Browned Butter Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

oatmeal coconut chocolate chip cookies!

browned butter oatmeal coconut chocolate chip cookies!

This cookie has all my favorite flavors: browned butter, chocolate chips, oatmeal, coconut and a little bit of saltiness. You could also add some toasted pecans for an extra kick. Ahhhh!!! (head explodes).

  • 1 1/2 C AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 C unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. fleur de sel (more for sprinkling on top of cookies)
  • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 C dark brown sugar
  • 1/8 – 1/4 c white sugar (I used about 1/8C)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TB molasses
  • 1 1/2 c. dark or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 C unsweetened coconut (toasting optional)*
  • 3 C. old fashioned rolled oats (not steel cut. You could use instant, but I wouldn’t recommend it)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Brown the butter

To brown the butter: add two sticks to saucepan, on low to medium heat. Let butter melt, then it will froth/bubble up, stir it with spatula in order to prevent burning. The bubbles will die down and the butter will start to crackle. The proteins of the butter are sinking to the bottom and after a second bubbling, the bits on the bottom will start to turn a little brown and the butter will change to a more amber color. This whole process will take about 4-5 minutes. Don’t burn the butter, we want it browned. Remove from heat and transfer melted butter and brown bits to a bowl to cool while you assemble the other ingredients. I set my bowl of butter next to an open window, which speeded up the cooling down process. (As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t want to add hot butter to the eggs because we don’t want scrambled eggs).

Combine flour, salt, baking soda, spices in a bowl, set aside.

Once browned butter is cooled, add it to the bowl of a stand mixer, along with the sugars, mix until nice and smooth, which is 2 minutes or so. Add the vanilla, molasses and eggs and beat for three minutes until it’s light and smooth in texture. Then add the flour mixture and beat until combined. (PS-don’t do what I do sometimes and accidentally switch the mixer speed to medium or high, or else you’ll be covered in flour [it WAS funny at the time]. Start slow and then increase the mixer speed. Add the coconut, mix well. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, add the oatmeal and chocolate chips (and pecans if using).
I used a 2 tsp cookie scoop for the cookies because I thought a 1 1/2 TB scoop was too big. But, use whatever you prefer. Allow a couple inches between the cookies. You’ll want to gently flatten the cookie balls and add a sprinkle of fleur de sel to the tops. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them as you want the cookies to just be slightly brown around the edges. Once out of the oven, let cookies rest for 5 minutes, then cool on racks. Cookies will last a week in an airtight container…well, unless you have a Cookie Monster around.

*As I was talking about this recipe with G., I thought that toasting the coconut and then pulvarizing it using a spice grinder would be a good idea. That might be a more complex flavor element. Ah, next time!

Where Did 2015 Go??

I can’t believe it’s New Years’ Eve and the year is already almost gone. Every year I say the same thing: where did the time go?? (honestly, I hate that time passes so quickly, or, maybe I just notice it more now that I’m getting older.) I feel like it was just Summertime here in NYC and I was playing softball in Central Park or walking across the newly renovated bridge at High Bridge park on my birthday when the skies opened up to rain and the sun was still shining. (Though, the weather has been quite mild this Fall and Winter so, I can’t complain and I don’t want to jinx it). It was a year filled with lots of cooking and baking, trying out new recipes and re-making old ones. Some mistakes made as well as some small victories, but all in all, a learning experience. Most recently for Christmas dessert I made a salted caramel pecan tart and, as for the cookies that I gave away: toasted coconut shortbread, chocolate espresso cookies, browned butter cardamom cookies and molasses ginger chocolate chip cookies. And, as 2016 is upon us I look forward to more cooking and baking in the new year. Who knows, maybe 2016 will be the year that I master chocolate brioche or, (gasp) croissants! I’m sure Julia Child would approve.

Happy New Year, everyone! I wish you peace, happiness and good health!

Browned Butter Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

browned butter pumpkin bread w/chocolate chips

browned butter pumpkin bread w/chocolate chips

This recipe is different in that, I used browned butter, rather than vegetable or canola oil. The nuttiness of the browned butter lends another layer to the pumpkin and spices and has a more complex flavor than my normal pumpkin bread. Plus, I am on “team browned butter makes everything better,” because, well, it most certainly does.

  • 3 1/2 C AP flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie spice*
  • 1 C unsalted butter, browned and cooled
  • 1 C canned pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 C dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 C milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C mini semi sweet chocolate chips or, 1 C dark chocolate chips

Spray two 8″x4″ loaf pans and set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees

To brown butter: add two sticks to saucepan, on low to medium heat. Let butter melt, then froth/bubble up, stir it with spatula in order to prevent burning. The bubbles will die down and the butter will start to crackle. The proteins of the butter are sinking to the bottom and after a second bubbling, the bits on the bottom will start to turn a little brown and the butter will change to a more amber color. This whole process will take about 4-5 minutes. Don’t burn the butter, we want it browned. Remove from heat and transfer melted butter and brown bits to a bowl to cool. (We don’t want to add hot butter to the eggs because we don’t want scrambled eggs).

