Coconut Oil Brown Sugar Cookies

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I’ve got barbecue in my belly and palmetto trees outside my window… so in other words, I’m finally home. Summer is here and life is good and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with cookies.

Except for maybe with ice cream. Because 1) it’s ice cream, duh, and 2) good grief I forgot how hot South Carolina is. Can I get some iced sweet tea please?

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These cookies are a pretty simple one bowl situation, but there are a few things to keep in mind when making them. Number one is your coconut oil. You need your coconut oil to be solid but still soft, about the consistency of softened butter. This is because you’ll be creaming it together with the sugar much in the same way you would with butter in regular cookies, and if it’s liquid or rock hard this just won’t work.

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Also, this recipe calls for coconut sugar. I made these cookies once with all brown sugar, and then once with the coconut sugar… and the coconut sugar ones were waaaay better. They had such a deeper, tastier flavor that resulted in me eating about half the cookie dough before it even made it to the oven (but there aren’t any eggs so it’s totally acceptable, right?).

Finally, these (unfortunately) need a few hours to chill before baking. Otherwise the oil will result in them spreading too much and becoming thin and flat. But trust me, those two hours in the fridge are worth it; the resulting cookies are soft and chewy with perfectly crispy edges. Yes please!

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Coconut Oil Brown Sugar Cookies

adapted from Averie Cooks

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened (softened to the consistency of soft butter; not rock hard and not runny or melted)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 coconut sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup spelt flour
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

In a large bowl, beat together the coconut oil and sugars on medium speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and continue to beat until the mixture becomes light and fluffy, about 2-3 more minutes. Add the vanilla and beat to incorporate.

Add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt and stir together by hand just until combined. Once a dough has been formed, make rounded balls with 1-2 tablespoons of dough and place them on a prepared baking sheet (or plate if your baking sheet won’t fit in the the fridge). Chill the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Once the cookies have chilled, bake them for 8-10 minutes. They may look underdone, but they will continue to bake and firm up so don’t over bake them. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes before moving.

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Dark Chocolate, Blueberry, and Pecan Banana Bread

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I’ve talked with a lot of people recently who say that studying abroad has changed their lives. They learned things about themselves, or started seeing things from a new perspective, or found what they were passionate about, or finally felt like they were wholly themselves.

I’m leaving Denmark in a few days… and I still feel exactly like myself. I mean, I know way too much about the inner workings of the European Union thanks to my Euro Politics class, and I’ve consumed more than enough rye bread in the past four months. But did I learn anything essential about myself?

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I learned that just because a city is cold and gray all the time, that doesn’t mean it can’t take your breath away.

I learned the Danish population is way too attractive for their own good (like, seriously).

I learned how to navigate what felt like just about every mode of transportation on the European continent.

I learned that people really like it when you bake more often than a normal person should and leave cookies out in the kitchen for them to eat. I also learned that this can go a long way in making you friends.

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I’m not gonna lie… this business is good. It’s tasty and satisfying and just a little bit over the top. I mean, we could have just stopped after the blueberries. Or the pecans. Did we really need to throw chopped chocolate in too?

Of course we did. Come on now.

There’s a lot going on here: melty chocolate and crunchy pecans and gooey blueberries. Not to mention warm and comforting banana flavor for days. Needless to say, this bread is pretty darn addicting.

You would also have good reason to make it for the smell alone. If the scent of banana bread baking isn’t enough to make you happy, I don’t know what will. And it’s enough to make any place, even one you’ve only lived in four months and that you’ll be leaving in a few days time, feel like home.

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Dark Chocolate, Blueberry, and Pecan Banana Bread

adapted from this recipe

Ingredients: 

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cups almond milk
1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 bananas)
1/3 cup maple syrup (can also sub honey)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
100 grams chopped chocolate
a handful of chopped pecans
3/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan*. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt). In a measuring cup or small bowl, stir together the almond milk and vinegar, then set aside to curdle. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the mashed bananas, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the milk mixture and stir to combine.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, then mix carefully until just combined, being careful not to over mix. Fold in the chocolate, pecans, and blueberries, being extra careful with the blueberries so that they won’t stain your bread blue. Spoon into prepared loaf pan, then bake for 50-55 minutes, until the top is browned and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

*The loaf pan I used was much longer, which is why my slices were shorter. I would recommend using 9×5 inch pan (a typical sized loaf pan) for larger, more regular slices.

{ 6 comments }

Raspberry Lemon Biscuits

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I used to think my cousin was crazy for turning 25 on her birthday three years in a row… until my own 20th birthday started rapidly approaching, and suddenly I understood just where she was coming from.

