Category Archives: cookies

Coconut Lime Macaroons

So I mentioned to save those six egg whites from the Sour Cherry Grand Marnier Creme Brulee, but it’s taken a while to post a recipe.  But that seems to be life.  I’ve been in a post New Year’s state making lists of what I value, writing up a personal mission statement and embracing how life is so good.  In July I was dredging through the seas of anxiety & fear, while September came and it was more like wading.  Fear has plagued me in the past(I’m probably not the only one), and it crept up its little head again.

What I have been embracing is the present.

Looking at the little things that bring joy into my life.  Those little things when you add them all up they are exponentially greater than any fear trying to budge its way into your heart & mind.

Little things…infectious laughter of my two year old, the smile on my four year old when I pick her up from the bus, the warmth of Ben’s hand on my back, special snapshot moments with friends that remind me of heaven and sharing these little macaroons with friends while watching Anne of Green Gables.  What little things remind you of joy in this present?

A Year Ago: Grapefruit Yogurt Loaf Cake & Palace Temple & Hospitality

Coconut Lime Macaroons (printable recipe)

These little gems are perfect after you finished making the sour cherry creme brûlée, due to the leftover egg whites.  I love limes and I love coconut, so they are pretty much a great combination.  Plus, they’re a non-fuss sort of treat.

Ingredients:

6 egg whites, room temperature

1/2 cup agave nectar, or raw honey

2 cups almond flour

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

zest of one lime

1/4 tsp lime oil

Frosting:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

zest of 1/2 lime

juice of 1/2 lime

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on high speed until the egg whites are medium peaks.  Add the agave nectar or honey and salt and whip again until stiff peaks.

In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, unsweetened coconut, lime zest & lime oil.  Combine.  Pour 1/3 of dry ingredients into whipped egg whites and fold it into the egg whites.  Continue with remaining 2/3 (in 1/3 portions) until the wet & dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Using a cookie scoop (about 2 Tb), scoop dough and place on the lined baking sheet 1 inch apart.  Bake for 15 minutes (look for slightly browned parts on the top, but overall white).  Cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Make the frosting: Sift the powdered sugar.  Add in the butter and blend it all together using a fork.  Add the lime juice & zest.  Mix until it’s creamed together.  Taste.  If you need a bit more lime taste, then add a bit more zest.

Frost the tops of cooled macaroons.  Serve and eat!

If you want to opt out with the frosting, then up the agave or honey to 3/4 cup in the macaroons.
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Tasty Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was in the children section at a bookstore with my friend Tina.  We were recalling some of our favorite childhood books.  I pulled out Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with nostalgic fondness.  I remember thinking how amazing it would be if meatballs fell from the sky, and as a child I daydreamed about it.  Then, there was Stone Soup, another favorite with ingredients like carrots, beef, potatoes & barley.  I never had barley at that time, but it sounded wonderful.  As I continued to pull out books there was a common theme Tina pointed out…FOOD.  She said, “Kamille, you’ve always been a foodie.”

Never gave it much thought, but I guess she’s right.  I still have my first cookbook from age 7, Mickey Mouse Cookbook with little notes inside.  One of my favorite treats is checking out cookbooks from the library.  When Tayers was born, I seriously had at least 10 cookbooks from the library (you know to read while nursing, etc).  And what is it with the fascination with Food magazines.  How many recipes does one truly need for Chocolate Cake, brownies, or apple pie?  And if you look through my recipes you’ll see that I have three different chocolate chip cookie recipes available.  So you might wonder why I’m offering you another one.  Well, I haven’t done much baking lately and I’ve been trying to eliminate wheat flour from our diet; however, I wanted to make a special New Year’s Day treat, which could be made fairly quickly.  I adapted my Superlative Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe with this one to make it a paleofied version.  As Ben said after eating one, “these are good and not just Paleo good,” meaning they don’t taste like they’re a second rate version.

A Year Ago: Quicky Sticky Biscuits

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (printable recipe)

I love my Superlative Chocolate Chip Cookies and these ones are even more moist, and possibly better.  This is the first time I have used coconut sugar.  It didn’t make the cookies taste like coconut either.

Ingredients:

3 1/3 cups (8 3/4 ounces) almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

10 Tb unsalted butter

1 cup coconut sugar

1 tsp Celtic sea salt

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

4 ounces Valhrona chocolate (82% cacao), chopped into small pieces

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Vanilla sea salt, or flaked sea salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 350.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.  Measure almond flour & baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.

