Suzi's Blog

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel or Dolce de Leche

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Good food is edible. Great food is edible art. Such is the story of this cookie which could double as a gem in Madison Avenue storefront. If you have a sweet tooth, if you love coconut, then this cookie is for you. Small coconut balls are given a thumbprint impression, then baked. The indent is filled with one of two things: salted caramel [the original recipe] or dolce de leche [Suzen’s favorite].

To make dolce de leche, you can simple cook a can of sweetened condensed milk cover in water in a saucepan. When, as Suzen does, you are making dolce de leche for 50 people, all burners are active. Our kitchen becomes a production line.

This cookie is quite versatile. For dessert on a warm summer weekend night, when the barbeque dishes are not yet digested and you just want a tiny touch of dessert, then this cookie is perfect. It will cleanse away all traces of chicken, steak, onions and potato salad. A glass of sparkling wine is not mandatory but suggested.

If you want elegance, say for a fall or winter holiday feast, then a plate of these cookies — centered on the table and reflecting candle light in that dolce de leche — is understated sophistication. This year round cookie is one you will simply never tire of. Trust me. I’ve had a few dozen in the past year and my addiction is only intensifying.

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel or Dolce de Leche

Yield: ~ 50 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Table salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 12 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
  • 44 small soft caramel candies (12 ounces), such as Kraft
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Large, flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  • Or, in lieu of the caramels, cream and Maldon, 1 ½ cups of dolce de leche

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour and ½ teaspoon table salt, and beat to combine. Press dough together in plastic wrap, then roll into 1 ¼-inch balls. Dip each ball in beaten egg, and roll in coconut. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheets, and press an indentation into each with your thumb. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove sheets from oven, and re-press indentations. Bake cookies until golden, 9 to 10 minutes more. Let cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough.

If making a caramel filling instead of using dolce de leche, place the caramels and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the caramels are melted and mixture is smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. Spoon into indentations in cookies, and sprinkle with sea salt. Rewarm caramel if it hardens before all cookies are filled.

Source: Martha Steward Living, February 2012

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/6 for 1/40th second at ISO-3200

Fudgy Walnut Brownie Cookies from One Bowl Baking

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Cookies are part of our lives. Almost from the start. You don’t eat cookies, now, at all? Ever?

What about when you were teething decades ago? You got a cookie/cracker to gnaw on. There were animal crackers with milk at school. And everybody has at least one Oreo in their life. There just cannot be such a thing as an Oreo virgin. Okay, if you are allergic to chocolate, you may have escaped the Oreo but surely your life’s path was paved, in part, with cookie crumbs.

Given their ubiquitiness, we all can appreciate the range of quality we’ve encountered. Mostly okay, some good, but in truth just a few can be labeled great. How do you know a great cookie? At first bite. There’s just something there. Like that girl across the room.

So, this cookie, from One Bowl Baking, is deservedly in that love at first bite category. This is a great, exceptional, wonderful cookie.

Author Yvonee Ruperti compares this cookie to a brownie and calls it that, too. There is a brownie flavor and texture, I admit, but I think this cookie is more. I love soft chocolate cookies and I love thin cookies [and thick ones too]. The issue is that softness is often correlated with that thickness. It is hard to fashion a cookie that is both soft and thin. Most often, the baking process just naturally turns thin cookies into firm wafers.

Not here. The brilliance of this recipe is the ratio of sugar to flour and the placing of the cookies on the baking sheet. In a standard brownie recipe, the ratio of sugar to flour is typically 2:1. Here it is 1:1. The cookie dough is shaped into balls, about the size of a golf ball, and when baking starts they don’t immediately collapse. But over time, with that extra flour, the cookies gracefully settle in thin rounds.

When you bite one, it is soft, succulent and just chocolaty enough to make you sigh in pleasure.

The recipe says you get twelve 3½ inch cookies. You do. That batter spreads. So you have to exercise care in spreading the cookies out on the baking sheet. They will truly cover, if not dominate, every square inch of a half sheet pan. If your oven will accommodate a full sheet pan, that is that safer route. If you use a half sheet and some of the cookies spread into each other, I’m afraid the only solution is to take those misfits, eat them, and bake another batch.

I said this cookie was exceptionally good. Not perfect.

The premise of One Bowl Baking is to achieve superior products with minimum mess. That’s exactly what occurs with this recipe. If you have a child or grandchild who has been cookie deprived, this is a wonderful way to cook with them and show them what wonders can be achieved in your own kitchen.

The title has “walnut” in it. As usual, personal preference went to pecans. Our portfolio probably includes pecan stocks.

 

Fudgy Walnut Brownie Cookies

 

Yield: twelve 3½ inch rounds

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces or 55 grams) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 4 ounces (115 grams) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (7 ounces or 200 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (5 ounces or 140 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup walnuts (3 ounces or 85 grams), chopped, divided [pecans or other nuts can be readily substituted]

 

Preparation:

Place an oven rack in the middle position.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a large heatproof bowl heat the butter and chocolate to just melted, stirring frequently.

Stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Stir in the eggs, one a time, until completely mixed in.

Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl, then stir to combine. Stir in half of the chopped walnuts.

Scoop the batter into 12 balls, spacing evenly on the pan. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts over the t op of each cookie.

Bake until the cookies are puffed, cracked, and barely set, about 8 minutes. Do not overbake.

Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

Sources: One Bowl Baking by Yvonne Ruperti

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5.6 for 1/10th second at ISO-3200