Coconut Lime Oat-y Cookies

Happy birthday to Stef and to Thidz!Lime Coconut Cream Cheese Cookies 14

Papa John and Mrs. Nice are staying with us for a couple of weeks and Papa John is a cookie fiend so I figured I’d whip up a batch of something a little bit different to keep him occupied for a while.  This recipe is adapted from one I found in Everyday Food.

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line some baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

Lime Coconut Cream Cheese Cookies 1

Then, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together 1 cup butter with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 3/4 cup packed brown sugar.

Lime Coconut Cream Cheese Cookies 2

Beat them for about 4 minutes, until fluffy and pale.

Lime Coconut Cream Cheese Cookies 3

Slide in 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons vanilla, and 1 250g package plain cream cheese (at room temperature) and beat that up as well.

Lime Coconut Cream Cheese Cookies 4

Beat in the flour mixture gradually, then mix in 1 1/2 cups dessicated coconut (you can toast this ahead of time if you wish — I didn’t).

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And 2 tablespoons freshly grated lime zest.

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Aaaand 1 1/2 cups rolled oats.

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Get that all combined.

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Use a soup spoon to dollop quantities of dough onto your baking sheet.  They won’t spread too much but leave lots of space around them in any case.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, for 12-14 minutes.

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Leave on the pan for a few minutes after removing from the oven so the cookies can solidify, then carefully scoop them onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Seal in an airtight container to maintain freshness.

Lime Coconut Cream Cheese Cookies 11

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Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Treats

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 19

This is the last pumpkin post, I swear.  We’re finally rid of it.  Fortunately, there is one member of our family who will never tire of pumpkin, and that is The Short and Spoiled One.

Experimenting with Animal Portrait Settings
Have we met?

This is a quick recipe that I put together with inspiration from Betty Crocker and Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together 4 cups brown rice flour with 2 tablespoons ground flax meal (optional) and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  It occurs to me after the fact that you could also use a mixture of brown rice flour and quinoa flour, seeing as quinoa is the new superfood for dogs these days.  Very trendy of you.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 1

In another bowl, whisk together 2 large eggs with 1 3/4 cups (or 1 14 oz can) of pure pumpkin purée (not the pie filling) and 1/4 cup peanut butter (all natural, with no added salt or sugar, please).

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 2

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until a shaggy dough forms — you may need to use your hands.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 3

Sprinkle with more flour and stir that in if it’s still tacky.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 4

Take the dough and form it into a small ball with your palms.  Flatten it into a patty and place it on the baking sheet.  Angle your thumb sideways on one side of the cookie and press it into the dough.  Use the point of one of your fingers to make four indentations along the curve of your thumbprint.   So it looks like a wee paw print.  Cute, eh?

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Bake for about 25 minutes, depending on the thickness of your cookie.  A finished cookie is crisp and dried out.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Dog Biscuits 9

Allow them to cool completely on a rack and store them in the fridge to keep them fresh for a couple weeks.  At room temperature in an airtight container they’ll keep for about a week.

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Gren obviously enjoyed testing them.  Here he is waiting for my okay.

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Scarfing down the first piece.

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Discovering the second.

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Scarfing that one too.

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Are there no more?

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Gren was nice enough to share with some of my coworkers’ dogs, and this was the review:

Photo credit: E. Wright

Most Meta Milkshake

Most Meta Milkshake
I had a meta moment the other day.  Hear me out.

So there are these Oreo cookies, limited edition.  Cookies and cream.   In a cookie.  With cream.
Most Meta Milkshake

Cookies and cream is, on its own, a popular ice cream flavour, and by extension, a good milkshake.  Because it’s cookies.  In cream.  In fact, as you can see, the picture on the front of the Oreo package is of a cookies and cream cookie in a cookies and cream milkshake.  My mind was slightly blown.

So we of course made milkshakes with our cookies and cream cookies.  We would have used cookies and cream ice cream as well but we thought that might be pushing it.

Basic formula: take about 4 cookies per milkshake and crush them up in a food processor.
Most Meta Milkshake

Crush them into crumbs.
Most Meta Milkshake
Plop as much ice cream as will fit into the cup into which you will be putting your finished product.
Most Meta Milkshake
Fill the rest up with milk.
Most Meta Milkshake
Pour that stuff into a blender, together with your crumbs.
Most Meta Milkshake
Blend and pour.
Most Meta Milkshake
Enjoy your cookies and cream cookies with cream in a meta manner.

What Can You Do with Leftover Ganache?

I have more ganache leftover from the Red Velvet Comeback Cupcakes than is really good for my sanity.  There are/is/are about 3 cups of ganache sitting in my fridge.

The good thing is that you can freeze ganache.  Did you know that?  While it’s frozen you can figure out what the heck to do with it.

This particular ganache is just cream and chocolate, and has a consistency of chocolate pudding. Mmm, pudding …

So what can you do with ganache that’s lying around?

If it’s thicker,  you can make truffles.  If it’s thinner, you can make fondue.

If it’s as it is, you can ice cakes and brownies with it.

You can pour it into hot milk for hot chocolate.

Add it to your coffee for a mocha latte.

Today, however, we are going to make ourselves some cookies, then make ganache sandwiches with them, then FREEZE them.  It’ll be like ice cream sandwiches, but wayyyy better.

I picked our recipe for margarine chocolate chip cookies, because they’re the biggest and fluffiest.  But I made them twice as big.  I ended up with 28 cookies.

Make sure your ganache is super chilly.  To be on the safe side, chuck the mixing bowl you’re using in the freezer for a while as well.

Whip that ganache up to a frothy amazingness.

Spoon fluffy ganache in-between your cooled cookies.  Sandwich them together.  Otherwise they ain’t sammiches.

