Wintertime always throws me into a baking kind of mood. I love how the oven makes the house extra-warm, I love the smells of browning butter and sugar, and I really love having a little treat with my morning cup of coffee. However, I’m trying to keep my goodies on the healthier side these days (and I use the word “healthy” very liberally), so I’ve tucked away my recipes for butter toffee and chocolate espresso bombs and have tried a few new things in the kitchen this month. Such as:
caveman cookies (original recipe by George Bryant found here)
This is about as guilt-free as a cookie can get. Which I why I was compelled to dip them in chocolate. Let’s not go overboard with this health thing.
1 cup roasted almonds
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
Roast almonds for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Place your roasted almonds, blueberries, apricots, and shredded coconut in a food processor and continually pulse until all of it is minced. Turn your food processor on low and let it run while you slowly drizzle in your EVOO. Transfer this mixture to a mixing bowl and mix well with the 2 eggs. Using your hands, form thin patties about 1/4 inch thick. Place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Dip in melted semi-sweet chocolate if desired.
coconut macaroons (original recipe by David Lebovitz found here)
I’m on a coconut kick as of late, and daaaaang, these are good. Perfectly crispy on the outside, soft and chewy in the middle, packed with good coconut flavor. I dipped some of them in chocolate, but found I liked the plain ones better. You know a cookie is extra-good when I actually prefer it without chocolate.
4 large egg whites
1¼ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
2½ cups unsweetened coconut
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large skillet, mix together the egg whites, sugar, salt, honey, coconut and flour. Heat over low-to-moderate heat on the stovetop, stirring constantly, scraping the bottom as you stir. When the mixture just begins to scorch at the bottom, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature. When ready to bake, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Form the dough into 1 1/2-inch mounds with your fingers. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until deep golden brown. Cool completely.
thumbprint cookies (original recipe by Ina Garten found here)
Ok, so I’m not even going to pretend this one is good for you, but I’ve got a soft spot for butter-packed shortbread, plus these are really pretty, so I’m breaking the rules.
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
raspberry and/or apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown.
banana nut muffins (original recipe found here)
can’t shouldn’t eat cookies for breakfast every morning, I’ve been looking for a healthy bread or muffin recipe. I’ve had a few fails, in the form of a coconut banana bread that even chocolate couldn’t save and a batch of spongey apple muffins, but these grain-free banana muffins are pretty good. I pulled them from the oven a couple minutes too soon and the tops sunk in, but hey, they’re extra-moist!
1½ cup almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tbs raw honey
1 egg, beaten
5 tbs butter, melted
⅓ cup raw pecans, chopped
several dashes of cinnamon