my treats without feeling too terribly guilty about it. I tried the banana muffins from here too and they were kind of a bust. So stick with these yummy poppers. For the moment, Blake has decided they are worth admitting into his diet as well.

Image

Sweet Potato Date Muffins

adapted from Good to the Grain

1 medium to large sweet potato (about 12 oz)

2 c white whole wheat flour

1 T cinnamon

1 t baking powder

½ t baking soda

½ t salt

½ t nutmeg

¼ t allspice

4 T unsalted butter, softened

¼ c sugar

¼ c brown sugar

1 egg

1 c buttermilk

½ c plain yogurt

6 large dates, pitted and chopped (or use another small dried fruit like cranberries)

  • Roast the sweet potato. Rinse it, dry it, wrap it in foil and place it in the oven set to 425. Set the timer for an hour. Check for doneness by sliding a knife in. When it goes in easily, it’s done. If you’re using a really big potato, you might need an extra 15-30 minutes. Set aside to cool, then peel off the skin.
  • Heat oven to 350.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder and soda and salt.
  • In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg, then the sweet potato. Beat to combine, but there will still be some chunks of potato left.
  • Gently stir in the dry ingredients.
  • Whisk the buttermilk and yogurt together in the bowl from the dry ingredients, then add those to the batter. Mix just to combine.
  • Stir in the dates.
  • Grease about 16 muffin tins. Fill them ⅔ – ¾ of the way full. Bake 16-18 minutes, until a tester comes out mostly clean. These are good in a sealed container for a couple of days and freeze well.

Buckwheat Nut Butter Cookies

I have been baking a lot of really boring things lately. Tasty, but boring. Does anyone need another recipe for oatmeal cookies? No, definitely not. And when I do try to branch out and get interesting, like I did the other day with some triple coconut (sugar, flour and oil) muffins, the results have not been great, certainly not worth sharing.

Image

Well I finally found something that is both interesting and delicious, and even can be construed as somewhat healthy. I will try any recipe involving buckwheat flour, I love the unique taste of it and don’t come across recipes calling for it as much as I would like. I stumbled across this one while trying to find the recipe for the aforementioned coconut muffins. It was worth making those (kind of eh) to find these (definitely yum).

Image

The only tweak I really added was chocolate. On their own, these cookies are good. Blake will eat them, and he mostly just eats berries (I exaggerate, but not much). Melt a little chocolate and drizzle it over the top – perfection with an afternoon cup of coffee.

Also, this recipe made me stop and think that I might have crossed over into some rarefied/crazy world of baking where I think nothing of grinding flaxseed for a recipe. I mean, objectively, what a pain in the butt step. I think most normal people would see that and think, too much work. Pass. But it doesn’t even give me pause. The things I am willing to do for a snack.

Buckwheat Nut Butter Cookies

adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini

2 T whole flax seeds, ground

4 T mixed seeds (I used sesame and sunflower)

½ c plus 1 T buckwheat flour

1 c plus 2 T all-purpose or white whole wheat flour

1 t baking powder

½ t salt

½ c packed brown sugar

2 T peanut butter

2 T almond butter

¼ c water

4 oz dark chocolate

  • Put the flax seeds in a small bowl with ⅓ c water. Mix well and let sit until gelled.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the other seeds, flours, baking powder and salt.
  • In another medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, peanut and almond butters, and flax seed gel until well combined.
  • Mix the dry into the wet ingredients. Add water 1 T at a time to get everything to hold together (I ended up using about ¼ cup).
  • Roll the dough into a log about 1 ½ – 2 inches thick, wrap in plastic wrap, and pop it in the freezer for at least a half hour.
  • Heat oven to 350 and line a large baking sheet with parchment. Remove the dough from the freezer and slice it into discs about ½ inch thick. Place on baking sheet and bake 12-14 minutes, until the tops are starting to crack.
  • Let cool. Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave. Push all the cookies together on the baking sheet and drizzle or dollop the chocolate all over the tops. Let the chocolate set and store in a sealed container. They will be good for about 3 days.

Triple Chocolate Creme Fraiche Cookies

Am I getting tedious and boring? Another chocolate cookie recipe? Really? In all fairness, I wasn’t going to post these (hence the one very lame picture of the last few stragglers). My brother was coming up for the weekend, which typically necessitates me baking something verrrry chocolatey for him. This recipe, from an article about the Mast Brothers in Bon Appetit, had been in my stack of ‘to bake’ for a couple of months. It seemed fairly simple, so why not?

IMG_1429

Well, the cookies disappeared very quickly, and I have no doubt it’s due to the fact that they have ridiculous ingredient proportions. Just a tiny amount of flour and whopping 20 ounces of chocolate in the different uses. They’re kind of like a cookie-brownie, which is definitely a good thing.

I almost got lazy and skipped the last bit of chocolate on the top. Don’t – it’s essential. But also, don’t worry about making it pretty. These won’t be around long enough to win any beauty contests.

