Two Cookies

I guess I was just in a cookie baking mood yesterday. I was making cookies for a M:TG game Bryan was going to tonight and ended up having a couple over for preparation for that game. Bryan has an interview with WotC (Wizards of the Coast, the makers of Magic) this week, so he’s brushing up on the game in preparation. Anyway, I ended up baking tons of cookies – three types in all – and I have two of the recipes for you today.

The fist cookie was one that Bryan says is his favorite cookie I’ve ever made even though he doesn’t like coconut – and it’s full of coconut. Last year, when he was still working for Zombie, we bought a huge container of coconut oil at Costco and I was scouring the internet for recipes for baked goods that used coconut oil. It’s an extremely healthful oil despite the saturated fat in it – and no, it doesn’t smell like suntan lotion. It has a faint coconut smell to it, but you can’t really taste much of it in the finished product. It’s what they use in most movie theater popcorn, albeit butter flavored, and is great for all kinds of things – even as a body oil.

The second cookie is something I specifically looked up just so I could use some of my cranberries and white chocolate chips. I love oatmeal cookies, especially ones with unique add-ins – stuff other than raisins and nuts. I found a recipe that looked promising and they turned out well.

Chewy Coconut Oatmeal Cookies with Coconut Oil
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Yield: lots of cookies!

Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup coconut oil, slightly softened like room temperature butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup shredded desiccated coconut (see resources)
1 cup old fashionedoats

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a stand mixer, cream together the sugar, eggs, coconut oil and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in the oatmeal and coconut.

4. With a medium-sized cookie scoop, portion out dough onto cookie sheets, spacing two inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, or until the cookies are set and slightly browned. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

White Chocolate-Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
From Two Peas and Their Pod
Yield: about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup of dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

3. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until thoroughly combined. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Stir in the oats, dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips.

4. Using a one medium-sized cookie scoop (see resources, below), portion dough into balls and place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Don’t overbake! Let cookies sit on the baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Resources
1. Shredded, unsweetened coconut (desiccated coconut) – Bob’s Red Mill on Amazon, $14.36 for 4 12oz. Bags
1. Medium (one and a half tablespoon) sized cookie scoop – OXO on Amazon, $13.99

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Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Cake

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A few weeks ago, I had my husband buy some cornmeal at the store only to find out later that I already had a mason jar full of it. So I’ve been thinking of some ways I can use it up beyond making plain old cornbread. Don’t get me wrong, sweet cornbread is great, but you can only eat so much of it.

I was initially thinking about making cornmeal pancakes. I love the flavor of corn and I haven’t made cornmeal pancakes in awhile. However, I then remembered that I had seen cornmeal cake before – not cornbread, but actual sweet cakes made with cornmeal. I did some Googling and came across one that looked especially good and contained cranberries, which I also have in abundance. I also have some pithy, dry cara cara oranges that are no good for eating, so I could use those without wasting much. I couldn’t wait for the cake to cool, so we dug into the hot cake right after I removed it from the pan. It’s sweet, citrusy, and would be really great for Christmas dinner or breakfast the next day, especially with some coffee.

Perhaps cornmeal pancakes will be next…

Cranberry Cornmeal Cake
From Food Network’s Website
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the pan
1/2 cup yellow fine cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup orange zest (from 2 large oranges)
3/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
2 large eggs

Directions
Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Measure 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture into a small bowl. Add the chopped cranberries and toss until coated. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the egg yolks and whole eggs, 1 at a time. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Using a spatula, gently fold in the cranberries.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake until the cake is golden brown, and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Double Chocolate Almond Frangipane Muffins

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A few weeks ago, I had the full intention of making one of my favorite desserts – a pear frangipane tart from Smitten Kitchen. I made double the amount of frangipane because I love the creamy almond filling and I figured if I had some left over, I could do something else with it.

Well, a bad sinus infection and overall not sleeping well left me with all the frangipane filling because the tart never got made. I had been wondering the whole time if I could use frangipane filling in things like muffins much the way people use cream cheese filling. I had looked for a recipe like this online and found nothing, so I’d have to improvise.

So today, I finally got around to trying it. I started with a slightly revised version of KAF’s chocolate breakfast muffin, which tastes like a cupcake, but isn’t quite so delicate. I just added a little almond extract to the batter. I then used a teaspoon sized scoop to plop a scoop of my frangipane filling on top of each muffin. Baked for 25 minutes and voila… Moist, very rich and chocolatey muffins with delicate almond filling.

Chocolate Almond Frangipane Muffins
Slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour’s Chocolate Breakfast Muffins
and Smitten Kitchen’s Pear and Almond Tart

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 cups (9 3/8 ounces) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon espresso powder or 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (6 ounces) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons almond extract or emulsion
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) vegetable oil
1/2 batch of almond filling (see below)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper cups or spray each cup with nonstick spray

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, espresso powder or instant coffee, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. Set aside.

In a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, almond extract, vinegar, and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend until dry ingredients are moistened.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling nearly to the top. Place a rounded teaspoon-sized amount of filling on top of each cup of batter.

Bake the muffins for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean (test two or three muffins to make sure). Remove the muffins from the oven, and after 5 minutes remove them from the pan and allow to cool for 15 minutes before eating. Yield: 12 muffins.

Almond Filling

2/3 cup almond flour or ground almonds (NOT almond butter)
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
7 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Combine almonds and flour in processor. Mix in 7 tablespoons sugar, then butter and extract. Blend until smooth. Mix in egg. Transfer filling to medium bowl. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

*Leftover filling can be kept for a few weeks. I’d imagine you could use this for many things – even using it for a filling in morning buns or sweet rolls. Encase a tablespoon of filling in bread dough, let rise, and bake as you would buns. Or use in place of cinnamon roll filling. Maybe even on toast – spread a layer of filling on thick challah or brioche and bake for a few minutes until toasted slightly.