Coconut & Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pistachio Chocolate ChipI picked up a cookbook recently called Sugar & Spice (by Sarah Seneviratne), thinking it would have ideas right up my alley, and though I haven’t found myself in it very often, I was so happy to try this amazing recipe. The author calls this her “go-to” chocolate chip, rather than selling it as a riff on the classic. When I tried it, I thought, “yeah, this could be a new ‘go-to’ but it also is so unique!” So, I’ve renamed them to reveal a little more of what they bring to the table. Even so, my name also doesn’t give them full disclosure, because it doesn’t incorporate how much the vanilla shines through and carries the flavors together. This might be my favorite part! 

In terms of the kid factors, everyone but my littlest (who is only vanilla, all the time) loved them. That is high marks, especially because pistachios aren’t really everyday around here. So, if you’re in the process of expanding your chocolate chip recipe repertoire, here’s yet another for your basket, and it really is a keeper. 

Coconut & Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 c. (4 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. melted virgin coconut oil
  • 1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60 to 70 percent cacao), chopped (about 1 c.)
  • 2 1/2 oz. (1/2 c.) shelled raw pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1 c. (3 oz.) shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (optional but I chose without)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, combine the coconut oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until creamy. Stir in the vanilla and egg. Add the flour mixture to the coconut oil mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the chocolate, pistachios, and coconut.
  3. Scoop the dough in 2-tablespoon scoops and place on the prepared baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart. Sprinkle each cookie with a bit of sea salt. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the sheets on racks for about 5 minutes.

 

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Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie Brown Butter

If you’ve had a rice krispie treat that tastes different, and significantly better, than the ones that are typical, I bet that this is recipe that you’ve tried. This is the kind of rice krispie treat that gets accused of being laced with some other type of illegal substance, because it’s so addicting and so good. And since I’m already perhaps one of the biggest fans of these crazy simple, crazy good desserts, I’m an even bigger fan of these. So, for all my Texan cousins out there, here you go! I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. The recipe comes from Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook, one of my favorite baking books out there. Also, when I’m making these for a large crowd, I double the recipe and put them in a half-sheet tray, which is 18″ by 13″.

Browned Butter Rice Krispie Treats

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 vanilla bean [watch for these at Costco during the holidays, or buy at Amazon]
  • 2 10-oz bags marshmallows
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 9 cups crispy rice cereal (I actually use a little more than this, maybe 1/2 to 1 cup more)

Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray [I line it with aluminum foil and then spray the aluminum foil so I don’t have to wash the pan and I can lift them out easier].

Add the butter to a large saucepan set over low heat [I set it at medium-low]. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan with the butter. The butter will melt then begin to bubble and foam [it will sound like people applauding for a little while, and then it will stop. Once the noise has stopped, swirl the pan and watch carefully]. Eventually it will start to turn brown and smell nutty – be patient and watch carefully, it can go from brown to burned quickly.

Once the butter is browned, add all of the marshmallows and the salt. Stir the mixture constantly until the marshmallows are completely melted. Turn off the heat under the pan and add the cereal. Use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to coat the cereal evenly with the buttery, marshmallow liquid. Spread the mixture in an even layer in the prepared baking pan. Let cool for at least an hour before cutting and serving. You can store the treats in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.

Honeyed Apricot Flatbread with Rosemary

Apricot Flatbread 2

It’s truly summer. Lots of time away, running our five kids to swim, play, hike, visit cousins and squeezing in a vacation or two. So, I’m missing my normal kitchen time just a little. As part of my hopes to reconnect (with my kitchen), I started a sponge for ciabatta last night. Unfortunately, I was thinking about the timing today very well, and since we had a crazy day of violin lessons, meeting with middle school counselors, celebrating the birth of my cousin’s baby, and swimming, there was no chance for the ciabatta to become ciabatta. So, instead, I turned it into flatbreads to serve along with a fresh tomato soup, and then starting digging through the fridge for toppings. I did a couple with cheese and pepperoni for the kids, two with fresh figs and goat cheese, and then I tried something new, needing to use all the apricots on my counter (obviously, I just used a couple, but the rest are now happily stored in my freezer). I think I will do this one again, perhaps with plums or peaches next time. This idea is a riff from a memorable appetizer in Lisbon many years ago where I had the marriage of honey and rosemary and cheese for the first time. Still beloved!  So, here’s a little idea, if you need one, for a fun, and a little bit sweet, summer meal.

Honeyed Apricot Flatbread with Rosemary

pizza dough (any kind, but here’s my favorite)
1/2 c. ricotta cheese
4-5 fresh apricots (or peaches or plums), sliced in half and pitted
2 T. honey
a handful of rosemary

Preheat oven to 475 degrees, with a pizza stone, if you have one placed in the lower half of the oven.

After the pizza dough has had its final rise, shape it by stretching into a circle or oblong and place on parchment paper. Top with ricotta, dolloping it and then lightly spreading it. Then, place apricots on top, with the skins on the bottom. Drizzle honey over the entire flatbread, then sprinkle rosemary and a little bit of salt.

Using a pizza peel, place the flatbread on the pizza stone. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until browned on top and bottom. Remove to a rack to let it cool for at least ten minutes before serving.

Apricot Flatbread 1

Summer Lime Cake

 

Zucchini and Lime Cake
This was such an unusual sounding cake, I had to try it. I expected a flavor totally different than what came out. Essentially, this cake is just a really moist cake with a terrific lime frosting on top. In fact, my father-in-law asked if it was a “key-lime cake,” and then had another slice, and my twelve-year-old (who was complaining that if I made a zucchini cake, no kids would it eat) ate four slices. So, I think if you’re not really into zucchini, you’re still likely to enjoy this cake! I’ve made it twice in the last week, which says a little bit about how well zucchini are growing around here. This recipe comes from Three Sisters Bake, an enchanting cookbook by these Scottish sisters that is a delight to read and look at. I’ve adjusted the measurements for US, but included the original ones as well. I’ve also adapted the baking powder for better results at high temperature (if you’re at sea level, you may want to take it down a teaspoon).

Summer Lime Cake
For the cake:

  • 1/2 c. (135ml) sunflower oil
  • 4/5 c. (200g) caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 c. (300g) all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. (335g) zucchini, finely grated
  • grated zest of 2 limes

For the icing:

  • 3/4 c. (200g) full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 c. (100g) icing sugar
  • grated zest of 1 lime
  • juice from 2-3 limes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (160C, gas 2). Line the base and sides of an 8-in. springform cake pan with parchment paper.

Beat the oil, sugar and eggs together in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt and fold into the mixture. Fold in the grated zucchini and lime zest.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool a little in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack.

To make the icing, beat the cream cheese and icing sugar together until smooth. Add the lime zest and juice and beat another 2-3 minutes on high to get really light and fluffy.

Once cool, top the cake with the icing by running a spatula or palate knife back and forth over the cake creating deep grooves to give a nice textural look.

Zucchini and Lime Cake 2

If you look closely, you can see my cream cheese wasn’t at room temperature for this one. Whoops!