Foodie Friday – Toasted coconut chocolate chip cookies

So I haven’t been posting all of the chocolate chip cookie recipes I try because they’ve had mixed results, but there are a few that are so good that they definitely deserve to be shared! Like these toasted coconut chocolate chip cookies. Out of all the different baked goods I’ve shared with my co-workers, I think these cookies are their absolute favorite. And that’s saying something! Toasting the coconut seems to be the key to making these cookies irresistible. Simply adding some shredded coconut (I’ve only tried sweetened coconut, but I assume unsweetened would be good too) to chocolate chip cookie dough is always a good idea, but toasting it first is infinitely better. It brings out the nutty flavor of the coconut which is the perfect complement to the cookies. I made coconut chocolate chip cookies a few times before I perfected the recipe – which I first wrote about as chocolate chip cookie recipe #11 plus back in February – so here it is for everyone to try!

2 c sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c white sugar
1/4 c light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp coconut extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c flour
1 c semisweet chocolate chips

Evenly spread the shredded coconut on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 deg F for 7-10 minutes, stirring once and rotating the pan, until the coconut is lightly toasted. Remove the pan from the oven and let the coconut cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. You can use an electric mixer, but I usually just use a wooden spoon. Add the egg and extracts and beat/stir until combined. Add the baking soda, salt, and flour and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and almost all of the toasted coconut (set a few tablespoons aside). Spread the dough into an 8×8″ pan lined with aluminum foil and coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the reserved toasted coconut on top. Bake at 350 deg F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Enjoy!

Based on Two Peas and Their Pod’s Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Vittles and Bits’s Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies.

Belated Foodie Friday – Toffee brownies

OK, I’m working on a post about my surgery, but it’s not ready yet so here’s a recipe for belated Foodie Friday instead! These brownies are amazing. I really wish I had picture of them to show you how dense and fudgy they are. I was blown away the first time I made them. I’ve always loved a simple recipe and this one is about as simple as brownies get. Melt the butter, stir in the rest of the ingredients, and bake. Easy as that and so delicious. After several days of very limited activity following my surgery I finally had a surge of energy on Wednesday so I decided to do a little baking. My parents were leaving to go back to Florida the next morning so I figured some of these toffee brownies would be the perfect snack to take with them on their travels. Luckily this recipe is pretty flexible because I had to make a few substitutions. I only had about 3/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips so I supplemented that with 3/4 c dark chocolate chips. Also, I didn’t have any white sugar so I used all light brown sugar instead. And with all that the brownies still turned out great. Rich, chocolatey, and insanely delicious. You should whip up a batch right now!

1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 c toffee chips
1 c chocolate chips or chunks (optional)

In a large bowl melt the butter in the microwave (45-60 seconds on HIGH). Stir in the 1 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips until melted. If the chips don’t melt completely, put the bowl back in the microwave on HIGH for 10-15 seconds. Stir and repeat if necessary. Add flour, salt, and sugars. Stir until partially combined then add the eggs, egg yolk, and vegetable oil. Stir until combined then fold in the toffee chips and optional chocolate chips or chunks (I usually skip these). Transfer the batter to an 8×8″ pan lined with aluminum foil and coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 deg for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Based on Picky Palate’s One Bowl Homemade Chocolate Chunk and Toffee Chip Brownies.

Edited on 8/23/20 to slightly increase the bake time.  When I bake these brownies they are sometimes done after 40 minutes, but generally need the full 45 minutes.

Foodie Friday – Perfect chocolate chip cookie bars

At long last, it’s time for me to share my perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe! I know you’ve all been waiting for it with bated breath! Well, after baking about forty batches of chocolate chip cookies in the last year and a half I’ve discovered that the recipes I liked the most all had a few things in common – 1) Brown butter, 2) Brown sugar, and 3) Sea salt. So I kept those ingredients constant and varied the others until I found just the right combination. There’s not really a “secret ingredient” in these cookies – you probably already have all of the necessary items in your pantry. But keep in mind that this is based on my own experience so this recipe is completely customizable. You can use a mix of white and brown sugar if you’d prefer, you can leave out the salt, you can add other extracts (almond or maple would be good), and you can use any add-ins you want (like toffee, nuts, or M&M’s – yum!). I make these cookies any time I want to impress someone so I think they’re absolutely perfect. Go mix up a batch and see what you think!

1/2 c (1 stick) salted butter
1 c light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 c all purpose flour
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c milk chocolate chips
Sea salt

Place the brown sugar into a large mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon to break up any clumps. In a medium saucepan, brown the butter over medium heat. This should take just 5-8 minutes so keep an eye on it because it will burn quickly. When the butter is a nice golden brown color, immediately pour it over the brown sugar (as fast as possible because it will continue to cook in the saucepan until you do), using a spatula to make sure to get all of the yummy brown bits into the bowl, and stir to combine. Cool to room temperature. Add the egg and vanilla and stir to combine. Add the baking powder, salt, and flour and stir until no streaks of flour remain. Fold in the chocolate chips. Press the dough into an 8×8″ pan lined with aluminum foil and coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Bake at 350 deg F for 25-30 min or until the edges are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack before slicing. Enjoy!

Based on Two Peas and Their Pod’s M&M Chocolate Chip Blondies and Picky Palate’s Brown Butter and Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Spaghetti sauce

Since I’m too brain dead from a 10-hour day of work starting at 2:30 AM and only a very short nap this afternoon, how about an updated recipe for today’s post? I went to three stores after work to gather the ingredients for dinner – Target for whole wheat pasta, Ralph’s for tomato products, and Whole Foods for the meat. Dan and I have been tweaking this spaghetti sauce recipe every time we have it for dinner and I think our collaboration has yielded a fantastic result. Enjoy!

1/2 lb ground lamb
2 raw pork bratwursts (1/3 lb each), casings removed
1 c diced onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp cinnamon
Salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper
1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
Yellow mustard
Lime juice
8 oz whole wheat spaghetti, cooked

Brown the lamb and bratwurst in a large skillet with the onion and garlic. When the meat is fully cooked, add the oregano, cinnamon, and a generous sprinkling of salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir until the spices are well incorporated and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes (the lid will keep it from splattering everywhere). Add two generous squirts of both mustard and lime juice and stir to combine. Continue simmering, partially covered, for another ten minutes or until the sauce is the desired thickness. Toss with cooked whole wheat spaghetti. Trust me, it’s delicious!