On medium heat, melt 8 Tb of butter in a pan, constantly swirling until the butter is browned and smells like yummy toasted nuts (about 3 -4 minutes).  Pour the melted butter into a metal bowl, while trying to leave the bits in the pan.  Add the remainder 2 Tb of butter to melted butter and stir till it’s all melted.  Add the sugar, vanilla & salt and thoroughly combine.  Add the egg & egg yolk and mix for 30 seconds then allow it to rest for 1 minute.  Continue to mix for 30 seconds again, then rest for 1 minute and repeat one more time.

Add the almond flour & baking soda to the wet mixture and stir to combine.  Add in the chopped chocolate & pecans and mix throughout.  Place 2 Tb of dough onto the parchment paper, spaced 2 inches apart.  Sprinkle vanilla salt or flaked sea salt on top of dough.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Let cool completely on pan and then remove.


Cookies & Tea with Orange Cardamom Cookies

Being a semi-food blogger, it isn’t uncommon that I’m typically creating new recipes, while neglecting some of my older ones.  Today I’m making cookies for college Freshmen with the theme being, “Tea & Cookies.”  I knew the perfect cookie should be tried & true, which is my Orange Cardamom Cookies.  And just in case you think otherwise, here’s a little video from a year ago with my sweet Veronica helping me make them.


Sour Cream Apple Crumble Bars

I will continue to love Autumn more than any season, and I don’t think it will ever leave, to which I’m grateful.  The vibrant colors alone rap my heartstrings (doesn’t take much).  And nothing says Fall quite like the wafting aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & cloves.  Puddle jumping never seemed so invigorating.  Then, there’s the visit to the pumpkin patch or apple orchards, while bundled up in “sweater weather” with the crisp air and crunch of the leaves with each step.  Oh Autumn, can you stay like this well into late November?  Autumn seems to call out, “come inside, bundle up, sip some cider by the fire, and be.”

 

 

How they smile for the picture

 

With the busyness of summer feeling a bit nomadic, Autumn let’s us know that it’s okay to be sedentary, to regroup and develop a game plan (fitting that football is in the Fall) of where you’re going next.  I’m reminded of traditions being rekindled or brand new ones beginning.  I know our family has been like running one 800 meter to the next without a time to catch our breath, much less time to ‘know’ one another.  This season reminds me of how I can make room for the new college student who has moved to town as well; but, it reminds me that if my family is on a constant chase without any reprieve, then it’s pointless.

I rarely make dessert specifically to be eaten after dinner, but sometimes having dessert planned with dinner when you’re not having guests over can be…well, special.  And I think making a dessert for my family, unannounced communicates that I think they’re pretty darn special.  These Sour Cream Apple Crumble Bars are perfect for that.  Plus, they taste better the next day.  So, you don’t have to be in the kitchen making dinner & dessert all for the same meal.  They’re wonderful, and these little gems are sure to procure you praise for at least a couple of days (reason enough to make them).  I would love to hear what you do to usher in Autumn!

A Year Ago: Rarely for the Planned

Sour Cream Apple Crumble Bars (printable recipe)

This recipe is adapted from The Good Cookie cookbook.  It reminds me of an apple pie baked from Dutch Mothers in Lynden, WA, but without having to deal with the rolling & chilling that comes from making a pie crust.  The key is to let it cool to get the best overall taste.


Crust:

1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
1/3 cup unrefined evaporated cane juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp cold water
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Apple Filling:

1 pound Jonamac apples; peeled, cored, & sliced into 1/2 inch slices
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tb apple juice or cider
2 tsp cornstarch
2 Tb brandy
4 Tb unsalted butter
1/2 cup rapadura sugar

Topping:

1 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup unrefined sugar (evaporated cane juice)
1/3 cup rapadura sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Sour Cream Mixture:

1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

Make the crust: In a food processor, add the flour, sugar, & salt, combine 30 seconds.  Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, pulse 6-8 times.  In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk, cold water & vanilla.  Then, with the food processor running, add the liquid and combine for 15-20 seconds.  Dump the dough into a 9-inch square pan and pat it down evenly with your hands.  Bake in preheated oven of 350 for 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Make Apple Filling: In a medium bowl, combine the peeled/cored/sliced apples, lemon juice, cornstarch, brandy, & apple juice.  Toss it around and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Once the butter is melted, add the sugar to cook.  Stirring constantly until there are no more lumps.  Add the apple mixture and bring to a boil.  Cook for 5 minutes, or till the apples are soft on the outside but still slightly crunchy inside.  Empty contents into a bowl and allow to cool completely.

