Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Coconut Sandwich Cookies

You wouldn't know it from my blog so far, but chocolate is my life! I have to have something chocolately every day, I just do. However, since starting this blog, I've been really trying to think outside my usual desserts, such as brownies or chocolate chip cookies (which, yes, of course I've already written about!). I asked my husband last night if he liked coconut because I wanted to make these...well, his expression told me everything (the sour face and scrunched up nose definitely told me no)! I say this because he LOVED these and could not get enough of them. So, even if your loved ones do not like coconut, I guarantee they will like these. Just don't roll them in the extra coconut, or do half with and half without. They are the most buttery cookies and the filling is to die for!

Makes 30

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (7 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Creamy Vanilla Filling (see below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Place 1/2 cup shredded coconut in a small bowl and set aside. Place remaining coconut in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and ground coconut until combined. Using a small ice cream scoop (approximately 1 tablespoon), drop dough onto two baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dividing evenly, spread filling on flat side of half the cookies; sandwich with remaining cookies. Roll edges in reserved coconut and chill until ready to serve.

Creamy Vanilla Filling
Makes 1 Cup

Using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup (1 stick) room-temperature butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 cup confectioner's sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and increase speed to high. Beat until filling is light and fluffy, 5 minutes.
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Banana Bread

I always have the best of intentions when I buy fruit, but more than half the time I feel like I throw out more than I eat. It just seems to go bad so quickly! Bananas are the worst, I swear just a couple of days and they are already black. Here is my tasty solution to those too ripe to eat fact, the riper, the better! This basic recipe is also fantastic with 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, walnuts or pecans. Just add them in at the very end right before pouring into the loaf pan.

Makes 1 loaf

Banana Bread

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 bananas, mashed
1/3 cup buttermilk *

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer, combine the oil and sugar. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and add to sugar mixture. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour into a well-greased loaf pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.

*No buttermilk? Add 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar to 1 cup milk; let sour for 5 minutes.

(Source:  Adapted from Paula Deen
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are by far my favorite cookie. That being the case, I always have the ingredients on hand to make them. The recipe for chocolate chip cookies is simple and rarely will you find one that differs from another (you can find it on the back of EVERY brand of chocolate chips)...unless you are adding walnuts, oats, etc. 

I started toying around with the recipe to see if I could get a crispier on the outside, still gooey in the middle type of cookie. And, this is it! The dough is thicker than it typically is, so it's kind of hard work stirring in the chips at the end, but so worth it.  

Makes 3 Dozen

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup room temperature butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking soda and salt together, set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then add the vanilla. Mix in the dry ingredients until well blended, then stir in the chocolate chips. Using a small cookie scoop (approximately 2 tablespoons) drop the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 14-15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool a few minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

These were a creation based on "let's clean out the pantry" last night, where I found a can of pumpkin puree that I just couldn't let go to waste. As soon as it starts to feel like fall, I immediately get obsessed with anything pumpkin...pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, you get the picture. Fall is over and we are now well into winter (even though today in Savannah it's about 65 degrees!) but these will do just fine to satisfy my and my husband's sweet tooth. Enjoy!

Makes 12

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

1 stick unsalted butter, melted, 
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt
1 2/3 cups flour

For the icing
1/2 stick butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup confectioner's sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt until combined. Fold in the flour.

Using an ice cream scoop, drop generous mounds into the muffin pan cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until springy to the touch. Let cool completely.

Using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the confectioner's sugar and remaining 2 pinches of salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Mix on low until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Spread the cooled cupcakes with the icing and dust with pumpkin pie spice.
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I'm a super busy mom of 3 and a Beachbody coach. Follow along as I try to find a balance between eating good food and keeping my family healthy and happy! We eat mostly clean with a few fun treats thrown in every once in awhile. Thanks for stopping by!

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