So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to turn 19 again this year. I’ll put off my twenties for a bit longer, if that’s alright, because I don’t think I’m ready to leave behind my teenage years quite yet.

Maybe it’s because a year of being nineteen has been so incredible. This past year, I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been, so I’d like to keep this rad age going for as long as I can.

Also… I don’t think I have a twenty year old brain. Not yet, at least. I mean, aren’t twenty year olds supposed to have stuff figured out? At least a little bit? Because I still have to Google how to make rice at dinnertime. Wait, I’m definitely supposed to make a LinkedIn now, aren’t I?

Not cool.

So in honor of how very unimportant Saturday is actually going to be, I didn’t make a cake. Instead, I made biscuits. Take that, twenties.

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I think we can all agree that biscuits are fundamentally the best things ever. So obviously, throwing raspberries and lemons in them is only going to make an already great situation even better. Plus, look how pretty they are! And perfect for spring! (We’ll ignore the fact that I’m still wearing sweaters in Copenhagen even though it’s May).

Like previous biscuit recipes around these parts (including sweet potato, pumpkin, and classic), these are made with coconut oil, so make sure that it’s solid before you use it. Also, always remember to be careful, quick, and super gentle when patting out the dough and cutting the biscuits; otherwise they’ll be tough and dense and nobody wants that.

Happy (second) 19th birthday to me!

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Raspberry Lemon Biscuits

Makes about 10 biscuits

Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup greek yogurt (for a vegan option, you can use any kind of vegan yogurt)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold solid coconut oil
2 tablespoons mashed banana (applesauce would likely work as well)
Zest of one lemon
1/2 cup frozen raspberries*

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450F. In a small bowl, stir together the milk, yogurt, and vinegar, then set aside for a few minutes to curdle.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Cut to coconut oil into chunks and sprinkle into the flour mixture; add the banana. Using a fork or your hands (I used my hands!) stir together the mixture and break up the coconut oil until it resembles the texture of course meal- there should still be visible chunks of coconut oil. Add in the lemon zest.

Add the milk mixture and mix just until combined. Carefully fold in the raspberries. Turn dough onto a floured surface and lightly pat it flat until about 1/2-inch thick.Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, make as many biscuits as you can. You can lightly knead any scraps together to make more biscuits, but they won’t be quite as fluffy as the first batch.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!

*Using frozen raspberries ensures that they won’t get smushed while forming the dough, which also keeps your biscuits from becoming entirely pink. If you only have fresh raspberries, you can still use them, just be super careful with the dough!

{ 2 comments }

Almond Meringue and Dark Chocolate Cookies

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Sometimes you eat cookies for dinner. Sometimes (every time) that’s a great decision.

Other great decisions I’ve made recently:

1) Coming to Copenhagen for the semester
2) Subscribing to The Feed podcast
3) Visiting Wimbledon while I was in London (I may or may not have teared up three different times)
4) Skipping that semi-mandatory event to nap instead
5) Stocking up on honey for America because Danish honey is a dream and I might be addicted

Related: Honey is allowed through customs, right? Or do I need to start practicing my “I’m totally not lying” face for when I have to smuggle it through border control? Actually, don’t answer that.

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There has been entirely too little chocolate around these parts, to be perfectly honest. Am I right or am I right? Make no mistake… I’ve been consuming loads of chocolate recently. It just hasn’t exactly lasted long enough to make it into my baked goods. No worries though! I held out long enough this time to melt my chocolate and drizzle it over cookies before stuffing it in my face. You’re welcome.

On that note… you should probably use dark chocolate in this recipe. And by probably I mean definitely. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of dark chocolate. Because the meringue in the cookies is so sweet, you need chocolate that’s a bit more bitter and less sweet to balance everything out. Trust me on this one.

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As for the cookies themselves, they’re made like a less fussy version of fancy schmancy macarons, and by that I mean they consist of folding together whipped meringue and an almond flour-powdered sugar mixture. The result is a chewy cookie with a crunchy exterior that almost tastes like marzipan (so in other words… delicious).

Plus adding drizzled chocolate as the finishing touch? I’m not sure you can get much classier for such little work.

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Almond Meringue and Dark Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup almond flour*
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 egg whites
1/4 cup cane sugar
50 grams chopped dark chocolate

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour and powdered sugar until fully combined and no clumps remain. In a separate clean bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy, then slowly add the cane sugar while continuing to beat on medium-high speed until the egg whites hold stiff peaks. Gently fold the almond flour mixture into the egg whites until fully combined.

