Coconut Lime Drop Biscuits

Because of its melting point of 76 degrees F, Coconut Oil makes a great substitution for shortening.  This makes it solid at room temperature, but it melts in your mouth.  It gotten a bad rap in recent times but as the single best source of Lauric Acid (which is antioxidant, antibiotic, and antiviral), its day will come.

Who cares how good for you it is, I love the way it tastes.  I've been cooking with coconut oil for about two years now, and as a great sub for shortening, I thought it must make a damn-fine biscuit.  Low and behold, it does.

Since it leaves a hint of coconut flavor, I thought it would be wise to embrace that note rather than cover it up.  Its coconut flavor is mild; however, but by adding lime you enhance it as the sweet and sour play nicely between the two.  

I adapted this from Alton Brown's Southern Biscuits recipe (#1 Google result), subbing out the shortening, skipping the baking soda, using lime juice and milk instead of buttermilk, adding more salt, and halving the recipe.  It really isn't close, but I thought I'd give him credit anyway

 

Coconut Lime Biscuits (printable recipe)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • the juice of 1/2 a lime
  • the zest of 1/2 a lime

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl: the flour, baking powder, salt, and zest.  Whisk briefly to combine.  Work into the flour mixture the butter and coconut oil with a fork or your fingers until only small pieces of fat remain.

Add the lime juice to the milk and stir.  Make a well in the flour/butter and add the milk.  Mix just until combined but no more.  The dough will be sticky and may not even pick up all the dry ingredients.  That's OK, you want to work the dough as little as possible.

Using two spoons, scoop with one and pack with the other.  Scrape the drops out onto a sheet pan and bake until GBnD (Golden Brown and Delicious) - about 15-20 minutes.

Makes about 15 biscuits

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Authordavid koch
CategoriesBaking, Recipes
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Mexican Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries and Walnuts

Yes, I realize that the name of these cookies constitute their own paragraph; maybe their own zip code, but that's what they are and no one can take that away from them.  They are also delicious, pragmatic, and are great to eat while playing charades.

I stumbled upon the idea by the heuristic "kitchen sink" method.  If oatmeal cookies are made better with chocolate, then why wouldn't they be even better with cinnamon, vanilla, and coffee?  And once you have added all that, why stop there?

That's exactly where Chef Amy usually stops me, but something was in the air this time and she kept egging me on.  "We have dried cherries," she declared, "Why don't you add some of those?" So I did.  "What about nuts?  Aren't you going to add nuts?" Ergo the circle of life perpetuates.

One batch yields about 3 dozen 3 inch cookies.  You could swap the nuts out, or substitute them for another type.  You could also add chocolate chunks or chips.  If I get my druthers next time, I'll add just a hint of Cayenne pepper, maybe just a half teaspoon.

They are hearty enough to satisfy a sweet tooth with just one, or two, and they make a decent breakfast along side a cup of coffee.  Don't judge, they do have oatmeal in them...

 

Mexican Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries and Walnuts (printable recipe)

  • 3/4 cup butter (1 and 1/2 sticks) room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (or add another 1/2 stick of butter if you don't have any)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons of instant coffee/espresso, or 3 shots (or 1/4 cup of the strongest coffee you can brew)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 cups oats
  • 2 cups dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream the butter, coconut oil, brown and white sugar well, this is easiest in a stand mixer.  Slowly add the vanilla, cinnamon, instant coffee, salt, and the eggs one at a time and allow them to incorporate well.

In a separate bowl add the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda and whisk briefly to combine.  Turn the stand mixer to its lowest setting and SLOWLY add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar.  Slowly, unless you want to get antiqued.  

Once those are mixed, add the dried cherries and the nuts.  Dollop out onto a silicone or parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 11-12 minutes.

Makes 3 dozen cookies

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Authordavid koch
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Avocado Almond Cookies

The idea for these cookies came to me when I got shocked by a bolt of static electricity getting out of my car on a hot day in Riverside, CA.  I was thinking of a way to replace some of the butter in a cookie and yet still keep the richness; the green glow they emit was only a cool side effect.