Make the topping
: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon & salt.  Add the melted butter and mix with a fork, stirring until the dry ingredients are all moistened.  Set aside.

Make the Sour Cream Mixture:
In a small bowl, whisk the egg until well blended.  Add the sour cream, cinnamon & salt to the whisked egg and whisk till combined.

Assembling the bars:
Take the sour cream mixture and combine it with the apple filling.  Stir well and spread evenly on the baked crust.  Sprinkle the topping evenly over the sour cream apple mixture.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and set.  Cool the bars completely before serving.  You can dive right in if you’d like; however, they taste so much better when they’re completely cooled.


Zucchini Walnut Anise Sandwich Cookies

Before I get to these lovelies, (which I’m sure you’re dying to try) I have been reminiscing of high school gym class.  Worst yet, first day of gym class as a freshman.  Oh, and it’s co-ed.  For me, nothing could have been worse.  I wasn’t uncoordinated or even the last to be picked for teams in gym, so it wasn’t about that portion.  It was about the vulnerability.  That ever-present reality of who you were standing there in rows, waiting for warm up in that all too often awkward gym uniform, while  sizing up who could be below you.  It wasn’t like your academic classes, where you could hide your test scores or become the shadow on the wall (at least you were in your full clothing to say the least).

But gym class.  For the dreadfully modest, awkward body shapes, and lack of strengthened muscles–it was like watching the “all humiliation channel.”  And for a person who has never been the “jock,” I think that’s what working out/exercising can be like at times.  So when I was considering joining Jogo Crossfit, it was as if all these fears of 9th grade gym class flooded my system.  Was I going to be able to keep up?  How out of shape am I?  What if I can’t do the exercises required?  What if people are sizing me up?  Oi Vye!  The night before my first class I got those butterflies in my stomach (along with the multiple questions).

Yet, what I found was something so different.  When we were set up doing running warm ups, I was without a partner, which meant I would run by myself.  I was fine with this, but so surprised by one of my fellow Jogo teammates, that he came back to run every single warm up with me.  He did double time.  Everyone was encouraging me saying, “Good job!”  But not in that, “we’re saying this because we have to” way, but in the, “I’ve been there, we’ve all been there..and you’re honestly doing a good job,” way.  I never thought you could be hospitable in a gym setting, but I feel like I found it here.  It’s community being embraced.  It’s working as hard as you can without sizing someone up and encouraging others toward the goal.  It’s vulnerability and allowing others to see my weaknesses, while embracing where I’m at without comparison.

It’s hard, really hard, but good.  In fact, I think it was due to me getting some hardcore exercise that gave me energy to make these here cookies.  I’ve had them on the dock in my memory bank for a while and I think I hit a home run with them.  They make use of the ever abundant summer zucchini (so why just use it for zucchini bread?).  The honey-anise cream cheese brings it together with great harmony.  I love the soft taste of zucchini with the licorice-fennel taste of the anise and crunch of the walnuts.  And if you just exercised a bit, then these whole wheat & unrefined sugar treats won’t make you feel like it was done in vain.  So what are you waiting for?

Zucchini Walnut Anise Sandwich Cookies (printable recipe)

These cookies have an every so subtle hint of anise, which pairs lovely with the summer zucchini & honeyed cream cheese.  And by using whole wheat flour you feel a bit healthier eating more than one cookie.  Use a box grater for the zucchini and be sure to squeeze out the water, as zucchini is full of it.

Zucchini Walnut Anise Cookies:

1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened

1/2 cup Sucanat sugar

1/4 cup rapadura sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1/2 tsp anise extract flavoring

1 1/4 cup grated zucchini, squeeze out the additional water

2/3  cup toasted & chopped walnuts

Honey-Anise Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounce cream cheese

1/4 cup honey, mild flavor

2 tsp anise extract

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350.  Combine all the dry ingredients into a small bowl.  Beat the butter for 30 seconds on medium speed in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.  Add in both sugars & beat on medium speed for another 30 seconds.  Scrape the sides down.  With the mixer on low-speed, add the egg & anise extract.  Mix until combined.  While the mixer is still on low-speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until completely combined.  Squeeze out the water in the zucchini before you add it to the dough. Add the zucchini and mix until it is evenly distributed.  Then, add the walnuts and briefly mix just until they are combined.

