Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sweet & Savory Kitchens
Oatmeal, Coconut and Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sweet & Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

Oatmeal, coconut and chocolate chip really doesn’t adequately describe these cookies. It’s more like: Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Browned Butter Almond and Craisin Cookies. But that’s too hard to remember. These cookies are jam packed with yummy goodies, and I LOVE cookies with everything but the kitchen sink in them. These are exceptional, and I think it’s the coconut. So, if you’re like me, and love coconut and chocolate together, you should give these a try. My Aunt Cindy emailed me this recipe last spring, and I have made them several times.

Browned Butter

The original recipe didn’t call for browned butter, but after making cookies with browned butter in them, I’m always willing to go the extra mile. It really enhances the flavor! These cookies have so much in them, that I don’t feel bad grabbing one for breakfast even. Protein, fiber, carbs, vitamin C…it has it all. Right? ūüėČ

cookie dough

oatmeal coconut chocolate chip cookies - Sweet & Savory Kitchens
Oatmeal, Coconut and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 24 large cookies

Ingredients

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups packaged finely shredded unsweetened coconut (see note below)*
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
3/4 cup almonds with skins (4 oz), toasted, cooled, and chopped
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries or raisins

Preheat oven to 375¬įF.

Brown the butter: In a large saucepan (preferably light in color so that you can see when the butter browns so that it doesn’t burn), melt one and a half sticks of the butter on high heat. When it’s just melted, start swirling the pan around on the burner, until you see the butter starting to brown on the bottom of the pan (it will appear as little brown bits on the bottom). Remove from the heat, and put the remaining half stick of butter in the pan and swirl around until completely melted. Set aside to allow to cool slightly.

Beat together butter and sugars in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium
speed (or beat by hand with a wire whisk). Add eggs and beat until just blended, about 30 seconds. Let sit for one minute, then beat for 30 more seconds. Then beat in vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Add flour and mix at low speed until just blended (or carefully stir in by hand with a wooden spoon). Stir in oats, coconut, chocolate, nuts and dried fruit.

Arrange 1/4-cup mounds of cookie dough about 3 inches apart on large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or greased) (about 8 cookies per sheet). Pat down cookie dough slightly so that it’s about 1/2 inch thick.¬†Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position and rotating pans halfway through baking, until¬†golden, 12 to 15 minutes total (it should still look just slightly underdone in the center).

Cool cookies on sheets 1 minute, then transfer with a spatula to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies in same manner.

Cook’s notes: I have made these without the browned butter step, also, and they are still great. Just use room temperature butter, and beat it on high speed with the sugars until light in color and texture. I have also used pecans instead of almonds, and left out the craisins altogether, although I like the tartness of the craisins paired with the sweetness of the chocolate.

My Aunt Cindy just reminded me that these also can be made subbing half the butter for coconut oil! It gives a more intense coconut flavor. If you still want the browned butter, just brown one stick of butter, and then swirl in the coconut oil once the butter is browned.

*note on coconut: I have used both unsweetened shredded and sweetened (the regular Baker’s shredded coconut found in the baking aisle). The unsweetened is preferable, but in a pinch you can use sweetened. It makes the cookies MUCH more sweet, and I feel like the coconut flavor is lost a little because of that. So maybe decrease the sugar a bit and use only a tablespoon or two of the granulated.

I love these warm, and highly recommend microwaving them for 20 seconds or so before eating them (or just eating them right off the pan!).

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Chicken salad with cranberries, walnuts and tarragon - Sweet & Savory Kitchens

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I love when things just come together. ¬†Last week I wanted to take some summer salads to a friend and her husband who recently had a baby. ¬†I had most of a rotisserie chicken in the fridge and thought “chicken salad”! ¬†But then felt a little discouraged because I’ve only made very simple chicken salads in the past – I love them, but would not feel good about giving them as a gift. ¬†So I went to Smitten Kitchen, where I go when in need of some good ideas, and was delighted to find this recipe. ¬†My friend Jane is of Ukrainian/Georgian heritage where lots of dishes have walnuts and tarragon in them. ¬†Shazam! ¬†Everyone, me included, deemed it a hit! ¬†When Margaux saw it on Pinterest, she said “Yum”, so decided to try it out with her family. ¬†One thing that Deb of SK said is that her husband doesn’t like chicken salad, so I was wondering about Jason’s reaction. ¬†Jane’s hubbie, Cameron, liked it a lot. ¬†Randy already said he’s not interested in trying it, but that won’t stop me from making it again!

Margaux says . . .

I was a little worried, actually, about whether Jason would like it or not. ¬†Sometimes he’s really picky about things like that, and will only like traditional style, especially if it has something sweet in it like craisins or grapes. ¬†But, to my surprise, he loved it! ¬†I think it was the brined chicken…it was very tender and delicious (see instructions below). ¬†This salad will definitely be on heavy rotation this summer.

Ingredients

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

4 cups cubed (1/2 inch) cooked chicken (AS used leftover rotisserie chicken, Margaux brined some chicken breasts, see below)
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 celery rib, diced into small bits (1 cup) (AS used 3 medium celery ribs, Margaux used just one)
2 or more tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 cup dried cranberries (AS would use less next time, but everone else liked this amount)
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise (AS used 1/2 cup mayo, Margaux used 3/4 cup…she likes mayo!)
3 tablespoons vinegar, tarragon, if you have it,champagne or white wine  (AS used juice from 1/2 lemon)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon or herb or your choice (AS used probably 1/4 cup tarragon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Throw the first 5 ingredients into a large bowl.  Make a dressing by combining the mayo, vinegar or lemon and the salt and pepper.  Whisk to blend. Add the dressing to the bowl and stir (or use hands) to combine thoroughly.  This can be done ahead of serving.  Add the tarragon before serving and stir to combine.

