Coconut Cookies


Holy moly it’s been a month! I both can and can’t believe it. Life has been running away with me this past month, and I’ve barely had any time for any baking!

In case you’ve forgotten, I was a bridesmaid in my friend Sandi’s wedding in Nelson in the middle of the month, and I’ve been working at the restaurant and planning for my new teaching job – yes, in case I forgot to tell all of you beautiful souls, I got a teaching job! All of that, combined with still trying to frantically finish our own wedding planning (and paying for all things wedding!) equals no time for me to make ANYTHING.

However, I found myself with a rare day of peace today, and I was resolved to spend my day in the kitchen making some fabulous goodies. While I made a bunch of things (that will also be posted soon… now I have back-up material for the next few posts!), these cookies seemed like the right choice to start us back off.

I found the original recipe here, and if I make these again, I am definitely not going to bake them as long. Mine came out more crunchy than chewy, and I am a big fan of a chewy, soft cookies. I have changed the baking time to reflect this.

Ingredients:

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

1 c. sugar
¼ c. brown sugar
1 c. butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. shredded or shaved coconut
2 c. flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment or Silpat, if desired. (I didn’t, and my cookies didn’t stick at all.)

Cream together sugar, brown sugar, and butter until colour lightens. Add in egg and vanilla, and combine again. Mix in the coconut until well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the coconut mixture in three additions, mixing well after each addition until the flour is incorporated.

Using a teaspoon or a scoop, drop rounds of cookie dough onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake in preheated oven for 15-17 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are just starting to turn a golden brown.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

Sourdough Chocolate Cake

Yes, you read that right. Sourdough Chocolate Cake. There is actual sourdough starter in the cake batter. Don’t worry though, because you can’t taste the sourdough. It mixes into the cake batter (with a bit of effort!) but it makes the cake a little denser, almost bread-like, and tones down the chocolate so the cake is still sweet, but not overly sweet. It gives a different depth of flavour to the cake, and the result is – surprisingly – good!

I was really unsure about how the cake would turn out, because of the sourdough in the cake, but I was pleasantly surprised. I found the recipe because I was looking for another way to use up my sourdough starter, and this was a great way!

The original recipe calls for a fed sourdough starter, but I hate throwing anything away, so I used my unfed starter, and the cake turned out fine. I am assuming, then, that either a fed or unfed sourdough starter would work in this cake and it will turn out just fine.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 large Bundt cake

1 c. sourdough starter
1 c. milk
2 c. flour
1½ c. sugar
1 c. canola or vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. espresso powder (instant coffee grounds work as well)
2 eggs

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sourdough starter, milk, and flour. The mixture will be thick. Let sit, covered, at room temperature for 2-3 hours. Mixture will expand slightly.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a Bundt pan with cooking spray or brush with Miracle Cake Release.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, baking powder, cocoa, and espresso powder. Beat on low speed to combine. Don’t worry – the batter might be grainy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beating after each addition.

Add the starter mixture to the batter, and beat on low until fully incorporated (this might take a while – it took me about 10-15 minutes). The starter is a bit elastic-like and will not want to cooperate for the first few minutes, but just keep at it – it will incorporate eventually.

Pour batter into the prepared pan, and place in preheated oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, until a sharp knife or toothpick comes out clean.

Transfer the pan to a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then turn out cake and let cool. Glaze with your favourite icing sugar glaze (with different flavours if desired) or icing. Slice and serve!

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

 

It’s been really hot lately. Too hot to turn on the oven. So I wanted a dessert that wouldn’t take too long and wouldn’t heat up the house unnecessarily.
These peanut butter bars are just the ticket. A thick layer of peanut buttery goodness, topped with a smooth chocolate layer. The best part is, there is only a small handful  of ingredients, and you probably have them in your kitchen right now.

I wanted to try and emulate the Reese’s peanut butter cup flavour, so where it calls for peanut butter in the recipe, I added a few tablespoons of Reese’s peanut butter chips as well as the called-for peanut butter.

Go ahead, make these. They are simple, and take more time to chill and set up than they do to make.  Enjoy them, and not turning on the oven for a big reward!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9 inch pan

For the peanut butter layer:

2½ c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. butter, melted
2 c. icing sugar
1 c. creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp. Reese’s peanut butter chips (optional)

For the chocolate layer:

3 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
2 c. chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)
2 tbsp. Reese’s peanut butter chips (optional)

Line a 9 inch pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. In a large, microwave safe bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, icing sugar, peanut butter, and peanut butter chips (if using). Pour into the lined pan, and spread into an even layer.

In a small microwave safe bowl, mix the peanut butter, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips (if using). Microwave at 15-second increments until smooth. Pour over the peanut butter layer and smooth into an even layer.

Place pan in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours before serving. Once set up, bars can be sliced and served.

Bread Machine Sourdough

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Before you gasp and shake your head, hear me out. Yes, I prefer the process of making your own bread by hand. Yes, I do own a bread maker. Yes, I do make sourdough with a bread machine.

Why do I make bread in a machine? Because sometimes, life is busy. Like really busy, especially when you work two jobs and are on the go seven days a week (A.K.A my life right now). Making bread in a machine is so much easier than the traditional way when you live a life on the go. You just throw everything in the machine, hit Start, and you are good to go!

I found this recipe and it had three different measurements depending on the size of loaf you wanted. I made the large one, and it was a loaf of monster sourdough. It rose so much that it touched the top of the bread machine. I just made the medium sized loaf, and it is the perfect size. These are the measurements I have included below.

Ingredients
Yield: 1 loaf

3/4 c. plus 1 tbsp. water
1 c. sourdough starter
3 c. flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

Place all ingredients in bread machine in order according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Mix and bake on white bread cycle.

Salted Caramel Blackberry Brownies

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So, I must confess. This is the second time I have made these in the last two weeks. I made them the first time to try out the recipe, and was extremely pleased. The only thing I didn’t love was how soft and slightly mushy the bottom layer of brownie was after baking.

You have to realize, these brownies have fresh blackberries in them, and sandwich a layer of homemade salted caramel. Now, maybe it was the caramel, and maybe it was the blackberries, but I wanted to attempt them again. I wanted to be able to get a fantastic picture with the caramel possibly oozing out of the cut side, with the jewel-bright pop of purple from the blackberries.
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The first ones still tasted delicious… But we had to eat them with a fork. Not for a brownie! So I tried something a bit different. Because it was the bottom layer that caused all the confusion, I baked the bottom layer separately for a few minutes before adding the layer of salted caramel and top layer of brownie batter. I reflected these changes in the recipe below as well.

I initially found the recipe herehttp://food-mouth.com/2014/02/27/salted-caramel-blackberry-brownies/, and I am so glad I did.

They are definitely a decadent dessert, and one that will make your friends jealous!
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P.S. My computer is currently living at Best Buy to see if they can fix it. I am doing this entire post on my phone, so I apologize for any formatting or links that do not work. I will be revamping any posts done on my phone as soon as I get access to a computer!

Ingredients:
Yield: 1 8-inch pan of brownies, 16-24 servings, depending on cut size

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. flour
6 oz. fresh blackberries
3/4 c. salted caramel sauce (store bought or homemade)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Add the white and brown sugar and cocoa powder, and mix until smooth.

Add the eggs and vanilla, and combine until smooth again. Add in the baking powder, salt and flour, combine again, and with a spatula, fold in the blackberries.

Pour half of the brownie batter into the lined pan. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, then remove from oven.

Drizzle the salted caramel sauce over the brownie batter, then top with the other half of batter. Bake 20-30 minutes, until a tester toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out clean.

Remove from oven, and let cool. Slice and serve!