We started with a basic Peanut Butter Cookie recipe as the baseline.  We added the almond extract because after tasting the dough, we needed something to bring out the subtle creamy flavor of the avocado.  The chopped almonds add great texture.

These make for a light, fluffy, almost cake-like cookie.  It you are looking for a dense, crumby cookie with a snap, then look elsewhere.  They are also not ridiculously sweet, I might go as far as to call them, "an adult cookie" - with no XXX connotation intended.

Avocado Almond Cookies (printable recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup smashed ripe avocado
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped almonds plus 24 almond slices to top each one
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375.  Cream the butter, avocado, and sugar together for 2 minutes; a stand-mixer works well for this or you could do it with a whisk and get your daily workout in for the day.  Once they are well incorporated, mix in the egg, the vanilla, and the almond extract.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt well.  Add this dry mixture to the stand mixer in three batches so that you don't make a flour explosion.  Mix just until they come together, do not over mix.

Use 2 teaspoons to portion out each cookie onto a baking sheet; we lined it with parchment paper so that they wouldn't stick.  Place an almond sliver into the top of each one before you pop them into the oven.  Bake for 5-8 minutes or until they develop a nice golden brown crust on the outside.

Makes about two dozen cookies.

More Avocado Almond Cookes

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Authordavid koch
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Spiced Rum Banana Bread

Everywhere I look it's Banana Bread, Banana Bread, Banana Bread.  I did a check on Google Blog Search for "banana bread recipe" for the past 30 days and it turned up 34,982 results.  During the same 30 day time period, for comparison, "apple pie recipe" turned up only 15,920 and "lasagne recipe" just 11,730.

Like I said, Banana Bread is so hot right now.

I started looking more closely at these Banana Bread recipes and most left me blasé.  One idea that just my juices flowing was to add whisky.  Amy thought rum would be better.  Spiced Rum.  I agreed wholeheartedly.  Armed with a couple of spotted-ripe bananas, Chef Amy set out to develop a recipe that will get you up early on a weekend just to make some.

Without further adieu, let me ask you, "Got a little Captain in you?"

Spiced Rum Banana Bread

Bread

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup bananas, smashed
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum (We used Captain Morgans)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped


Rum Glaze

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons spiced rum
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons pecans or walnuts to garnish, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour a bundt pan and set aside.

In a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a mixer, cream together butter and both sugars until smooth. Mix in eggs one at a time until incorporated. Take bowl off mixer and stir in the bananas, applesauce, rum, and vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients into the wet being careful not too over mix.

Fold in chopped nuts. Scrape batter into a prepared bundt pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a large plate. Make glaze.

Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum Glaze

Glaze:
In a small saucepan, combine butter, sugars, rum and water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and let simmer for 3-5 minutes or until it thickens slightly. Let cool for a few minutes then pour glaze over the top and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Slice and serve.

Serve Spiced Rum Banana Bread with Fruit and Mimosas

Posted
AuthorDave and Amy Koch
CategoriesBaking, Recipes
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I was inspired by a canister of sprinkles. Inspired to make 6 dozen cookies for a Halloween party we were hosting. Inspired because my daughter is 19 months old and I figured she'd love the colorful sprinkles upon the adorably shaped cookies. So, with the sprinkles, I purchased cookie cutouts and a rolling pin.

I found a sugar cookie recipe on epicurious.com, made sure I had the ingredients and then procrastinated. Luckily, the night before Halloween, as I was making some pumpkin muffins (from a box, thank you Trader Joe's!).

I scanned the sugar cookie recipe and noticed that

Posted
AuthorHeather Ward

OK, so they aren't very scary but it is Halloween and Simple Ginger Snaps doesn't sound very cool.  I adapted the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker sans the molasses because we didn't have any in the "test kitchen."  I also added Black Pepper and Grains of Paradise to make them a little more spicy and savory.