Brining and poaching the chicken:

Dissolve 2 tbsp table salt in 2 cups of water in a medium bowl or gallon sized Ziplock baggie.  Add 1 3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts to it and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Remove chicken, rinse and pat dry before using.  Then poach it in water for 15-20 minutes, until the internal temp reaches 160 degrees.

Corn Meal Pound Cake - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Cornmeal Pound Cake with Orange and Dried Cranberries

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I’ve wanted to make a cornmeal-based cake for a while, with my eye on one made with olive oil. ¬†But this cake, featured in our local newspaper’s Taste section, looked good and was just what was needed to get me in gear. ¬†We really enjoyed it for breakfast with tea and coffee, feeling that tea was the better complement. ¬†I also toasted and buttered a slice the second day – delish! ¬†One of the things we really liked about this cake is that it’s not very sweet, making it perfect for breakfast. ¬†The original recipe suggested berries and/or whipped cream when serving the cake as a dessert.

Corn Meal Pound Cake with orange and dried cranberries - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

I’m really glad Aunt Suzy shared this recipe with me! ¬†I made it for our Saturday morning breakfast (baked the night before), and it was really fantastic with our over-easy eggs and yogurt with strawberries. ¬†I love the orange flavor and the texture the corn meal gives to the cake. ¬†My son pointed out that it would also be good with frosting (of course), and I agree, as a dessert it would be great with an orange glaze (2 tbsp fresh orange juice, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tbsp orange zest).

Corn Meal Pound Cake with Orange and Dried Cranberries - Sweet and Savory Kitchens

Cornmeal Pound Cake with Orange and Dried Cranberries

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
Generous pinch salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or grease a 5 x 9-inch loaf pan.

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until very light and fluffy.  Next, beat in the egg yolks one at a time, continuing to mix at high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, orange rind and orange juice and dried cranberries.

Gently fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and stir until combined.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gently fold the egg whites into the batter using a spatula until combined. Scoop into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  This will take 1 to 1 1/4 hours depending on your oven.

When done, remove and allow to cool in the pan.  Remove from the pan and turn the cake right side up. Cool completely before slicing.

Cornmeal Pound Cake with Orange and Dried Cranberries

AS COOK’S NOTES: ¬†The original recipe called for 1/4 cup dried cranberries, but each slice had only 2-3 pieces per! ¬†We’ve increased the amount of cranberries to 1/2 cup – they provide a nice contrast in taste and texture to the cake. ¬†I used the organic dried cranberries from Trader Joe’s, which are large, round and plump. The baking time was specified at 1 hour 15 minutes, but I was glad I checked at 65 minutes, because the cake was definitely done – maybe slight too done! ¬†I recommend setting a timer for 1 hour and checking from there until done.

Cornmeal Pound Cake with dried cranberries

M COOK’S NOTES:¬†I agree about the baking time…I checked it at 55 minutes and found mine to be too done, too…It probably could have come out at 52 minutes. ¬†I would actually recommend starting to check at 50 minutes.

Sweet-Spicy Nuts

December 18, 2011

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I learned about this delicious holiday nut recipe from my upstairs neighbor, Krisztina, a few years ago. ¬†I have made them a few times for gifts during the winter holiday season, and they are always a hit. ¬†The bonus is that these nuts are easy and fast, so you can make a bunch of batches quickly. ¬†You have lots of options – for example, I always use a variety of nuts; Krisztina tends to use only pecans. ¬†The original recipe didn’t include any dried fruit, but Krisztina’s addition of dried cranberries really ups the tastiness. ¬†The candied ginger is my addition, and this year I tried it with candied Meyer lemon peel, which I had received as a gift. ¬†Yum!!

Yields 3 Cups

Preheat oven to 350¬į.¬† Generously oil a baking sheet.¬† (I place foil on the baking sheet before oiling)

¬ľ cup water

¬ľ cup sugar

¬Ĺ teaspoon salt

¬Ĺ teaspoon ground black pepper

¬Ĺ teaspoon ground cardamom

¬Ĺ-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¬ľ teaspoon cayenne (optional ‚Äď although not in my book!)

3 cups shelled nuts ( I use a combination of raw pecan halves, raw almonds, raw walnut halves and roasted/unsalted cashews)

¬Ĺ cup dried cranberries (optional)

¬ľ cup diced crystallized ginger, candied lemon or candied orange peel (optional)

In a saucepan on medium-high heat, stir together the sugar, water, salt, pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and cayenne and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and stir constantly for a minute, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has thickened.  Add the nuts and stir to coat.  Turn the coated nuts onto the prepared baking sheet and spread them out in a single layer.

Bake until browned, 10-15 minutes, stirring once after 5 or 6 minutes.   NOTE:  watch carefully!  I baked them for 12 minutes and they burned.  10 minutes was perfect for me, but your oven might be different.

Allow the nuts to cool, break apart any clumps and then mix in the cranberries and ginger.