Ina’s (and Beatty’s) Chocolate Cake

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I feel like the world is made up of cake people and non-cake people, and then within the “cake people” category there are chocolate cake people and… other kinds of cake people? I’m not a huge cake person, nor really a chocolate person, so I certainly can’t claim to be a chocolate cake person.  I do, however, aspire to be a good hostess, so when we were having a big family birthday party for my brother-in-law last month and half an hour before people were scheduled to arrive I realized there was no dessert, I sought to rectify the situation. My brother-in-law is very much a cake person, and specifically, very much a chocolate cake person. So I did a quick google search for chocolate cake and this was the first recipe to pop up.  Since Ina would never steer me wrong, and since miraculously I had all ingredients on hand, I quickly whipped up the batter, greased and floured two round pans (the fact that I not only had all the ingredients but two matching round cake pans tells me that the chocolate cake gods were really on my side this particular evening), and slid the cake into the oven right as the guests were arriving.  And as it turned out, it was a huge hit with cake people and non-cake people alike, which I took to mean that it belongs on B&B (where as I’ve said before, we do things mainly for the accolades).

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For some reason, I read the name of the cake that night when I was a bit frazzled and just assumed it was named after Warren Beatty. So for a time I was calling it Warren Beatty’s Chocolate Cake, which makes no sense. As it turns out, in the episode where she introduces the recipe, Ina is making the cake for her friend Michael and is using his grandmother’s recipe – Beatty is Michael’s grandmother’s name. (Pronounced Betty. But you can understand my confusion). I just thought I should share that before we go any further, so that you don’t make the same mistake.

When I made this the first time, I used a vanilla buttercream frosting rather than the chocolate frosting Grandma Beatty uses (if there’s one thing I know about my brother-in-law, it’s that he loves chocolate cake with white frosting). When I made it again for another family birthday last week, I used Grandma Beatty’s version, to compare.  Both were delicious, although I will say (as a non-chocolate person), you definitely want some vanilla ice cream with the chocolate/chocolate version (and to be fair, even with the chocolate/vanilla I still wanted ice cream – possibly due to the fact that I’m more of an ice cream person than a cake person). Also, the chocolate frosting calls for a raw egg yolk – you could omit it without sacrificing too much, but if you follow the recipe as is just be mindful when serving to pregnant women or little kids.

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Since this is an Ina-approved recipe, it’s basically perfect as written, no need for me to give you any tips. I will say, DO use parchment as instructed – I didn’t the first time and had a hard time getting my cakes out of the pans; I used it the second time and they popped right out and then the parchment peeled right off (shown below, as I was pretty proud of myself). Ina doesn’t have you do a crumb layer, which I did just because I had the time and it always makes me feel like a real baker. If you have time (and freezer space), spread a very thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake and then pop it in the freezer for 20 minutes or so. Then when you finish icing it you won’t have any bothersome crumbs messing up your beautiful frosting job. And along those lines, my final note is to consider investing in an offest spatula – I took a cupcake decorating class at Williams-Sonoma a few years ago and the instructor practically forced us all to buy one, but I’ve used mine probably 100 times since. They really make icing any kind of cake or cupcake (sometimes even cookie) so much easier, and make your final product look so much better.  Because like I said, we’re in it for the accolades. And because cake person or not, everyone needs a beautifully-frosted Grandma Beatty’s Chocolate Cake in their repertoire.

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One Year Ago: Crunchy Cabbage Salad with Peanut Ginger Dressing 
Two Years Ago: My All-Time Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cakes, previously: Pops, Pumpkin, Rum, Berry Bundt (I think this is the first basic cake recipe for B&B – only took two and a half years!)

Beatty’s Chocolate Cake, from Barefoot Contessa

For the cake: 

Butter, for greasing pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for greasing pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

For the frosting: 

6 ounces good semi-sweet chocolate, such as Callebaut
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder

To make cake: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8″ x 2″ round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

To make frosting: 

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip!

To assemble cake: 

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

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Dark Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Bread

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Happy stormy Wednesday, friends! Can you believe this weather? The cool(er) temps were a nice reprieve for a day, but two days (or three, per the forecast) is just too much! Although it’s hard to complain about the weather when (a) we’ve had such a gorgeous summer so far, and (b) we have way more important things to talk about, like zucchini bread with chocolate chunks, or my new baby nephew.

When we last met, I was impatiently waiting for Baby P’s arrival.  Anticipating that things might be a little busy once he got here, I had a week’s worth of blog posts drafted and ready to go – all I had to do was hit publish.  But then he was born, and I fell head over heels in love and forgot I had a blog. Or a gym membership, or a blow dryer, for that matter.  All I want to do is hang out with Cooper. But since I would hate for those blog posts to go to waste, there are a lot of B&B treats heading to your inbox in the coming weeks: lentil salad, tomato tart, peach pie…..get excited.

