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Kitchen Adventures: Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Posted Jun 14 2013 9:34am

It’s Friday, and I’m very excited to share my very first COOKIE recipe on the Sometimes Healthy Living Blog.

This is huge news. But you must endure a story before we get to the recipe (trust me, it’s worth the wait).

It doesn’t take much perusing on my little blog to see that I’m a big fan of cupcakes. I like them so much that I created a Cupcake Monday at my last job and served my lucky coworkers a different cupcake creation every Monday.

I HEART cupcakes. Big time.

I HEART cupcakes. Big time.

I am not quite sure why I have such an affection for cupcakes, but it has something to do with the fact that I love frosting, cake and sprinkles, all of which you can usually find on a cupcake. In addition, there is little finesse involved in mixing up a cupcake batter and then just plopping it into a muffin pan. You can get all pretty with the frosting if you want, but why bother? It will likely be smushed in transit.

Add some fruit on top, and poof, you've got an elegant creation (this particular cupcake pulled in some $ for Breast Cancer Awareness!)

Add some fruit on top, and poof, you’ve got an elegant creation (this particular cupcake pulled in some $ for Breast Cancer Awareness!)1

Anyway, for some reason, as much I as I adore my cupcakes, I have always had quite a distaste for cookies. I just never felt as satisfied after eating a chocolate chip cookie. Where is the frosting? Why is it so small? Am I supposed to eat JUST one? And when it came to making cookies, forget it. If ever I had a request, I would promptly go to the store, buy a roll of Nestle cookie dough and call it a night. (I would usually burn these cookies too). Or, I would make “cake cookies.”

Why? Because cookies are downright complicated. The measurements must be exact. The temperature must be just right and the dough must be the perfect consistency to achieve your desired cookie. Do you want your cookie to be crispy, chewy or airy? All choices require changing some tiny inconspicuous variable. And, this Sometimes Healthy Girl had no time for all of these variables.

Apparently cookies are kind of a big deal around the holidays. I'll eat them, but I won't bake them!

Apparently cookies are kind of a big deal around the holidays. I’ll eat them, but I won’t bake them!

Enter a boyfriend who hates cake and cupcakes and loves cookies.

IMG_0302

Uh oh.

When I first started dating the BF, I would visit him upstate every weekend, and proudly get off the train on Fridays with a giant NYC Crumbs cupcake. I would stare him down, just waiting for the pure joy to register on his face after he took that first bite of the  S’mores Cupcake (my personal favorite). It never happened.

But these are CRUMBS cupcakes...the greatest food in existence!

But these are CRUMBS cupcakes…the greatest food in existence!

He ate it…but something was clearly off.

Months later, the truth finally came out: my BF hates cupcakes (and anything cake-y in general)…with a passion. In fact, for every birthday his whole life, his family would buy him an ice cream cake because he disliked cake so much.

Picture from his first birthday after we started dating...I baked him a Rice Krispie Treat Cake!

Picture from his first birthday after we started dating…I baked him a Rice Krispie Treat Cake!

When he told me, my initial reaction was one of pure shock…then panic. How could I make a relationship work with someone who doesn’t eat cupcakes? Should I get back on that train and never come back?! (I’m not dramatic, as you all know). But then, I also found out that even though he dislikes cupcakes, he doesn’t really discriminate against any food in general, and he’ll probably eat it anyway ;-) .

Wrigley Field: A Jersey Boy tastes his first Chicago Dog. (he is going to be so thrilled when he reads this post)

Wrigley Field: A Jersey Boy tastes his first Chicago Dog. (he is going to be so thrilled when he reads this post)

What a guy.

However, being the people-pleaser that I am, I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied continuing to bake cupcakes for this “cupcake hater.” We also took an informal Facebook poll of whether people liked cookies or cupcakes better, and the numbers were very close. I was surprised – I thought it would be cupcakes by a landslide! It was then that I realized it was time for me to expand my baking horizons.

