Cookies

Chocolate Chip Macaroons

I’ll admit it – this recipe is coming down the pipeline a little bit late. While I would have liked to post it before Passover, so that friends and family could impress their peers with these delicious mounds of goodness, time was not on my side.

However, all hope is not lost. While macaroons have a reputation for being the “Passover cookie,” they are under appreciated at all other times of the year. I’ll take this moment to point out that that they make a gift for a gluten-free friend, or for any die-hard coconut lover.

This recipe also defies all stereotypes about these little coconut mounds. While many of us probably have negative associations with macaroons after gnawing down on the spongy cakes that came out of aluminum tin cans, these cookies are different.  They are rich, moist, and sure to win over even your pickiest of guests.

Chocolate Chip Macaroon Recipe (adapted from The Kitchn)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the egg whites a large bowl and whisk on medium speed until frothy (1-2 minutes). Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt and whisk again until incorporated.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and coconut and stir until the coconut is evenly coated with the egg mixture.
  4. Using your hands or a spoon, mold the coconut mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops of the macaroons are golden brown.
  6. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.
Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

Looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day recipe? Then look no further than these cupcakes, adapted from a recipe provided by DC’s own Georgetown Cupcake.

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One of the most well known bakeries in DC, Georgetown Cupcake is one of those places that always has a line out the door, rain or shine. I like their cupcakes because of the cake, which has a rich flavor and a moist, tender crumb.  This is a change of pace in the cupcake world, where pillowy buttercream tends to overshadow the cake that it sits on.

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This recipe lives up to the reputation of Georgetown Cupcake.  Thanks to the cocoa powder in the batter, the cupcakes have a deep chocolate flavor.  The icing is the perfect contrast, fluffy but not overly sweet. Topped with coconut flakes, it’s the perfect treat to share with any chocolate lover.

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

For the cupcakes (adapted from this Georgetown Cupcake recipe via Martha Stewart)

  • 1 1/4 cup flour sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

For the icing (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • coconut flakes

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 muffin pans with muffin cups.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the milk and vanilla extract.
  4. In the stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add softened butter and sugar and beat on medium until creamy, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the eggs, stirring after each addition.
  5. Starting with the dry ingredients, adding about a third into the bowl and mix until combined.  Add half the milk mixture and stir again.  Continue alternating the dry ingredients and milk until everything is well combined.  Add the cocoa powder and stir.
  6. Pour mixture into the 12 muffin cups.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.
  7. Remove cupcakes from the pan after 5 minutes and let cool completely.
  8. For the icing, combine softened butter and confectioners sugar in a stand mixer and stir on low speed.  Add the milk,  vanilla, and pinch of salt.  Increase speed to 2-3 and beat until creamy.
  9. Using a spatula, spread icing on cooled cupcakes (make sure that they are fully cooled or the icing will melt).  This recipe provides a light spread of icing, so double it if you’d like more. Top with coconut flakes, if desired.
Cake · Dessert

Coconut-y Chocolate Cake

Happy New Year! There’s nothing like starting the new year off with chocolate cake.

New Years Cake 1

The first time I tried this recipe I was looking for a new way to finish off a can of coconut milk.  Half had already gone towards a green curry dinner, and I didn’t want the rest to go to waste.  Curious about other uses for coconut milk, I turned to Google for ideas.

A surprise to me, I learned that coconut milk is frequently used as a milk substitute in baking. I was in the mood for something chocolate, so I decided to give this recipe a try.

The result? An addicting, decadent chocolate cake. While most substitutes in baking tend to fall short, coconut milk adds moisture and richness to every slice. The coconut flavor is mild to non-existent, so it is suitable for coconut lovers and haters alike.

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This recipe also makes a great celebration cake. I baked one the other day for New Years Eve, and it was a delicious way to bring in the new year.

Coconut Milk Chocolate Cake Recipe (adapted from The Little Red House)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cups boiling water
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut milk (lite)

Instructions:

  1. Butter and flour a 9 inch cake pan.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, add the chocolate chips and cocoa powder.  Pour bowling water into the bowl and mix until the chocolate melts completely. Set aside and let cool.
  4. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the butter and sugar and mix on medium until thoroughly combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix for 3-4 minutes.  Slowly add in the coconut milk.
  5. Pour in the chocolate mixture and stir.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  6. Pour cake batter into the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted into the center and comes out clean.

Ganache Icing Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

Instructions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter,cocoa powder, and powdered sugar.  Stir on medium for 1-2 minutes.  Slowly add the coconut milk until the icing reaches the desired texture.
Cookies

“Healthy” Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies

As many teachers will attest, working with students all day is tough.  Mix that with the long hours (and the early wake up call) and all the sudden there isn’t much time for anything else.  This was true for me my first year out of college, and unfortunately spending time in the kitchen was one of the first things to go. While I was able to resist Trader Joe’s entrees and frozen pizzas in favor of quick stir fries, baking was left largely for special occasions.

However, my neighbor downstairs was an exception to this rule.  She would often come upstairs bearing plates of hot cookies, and there was nothing better than her mom’s recipe for “healthy” chocolate chip cookies.  Whether or not these are actually good for you is probably a matter for debate, but after one bite few people will need convincing.

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Either way, the blend of different flours (oat, almond, and wheat) make these cookies taste truly unique. The hazelnuts add an extra element of flavor, although they can be substituted with other nuts if necessary (walnuts and pecans would work well I think).

And, while the list of dry ingredients looks daunting, its definitely worth the effort. Any leftover almond meal can be used in many other recipes (crumbles, crisps, muffins) and the oat flour can be made easily by processing old fashioned oats in a blender or food processor. If you are feeling particularly ambitious, double the dry ingredients and save half of the mixture in the pantry for later.

“Healthy” Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookie Recipe 

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put oats in a blender and grind until fine.  Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl (ground oats, flour, almond meal, wheat germ, salt, and baking soda) and set aside.
  3. Beat butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium until fluffy.  Add canola oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth and creamy.
  4. With the stand mixer on low, add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. Stir in hazelnuts and chocolate chips.
  6. Roll cookie dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter and place on a buttered cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.
  7. Enjoy!