Triple Chocolate Creme Fraiche Cookies

adapted from Bon Appetit

20 oz dark chocolate, chopped, divided

¼ c all-purpose flour

1 ½ t baking powder

½ t table salt

1 ½ c brown sugar

1 stick butter, room temp

4 eggs

2 T creme fraiche or sour cream

  • Heat 8 oz of chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave until melted.
  • In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Using a mixer, beat together the sugar and butter for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, then creme fraiche.
  • With mixer on low, pour in the melted chocolate, then add the dry ingredients. Beat just until combined.
  • Mix in 8 oz chopped chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat oven to 325. Line three large baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop the dough by the tablespoon onto the sheets, leaving room for the cookies to spread. Bake 12-14 minutes, until the tops are just showing some cracks.
  • Remove from oven and let cool. Melt the remaining 4 oz chocolate (don’t be shy, use an extra couple of ounces if you have it). Drizzle or dollop all over the tops of the cookies. Once set, store in an airtight container. These are best the first day or two, they lose some oomph by the third day.

Nutella-Stuffed Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

I definitely should not have made these three days before leaving for a beach vacation. A wiser person would have realized this and saved them for when I was back in Cleveland, safely ensconced in jeans and sweaters. Just learn from my mistake. Make these now, while we are still solidly in bulky winter clothing territory.

IMG_1424

Another warning: you are going to have the better part of a jar of Nutella left over after making these. Just be prepared. With a spoon. And maybe some of these. You wouldn’t want that jar languishing, wasted, in the back of your pantry. Or, as was discovered thanks to my brother and his girlfriend on the previously mentioned vacation, get a big bag of pretzels and get dipping. You will thank me/hate me later.

IMG_1426

These cookies really did win praise from all around. Many different palates found them exceedingly pleasing. I ate way more than my fair share and got so desperate to get rid of the few remaining that I shipped them off to a friend in Columbus just to get them out of reach. (They travelled well.)

IMG_1425

Nutella-Stuffed Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

2 ¼ c all-purpose flour

1 ¼ t baking soda

½ t salt

2 sticks unsalted butter

1 c packed brown sugar

1/4 c white sugar

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk

1 ½ t vanilla

1 T plain yogurt or sour cream

¾ c dark chocolate chips

¾ c white chocolate chips

small jar of Nutella, chilled in fridge

flaked sea salt for sprinkling

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

  • Brown the butter: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. It will foam and then subside. Whisk constantly. The butter will start to brown on the bottom after a couple of minutes. Once the butter starts to brown and smells toasty, remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. (I have never understood what the big deal about brown butter is. Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I don’t think so. In any case, brown it if you feel like it, or just skip that step and simply melt it. Or just beat softened butter into the sugars like you normally would for cookies.)

  • In a stand mixer, beat the butter with the sugars. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla and yogurt or sour cream.

  • Beat in the dry ingredients on low, then stir in the chocolate chips. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

  • Heat the oven to 350 and line two large baking sheets with parchment. Scoop out pretty decent sized balls of dough. Flatten a little, then make an indentation in the middle. Scoop about a teaspoon or so of Nutella into the middle, then form the dough into a sealed ball around it. Try not to let any Nutella peek out.

  • Place on baking sheet, flatten very slightly with your palm, and sprinkle generously with sea salt.

  • Bake about 10 minutes, don’t be afraid to pull them out just when you think they are done. Cool completely and store in sealed container.

Chocolate Smooches

The original version of this recipe is called “Chocolate Nudges”. I much prefer my name, as I would rather get a smooch than a nudge any day. (Well, I guess that depends where it’s coming from.) Anyway, these cookies are great. I just finished the last few from my freezer dunked in hot coffee and am trying to justify making another batch.

IMG_1412

Two things make these worthy of a repeat performance. One, the pistachios. If I need to explain that, just stop reading now. Two, this recipe calls for two whole cups of chocolate chips. In my vast baking experience, a recipe of this size would typically only use one cup, yet it doesn’t feel over the top at all.

IMG_1414

I realize I’ve been on a bit of a chocolate cookie bender lately. I am not going to apologize for it. Just enjoy this little streak for as long as it lasts. And make these cookies.

IMG_1415

Chocolate Smooches

adapted from Saltie: A Cookbook via Lottie + Doof

½ c shelled pistachios, toasted

1 T plus ½ c granulated sugar

1 ½ c plus 1 T flour

⅓ c Dutch cocoa powder

¼ t baking powder

¼ t salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 c powdered sugar

1 t vanilla

1 t chocolate extract

1 T dark rum (optional, I left this out because I was lazy)

2 c semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips

  • Heat oven to 325 and line two baking sheets with parchment.

  • In a food processor, pulse the pistachios with 1 T granulated sugar until they form a coarse meal.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

  • Using a stand mixer, beat the butter and powdered sugar together til fluffy. Add the vanilla, chocolate extract and rum.

  • Add the dry ingredients and pistachios to the butter mixture, beat just to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips.

  • Place the ½ c granulated sugar in a small bowl. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop the dough out and roll into balls between your palms, then roll in the sugar to coat.

  • Place on the baking sheet. Bake until the tops begin to crackle, about 14-16 minutes. If you have any left after a couple of days, these keep really well in the freezer.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 65 other followers