22 February, 2014

Mmm.... Cookies!

It is still winter here in Ottawa (a fact that I am truly grateful for), in fact it is snowing as I type.  One of my favorite things...whether it falls gently or there is a raging white out going on outside my window, there is just nothing like a good snow fall.  One of the first things that happened when I was growing up and snow was falling was to get into the kitchen and bake.  Never a better time to have the hot oven on!  The primary things we bake in the winter, sure you guessed it...cookies or some kind of bread.

I have been on a real candy kick since about....Halloween.  Specifically candy bars.  I sit around trying to think of ways to make my favorite candy bars into cookies or cake...or even cheesecake.  One of the my favorite candy bars has what I consider to be the perfect balance between sweet and savory and has plenty to offer in the way of texture, the Almond Joy.  Milk chocolate, coconut, and almonds.  C'mon...how is that not fabulous?  

I sat around for a while...do I make the cookie dough chocolate?  Naw...can't do that, there is only a thin coating of it over a TON of the coconut and a single almond.  So, the dough became a plain butter cookie dough.  Have to have milk chocolate chips in it, not semi-sweet.  Then of course there is the coconut.  Do I want the whole base of the dough to be coconut?  After all, the candy bar IS mostly coconut.  No, the truth is when I eat Almond Joys I can only eat a half of the bar at a time because it is SO sweet that I get ill.  I figured out my amounts and got into the kitchen to fiddle about with it and I think I got it to where there is a perfect balance.  Forgive the lame name, but I didn't want to use a trademarked name for my cookies, call me crazy.  But, let me know what you think when you try them out!

Nirvana Cookies
1 c. (two sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature (NO subs!)
1 c. organic brown cane sugar
1/3 c. organic cane sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
2 1/4 c. flour
1 T. cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
1 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 c. slivered almonds
1 c. milk chocolate chips

*Whatever you do, DO NOT use shortening instead of butter in this recipe.  The water content of butter is higher than shortening and the butter will keep your cookies from drying out because of the coconut and the nuts.  Butter only!!

Beat together the butter and sugars until fluffy, then beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of your bowl as needed.  Add in the vanilla.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt.  Beat in the flour mixture until just incorporated.  Fold in coconut, slivered almonds, and the chips until just combined.

Cover and refrigerate dough at least 1 hour. (it will hold its shape better if you refrigerate it first because this is a butter based dough).

Shortly before you plan on baking the cookies, preheat your oven to 350 F.  Then, drop scoops of dough onto cookie sheets, I used my PC medium scoop.

Bake for 8-12 minutes, watching for the edges to be just golden brown.  (Remember they continue cooking for up to 2 minutes as they rest on the cookie sheet.)

Remove from oven, and let cool for about 2 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a cooking rack.

I couldn't have imagined how well these would turn out...even the Sprout (who will not consume chocolate as a rule) took a single bite and said "Mmmmm!  I LOVE these!".  Color ME surprised!  The Mister ate one and said there were too many nuts.  That did NOT surprise me.  Any nuts are "too many" with him, so I just ignored him and moved on.  It was a perfect amount of everything and a great combination for a cookie.  Hmmm...I wonder how these would taste as a brownie....  

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