I recently purchased a second pepper mill and some Grains of Paradise and I have been experimenting with them.  The little known spice is reminiscent of black pepper but also lends a pie-spice nuance that I thought would go well with

Posted
Authordavid koch
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photo by Dave Koch

Mixing chili and chocolate was the status quo in Aztec times and has always been popular in Mexico but has only recently become more prevalent in the US.  I see the pair frequently at chocolate boutiques and really enjoy how well they work together.  After a long week of work, the sweet-tooth fairy came out to play and we decided to make some Hot Brownies last night.  

We didn't have everything planned ahead of time but we based this recipe on Brownies Cockaigne from of the Joy of Cooking.  We didn't have unsweetened chocolate like it called for, and doing it over, we may omit some of the sugar.  I guessed at the amount of chili to add and I think it was a good educated guess because it worked out.

 

Ingredients:

4 eggs
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4 ounces milk chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter
2 cups sugar (this looked like too much)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons cayenne chili powder

Directions:

"The Joy" recommends that everything starts out at room temperature, which is fine - unless you are making them on a whim like we did.  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with butter or spray.  

In a double-boiler (or a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water) combine  the chocolate chips and the butter and melt slowly.  Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.  In another bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, walnuts, white chocolate chips, and cayenne chili powder.

Once the chocolate and butter mixture is melted set aside to cool.  Once cool enough to handle, mix in the vanilla, sugar, and then the eggs. Incorporate the dry ingredients and be careful not to over mix. Working the batter too much at this point will begin to form gluten and make the brownies tough, not gooey.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, begin checking them at 25 minutes.  They are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean with no wet batter stuck to it.  Allow them to cool for 15 minutes before trying to remove them from the pan.

 

photo by Dave Koch

The chili flavor is barely perceptible while the heat is coy; not noticeable at first, but sneaking up after a few bites.  The burn is like seeing someone who you think you recognize.  You exchange glances, holding your gaze longer than normal, wondering if you can find what it is about them you recall.  Then it hits you - yes!

One very "cool" effect is that the warmth lingers for a few minutes after you have finished your last bite, warming you from the inside.  If you were to add only 1 tablespoon, the chili would add only a subtle nuance.  I'd be willing to bet that no one would be able to pick it out.

But what would be the fun in that?

Make mine hot!

Posted
Authordavid koch

photo by Dave Koch

Adapted from Ina Garten's Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies from her book Barefoot Contessa Parties!  I cut the recipe in half (because it makes 40 cookies) and instead of putting all the white chocolate chips in, I used half macadamia nuts from our friend's tree on the Big Island of Hawaii...

You can just buy some macadaima nuts from the store if you don't know anyone with their own tree.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, well packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the vanilla, then the eggs until incorporated well. Stop the mixer, add the cocoa continue. 

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt into another bowl. Slowly add the dry sifted ingredients to chocolate batter with the mixer on low. Stop the mixer, pour in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips, and mix again briefly.

Drop about a tablespoon of dough for each cookie on a baking sheet with a Silpat (or lined with parchment paper).

With your fingers, press down each cookie slightly and top with a few more white chocolate chips.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool a few minutes on the pan as they will still be a little soft.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Posted
AuthorAmy Koch

The Roasting Plant - Chocolate Chip Cookie - photo by ccho

I have an "Aunt" Alice, with whom I have absolutely no relationship to, but I care tremendously about - and she makes the most phenomenal chocolate chip cookies.  They are crispy around the edges and gooey in the middle.  They are packed with awesome chocolate chip goodness.  They really are the BEST chocolate chip cookies.

I asked her for the recipe one time and she confided in me how she came to develop them.  She said that she took the Original Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe and she added 50% more butter and 50% more chocolate chips.  Basically, add more of what makes cookies delicious.  Was that a surprise?  Done and done.  So here in all its glory is "Aunt" Alice's "Secret" Recipe:

 The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups  flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 sticks softened butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

And instructions from the Nestle website 

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. 

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars. 

SLICE AND BAKE COOKIE VARIATION: 
PREPARE
 dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies. 

* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks. 

FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes."

 

Posted
Authordavid koch