Where’d They Go!? Choco No-Bake Cookie Chews

December 21, 2011 § 3 Comments

My mom refers to these cookies as the “disappearing choco-balls.”  My aunt told me the word “dream” had to appear somewhere in the title because, as the suggestion implies, she dreamt of them.  I’ve taken a liking to eating two of them after every meal.  And let me quell any concerns if you’re not in Camp Coconut (my mom and I join you, there) – the coconut imparts great texture and only a mild flavor that’s superseded by the chocolate.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup rolled oats*
3/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup natural peanut butter, chunky

*If following a strict gluten-free diet, be sure to purchase oats that have been processed in a facility without wheat to avoid cross-contamination.

Method:

Combine dry ingredients and toss with a fork.  Stir in honey and peanut butter with a large wooden spoon, electric mixer or by hand.  Roll into balls about 1″ in diameter and refrigerate for at least an hour before eating.  These freeze and thaw well, too.

Diet Notes: Gluten-free

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Snappy Ginger Cookies, with Almond Flour

December 8, 2011 § 2 Comments

This weekend I’ll be traipsing around one of my old stompin’ grounds with two chums.  We’ll drink coffee, bundled up in a dozen layers, and ogle over this weeks’ farm bounty.  I made my ladies a batch of these snappy cookies (inspired by a favorite nook on the interwebs: ComfyBelly) so we have something to nosh while vegetable perusing.

I made a few batches of these cookies yesterday and left one sheet on the countertop for my family to nibble.  This morning, as I blearily headed into the kitchen to put on a pot of hot water, there wasn’t a cookie crumb to be found.  To put it another way: They’re addictive.  Hot, out of the oven, they’re chewy and soft; let them cool and they’ll harden and “snap.”

One thing to note: I grind my own almond flour.  As you can see from the photographs, my flour is chunky and not as finely ground as almond flour purchased at the grocery store or blended in a VitaMix.  Head over to ComfyBelly’s site to see how these cookies look with almond flour that is more finely ground.

Ingredients:
2 cups almond flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 + 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon all spice
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup honey

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees on convection.  Grease two cooking sheets and set aside.

2. Combine all dry ingredients, including spices, in a large bowl.  Toss with fork.

3.  In a small saucepan, melt butter on the stove.  Remove from heat, add honey and mix.  Combine with dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly incorporated.

4.  Shape dough into small, quarter-sized balls.  Flatten them, using your fingers, on cookie sheet, about an inch apart.  Bake 18-20 minutes, or until golden around the edges.  Cool on the sheet pan at least 5 minutes to set.

Diet Notes: SCD-safe, gluten-free

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (zippo fat)

April 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hello, chocolate meringues!  After I cleaned away the remnant crumbs from my first two batches, my dad suggested I continue the experimentation into the evening.  These crackle-bites are so light, I tested four cookies from each “batch” without feeling the slightest bit sluggish!  My only word of caution: Because the primary ingredients are mostly confectioners sugar and egg whites, bake the batter immediately after it’s quick chill in the fridge.  The eggs will deflate after a longer period of time and you’ll be left with less-crackly, flat hockey pucks.

Ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons cocoa, sifted
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon coffee grinds
3 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate shavings

Methods:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease cookie sheet and set aside.  In a mixing bowl, sift dry ingredients (powdered sugar, cocoa, sea salt and coffee grinds).

2.  Using a whisking attachment, beat dry ingredients, adding egg whites one at a time.  Whisk on high for approximately 1.5 to 2 minutes until soft peaks form.  (When you lift the paddle attachment from the batter, the mixture will fold back onto itself, like a ribbon.)  Beat in vanilla.  Beat in chocolate chunks.

3.  Refrigerate batter for 20 minutes.  Afterward, scoop one heaping tablespoon of batter onto the baking sheet two inches apart (they’ll spread).  Bake 11-12 minutes.  The tops will be crackly and soft in the middle.  Let cookies sit on the hot baking sheet for one minute before removing to a cooling rack.  Cool completely before packaging.  Enjoy warm out of the oven or at room temperature.