First, though, zucchini bread.  August is the month for zucchini, and when you buy five at the farmers market and it turns out you only need one or two (for a galette or a tart or perhaps even something that doesn’t involve pie crust), zucchini bread is the perfect way to use up the rest. I had developed a nasty banana bread habit before zucchini season rolled around, but luckily this recipe has cured me of it.

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Zucchini bread always makes me think of two people, my uncle Rich and my friend Courteney. We have a “family cookbook” in my family, and the zucchini bread recipe in the cookbook is called “Uncle Rich’s Zucchini Bread.” I can’t remember if Uncle Rich actually makes zucchini bread, or if the cookbook publisher (yours truly) was in a rush to assign everyone a recipe and just put his name on something random (I’m pretty sure it’s the former, but I couldn’t swear to it). Regardless, zucchini bread now makes me think of Uncle Rich. And it also makes me think of Courteney, who is always asking me for the recipe for “Uncle Rich’s Zucchini Bread.”

This is one of those great recipes where you can literally just dump everything in one bowl and stir. Counting your food processor or grater, that’s only two dishes to wash. The cake comes out of the oven crunchy at the edges but with a delicate and not-too-sweet crumb, and then of course the dark chocolate chunks.  I had intended for this to be chocolate chip banana bread, but the Whole Foods baking aisle leaves a lot to be desired and I couldn’t find the chips I wanted – so I went with chunks and I’m so glad I did. It’s still a cake-y type bread, but the zucchini does a lot to alleviate the guilt (and there isn’t that much chocolate). The recipe yields two loaves (or in my case, one regular loaf and two mini loaves) and freezes well, so you can have one now and save one for later. I divided mine between a cousin who has a new baby and a friend recovering from surgery, and it was the perfect treat to wrap in foil and store in their freezers. But it would also be the perfect thing to make and eat yourself on a gray and thunderstorm-y August Wednesday, or to bring over as an excuse to visit your new baby nephew.  Lots of options for us. 

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Zucchini, previously: ricotta galette, carrot muffinssummer squash tart

One year ago: peach dumplings with bourbon hard sauce (one of my top two most popular B&B recipes, at least in terms of how many people told me they made them and loved them), and can we just relive for a moment the best party I ever threw?

Dark Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Bread (adapted from a variety of zucchini bread recipes)

Yield: two loaves, or four mini loaves (or in this case, one regular loaf and two mini)

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 cup oil (vegetable, olive, or coconut)
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
2 heaping cups grated, raw, unpeeled zucchini
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup dark chocolate chunks (or any chocolate chunk or chip of your choice)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two loaf pans or four mini loaf pans (I like to spray with “PAM for baking“). Crack your eggs into a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Add oil, sugar, and zucchini; mix well. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Fold in chocolate chunks (and nuts if using). Pour into loaf pans and bake for one hour (mini loaf pans will take about 45 minutes). Remove from pans and cool on wire rack.

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S’more Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Mackels'more cookie as part of an ice cream sandwich - doesn't that look light and healthy?

There’s a new hot spot in Seattle this summer: Hello Robin.  Seattle friends, have you been here yet? If not, you should probably go tonight.  It’s a concept I wish I had thought of myself: a gourmet bakery/cookie shop that also sells Molly Moon’s ice cream (there’s a Molly Moon’s walk-up window attached to the shop).  So although you could get a plain cookie or a plain cone (yawn), the idea is you pick two cookies and a flavor of ice cream and “make your own” ice cream sandwich. Brilliant, right?

I went with my cousin Christina a couple weeks ago, and having a much more adventurous palate (and a better metabolism) than I have, she created the above sandwich.  She was so excited about the “Mackles’more” cookie part (isn’t that name hilarious?) that I set out to make something similar myself.  And while I’m sure the Hello Robin version is way more gourmet (they use Theo chocolate, I used Hershey’s), these are super easy and dang good. 

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The cookie dough is the easy part. I used the recipe on the back of the Nestlé bag, but you could use whatever chocolate chip cookie recipe you like. I just used one and a half cups of chocolate chips and one and a half cups of marshmallows, for a total of three cups of “add ins” – the original recipe calls for two cups chocolate chips and one cup of nuts so I wanted to stick to three cups total. Mine turned out great, but you could definitely still use the full two cups of chocolate chips if you wanted to (although it would be a lot of chocolate with the Hershey bar on top). I’m not a huge nut-in-cookie person, but if you are, it would be fine to leave them in as well.