Drop the batter onto the baking sheet by rounded spoonfuls, or use a piping bag to pipe cookie rounds. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are just starting to brown. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double broiler or a microwave. Once the cookies have cooled, use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over them.

 

*You can process blanched almonds in a food processor until fine to make your own

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Light and Airy Lemon Sponge Cake (Gluten Free)

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I’m pretty sure my hair smells like cake. Occupational hazard?

I also have powdered sugar scattered everywhere and owe my friend some eggs after using most of hers in this recipe.

But this cake! Let’s talk about it.

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I have, of course, read cake recipes that involved beating egg yolks and whites separately before folding it all together with just the barest bit of flour (because what else are you supposed to do on your computer during class?), but until this lemon confection had never actually ventured to make such a cake.

Don’t be like me and make such a ridiculous error! Go, go, go right now. Because not only is this cake delicious, but it’s just plain fun to make. You first get to beat together a whole lot of egg yolks and sugar until they are thick and pale and fluffy and basically already beginning to look like cake batter. Then you move on to beating the egg whites until they are stiff and firm, which is basically one of my favorite things ever because it blows my mind every single time. Finally, you fold everything together into the lightest, airiest batter imaginable, so delicate and ethereal that you can’t even imagine baking it.

But then you do, of course, and the result is a perfectly fluffy dream of a cake that makes you feel classy as can be while still keeping things simple.

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Oh, and that moment when you separate 6 eggs perfectly without breaking the yolk in any of them? Yeah, that feeling alone is pretty much enough reason to make this cake.

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Light and Airy Lemon Sponge Cake (Gluten Free)

Note: This recipe calls for potato flour, which is what I used, but you might have success using cornstarch or arrowroot in its place, although I cannot personally vouch for the results. Also, the original recipe used metric measurements, which I used when I made this cake, although I have provided approximate conversions below

From Five Euro Food

Ingredients:

22o grams (1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon) sugar
6 large eggs, separated
150 grams (1 cup) potato flour
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Zest of one lemon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300F/150C. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and 6 egg yolks until pale and thick. In a separate clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they are firm and hold stiff peaks (make sure your beaters are completely clean from the egg yolks before beating the whites!).

Fold half of the egg whites into the yolk mixture, working gently until combined. Fold in the remaining egg whites. Once completely combined, fold in the lemon juice and zest. Finally, sift in the potato starch and gently fold until no white clumps or streaks remain.

Pour batter into a 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake for 1 hour, then allow to cool at least 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

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Creamy Dreamy Peanut Butter Whip

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When I get confused, or frustrated, or anxious, or just start thinking too darn much, I bake. Something with yeast is preferable, but really anything will do. Even if all it involves is just whisking together a few ingredients until they’re smooth and dreamy and ready to be spooned straight from bowl to mouth.

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This peanut butter whip is a riff off the ever popular coconut whipped cream, and as a result it has many different uses. Spoon it onto cupcakes for a light and fluffy icing, spread it atop a pie (something with chocolate preferable), or just chill it a bit then eat it right out of the jar for the lightest peanut butter mousse you ever did see.

Oh, you should also probably know that I can only ever find chunky peanut butter over here in Denmark (at least in the cheap as heck grocery store where I shop), which is why this whip has little bits of peanuts scattered throughout. To be honest, I kind of like it! I think keeping the peanuts and adding a handful of mini chocolate chips would be stellar.

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This recipe is insanely simple and only takes three ingredients. Success! The only tricky part is making sure that you use full fat coconut milk, not light, and that you refrigerate your coconut milk at least 7 hours beforehand so that the cream and the water can separate. Other than that, it’s so easy even my baking challenge sister could handle it (sorry Hali).

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Creamy Dreamy Peanut Butter Whip

Ingredients:

1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated at least 7 hours or overnight
1/3 cup peanut butter
2-3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Open the can of refrigerated coconut milk and scoop out the thick white cream that has risen to the top. Save the remaining coconut water at the bottom for smoothies or just to drink. Using a whisk or electric beaters, beat the coconut cream until smooth. Add the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla if using. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Use as is or refrigerate for a few hours, during which time the peanut butter whip will become thicker and more like mousse.

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Tahini Maple Fudge

DSC_0027Tahini maple fudge sounds like the name of a flavor in a fancy ice cream shop that only uses local, organic, hand-picked ingredients and is too high class to offer anything as mundane as rocky road.