On parchment lined sheets, drop one tablespoon of dough at a time, 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake for 12-14 minutes.  Put on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to foil or parchment sheet.

Make frosting: Put cream cheese in bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 30 seconds on medium speed.  Add honey & anise flavoring, beat for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Putting together: Put about 2 Tb of frosting on one upside down cookie and take another cookie (without frosting) and sandwich together.  Makes about 15-20 cookie sandwiches.


Sandwich Cookie Bakery & Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Before I tell you about these wonderful little gems, let me digress.  I have this little dream of opening a bakery.  It’s a fantasy really, because in reality I know I will most likely not ever do it.  The realism side in me shines brightly during these visions of grandeur.  I see the long hours, the upfront costs and the early morning hours.  So, someone else with the will can go ahead of me and follow their dream.  However, if I did open a shop that I truly believe would succeed, it would be a Sandwich Cookie Bakery Shop. Cupcakes are so seven years ago, but cookies in sandwich form are going to be popping up.  I’m convinced of it.  If you stroll around the blogosphere, it’s all about the “whoopie pie,” which people loosely tie with what I deem as the coveted Sandwich Cookie.

If you’re in the mood for a cupcake without the all too often top heavy frosting, then make some of these sandwich cookies I’ve made over the past year.

Rhubarb Sandwich Cookies with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Homemade Graham Cracker Sandwiches

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Lemon Cookies with Coconut & Lemon Filling

Make Your Own Oreos

My Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies

Tomorrow is my birthday and I thought providing another cookie recipe would be a fantastic addition to your day, especially since I haven’t added any new recipes lately.  I baked for a woman’s tea this past week through Ben’s financial company, which was a nice break from motherhood and a time to have people ‘ooo’ & ‘aww’ over my food (so easy to win me over).  And since it was an afternoon tea, I knew a butter shortbread cookie would be great; but, a Lemon Lavender Butter Cookie would be perfect.  So now to the recipe.

Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookie (printable recipe)

This recipe has also been used to make the Orange Cardamom Cookies & Bursting with Delight Lime Cookies .  Both of those had an icing on top and these Lemon Lavender Cookies would be perfect with a honey glaze.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons culinary lavender
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Make dough:
Whisk together flour, lemon zest, lavender, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in yolk and cream. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches just until a dough forms. Put the dough on parchment paper.

Mound the dough together and roll into a log. Once you get a basic log shape, position the dough in the middle of the parchment. Then, take the parchment that’s north of the dough and cover it over the dough. Take a bench scraper and push the edge of it at the base of the parchment covered dough, trying to make a concentric log. Roll the log so the parchment covers the whole thing and twist the edges. Refrigerate for 3 hours to overnight.

Cut and bake cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Remove firm dough. Unroll the parchment so the dough is still sitting on top of the paper. Place on a cutting board. Cut the dough into 1/8 inch. Transfer cookies to a parchment-lined large baking sheet, arranging them 1 inch apart.

Bake until edges are golden-brown, 12-15 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then slide cookies, still on parchment, onto a rack to cool completely.


Rhubarb Sandwich Cookies with Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling

Our house definitely looks “lived in” right now.  Library books all around, artwork hung to dry on the mantle, and a deep freezer & other patio items inside our house as well.  All the decks in our condo are being cleaned, sanded & repainted this week, which means bringing in everything or putting it in the scarce space in front of our house.  Hence–a deep freezer in our living room.

There are times in life when embracing the “lived in” motif is needed.  Trying to escape it, hide it, or tackle it is just adding more stress and less time for the people around us.  It’s easy for me to put on my tunnel vision goggles and charge straight ahead in cleaning up without giving a second glance at the nudging of a little girl wanting her mama to dance with her, or sitting down to talk to my husband.  When I think about the land of Facebook, there are some people who are proudly seated on their ‘anti-FB’ platform.  I get it, really I do.  Waste away hours by being sucked in.  However, I propose that FB is also community, an arena for hospitality.

For instance, my friend Shelley wouldn’t have known I was making these cookies if I hadn’t put it in my update.  And, she wouldn’t have had the opportunity of eating them either (because I got to drop some off to her later). Although there are many ways in which technology can suck us in and turn others out, I think if our priorities are straight, it can be a good thing.

