Sunday, June 17, 2018

Black Bottom Pecan Cream Pie

Today, I am wondering when history will repeat itself. The specific history I am concerned with is the days when going to the movies and finishing the evening with a slice of pie at the corner diner was considered the perfect date. Clearly, everything I have read about the 50's era indicates that it was a simpler time even though the US was in a growth mode in manufacturing.

You can still find some of these diners in existence and they now are referred to as "retro" diners. However, do not let the passing of history deter you from experiencing one of the favorite diner desserts of all time-Chocolate Cream pie.

With little assembly time and a small amount of ingredients that can be found at any grocers, making this at home is fairly easy. The chilling time is what takes the longest.

This classic pie is perfectly balanced with a rich chocolate filling and a light whipped cream topping. The slight twist on this traditional favorite is the addition of pecans that gives it a nice crunch and a subtle nut flavor. So let's head to the kitchen so you can experience an ice cold slice of this decadent pie....

Black Bottom Pecan Pie
adapted from Maida Heatter

1/3 cup pecans, chopped fine
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
2 oz melted butter

Ingredients/Chocolate Filling
4 eggs yoks
8 oz chopped chocolate (semi-sweet, dark or sweet)
1 tbs instant coffee
1 cup of light cream (regular whippping cream, not heavy)

Ingredients/Cream Topping
1 cup of pecans (medium chopped)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 dz large pecan halves (for decorating surface)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp of whipped cream stabilizer (optional)

For the crust, whisk the sugar with the graham crumbs and then whisk in the nuts. Pour the melted butter in and stir until all the dry ingredients have been dampened. The mixture should be crumbly but you should be able to clump it together. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Empty the crumb blend into a 9 inch pie plate. Using your fingers, create the side edge first by pressing the crumbs up the inside outer wall of the pie plate. Do not afraid to be generous, about 1/4 inch thick. Once the side has been formed, press the remaining crumbs evenly into the bottom. The interior of the pie plate should be completely covered with an even top edge. Place in oven and bake until golden, about 8 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Start on the filling by pouring the cream into a saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium heat. Once the cream is lukewarm, add the chocolate pieces. Using a whisk, stir the mixture and let heat up until all the chocolate is melted. Then whisk in the instant coffee. Once dissolved, remove from heat. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

After the cooling time, whisk one egg yolk into the chocolate cream until blended. Repeat the process until each egg yolk has been incorporated into the mixture. Let cool for an additional 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Then pour mixture into the crumb crust and place in refrigerator until set, about 2-3 hours.

During the last 15 minutes of the chilling time, create the topping. Chill a bowl and mixer beaters for about 10 minutes. Remove all chilled utensils from refrigerator. Fill the bowl with heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and stabilizer (if using). Beat the mixture on medium speed until cream is very thick and holds its shape. Fold in the nuts.

Remove pie from refrigerator and drop spoonfuls of the cream on top. Smooth the surface of the pie starting from the outer edges to the center. Cover all the chocolate filling evenly. Decorate the top with pecan halves. Refrigerate for another hour and then slice and serve.

Tips and Notes:
1. Recipe suggests foiling pie pan for crust. Crust is to be frozen after cooling for about 1 1/2 hours. Then foil is to be removed and crust placed back in pan. The purpose is to keep pie shell from sticking. I tried this method and the frozen crust crumbled before I could get it in the pan. I created the crust again without the foil and found that I did not have an issue with sticking anyway.

2. For more crunch, toast your pecans before using.

3.Try experimenting with the add in. For salty sweet, consider chopped pretzels or salted peanuts instead of pecans. You can also use milk chocolate if dark is not your preference.
                                  **LAST YEAR:Blueberry White Chocolate Muffins**

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Persian Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

Spices can be the number one priority when it comes to a successful dish. I am one that prefers the freshest of them and that can be an issue, since most spices are not generated here in the US. I wonder that by the time a spice hits the shelf here, if it really is that fresh.

The resolve on that would be to travel the world and pick up every spice produced based on the country. What a wonderful trip that would be! The fresh spice may have a whole different flavor than the spices I get from the jar. Until I take a trip, I am resigned to at least buying at the store and making the dish that requires these ingredients all on the same day.