Diet Notes: Gluten-free, nut-free

Coconut Macaroons with a hint of Marzipan

October 21, 2010 § 1 Comment

Apart from the butter & flour & powdered sugar glory of the 3-ingredient Mexican Wedding Cookie (or Russian Tea Cakes), I’m not sure there’s an easier cookie out there than macaroons.  With only 7 ingredients (two of which are vanilla and almond extract) and a sprinkling of white whole-wheat flour (a mere 2 tablespoons), this recipe comes together in seconds.  You don’t even have to beat the egg whites!

I started measuring coconut flakes at 8pm on the nose; by 8:15 the gas oven puffed marzipan-smells into the living room; by 8:25pm I sat down on a cushioned chair with a plate of warm cookies, a mug of spiced tea and my midterm mail-in election ballot in front of me, ready for circling.

There’s only one stipulation to this recipe: Find the unsweetened coconut flakes.  The sweetened plastic coconut shreds will ruin this cookie (coconut is the primary ingredient after all!).  You can find unsweetened, all-natural coconut flakes at a regular grocery store or in some bulk food bins.

Ingredients:
1 + 1/3 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/3 cup evaporated cane sugar
2 tablespoons white whole-wheat flour (white flour is fine)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Method:

1.  In a small bowl, combine shredded coconut, cane sugar, white whole-wheat flour and sea salt.  Toss with a fork.

2.  When thoroughly mixed, add egg whites, vanilla and almond extract.  Stir until the dough comes together.

3.  Scoop tablespoon-sized balls onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake 18-20 minutes until golden brown along the edges.  Cool completely on a wire rack before packaging.  They stay fresh, on the counter, for several days.

Granola Bar Cookie Bites (also vegan!)

June 18, 2010 § 1 Comment

These little guys might not look like much, but I’ve eaten four “trial” batches of them for two consecutive weeks and have yet to tire of them.  While they’re great for dessert, I prefer popping one in my mouth before early morning jogs and in the late afternoon, before I pick 726 tomatoes from the garden.  They’re unintentionally vegan, which is a plus for some, and they have a warm flavor from the mild, molasses-y brown sugar and cinnamon.  The texture is what really knocks my socks off — the unsweetened, natural coconut flakes are a must!  If you don’t have almond butter, swap it out with natural, chunky peanut butter.  I’ve done both, but prefer the subtler taste of almonds in this granola bite.

Ingredients:
1 cup quick oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons real coconut flakes (unsweetened)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons dried berries (I enjoy the varying size and sweetness of dried cherries mixed with dried blueberries)

1/3 cup almond milk or milk equivalent
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or any neutral-flavored oil)
3 tablespoons almond butter, natural & chunky


Method:

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees on convection (or 350 in a standard oven).  Grease a baking sheet and set aside.

2.  In a medium-sized bowl, combine dry ingredients & sugar and toss with a fork.  Add dried berries and chocolate chips to the flour mixture and toss.  (This will help them adhere to the dough.)

3.  Add almond milk (or milk equivalent), oil and almond butter to the mixture and stir with a spoon until combined.  Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for a few minutes, until the oven is heated.  Shape into small balls, about half the size of a golf ball, and place about an inch-apart on a cookie sheet (they don’t spread).  Bake for 11-13 minutes until slightly golden on the top.  Remove from oven and let sit on the cookie sheet approximately 3-5 minutes, until set.  Remove from sheet and cool on a wire rack.  They keep well on the counter for several days and freeze-and-thaw without fault.

Diet Notes: Vegan

Espresso Double-Chocolate Cookies

April 7, 2010 § 1 Comment

It has been eons since my last cookie bake-off.  This winter I used my oven for two primary purposes: to test out a new grapefruit sourdough muffin and to roast about 10 too many rutabagas.  Suffice it to say, I’m glad to be back in the kitchen whipping sugar into butter.