Rhubarb Sandwich Cookies with Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling

(printable recipe)

A note about the sugars.  Demerara is an unrefined equivalent to brown sugar, while rapadura is an unrefined equivalent to granulated sugar.  Rapadura looks similar to sand.  Since neither are refined, they have a more complex taste & smell, which is similar to caramel & molasses.  If you don’t have oat bran on hand, you could pulverize (food processor) 1/4 cup of oats.  The whole wheat pastry flour could be replaced with unbleached all-purpose flour as well.
Ingredients:

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup oat bran
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground cardamom
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 Tb (1 stick or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup demerara sugar
1/4 cup rapadura sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature
1 cup medium diced rhubarb, 1/4 in

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting & Directions

Directions: Preheat oven to 350.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Take out your eggs & butter to get them to room temperature.

In a small bowl, add oats, oat bran, w.w. pastry flour, spices, baking soda & salt.  Mix to combine and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream on medium speed the two sugars, butter & vanilla for 1 minute.  Scrape down sides and add the egg on low speed.  Mix till combined and add the dry ingredients.  Mix till thoroughly combined and add the rhubarb.

Using a tablespoon, scoop a leveled Tb of cookie dough on parchment lined sheets leaving 1 1/2 -2 inches apart.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack till cookies are cool and transfer to foil.

Put 2 tsp of frosting on one turned over cookie.  Take an unfrosted cookie and sandwich it together.  Makes about 20 cookies.


My Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies

Ben and I just got back today from San Diego, while our girls were graciously taken care of by Ben’s folks.  The downside of our trip was recovering from the sickness that invaded our family & I still carried the first couple days in southern California.  It was great though.  I got to read without interruption, enjoy sunshine & the salty breeze from the ocean, and spend a lot of time with my wonderful, dear friend Veronica.  It was a real treat (thank you Steve & Cherie!).

These cookies are also a real treat.  They are addictive with that last note of saltiness to draw you in to take another bite.  As far as the real Little Debbie’s in the sealed bag found in the white box–not completely a fan.  Ben on the other hand is a fan.  Once when we were in the store he picked up a box of Little Debbie’s Oatmeal Cream Pies and said he wanted to buy them.  In my haste & grandiose perception of what may not be so easily attainable I say, “Oh, don’t buy that…I could make that!”  The problem being–is I have been known to say those last four words many a times, especially at the moment when (specifically) Ben wants the designated said item right then (not two weeks later).

However, there was a time when I followed through on my “I could make that,” by making these Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies.  And you would do everyone in your household or work a favor by chanting, “I did make that!”  My girls were sure to speak the praises through continuous, “MMMM!”

Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies (printable recipe)

This recipe is revised from one online (one of those copycat kinds); however, as I truly don’t like using shortening if at all possible–I omitted it from the filling & used butter instead.  If you want a more firm filling like that found in the store kind, then use shortening where you see butter in the creme filling portion.  These cookies are very moist. If you want them a bit more firm, then try putting them in the fridge for a while to firm them up.

Cookies

1 cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup rapadura sugar
1 Tb molasses
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ cups Quick Cooking Oats

crème Filling

2 tsp very hot water
¼ tsp salt
2 cups marshmallow crème (7-ounce jar)
½ cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla

Directions for Cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugars, molasses, vanilla & eggs for 1 minute. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda & cinnamon. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients until just combined. Mix in the oats.

Using a cookie scooper (2 Tb), drop onto lined baking sheet, two inches apart. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, or until the cookies are just starting to darken around the edges. They will still appear moist in the center. Be careful not to over bake them. Transfer cookies on hot sheet to a wire rack and let sit for 10 minutes and transfer to foil.

Filling: While your cookies are baking, prepare the filling. Use a small bowl to dissolve the salt in 2 teaspoons of very hot water. Set this solution aside to cool. Combine the marshmallow crème, ½ cup butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl and mix well with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Add the cooled salt solution to the filling mixture and combine with the mixer.

Assembling: Distribute the crème filling evenly amongst half of the cookies. Take the other cookie and put on top of the crème cookie, pressing gently to make a sandwich.


Lemons for Lindsey

Coconut Cream Cheese Filling

My good friend Lindsey’s birthday was last weekend and I know my practical gifts of love made in my kitchen are always a sure hit with people, especially Lindsey who never hesitates to sing my culinary praises.  In fact, if I’m feeling a bit blue, I can ask Lindsey what she liked about my latest creation & by the end—I’m encouraged.  Ya know, sometimes it doesn’t take much.