I’m not sure how I’d feel about such an ice cream shop. I do, however, know exactly how I feel about this fudge.

This fudge is kind of awesome. It’s like one of those superfood concoctions people are always raving about, except not obnoxious or full of weird ingredients like lucuma powder. In fact, it’s got just three main components— maple syrup, coconut oil, and tahini— plus some vanilla and salt mixed in. But boy do those three ingredients go a long way.

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Because of the sesame seed butter and oil, this fudge is rich, decadent, and smooth. The addition of the maple syrup provides sweetness and flavor without any refined sugar, plus maple and tahini together, as I have now found out, is a combination that’s to die for. Throw in vanilla and salt for more complex flavors and you’re pretty much set.

In order to keep this fudge as high vibe as possible, try to use unhulled tahini if you can. Regular tahini— the thin, pale stuff that’s more commonly sold— comes from sesame seeds that have been hulled, which unfortunately strips a lot of their awesome nutritional properties, whereas unhulled tahini uses the entire seed and thus retains all of the awesome benefits of sesame (much like brown vs. white rice). Some of these crazy cool benefits include being high in minerals like potassium, phosphorus, and iron, having a ton of calcium (it’s one of the best natural sources there is!), aiding in liver detoxification, and being easy to digest because of its high alkaline mineral content, in addition to loads of other health benefits.

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Aside from being chock full of power ingredients, this fudge is also crazy easy to make, taking about five minutes of active time before being shuffled off to the freezer for a few hours. And I shouldn’t need to tell you that waiting for it to set is hands down the hardest part of the whole process.

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Tahini Maple Fudge

Ingredients:

1/2 cup maple syrup
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
340 grams unhulled tahini
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt

Directions:

Add the maple syrup and coconut oil to a saucepan over very low heat and gently heat until the oil is melted and all combined. Add the tahini and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Stir in the pinch of salt.

Pour the mixture into a 8×8 inch baking pan lined with parchment paper (I didn’t have one so I just used a bread pan). Place in the freezer for at least two hours (ideally 4-5) to set before slicing into squares. Keep stored in the freezer.

{ 3 comments }

Coconut Oil Sugar Cookies

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Guys, I did it.

I did it, I did it, I DID IT!!!

I made a batch of cut out sugar cookies, and they weren’t a total failure. In fact, they were the exact opposite. They were phenomenal. It’s a miracle!

And not only were these cookies a success, but they were also a success made out of coconut oil instead of butter, so they’re vegan as well. It just keeps getting better and better!

(But seriously though, I started jumping up and down when they came out of the oven. That’s how excited I was to actually make sugar cookies and not fail)

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So… let’s break things down. These cookies are soft and tender; no rock hard sugar cookies here. They also roll out beautifully, and (for the most part) don’t break apart while trying to transfer to a cookie sheet. Just make sure you don’t roll them too thinly, or else they will break or burn in the oven, and nobody wants that.

Another quick note: make sure you don’t use cold milk. It needs to be warm, because otherwise it will cause the coconut oil to resolidify and not blend into the dough, which is pretty much the opposite of what you want. Another trick is to stick the cut out dough into the freezer before baking. This helps the cookies to keep their shape while in the oven, so you can keep the random assortment of people, stars, trees, and houses you’ve made (or whatever cookie cutters you have on hand).

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As you can see, I haven’t decorated my cookies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t! Go wild with sprinkles, icing, glazes, or anything else that suits your fancy or upcoming party theme.

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Note: I wish I could say this genius recipe came from my own brain, but of course it didn’t. It’s courtesy of Oh Ladycakes (this is a dynamite blog; go check it out!). And as Ashlae says on her site, make sure that you follow the recipe exactly, otherwise they will not turn out correctly.

Coconut Oil Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

6 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons almond milk, warm
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the almond milk, one tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Add the baking soda, salt, and one cup of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until about half of the flour is incorporated. Add the remaining 1/3 cup flour and stir just until no flour streaks remain. The dough should be smooth and barely sticky; if it’s too dry, add more milk one more tablespoon at a time, and if it is too wet add more flour one tablespoon at a time.

Lightly flour a work surface. Gather dough into a ball, lightly dust it with flour, then roll it out until it is 1/4 inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut as many shapes out as you can and carefully place them on the baking sheet. If you have leftover scraps of dough, you can gather them together and gently roll out more dough, but the resulting cookies might not have quite the same texture (definitely worth doing though; it’s more cookies!).

Place the cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking (this helps them keep their shape in the oven). Bake them for 9-10 minutes, then let them cool on the baking sheet for another 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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