Friday, July 22, 2016

Butterscotch Coconut Cookies

I don’t talk about this a lot, but one of my hobbies is ballet. I started taking ballet as an adult and I have a great group of friends that I have made through ballet class. My dance teacher was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, and after a valiant fight, she recently passed away. The dancers had a memorial for her, where we performed a short piece to honor her memory. It was beautiful.

The memorial was a potluck, and I made cookies. My teacher loved butterscotch, so I went looking for a butterscotch cookie. While there were lots of recipes, most of them were oatmeal butterscotch cookies and I wanted something more exciting than that. It was a memorial in a park, so while I didn’t want something super fancy, I didn’t want to be boring. I came across these, butterscotch combined with coconut and that sounded interesting.

I know that this isn’t all that different from a chocolate chip cookie with different mix-ins, but they are really great! Butterscotch is a flavor that has fallen out of favor, which is too bad. I like butterscotch, sweet and buttery, how could that be bad? Combining the butterscotch and the coconut together adds to the buttery flavor, and the coconut brings a certain nuttiness. I made these cookies a little larger than I typically do, because these flavors deserve a nice, substantial cookie. 

Butterscotch Coconut Cookies
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups shredded coconut
1½ butterscotch chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter on medium until fluffy. Add the sugar and brown sugar and continue beating on medium until well incorporated. Add the egg and vanilla and stir until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Stir in the coconut and butterscotch chips with a spatula.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, using about a tablespoon of dough for each cookie.     

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow the cookies to cook on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from The Daring Gourmet The Daring Gourmet

Friday, July 15, 2016

Blueberry Pie Cookies

Nothing says summer like blueberry pie! I came across this recipe and it sounded just perfect for this week. I was really surprised that this recipe was posted by Crazy for Crust in December. I have to say that I’m not thinking about fruit pie that time of the year. But this recipe uses frozen wild blueberries, which can be found all year around, so you could make it any time that pleased you.

Make sure that you use wild blueberries for this recipe, as they are smaller and work best with the mini muffin cups that form the crust of these cookies. I had hoped to find fresh wild blueberries, and I’m sure I could have if I had explored a bit. I used frozen ones, which seem to be popular because they are used in smoothies. If you do use frozen wild blueberries, make sure you drain them super well. I thawed mine and then let them sit on paper towels for about 15 minutes to be sure they were as well drained as possible.

Pressing the dough up the sides of the mini muffin cups is a bit tedious, but not too bad. This recipe made exactly the right amount of dough for 18 cups and I had exactly the right amount of filling to fill those 18 cups. I can’t say that’s usually the case with me, so it was nice for something to come out so precisely. It doesn’t make too many, which is the only drawback. These are a bit fragile, and mine got a little crumbly on the trip in to work, but they were absolutely delicious anyway!

Blueberry Pie Cookies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups flour

1 cup wild blueberries, fresh or thawed and drained well
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon shortening

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 24 section mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter on medium until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat on medium again to combine. Add the vanilla and salt and stir to incorporate. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour. Mix just until the dough comes together.

Place 1 tablespoon of dough into 18 of the muffin cups. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of each cup with lightly floured hands.

Make the filling: drain the blueberries. Place the blueberries in a medium bowl and add the sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Gently stir to combine. Divide the filling between the 18 muffin cups.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned. Cool completely before removing from pan. Once cool, remove the cookies from the pan with the help of a small metal spatula.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the white chocolate and shortening. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth. Spoon the white chocolate into a plastic bag, snip off the end of the bag and pipe onto the cooled cookies. Allow the white chocolate to set before serving.

Recipe from Crazy for Crust

Friday, July 8, 2016

Clotted Cream Nutty Slices

The last time that we were in England, my husband and I visited my high school friend who was living there. Weather in England can be very much like Seattle, and no matter what the season, you should be ready for cool and wet weather. We were walking around the town one afternoon and it was just pouring rain. I was so soaked! We were looking for a respite from the rain and we happened upon a Carnegie library. I hadn’t realized they had Carnegie Libraries in the UK, but they do. We decided to stop in, take a look around, and dry off a bit.

I looked at the cookbooks while we were there and I came across this biscuit (cookie) book by one of the contestants from the Great British Bake-Off. I thumbed through it and knew it was a great book. I had taken a photo of one recipe, which I had made and posted a while ago. I didn’t find this book in the bookstore, and it wasn’t readily available through American booksellers. The other day I checked and I could get the e-book on iBooks! I was thrilled.

This is a slice and bake cookie, which are super convenient to make. They were originally called Fudgy Nut cookies, but they aren’t fudgy in the American sense. They contain chopped clotted cream fudge, which is like fudge with no chocolate. I bought some fudge at our local British store, but you could use chopped up caramels in a pinch. I used pecans (which are decidedly not British) but it’s the only nut that I had sufficient quantity. You cut some nuts finely and some coarsely, but they coarse nuts make these hard to slice. The fudge pieces to melt and become caramel on the baking sheet, but just think of that as rustic. They are super buttery, and I wonder how they would taste with hazelnuts (what the original recipe called for) and caramel. Maybe I will try that next.

Clotted Cream Nutty Slices
200 grams flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
125 grams butter, room temperature
125 grams light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
175 grams toasted nuts (125 grams chopped, 50 grams finely chopped)
100 grams clotted cream fudge, chopped

In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the butter, cut into small chunks, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the brown sugar, egg, and vanilla and stir on medium until the dough comes together. Add half of the chopped nuts and all of the finely chopped nuts, as well as half of the chopped fudge. Stir on medium until the dough comes together.

Shape the dough into a log, about 1-1/2” in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap. Slice the log into 1/3” slices and place on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle the remaining chopped nuts and chopped fudge on the cookie slices, pressing the nuts and fudge into the dough.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until the cookies are browned along the edges. Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Biscuit by Miranda Gore Browne