Indeed, if I was in it for the long haul in this relationship, I’d have to tackle the cookie. And, not the pre-made cookie dough kind. Nope, it was time to make a cookie from scratch.

Cole Says: Look, I like having you around, but if this relationship is going to work, you're going to need to bake some cookies! (and drop dough on the ground for me)

Cole Says: Look, I like having you around, but if this relationship is going to work, you’re going to need to bake some cookies! (and drop dough on the ground for me)

Last winter break, I finally had some spare time, so I headed upstate to my “country home” to stay with the BF, and I decided it was time to bite the bullet. I baked some sort of cookie with Andes mints using a recipe, and they turned out ok…not great. But ok.

That was six months ago, and I haven’t baked a cookie since! That’s why it seemed like a great idea to make creating my very own cookie recipe my next Kitchen Adventure.

I came across this AMAZING post by Baker Bettie on using baking science to make your own cookie recipe. It was fascinating! This girl breaks down literally every component in a cookie from flavor profiles to different kinds of fats and binders. She then shows you how to alter different variables to get the exact cookie you want, whether it’s crispy, cakey or doughy. I highly suggest you read this post if you are cookie-challenged like me.

blankcookiewarsposter

I studied the post VERY diligently, and armed with this knowledge and some fun ingredients, I set out to bake the perfect Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookie last Thursday.

I carefully measured, mixed and baked, making quite a mess along the way. This Sometimes Healthy Girl cannot be trusted with a mixer. Without fail, I will always splash the contents of the bowl all over the kitchen.

Danger! Hot mess with a mixer.

Danger! Hot mess with a mixer.

Thankfully, most of the dough stayed in the bowl…and I now have a very fool-proof “clean-up crew” in the form of a 70 lb black lab (thanks Cole!).

DON'T MOVE! I got it, I got it!

DON’T MOVE! I got it, I got it!

I had some difficulty getting the cookies to bake through and the finished product was a dense, yet delicious cookie. BF approved! The flavors definitely worked well together.

This one's just too thick...

This one’s just too thick…

However, I had set out to make a crispy cookie, not a thick, dense, somewhat dry cookie. The perfectionist in me was NOT satisfied.

Yesterday, I was at it again, and I changed up a few things:

The resulting cookie was everything I had hoped for and more! It was crisp, yet moist and flavorful. The coconut flavor was much stronger, and the secret ingredient pulled it all together.

Bam!

Bam!

Sea salt!

I’m obsessed with this stuff – it always takes a dish to the next level, and it definitely added the “it” factor to my very first cookie creation.

So, without further delay (or babble), here’s the recipe!

P1010228 Salted Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Bake Time: 12 – 15 minutes per batch

Ingredients: (yields 2 dozen medium sized cookies)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp sea salt/kosher salt
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Directions: 

If you REALLY want a crispy cookie, the BF shared a tip with me: bake on a pizza stone! We baked a few of the cookies this way, and they were ultra crispy. I myself prefer a little less crisp, but I can always separate a few from the batch and bake them this way for the BF.

Pizza Stone Baking 101

Pizza Stone Baking 101

Here’s the play-by-play of what went down in the kitchen:

cookie time!

I’ll definitely be making these cookies again, because the flavor combo was spot-on!

P1010228

Crispy perfection.

They are also very tasty dipped in Almond Milk!

P1010229

It’s like an Almond Joy (almond milk, dark chocolate and coconut…can’t go wrong).

I’m going to have to put these cookies on lockdown…or the Cookie Monster (BF) is going to eat them all in one sitting!

Here.comes.the.cookie.monster.

Here.comes.the.cookie.monster.

I’m off to take the puppy for a run and burn off a few of those cookies. Enjoy your weekend and please, bake some cookies!

I’d like to try my cookie/cupcake poll one more time, because I believe the last results were wrong: WHAT’S YOUR PREFERENCE? CUPCAKES OR COOKIES?

Please share in the comments section.

I’d also love some suggestions for new flavor combinations to try next time! Throw ‘em at me!

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