*Note: As always, you can adjust the spices to your taste. I didn’t have enough pumpkin pie spice, so, I had to add a little ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and freshly grated nutmeg.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. When the butter has cooled, add to beaten eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin vanilla and milk. Stir until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and add chocolate chips. If you find that the mixture is too dry, add a little bit more milk. Divide dough between the loaf pans, bake at 350 for 45-50 min. Check the bread with a toothpick in the center to see if the bread is done. Cool on baking racks. Or, have a warm slice…like I just did.

Pumpkin Pecan Biscuits, Take II

Pumpkin-Pecan biscuits!

Pumpkin-Pecan biscuits!

I sit here with a cup of coffee, a purring cat by my side and blustery winds outside (it’s not really that cold, maybe 50 degrees, but my apartment is cold). The morning sun is reflecting off the houses and it’s very quiet outside. Saturday is my favorite day.
Sometimes I make mistakes…I mean, how else will I learn? After the first try, I decided to scrap the previous recipe and re-do it by adding more cold butter and substituting a little dark brown sugar for honey. I also made my own buttermilk (see below). These actually taste and look like biscuits. The previous recipe results looked like lumpy scones and didn’t taste very good at all. These are light, flaky, layered biscuits. The extra flour and butter definitely helps too. I think this recipe is far better!

To make buttermilk: 1 cup milk + 1 TB or fresh lemon juice. Add juice to milk and stir. Let it sit for about 10 minutes or, until it thickens. Use as you would regular buttermilk.

  • 2 1/4 C. AP flour
  • 1 1/2 TB baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 8 TB chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 C. canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 C. buttermilk
  • dash of vanilla
  • 2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 C. chopped, toasted pecans (in 2 TB of butter)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Chop and toast pecans in a skillet in two tablespoons of butter, set aside to cool. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, cut in butter with a pastry cutter or, with hands, until butter is the size of peas or tiny pebbles, set aside (If you’ve handled it too much and the butter pieces are warm, chill the dry ingredients while you deal with the wet ingredients). In a medium sized bowl, whisk the buttermilk and brown sugar, add vanilla and pumpkin. Stir until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir in toasted pecans. If you find that the dough is a little sticky, don’t fret, add a little flour and use your hands or a spoon to mix it. Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and press into a rectangle until the dough is about 1 inch thick all around. Also, try not to over handle the dough, as the butter will warm up (which you don’t want). If the dough becomes too warm or sticky, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes. Press (don’t twist, or else the biscuits won’t have layers) biscuit cutters into dough and place onto the parchment-lined baking sheets. The dough makes about 12-14 biscuits. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or, until slightly golden brown. You’ll be able to tell when they’re done. Serve warm with some whipped honey, or, like I did, with butter. Store in air-tight container in the refrigerator or, wrap up in wax paper and foil in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer.

Before I took the biscuits out of the oven, I switched on my Pandora Charlie Parker station…the song that played? “April in Paris.” Weird coincidence? I think not. My heart goes out to all the people of Paris. Je suis Français.

Saving and Sharing Recipes–Passing Along Traditions

Several years ago, I was talking to my Grandma and she was recounting a story from when she was a young girl and how she spent the summer helping out at her aunt and uncle’s restaurant in Shelbyville, TN. She told me they had a really delicious BBQ sauce, a family recipe that was kind of famous in the small town. When I asked her if she had that recipe written down somewhere, she said “Darnit, no! I wish I had it…”. I’m sure it was a good recipe and I’m not upset over it. To me, it’s just another reminder to get and pass along family recipes. My grandma died in 2013….I miss her. A. Lot. There are recipes and questions and conversations that I wish I had with with her, but, I didn’t…

I was reminded of the above conversation while in the process of assembling a few binders of recipes that belonged to my friend’s mother. They are mostly handwritten on index cards all organized specifically and separated by labeled divider cards in a few metal recipe boxes. My friend’s aunt got the idea to put them all together, glued onto paper and put into plastic sleeve covers– into a few binders so my friend would have them and use them and maybe, pass along to others. These index cards/recipes were well used–you can tell by the worn edges and stray stains on the cards. (Something that all good cooks and bakers do with their favorite recipes).

Several binders of recipes later…I am now on my last one, the big one, which is all baking recipes and will probably require a second large binder. I’ve been writing down a few coveted recipes along the way, so I can attempt to recreate these recipes for pumpkin pie, biscuits and pecan-coconut cake, hoping that they will be as good as her mom’s (but, I’m sure my versions will pale in comparison). I am glad my friend is letting me put these recipes together in one place for her. I know she will use them and they will have a place on the shelf in her kitchen.

My point is….get those recipes from your mom, dad, grandma, aunt, uncle, whoever. Ask questions, write stuff down and pass them along to people you love. Continue to make those recipes and share them with people. Even though our loved ones are gone, the recipes and the flood of food memories will keep them around, forever.