This particular shortbread cookie contains the exotic spices of cardamon and saffron. The resulting flavor is the earthy, pungent taste that comes from the spices that contrasts with the sweet buttery shortbread base. To tie it all together is the crunch of the pistachio nuts.

This is a far cry from chocolate chip cookies, but sometimes the exotic can break up the monotony. Once you sit down and enjoy a few of these tasty little rounds with some Turkish coffee, you may find yourself shopping for a Persian rug and some fresher spices! This recipe makes about 4 1/2 dozen small cookies.

Persian Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
adapted from Silverland Bakery

1 tsp saffron
1 tsp cardamon
1 cup pistachios (salted or unsalted, chopped)
1 tsp rosewater
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup butter

Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.

Place a sieve over a bowl and sift together the powdered sugar, saffron and cardamon. Set aside. Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with the butter. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sifted ingredients and rosewater. Mix on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Once combined, beat dough at medium speed for 3 minutes. The mixture will become light and fluffy.

Using a wooden spoon, fold in the flour until no dry streaks remain. Then mix in the pistachios to distribute evenly throughout the dough.

Shape the dough into 2 round logs and wrap each in plastic film and twist or fold over the end edges of the plastic. Place in fridge for about 2 hours. After the chilling time, remove one log from the refrigerator and unwrap. Slice the log into 1/4 inch rounds and place each round on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 18-20 minutes or until golden on bottom and edges. Remove from oven and transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

Tips and Notes:
1. Pistachios are fresher when you shell them yourself instead of buying already shelled.

2. Cookies do not spread, so you can bake a number of them on one cookie sheet.

3. Do not leave dough sit out after slicing, awaiting for first batch of cookies to bake. When not in use, keep in refrigerator.

4. If you do not like saffron or find it too expensive, you can make the cookies without it.

5. The cookies are about 2-2 1/2 inches in diameter. You can make them larger, but be sure and adjust the baking time.

6. I opted to push the saffron threads through a sieve with the powdered sugar to disperse it throughout the dough. However, the saffron can be crumbled into little threads instead. The crumble method will give the dough an occassional "pop" of saffron flavor as you eat the cookie.
                                     **LAST YEAR: Spudnut Donuts**

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Port Cherry Coffee Cake

Today, society is faced with a variety of drinks. Instead of black coffee and ice cold milk, now there is half-caf soy lattes and walnut milk. Faced with so many choices, we find ourselves trying them all. Some are good and some not so good. However, it is nice to go back to those plain "old school" drinks.

Ice cold milk or black coffee (even though considered "old school") deserves a side of pastry or cookies. The plainest of each drink calls out for a pairing of a sweet breakfast treat. After all, there is a reason some cakes are called coffee cake and these cakes contain no coffee.

This particular cake has a special blend of port wine and cherries swirling through a fluffy vanilla batter. Aside from the flavor, the moist texture derived from the sour cream and the contrasting sweet almond streusel on top is very pleasing to the palate.

So let's go into the kitchen to create a delicious side line for an "old school" beverage. One tasty slice with plain black coffee may cause you to permanently give up that Caramel Mudslide drink from the coffee house.  

Port Cherry Coffeecake
adapted from Chowhound

1 cup diced dried cherries
2 cups port wine
1/4 cup sugar
1-3 inch cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, split and opened up flat
1/4 tsp sea salt

Ingredients/Almond Streusel
4 tbs melted butter
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbs dark brown sugar
3 tbs granulated sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 vanilla bean 

For the first component (swirl), start by filling a saucepan with all the ingredients. Place over medium high heat and let cook. Mixture should come to a low boil or simmer. Stir constantly to make sure it does not stick or burn. Once it reduces down to having only 1/3 to 1/4 a liquid amount, remove from heat and take out cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Discard the two. Transfer cherry mixture to a heat proof bowl and place in refrigerator to cool for a minimum of 20 minutes.

As that cools, create the streusel. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and insure that one rack is on the middle tier of the oven. Using a medium size bowl, mix together the warm melted butter with both types of sugars. Then stir in the salt. Add the flour and combine until no dry streaks remain. Lastly, mix in the almonds. Set aside.