When I asked Lindsey what her favorite type of flavors or desserts were she said, “Lemon, not pie or cake–not so much!”  Well, I understood what she was talking about.  Because I really like lemon desserts, but lemon meringue & a lemon cake (or should I say lemon filling) doesn’t sit well with me.  I do like lemon curd though & lemon tart; however, the meringue atop a lemon pie is so sad most of the time.  And the lemon filling in cakes is typically poorly done.  I knew what she needed was lemon sandwich cookies, but all the recipes you would come across for lemon sandwiches are the rolled out kind and this tired mama wasn’t feelin’ it after putting my girls down for bed & cleaning up the chaotic remains.

So after perusing my cookbooks I came across this Vanilla Sugar Cookie and knew it could easily be adapted to suit that lemon hankering I was seeking.  I thought I would make two different kinds of frosting to spice things up a bit.  And since I wasn’t about to go and buy more cream cheese than what my fridge was holding, I did what any inventive baker would do–split it in half & say a blessing to see if the frosting would multiply like the loaves & fish.  Some had lemon & some had coconut filling.  And I would say both hit a great spot with just the right amount of lemon in the cookie.  Ben even said, “These are pretty good for a lemon cookie, because I don’t like lemon cookies.”  And he ate more than one.

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling

Lemon Sandwich Cookies with Coconut & Lemon Filling (printable recipe)

I was inspired by the Vanilla Sugar Cookie in The Good Cookie Cookbook.  I wanted to make a lemon cookie and used two different fillings.  One is a lemon filling, while the other is coconut filling.  You choose what you like best..or do both!

Cookie Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar
zest from one lemon (about 2 Tb)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ tsp lemon essence
squeezed juice of one half lemon
Coarse sugar (turbinado) for sprinkling

Coconut Filling Ingredients & Lemon Filling Ingredients

½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp coconut extract
1 cup sweetened coconut
½ to 1 tsp lemon essence

Directions for cookies: Preheat the oven to 375.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silipat.

Put the granulated sugar into a bowl and add the lemon zest to the sugar.  Using your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar, in order to get as much of the oil out of the zest as possible.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, & salt and set aside.

In a mixer bowl, add the butter and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute.  Add powdered sugar & the lemon zest sugar to the butter, beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, till the mixture is light & fluffy.  Turn off the mixer and add one egg at a time, briefly beating at low speed just until the egg is combined.  Add lemon essence & lemon juice and mix for about 10 seconds.  With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients until it’s all combined.

Put about ½ cup of coarse sugar in a bowl, then take the other half of the lemon and do one light squeeze onto the sugar.  It will get the sugar a bit wet, but not drenching it.  Have your hands lightly wet, put one tablespoon of dough in your hand and roll it to make a ball.  Continue doing this placing the rolled dough 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheet.  Either roll the balls around in the lemon turbinado sugar or sprinkle the lemon turbinado sugar on top.  Lightly press down on each ball, so you’re making them into a circle (not too much & not too little either).  Bake for 9-11 minutes.

Put on a cooling rack and let them cool for about 5 minutes.  Remove and put on aluminum paper.  Meanwhile, make the frosting.

Directions for Frosting: Beat the butter in your stand mixer on medium speed for 1 minute.  It should be light & fluffy.  Now add the cream cheese in halved pieces and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, still on medium speed.  Turn mixer down to low and slowly add powdered sugar.  Once the powdered sugar has been fully incorporated, then turn up the speed to medium and beat for an additional 30 seconds.

Get out a medium bowl and scoop out 1/3 of the frosting.  Add ½ tsp of lemon essence to the bowl and mix thoroughly.  Set aside and there is your lemon frosting.

Add the 1 cup sweetened coconut & 1 tsp coconut extract, mix thoroughly and there is your coconut frosting.

Assembling:
You might have assorted sizes, so match up the ones most similar and begin frosting by putting about 1 tablespoon of frosting on each cookie smoothing it out and put another cookie on top.  Then eat one or two to sample, so you can attest to their goodness to your family & friends.


Bursting with Delight Cookies

Not only are these cookies bursting with delight, but I have been reflecting upon this notion as I await what the Christian world calls “Holy Week” or “Passion Week.”  As my girls took their nap today, I was folding laundry listening to the song, ‘O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus.’  One of the lines says, “How he loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore…how for them he intercedeth.”  I was struck by how great his love is for me.  When I was a little girl I would stand up on mall benches and sing “Jesus Loves Me.”  When people would ask me why I believed in Jesus, I would respond with, “why wouldn’t I (this at a very young age).”