Trial 1 of my Chocolate Espresso cookie experiment was a flop even though my dad loved them!  Now, let me back up a second.  Generally speaking, my dad is my recipe barometer.  He loves to try new foods and he’ll also tell me if my bowl of quinoa tastes like pebbles.  But no one in my family (save my grandpa and perhaps a smattering of cousins) likes or has ever liked coffee, save moi.

Knowing I was solo on the coffee-fan bandwagon, I made these cookies one afternoon when I was home alone; I planned to tote them to a gathering with friends later that night.  But, as luck would have it, my dad arrived as I was scraping the cookies off the sheet pan.  “Oo!” he said, eyeing the cooling rack.  “Uh, just warning,” I said, pointing my spatula at the cookies, “These are espresso cookies.  They’ll taste sort of like coffee.”   My dad hesitated and then picked up a cookie.  Taking a tremulous bite he chewed a moment and then, to my surprise, he grabbed two more: “I love them!” he said, “They don’t taste like anything!”

Sigh.

Back to the drawing board.

Clearly, the flavor in those cookies were lacking – not enough coffee and definitely not enough chocolate.  I also found the texture to be a bit off; they were gooey in the middle when they were warm, but resembled fossilized pancakes after they cooled.  So, I started tweaking.  I doubled the cocoa powder; I added more chocolate-covered espresso beans.  I let the dough rest longer in the fridge.  I added brown sugar and whole wheat flour for good “chew,” but balanced both with their respective counterparts – a bit of white flour to add a little airiness, plus a bit of evaporated cane sugar (you can use white sugar if that’s what you have handy).  Several batches and 2 pounds of chocolate-flavored espresso beans later, I found a winner.  Each bite is speckled with crunch (both from coffee bean and chocolate) and the surrounding cookie dough has flavor.  And an added bonus: I can eat three cookies without any caffeine-induced jittery aftershocks.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1-2 tablespoons espresso powder (*err on the lighter side if you want a stronger chocolate flavor)
1/2 cup cocoa powder, high quality
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons almond milk (or milk alternative)

1 cup chocolate-covered espresso beans
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Methods:

1.  Cream butter and sugars for several minutes, whipping air into the mixture so that it turns creamy-colored and fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla and almond milk.  Beat an additional minute or two.

2.  Combine flours, baking soda and powder, cocoa and sea salt in a separate bowl and mix with a fork until combined.  Slowly fold flour mix into the wet dough and, if using an electric mixer, stop just before the dough is fully incorporated.  Stir the remaining few times with a spoon and hand-mix chocolate-espresso beans and chips into the dough.

3.  Chill dough a minimum of 6 hours, preferably over night.  This is key – allowing the dough to rest will yield a lasting, chewy texture.  After chilling, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  On a greased baking sheet, scoop dough into balls.  For large cookies (approximately the size of a large lime) bake 11-13 minutes.  For smaller cookies (approximately 3/4 the size of a golf ball) bake 8-10 minutes.  The edges won’t appear brown and the center will appear gooey and underdone – don’t fear.  Let them sit (and continue baking) on the warm sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Pretzel Chocolate Blondies

July 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

pretzelchocolateblondie4

I adapted this recipe from the August 2009 “Dining and Wine” issue.  I crunched up a quarter pound of homemade pretzels from the local farmers’ market (obviously, non-homemade pretzels will work just fine; just make sure whatever kind you buy has big hunks of sea salt!).  I used large chunks of pretzel and chocolate, but if you prefer a less-funky texture, feel free to chop up the toppings smaller.

Ingredients:
1 + 1/2 sticks unsalted, organic butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup pretzels, coarsely chopped
1 cup dark chocolate chunks, coarsely chopped

pretzelchocolateblondie1

Method:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13″ baking pan.

2.  Fork all dry ingredients together in medium-sized bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Combine wet and dry and stir until incorporated.  Fold in pretzel chunks and chocolate.

3.  Spread dough in the baking pan and smooth out any rough edges with a knife.  Refrigerate until oven has pre-heated.

4.   Bake 25-30 minutes, until golden-brown around the edges.  Let stand on a wire rack for about 10 minutes to set.

Diet Notes: Nut-free

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