The cake batter starts with the preparation of the 10 inch tube pan. Grease the pan's interior and dust with flour. Fill a sieve (place over a large bowl) with flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift dry ingredients into the bowl. Set aside.

Add butter to a bowl of a stand mixer and beat until nice and smooth. Stop at intervals to scrape down the sides. The butter should be lighter in color after beating. Continue to run the mixer at medium high speed and add the sugar in separate intervals. Beat time should be about 5 minutes.

Take the vanilla bean and split down the middle and scrape the seeds into the batter. Mix until well distributed. Add one egg beat for 30 seconds to combine. Repeat the process until all eggs are blended into the batter. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer.

Using a wooden spoon, fold 1/3 of the sifted ingredients into the batter. Add half of the sour cream and stir. Mix in 1/2 of the remaining dry ingredients and then the the rest of the sour cream. Then add the last of the sifted ingredients and blend together. Top the batter with spoonfuls of the cherry swirl, spacing the dollops apart. Carefully fold the swirl mixture into the batter, using only about 4 or 5 strokes. The cherry mixture should be blended to the point of only streaking the batter, not be fully mixed into it.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth out evenly. Cover the surface of the batter with the streusel, making sure it is evenly covered. Using clean hands, lightly press streusel against the batter.

Place pan in oven on middle rack an bake until tester comes out clean. This should take about 50 minutes to bake. Once baked, place pan over a rack to cool for about 1 hour. Run a knife around the edges and flip the cake onto a cake board. Flip once again so that streusel is face up. Let cool completely before serving.
                          **LAST YEAR: Italian Cream Filled donuts**         

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Chocolate Dream Cake

When I was little, the things I wanted were sold as separate, never complete as is. I could get the Barbie, but still wanted the car and the Barbie house. It seems as if someone has caught on to this trend, because everything you buy has the option to buy additional things that make it more complete.

Crazy as it may be, the lady at the cosmetics counter swears that there are 3 purchases to make perfume complete. Buy the base (perfumed lotion), then the perfume itself and lastly, the sealer of perfumed dusting powder. We all thought that the perfume purchase was enough, but now we know better, right? Well, I still have yet to be convinced to buy all three.

Unlike separate entities, this cake has it all. The layers are much like brownies, very moist and with a deep chocolate flavor. Coating these decadent layers is a fluffy cream filling and a Marscapone buttercream frosting with the crunch of cookies. Lastly, it has ganache on top and running down the sides. That component is nothing but dark chocolate candy. Hmmm... brownie, cookie, candy- that about sums up this three layer dessert tower. Rest assured, you will not want any chocolate sauce or ice cream with your slice-just a fork!

This cake requires three 8 inch round cake pans and a dropper since the coconut oil is measured in drops. When planning, make sure you allow enough time to create the cake. Consider the baking time of approximately 50-55 minutes. Also, remember that there are 3 components covering the outside of the cake.

Chocolate Dream Cake
adapted from

Ingredients/ Cake
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cup hot coffee
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
3 cups sugar
4 oz chopped semisweet chocolate
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups Dutch processed cocoa powder

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
1/2 cup Marscapone cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
10 drops coconut oil
one 8.5 oz box of coconut dream cookies (crushed)

1 lb of powdered sugar
1 cup or 2 sticks of butter (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla
15 drops of coconut oil
1/2 of an 8.5 oz box of coconut dream cookies (crushed for coating sides)

1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate (chopped)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Prepare 3 eight inch cake pans by greasing the interior. Then line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the surface. The first component will be the cake.

Stir together the buttermilk, milk and vanilla extract and set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then sift in the cocoa and whisk the mixture together. Lastly, stir in the sugar and form a well in the center of the mix.

Fill a small bowl with the eggs and whisk until foamy on the surface and set aside. In another bowl, add the chopped chocolate and spread evenly. Then pour the hot coffee into the bowl and let sit undisturbed for 2 minutes. Whisk coffee and chocolate together until smooth.

Fill the center of the well (formed in the dry ingredients) with the eggs, oil and melted chocolate. Then stir until smooth. Pour in the milk mixture and blend into the batter. Divide the mixture into thirds and fill each pan.