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The tricky part is how to bake them. Nestlé tells you to bake your cookies for 9-11 minutes, and I wanted mine on the under-done side, so I put the cookie dough balls on the graham cracker squares and set my timer for 9 minutes. When I took them out of the oven, the graham crackers were dark brown and toasty-looking and there was a faint burning smell. So, I decided to experiment with different baking times.

First, I baked the cookies without the graham crackers for 6 minutes. I then attempted to scoop them off the baking sheet and put them on the graham crackers and bake them together for the remaining 3 minutes. The problem was, at 6 minutes the cookies weren’t really cooked enough to stay in one piece when scooped up, especially as the marshmallow pieces tended to be really sticky. Most of the cookies survived, but it was messy. I tried again at 7 minutes – same issues, but slightly easier to pick up and reposition on the graham crackers. At this point I finally turned on my brain and remembered that even when you bake a cookie for the full amount of time, you still need to let them sit and “set up” for a couple minutes before you take them off the baking sheet. So for my fourth batch, I baked them for 7 minutes, took them out of the oven and let them sit for 2 minutes, scooped them up and put them on the graham crackers, and baked them for the remaining 2 minutes. They looked great, they didn’t make a huge mess when I scooped them up, and I felt really brilliant. And then ironically, Christina came over to taste test for me and what do you supposed her favorite version was? The original almost-burnt ones.  She said they tasted like a campfire – which I suppose is appropriate for s’mores. 

Taking a closer at the authentic Mackles’more pics, they look pretty toasty.  And if they’re making them in mass quantities, I doubt they’re stopping halfway through to scoop up half-baked cookies and put them onto graham crackers. Another bonus of cooking them for the entire time is that the graham crackers will stay crisp. So the next time I make these (which will be soon), I’ll go back to my original version (cookie dough on graham cracker from the beginning), but perhaps reduce the baking time for a minute, or bake them at 350 rather than 375.  Sorry for that way-too-detailed explanation, but I just wanted us all to be on the same page. Anyway….. 

Once the cookies are done and out of the oven (regardless of graham cracker baking time), immediately place a hershey piece and mini marshmallow in the center of the cookie. Serve warm – plain, or as part of an ice cream sandwich (if your metabolism is better than mine). 

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Chocolate chip cookies, previously: Oatmeal Coconut, Pumpkin 

Chocolate Chip S’more Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

For the Cookie Dough:*

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1.5 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1.5 cups miniature marshmallows

*Note: I used the basic chocolate chip recipe on the back of the Nestlé Tollhouse bag, only scaling back the chocolate chips a bit, omitting the nuts, and adding the marshmallows. You could use any chocolate chip cookie recipe you like so long as you add the marshmallows.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer with paddle attachment) until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Gently stir in chocolate chips and marshmallows.

For the S’mores:

Graham crackers, each cracker broken into two halves (as you would do for a s’more)
Miniature marshmallows
Hershey bars (one bar for every dozen cookies)

To Bake: 

Roll dough into approximately one-inch/teaspoon sized balls. Place 12 graham cracker halves face up on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and place cookie dough balls on top. Bake for 8-9 minutes (see detailed explanation, above). Remove tray from oven and before they cool too much (not longer than 1-2 minutes), gently press a hershey morsel and mini marshmallow into the warm cookie. Hershey piece will melt but will eventually re-harden, and both the chocolate and marshmallow will be set in the cookie.  Serve warm if possible (even putting them in a 200 degree oven for a couple minutes before serving will warm them up and melt the chocolate a little).

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Friday Faves: Easter Edition

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{antique ceramic bunny that belonged to my grandmother}

Happy Good Friday! I hope everyone is looking forward to a weekend full of sunshine (?), egg hunts, and chocolate. What are some of your favorite Easter traditions? I love going to mass with my family on Sunday morning – our parish has the most amazing choir and they sing almost all of my favorite “church songs” at Easter mass.  I used to love indulging in whatever I had given up for Lent at brunch, but this year I didn’t give up anything so I guess that’s out.  My eight year old cousin told me last night that Lent ends the Wednesday before Holy Thursday, has anyone ever heard of this?  He claims the priest at his school told his whole class.  Theoretically, the priest would know better than me, but I was skeptical so we looked it up and the answer isn’t entirely straightforward.  I’m choosing to stick with my lifelong understanding that Lent ends on Easter, but Nolan gave up chocolate this year and he really wanted to eat a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich last night, so he’s going with what his priest told him.  If anyone can shed any light on this debate, I would love to hear it in the comments.