I think it’s because I was drawn to Jesus’ incredible love.  I knew he was good, but not just good as in the superhero fighting the villain, it was much deeper than that.  And as my oldest is three understanding more concepts, listening to all the stories we tell her, taking initiative in conversations & thoughtfulness, I’m seeing how at such a young age–Jesus makes sense.  I was reading to her some Bible stories, very simplistic in nature, and it came to the part where Jesus was being crucified (like I said, it was simplistic, not the Passion in full swing) where she had a sadness in her eye.  I could identify with that sadness and conjure it up from when I was her age, because I like her, could see why it was so sad.  It was sad & lonely, because this person who was so incredibly good & just was being robbed of life.

But the part in which I burst forth, as did she, was when we soon realized that wasn’t the end of the story, but Jesus overcame death, bursting forth from the tomb–leaving it empty.   I could see the shadow of sadness quickly being replaced with joy & hope in my three year old’s eyes.  And as I saw in this child illustrated Bible, feet on a cross, my eyes got misty connecting with the same mourning my daughter was feeling.  But, unlike watching a fake romance movie Hollywood has portrayed giving us hope deferred & hope renewed–this is such a better love story.  This is a love story even a three year old understands to be true & wholeheartedly genuine.

And even though we rarely think about feasting upon cookies during this season of Lent (most people giving them up), I do offer you a burst of delight upon your senses (not that I think these compare to the Easter story at all).  I made these cookies for my mom getaway a couple weeks back and I find they have a wonderful marriage with sour, freshness of the lime, the creamy depth of the cream cheese, the buttery, saltiness of the caramel and the crunch & melding of it all with the macadamia nuts.  I like how the flavors blend, some pack more of a punch, while others leave a nice undertone on in your mouth.

I think that’s why I find these cookies applicable with this post–it’s about awakening the senses.  So as you might read the Passion story for the first time or the 70th time, notice how much of the story deals with smell, touch, taste, sight, & sound.  How Jesus reached us with our senses.  How the Lenten season is typically about denying the senses, yet as Jesus burst forth from the tomb on Easter morning–we burst forth in celebration with him to feast in a hope no longer deferred.

Burst Delights (printable recipe)

I used my Orange Cardamom Cookies as the base for these Lime-Cream Cheese-Macadamia Nut-Caramel Cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lime zest
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts, measure out 1/4 cup and finely chop it up
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 lime for juice

Cream Cheese-Caramel Icing

  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup homemade caramel sauce (or store bought)
  • splash of lime oil essence (or extract)
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest

Make dough:
Whisk together flour, zest, 3 Tb. finely ground macadamia nuts, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then beat in yolk and cream. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches just until a dough forms. Put the dough on parchment paper.

Mound the dough together and roll into a log. Once you get a basic log shape, position the dough in the middle of the parchment. Then, take the parchment that’s north of the dough and cover it over the dough. Take a bench scraper and push the edge of it at the base of the parchment covered dough, trying to make a concentric log. Roll the log so the parchment covers the whole thing and twist the edges. Refrigerate for 3 hours to overnight (if you want to speed the process, then place in freezer for about 30 minutes to 1 hour).

Cut and bake cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Remove firm dough. Unroll the parchment so the dough is still sitting on top of the paper. Place on a cutting board. Cut the dough into 1/8 inch. Transfer cookies to a parchment-lined large baking sheet, arranging them 1 inch apart.

Bake until edges are golden-brown, 12-15 minutes. While the cookies are still warm, slice the zested lime in half and squeeze the juice over the cookies.  The cookies will absorb the juice and give the cookies that great lime kick.  Cool on baking sheet and arrange with below directions.

Make Icing:

Put the whipped cream cheese in a small bowl and add 1 Tb of caramel sauce at a time.  Mixing to get a balance of caramel & cream cheese.  Then add some lime essence, just a splash.  You want to have a balance of the flavors.  Not too much of the lime, but enough to have it stand out.

Putting them together:

With a spoon, put about 1/2 teaspoon icing on each cookie & swirl around.  Drizzle caramel over the cookies with a fork or spoon.  Sprinkle with remaining chopped macadamia nut & lime zest.