Place pans in oven and bake for 25 minutes. Then rotate and bake for an additional 25 minutes. At this time, use a tester to see if done. If not, let cakes cook for an additional 2 minutes and check again.

Let cakes cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes. Then run a butter knife around the edges and invert onto rack. Peel off parchment and let cool completely on rack.

The next component will be the filling. In the first bowl, sift the powdered sugar. Use a second bowl to beat the Marscapone cheese until smooth. Then fill a bowl of a stand mixer with the whipping cream. Whisk the cream until stiff peaks form. Add the Marscapone cheese, oil and vanilla extract. Blend ingredients together with mixer on medium speed, scraping down the sides at intervals. Once combined, beat in the powdered sugar. Lastly, fold in the cookie crumbs. Empty into a bowl with a lid, place lid on top and refrigerate until ready to use.

Using a small bowl, start creating your frosting by stirring the oil and vanilla together. Then fill the bowl of a stand mixer with butter and beat until light and shiny, scraping down sides as needed. Add the vanilla/oil blend and beat again until evenly distributed. Beat in the powdered sugar in 1/4 increments until the mixture is fluffy and smooth.

Place one cake layer on a plate, stand or cake board. Using a spatula, smooth a thin layer of buttercream frosting on the surface. Take the filling out of the refrigerator and divide in half. Place half of the filling onto the surface of the cake layer and smooth out evenly, covering the flat surface of the cake from edge to edge. Repeat the frosting/filling process after you stack the second layer on top. Then stack the last layer.

At this point, you will cover the cake in a thin coating of the frosting, which will be the crumb coat.

The create the ganache by filling a bowl with the chocolate and smoothing out to an even layer. Heat the cream to a simmer (either using a saucepan or microwave). Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let rest for 2 minutes. Then stir until smooth and set aside.

Frost the cake with the remaining buttercream. Using clean hands, lightly press hand fulls of cookie crumbs on the sides of the cake, making sure all of it sticks and all sides are evenly coated.

Once the above task is complete, check on the chocolate ganache for consistency. It should not be like water, but is should be pour-able. This mixture will get thicker as it stands. After the consistency is achieved, our the ganache over the cake. Start by pouring along the outer edges then towards the center. If too much drips off, just keep spooning it back on top of the cake.

Tips and Notes:
1. The cake is very moist and fluffy. This means it is very fragile, so be careful when stacking your layers together. If it cracks, push the pieces together, the moisture will hold them together along with the frositing and filling.

2. I used an offset spatula to crumb coat cake. Dipping the spatula in water while you frost helps smooth the frosting without tearing the cake.

3. The frosting will set up with time, so do not delay in pressing the crumbs on the sides. If they do not stick, use a wet spatula on the surface of the frosting to make it sticky for the cookie crumbs.

4. Refrigerate cake to store if not serving right away.

5. The filling did stay fluffy for awhile. You may consider adding whipped cream stabilizer to the filling if you know the cake will be sitting at room temperature for hours.

                                       **LAST YEAR: Sour Cream Donuts**

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Banana Nut Cream Pops

When making frozen items you always have to consider the temperature gauge. On dipped ice cream pops, the outside coating and the inside ice cream vary in how much time is required in the refrigerator. In addition, a photo shoot will always influence the temperature, so you must act quickly or the items may melt in the process.

To avoid melting, I took the picture of these pops laying in the freezer. However, the open door on the freezer did cause some melting, but only after I was done with my photo shoot.

Aside from the picture taking, tasting these creamy cold confections was the real reward for my efforts. Roasting the fruit prior to blending with the cream really heightened the banana flavor. The roasting idea/method was adapted from the book Paletas.

There are some other elements that I included and developed that really enhanced the cream pops. Just like frozen dipped bananas, I tossed in some toasted walnuts and dipped the cream pops into chocolate to finalize before freezing. One taste and you will be really happy that each of these are for one individual. The idea of sharing one is out of the question!

As I was doing the dipping, I thought that this process would be a nice spin on the typical ice cream social. It would be fun freezing up these ice cream pops and having some friends over for dipping in their favorite coating (ie butterscotch, white chocolate are a few more varieties). The coating is the recipe for magic shell. It is easy to make and can sit at room temperature.