I found some fun Easter links for you, and then dug up all of the old B&B recipes that I thought would be good for an Easter brunch (since I didn’t get it together to make anything new).  And then, of course, some faves from the week (three weeks in a row – I’m really on a roll!).  Wishing you all a wonderful Easter weekend!

  • 40 ways to decorate eggs
  • Last minute basket inspiration – I love the idea of the ceramic berry baskets (and just for the record, I had my Paper Source grass well before I saw this post!)
  • How adorable are these muffins? I’m trying to stay away from wheat but I might have to cheat and make/eat these on Sunday.
  • Remember when Easter meant a new dress? This year I would pick this one.
  • Easter egg cookies – easier than they look!

Easter on B&B, previously: Blueberry MuffinsLeek and Swiss Chard Tart, Blueberry Cornmeal Coffee Cake, Coconut Cupcakes and Carrot Muffins, Leek Bread Pudding and Coconut Loaf, Chocolate Peanut Butter Meringues

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{easter glassybaby: evelyn, grass (not available online), sweet pea, canary}

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{easter lilies}

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{bulk chocolate eggs}

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Everyone seemed to find it pretty odd that I made an Easter basket for a baby due this summer – I don’t really understand why, but I guess perhaps not everyone loves buying baby gifts as much as I do? I had so much fun putting it together – and someday Baby P will know how much I loved him even before he was born, even if his mother thinks I’m nuts. Basket and liner from Pottery Barn Kids, safari blanket from Serena & Lily, sleeper from Hanna Anderson, books from Amazon, bottle from Life Factory (and filled with peanut butter M&Ms, which might have been the hit of the basket), bunny lovey and rattle from Bunnies by the Bay, paper grass from Paper Source (seems minor, but good easter basket grass is harder to find than you might think!).

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Meringues

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A few weeks ago I posted a cookie recipe from Miraval, the spa I was lucky enough to visit back in February. I wrote about the cooking class we took, but what I failed to mention is what we snacked on during the cooking class. Meals at Miraval are pretty outrageous – at dinner you sit down and order off a menu, but for breakfast and lunch they have an amazing buffet where you can (mindfully) help yourself to all sorts of fresh, healthy foods.  Each day at lunchtime we got to pick from a beautiful salad bar, delicious soups, wraps, healthy entrées, etc. – and then there were always a few tiny treats to choose from as well.  The day my sister-in-law and I attended the cooking demo, they were serving these cookies – perfect timing because we were then able to ask the pastry chef about them in class (after everyone was not-so-mindfully going back for seconds).

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Kim, the pastry chef, told us these are one of the recipes people ask her for the most, and then proceeded to tell us how easy they are to make. Start with a basic meringue – egg whites plus sugar – and simply add chocolate and peanut butter. How have I not thought of this before? They’re a perfect Miraval treat as they’re relatively low fat/low cal, they’re naturally gluten free, and if you use dairy free chocolate chips you can make them dairy free as well. The recipe calls for organic peanut butter, I used Adam’s no stir creamy – there’s a fair amount of sugar in the meringue “batter” so I think the saltier the peanut butter, the better. Almond butter would also be really good. The recipe calls for mini semisweet chocolate chips, but I suspected these would be even more delicious with dark chocolate – and it turns out I was right. It’s all personal preference though, of course, so you could use whatever peanut butter and chocolate chips you like.

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Kim told us that the best way to stir the peanut butter into the batter is to put it in a ziplock bag, snip off a tiny corner, and “pipe” the peanut butter into the egg white mixture. I’m including the recipe as it appears in the cookbook, where it tells you to drop the peanut butter in by the spoonful, but Kim’s way is easy and fun. Next time I might try to use the piping bag to add it in in little tiny dollops, as my giant swirl needed a bit of stirring to mix into the egg whites, and that of course deflated them. They still turned it pretty dang good, however, and the chunks of peanut butter are my favorite part (I would love to make these with crunchy peanut butter next time, but worried the weight might deflate the egg whites even more).

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The cookbook lists chopped pecans as a topping for the cookies, but Kim used sliced almonds and they’re perfect with the delicate meringue (and will be even more perfect when I try these with almond butter). You could use any nut you like, however, or omit them entirely. No matter how you customize them, they’re simple and delicious. I’m not a huge chocolate person (the lemon raspberry cookies are really more my style), but of course I still ate quite a few of these while at Miraval, when my sis-in-law made them as soon as we were back, and of course now that they’re sitting on the counter while I type this. The best part is they’re practically guilt free – or at least as close to guilt free as you’re going to get when there’s chocolate and peanut butter in the title.  If you try them, let me know how you tweak them and how they turn out!