Wrap them in waxed paper, seal them in a plastic bag, and chuck them in the freezer.

The Pie and I each ate one before freezing.  The sweetness was sweeeeeeeeeet.

Also there was a wee bit of ganache leftover, but neither of us could pluck up the nerve to eat any more.  These babies are pretty intense.

Espresso Cookies

Miss Awesome and P-with-an-E served these to us with tea after one of those long Sunday lunches that you don’t think about leaving until it’s nearly dark and you have to figure out how you’re going to eat dinner.

Yes, I know, we’ve done the whole espresso deal with our espresso brownies, but who says you can’t make a cookie out of everything?  I had to modify the recipe a bit as it involved using a pre-mixed chocolate chip cookie dough as a base, but I think the result is quite good.  And I will pass on Miss Awesome’s warning: DO NOT EAT AT BEDTIME!

Preheat your oven to 375°F and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together in a medium-sized bowl:

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoons instant espresso powder

1 tablespoon ground coffee

What I like about mixing dark powders with light powders is that I can easily see how well I’ve mixed the coffee in, so the logic is that if the coffee is well blended then so is the stuff I can’t see, like the baking soda.  Of course, if you shoot it in macro, you can see EVERYTHING.

In a large bowl, cream together

1/2 cup butter, softened (That divot is because I stuck my finger in it to check if it was soft.  It was.)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Crack in and blend well

1 large egg

Stir into that

1/4 cup Kahlua

Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture and blend well.

Add in

3/4 cup chopped pecans

1 cup chocolate chips

And because we need a chocolate chip extreme closeup:

Use a tablespoon to plop your dough onto the baking sheet.  Space them out as best you can because they will spread quite a bit.

Bake the cookies for 9-12 minutes and leave them on the pan for another five minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.Then you can eat them.  Or just look at them.  Or whatever.

Gluten-Free Dog Treats

In honour of Ruby’s first birthday, Cait and I got together and concocted some fabulous dog biscuits for her and Gren.  Being a corgi and therefore very food-obsessed and prone to obesity, Gren only took home a few to try, but they were still enjoyed by all.  I even had one, as I won’t feed my dog anything I wouldn’t eat myself.

Ruby murders Gren

Fortunately, we were able to easily find a dog treat recipe online that conformed to our philosophy of feeding our dogs biologically appropriate food.  That means most definitely no corn, no wheat, and no soy, and none of those other things that people seem to think dogs need, like salt, sugar, and artificial flavours or colours.  This recipe from Sandra over at dog-nutrition-naturally.com totally fit the bill and was easy to do.  We tripled the recipe so that there would be plenty of birthday treats for everyone.

First, peel yourself a large sweet potato.  And I mean LARGE.  Cut that sucker up.

Plop the potato pieces in a pot and boil them silly until they’re mashable.  Then of course mash them.

Preheat your oven to 350°F and lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.

In a large bowl, plop in 1lb ground meat.  We used extra lean ground beef, but you can use turkey, chicken, pork, or lamb — or really, whatever you want.

Add to that 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt) and a large egg.  Drop in 5 tablespoons large flake rolled oats as well, just for cohesion purposes.

Chuck in the mashed sweet potato and mix it well.

Spread it flat on the prepared cookie sheet and smooth the top.

Bake for about an hour.  The cookie will shrink and pull away from the sides.  Now you can score the cookie into smaller pieces, or use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes.  A pizza cutter is handy about now too.

Reduce the oven heat to 250°F and pop the cookies back into the oven for another hour or so to dry out.  Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.

Tada!  That’s it.  Now SIT.

Good dog.Make sure to store your treats in an airtight container, and of course remember that treats should never be used as a substitute for your dog’s regular diet.  Yum yum!

Cranberry Orange Cookies

These cookies garnered the approval of Il Principe and his mother.  And the Pie.  And they were really easy.  Which might be why I adapted them from EasyCookies.com.  But I’m just guessing here. In changing the recipe, I left out the salt, as usual, and accidentally added twice the amount of butter I should have, which ended up giving the cookies a lovely crunch I think they needed.  I also added zest to boost the orange aspect of what would otherwise be a pretty plain cookie.

There is nothing more cheery than citrus in the winter, and my mother will tell you that any time you wave an orange at her at any point between November and April.  But she’s right.  Citrus is a remarkably happy-making thing.  Orange being the Pie’s favourite colour, I made these citrus-y cookies with all our citrus-y implements.

So first you want to preheat your oven to 375°F and line some baking sheets with parchment paper.

Next, gather yourself the juice and rind from 2 oranges and set that aside.  You should have about 1/2 cup orange juice and about 2 tablespoons rind to show for your efforts.   While you’re at making things to set aside, whisk together, in a measuring cup or small bowl, 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.  And, well, set that aside too.

In a large bowl, cream together 1 cup butter, softened, with 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup packed brown sugar

Add in 2 eggs.

Pour in your reserved juice and rind.  Mix ’em.

Slowly add your dry ingredients, mixing the whole while.

Stir in 2 cups dried cranberries.

It won’t look like you’ve produced a lot of dough, but trust me, this will make you a whole whack of cookies.  And I MEAN a WHOLE WHACK.  Like 6 or 7 dozen maybe?Drop the sticky dough in heaping teaspoons (not tablespoons, mind you, these cookies are meant to be small) onto the parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating your sheets halfway through, until lightly golden and firm on top.  Let the cookies sit on the sheets outside the oven for a little bit, then remove the crunchy wonders to a rack to cool completely.

If you end up having any left, you should store them in an airtight container so they don’t go stale.  I also froze some dough for later.  Because it’s so sticky, I couldn’t pre-form the cookies before freezing, so I will have to defrost the whole batch of dough before baking.  Alas.