Even if you are not into the ice cream social event, these pops are a perfect way to escape from a hot afternoon. This recipe makes about 7 or 8 cream pops with leftover magic shell.

Banana Nut Cream Pops
by flourtrader

Ingredients/Ice Cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs banana liqueur
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbs granulated sugar
3 ripe bananas
1 tsp lemon juice

Ingredients/Magic Shell
1/3 cup coconut oil
5-6 oz of chocolate (or other flavored morsels or chips)

Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each of the bananas (leave skins on)tightly in foil and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Place pan in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly. As they cool, fill a large bowl with both sugars and whisk together.

Scoop the roasted banana out of their skins and place in the bowl with the sugar. Mash and blend until the sugar has dissolved. Empty the mixture into a blender and add all the additional ingredients, except the walnuts. Blend mixture together until smooth. Empty into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturers directions until the ice cream reaches a soft serve consistency. Fold in the toasted walnuts.

Cut one corner off of a freezer bag and fill with the ice cream. Pipe into the molds, stopping occasionally to press out air bubbles with a butter knife. Fill each mold 1/4 inch below top edge. Place top on mold and insert stick. Put mold on rack and place in freezer. Let freeze overnight.

The next day, create the magic shell by placing chocolate (or morsels) and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds and then stir. Repeat process until all the chocolate is melted and blended with the oil.  Let cool and then empty into a tall plastic cup.

Remove the ice cream bar from the mold (per manufacturer's instructions) and dip into cooled magic shell. Pull out of liquid and let the chocolate drip off of the top of the cream pop. Place in freezer for about 3 minutes and dip again. Repeat this process for additional cream pops. Wrap in plastic and store in freezer.

Tips and Notes:
1. I roasted the bananas without placing them on a baking sheet and liquid oozed out and dripped onto the bottom of the oven. Using a baking sheet may increase the roast time, but you will avoid the mess on the oven.

2. To make sure that the chocolate coating stays unmarked when freezing, take a thin cardboard box (like a cereal box) and cut small slits in the side or bottom. Push the ice cream stick in the slot to prop it up.

3. Make sure that the shell has cooled to room temperature or the cream pop will melt when dipping.
                            **LAST YEAR:Marbled Chocolate Raspberry Cookies**

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Homemade Pop Tarts

New ideas come from the internet and new recipes do as well. I realize that once a fantastic thing pops up in the way of recipes, several posts from various bloggers of the same item will follow. I usually wait until the popularity subsides. After all, no one is interested in reviewing several posts at one time representing the same thing.

I have been holding back on making Joanne Chang's pop tarts for some time. After making them, I can really understand why this recipe is such a favorite on the net. The filling can be made or jam can be purchased, but the real winning component is the pate brisee or pastry crust. Based on the buttery and flaky result, I have decided that this recipe is my "go to" when it comes to making any pastry or pies.

You can make a homemade filling or buy one that is pre-made, such as jam or canned pie filling. The picture above is with an apple filling. The recipe below contains only the homemade crust instructions. The purchased jam or pie filling has instructions on how to use the component for the tarts. The recipe makes 8 pop tarts or one 9 inch double crust pie. The dough has to chill for at least 4 hours before forming, so take this into consideration when planning.

Homemade Pop Tarts
adapted from Flour by Joanne Chang

Ingredients/Pate Brisee
3 tbs milk
2 egg yolks
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup or 2 sticks of butter (cubed into 12 pieces)
1 lightly beaten egg

1 cup of purchased filling of choice (jam, pie filling...)

2-3 tbs water
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners sugar

Start by making the dough. Fill the bowl of a food processor with the flour, sugar and salt. Pulse the ingredients about 10 times to evenly distribute. Drop in chunks of butter and pulse again, minimizing the butter into pea sized chunks. Do not pulse until smooth.

Fill a small bowl with the 2 egg yolks and milk. Whisk together. Pour mixture into the butter/flour blend. Pulse a few times, making sure the liquid is mixed into the dough. Gather the dough together into a mound and place on parchment paper on a flat surface.

