Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Caroline's Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies......

About once a week I go and visit all my favorite food blogs. I see what new recipes they have posted and usually print out a stack of "new" recipes I want to try. Truly surfing my food blogs brings me happiness and gives me a sense a peace, I can't explain it, maybe its because I love to see other bloggers who have a passion for cooking and also love to see how creative other people are.
One of the blogs that I visit often is Caroline's Bake Shop. I love her blog and am always so impressed with the recipes she posts. I also love Caroline because we grew up together in Walnut Creek, CA and went to the same church. Her older sister Kristin was our favorite babysitter ever and honestly we loved her. I remember one year Caroline, her sisters Courtney and Kristin and brother Justin came to my birthday party. I thought I was so cool because they were so much older than me, and they had taken the time to come.

So anyways, I was doing my weekly perusing of my blogs and clicked on Caroline's blog. She had posted a recipe for Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies. I instantly thought of my husband and how this sounded like the perfect cookie for him, mainly because he loves chocolate chip cookies and coconut. So I decided to make them that night for the hubs. He loved them and they were even better the next day.

These cookies are soft and chewy and have made the perfect partnership of coconut and chocolate. If you are a coconut lover then these cookies are so for you....

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 2/3 cup coconut (yes,you read that correctly)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Start off by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. I then place a sheet of parchment paper on top of my cookie sheet. Set aside.

In a stand mixer cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Once combined, at the eggs one at a time, making sure to mix each one completely. Then add the vanilla. Mix well.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mix well. Then add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until it is barely combined. Then add the coconut, milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter. Mix until just combined. Place the dough into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Then scoop out a tablespoon of dough, shaping into a round ball and place the cookies about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes (my cookies took 11 minutes). Once baked to perfection allow to sit on cookie sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to cooling rack to allow to cool completely.

These are easy to make cookies that will send your taste buds reallying with the combo of butter, coconut and chocolate chips. These cookies are worth every calorie.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Carrot Cake Cookies

Ok so I love cookbooks. I feel like there are not enough hours in the day to make all the recipes that I find. I also have a huge stack of recipes that I have printed off, that I have had every intention of trying. I have cookbooks that I have tried about 1-5 recipes in them, knowing that they hold countless undiscovered yummy recipes that could become family favorites. Unfortunately I try about 1 % of the recipes I find and the list just gets bigger and bigger. But I am here to say that I finally tried a recipe that I have eyed for a while.

When spring comes around I start getting the Easter itch. I love Easter, I love dying Easter eggs, love Easter egg hunts and jelly beans. I also think of springy desserts. One dessert that is so appropriate for spring is Carrot Cake, so when I was looking through my "Martha Stewart's Cookies" cookbook and found a recipe for Carrot Cake Cookies, I knew that I had to try these because I love carrot cake and cookies.

This recipe was a delight. After making the dough I sampled it and I remember telling Thad that the dough tasted like carrot cake in a cookie form. I didn't think it could be done but some how they did it! And what cookie does not taste fantastic sandwiched between cream cheese frosting. After a careful taste testing session by Thad, he gave them a strong thumbs up. His only want was for some more cream cheese frosting in the carrot cake cookies and some milk.

Carrot Cake Cookies
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots, (about 3 large carrots)
1 cup raisins

Start off by preheating oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugars and butter; beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until well combined.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; stir to combine. Gradually add flour to butter mixture; mix on a low speed until just blended. Mix in oats, carrots, and raisins. Chill dough in refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour.
Once dough has chilled and is firm, shape tablespoons of dough into balls and place on prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Transfer to oven, and bake until browned and crisped, rotating pan halfway through baking to ensure even color, 12 to 15 minutes (my cookies were perfect just at 11 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat baking process with remaining dough.

While cookies are cooling start on the cream cheese frosting (below). Once cookies are completely cooled, use an offset spatula to spread the cream-cheese filling onto a cookie (they say to use 2 teaspoons but I used twice that amount on mine). Sandwich together with a second cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

*This recipe makes 2 cups but I liked more cream cheese on my cookies, so I doubled the recipe and this recipe doubled was just enough.

Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners' sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.

These cookies are, as Martha says "tiny inside-out carrot cakes, with the signature cream cheese frosting on the inside and spiced cake on the outside". They are guaranteed to win over any carrot cake lover, so enjoy!