Miraval, previously: Magic Bars, Lemon Raspberry Cookies, Arugula Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Meringues, from Miraval’s Sweet & Savory Cooking

Yield: 20-30 cookies

3 egg whites
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup peanut butter (preferably organic)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup nuts, optional (chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, chopped peanuts, sliced or slivered almonds)

Heat the oven to 200 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Slowly add the sugar, and then the vanilla.

Drop spoonfuls of peanut butter throughout the meringue (or pipe as discussed above) and sprinkle the chocolate chips all over. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the peanut butter and chocolate chips into the meringue, leaving streaks of peanut butter throughout (you want it to stay in chunks rather than getting incorporated into the egg whites). Take care not to deflate the meringue (this is tricky, mine deflated a bit but my cookies were still ok).

Drop spoonfuls of meringue (about 3/4-ounce or 1 1/2 tablespoons) onto the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with nuts (if using). Bake for about 45 minutes (I got engrossed in the Patagonia sale online and mine accidentally stayed in for almost an hour – luckily they were ok). Test for doneness by removing one cookie from the oven, letting it cool for two minutes, and then testing to see if the outside is crispy and the inside slightly soft. Let cool at room temperature on the baking sheet and store in an airtight container.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: one cookie (based on a yield of 30 cookies)
Calories: 45
Total fat: 2 grams
Carbs: 27 grams
Dietary fiber: 0 grams
Protein: 1 gram

Friday Faves

TGIF, everyone! It’s a week before Valentine’s Day, and I have yet to do or make anything fun and festive. This week was taken up by post-Superbowl celebrations, including the parade (of course).  We spent four glorious hours in the freezing cold to cheer on our Superbowl champs, and now I have the cold to prove it.  Hopefully I’ll have my act together in time for next Friday – I have two types of brownies and two types of cookies on my to do list, and I’m going to be at a bachelorette party all weekend, so wish me luck!

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Last year’s Valentines brownies and cookies.

‘Tis the season for gifting flowers.

Dying to try these Nutella cookies.

This website will make sending Valentine’s cards so much easier.

Great idea for a Valentine’s gift.

Love this lip crayon in Roman Holiday.

I just downloaded this book – can’t wait to read it.

And my favorite images of the week:

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Happy Friday, guys! Happy (early) Valentine’s Day, and Go Hawks!!

My All-Time Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie

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I was introduced to these cookies years ago, when our new neighbors brought them over as a “hello” gift (technically we should have been bringing cookies to them, but I guess we hadn’t gotten around to it yet). I’m not really a huge chocolate person, and thus not a huge chocolate chip cookie person. These cookies, however, also involve oatmeal, which I love – given the choice, as I often am at Starbucks, I would always opt for an oatmeal cookie over chocolate chip. They involve coconut, which is an unexpected surprise and adds a hint of tropical deliciousness (unless you don’t like coconut, in which case, what’s wrong with you? Also I think these cookies might change your mind). And lastly, they involve so much brown sugar that they taste almost caramel-y, which I think is really the best part. I can only make them as gifts, as to make them just to have them around the house would be to eat an entire batch of cookies in an embarrassingly short amount of time. But every time I make them, the recipient(s) inevitably ask me for the recipe, so I thought I’d share it now with all of you. They’re the perfect treat to bring to the hospital when your friend has a baby, as I did last week. They make a great addition to school lunches and care packages, so now is a good time to make them for new kindergarteners, anyone off to college, or anyone in between. And of course, if you need an excuse to meet your new neighbors – in the case of the original neighbor who brought us these, our families are friends to this day.

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One tip I learned awhile ago: always cream the butter and sugar(s) together for longer than you think you need to – 3 to 5 minutes seems like a long time, but it really does make a difference.

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Oatmeal + coconut + chocolate chips, yummmmmmm.

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I like to use an ice cream scoop to make (sort of) uniformly sized cookies.

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Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 12 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips (I usually use between half and three quarters of a package – you can use more or less depending upon how chip-heavy you like your cookies).
1 cup coconut (more or less, to taste)
1/2 cup oats (more or less, to taste)

Cream butter and sugars together for 3-5 minutes, until very light and fluffy.  Add egg.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add dry ingredients to butter/sugar mixture and blend until incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips, coconut and oats.  Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes (you may find your cookies need up to 18 minutes, depending on cookie size and/or your oven – that’s about how long mine usually take, but technically the recipe says 10-15). The cookies will keep cooking even after you take them out of the oven, so if you don’t want a super-crispy cookie, you can take them out when they still look slightly underdone.

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