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.

chocolate cake 2
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.
Breakfast

Olive Oil Granola

granola with yogurt

I’ve been a granola binge lately.  It all started with this recipe, which tastes so good (and sweet) that it should probably be topped with vanilla ice cream instead of Greek yogurt. My tastes evolved when I met this granola recipe developed by the guys over at Baked NYC, which quickly became my go-to recipe and earned a spot on Sweetly Seasoned back in September. I made it about a half dozen times, stopping only when I ran through an entire bottle of canola oil.

mixing granola

I scribbled “canola oil” onto my grocery list of essentials, but then I started thinking.  Is canola oil (relatively) good for you? Is there an alternative?

That’s when I found this recipe. It’s unique claim to fame is the use of olive oil, which adds a certain hearty flavor that’s missing from its canola oil cousins. It also substitutes maple syrup for the honey, which I think adds a rich, sweet, caramel-like taste to the finished product.

olive oil granola

Still, the original recipe didn’t have all the add-ins that I’ve come to love. That’s when I decided to make a few tweaks to the recipe.  I added some cinnamon to the dry oats mixture and tossed some cranberries and dried cherries in at the end. I was also concerned about burning the coconut, so I left this out at the beginning and stirred it in during the last ten minutes of baking. The result is something sweet, satisfying, and maybe even good for you!

Olive Oil Granola (adapted from this recipe by Nekisia Davis on Food52*)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup coconut chips
  • 2/3 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries and tart cherries)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the maple syrup, olive oil, and light brown sugar.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until the oats are evenly coated and shiny.
  5. Pour oat mixture onto the prepared pan and spread evenly into a thin layer.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring granola every 10 minutes. Add coconut chips during the last 10 minutes of baking.
  7. Once granola is evenly browned, remove from the oven and add dried fruit.  Let cool and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

*Note: this recipe is cut down in size from the original.