At this time, you will turn the butter chunks in the dough into streaks. Slide your palm down the sides of the mound, smearing the butter into the dough. Fold the dough and form another mound. Follow the same process, smearing the butter into streaks. Once it is cohesive and streaked with butter, form dough into a flat disc (about 1 inch thick) and cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours or a maximum of 4 days.

After the chilling time is complete, remove the dough and divide in half. Place one half on lightly floured parchment paper. Cover and return the other half to the refrigerator until ready to use. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Roll dough into a 14x11 inch rectangle. Cut rectangle into 8 pieces, measuring about 3 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a sheet of waxed paper on a flat surface. Put a cooling rack over the wax paper.Transfer 4 pieces of the dough to the baking sheet, spacing evenly. Brush the surface of the 4 pieces with the beaten egg.

Place about 2 tablespoons of jam or filling onto the center of each of the 4 pieces. Spread filling out evenly, but leave about a 1/2 inch border. Place the remaining 4 cut pieces of dough on top of the the others that have the filling on top. Using your fingers, press down on all the edges of the dough to seal the 2 pieces together.

Put baking sheet in oven and bake until pastries are golden brown. This should take about 40-45 minutes, but check at the 35 minute interval to insure that they do not get too brown. Remove baking sheet, place on rack and let pastries cool for about 30 minutes. Then transfer to rack to cool completely. Repeat the same process of preparing and forming pastries with the additional dough in the refrigerator.

Prepare the glaze by sifting the confectioner's sugar into a bowl. Then whisk in vanilla extract and 1 tsp of water. Add water until desired consistency is met for drizzling or glazing. Brush the surface of the cooled pop tarts with the glaze and let set for 15 minutes to allow the glaze to dry.

Tips and Notes:
1. Make sure the filling you are using is fairly thick, so it will not run when put on pastry dough.

2. The dough is very flaky, so it is important that the roll-out thickness of the dough is consistent.

3. Be very careful when transferring tarts to rack, they are fragile until completely cooled.

4. If the dough starts to stick when forming and rolling, place back in the refrigerator to cool and dust surface and rolling pin with more flour.

5. Depending on the filling, the glaze can be flavored with a complimentary extract (other than vanilla) such as lemon, cinnamon...etc.

                              **LAST YEAR:Brazilian Ombre Cake**

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

As a food blogger, the definition of comfort food is very clear. For a certain food to be referred to as a comfort it has to meet several requirements. First (and most obvious) is that it has to have an amazing taste. However, sometimes the aroma of baking or cooking a particular food has a special power all its own. The food usually conjures up pleasant places, thoughts or memories. For example, a person might recall having a terrible day at school when they were a child, but got home only to find mom with some homemade cookies. Those cookies eased the situation back then and continue to retain that power, irregardless of the day or age of that same person. Sometimes just the aroma of the food baking or cooking.

So when you find yourself in the kitchen creating-never underestimate the power that food can have on your guests, family or friends.

Today I bring you the most favorite comfort food of all-chocolate chip cookies. Sure, these cookies are wonderful just with chocolate chips, but they get an extra boost of chewiness from coconut. This recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from The Institute of Culinary Education 

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips or 10 oz chopped chocolate
1 cup of sweetened coconut 
1 cup butter (room temp)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar

Prepare 2 cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with butter and both kinds of sugar. Cream together by beating on medium high speed for 4 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg and the vanilla. Set aside. For the third bowl, sift together the baking soda and flour. Then whisk in the salt.

Pour the egg/vanilla mixture into the butter/sugar blend and beat for about 30 seconds. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold the sifted ingredients into the batter. Once the dough is formed, add the chocolate chips and coconut. Use a wooden spoon to distribute the add ins throughout the dough.

Using a scoop or spoon, place tablespoon sized mounds of dough on the prepared baking sheets. The mounds should be about 2 inches apart. Place in oven and bake until cookies are golden on the edges and bottom. This should take about 8-10 minutes and the center will still be soft.

Remove from oven and let rest on baking sheet for one minute, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.

Tips and Notes:

1. The coconut only imparts texture to these cookies. If you want these cookies to have a coconut flavor, add about 1 tsp of coconut extract.

2. I tried these cookies with milk and semi sweet chocolate and both types turned out tasty. However, my preference will always be semi-sweet.