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Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies

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I caught a lot of flak the last time I posted a recipe for no other reason than to share what I had baked. It was all, “That’s it? You don’t have anything else?”

And I was like, “What on earth are you talking about?”

“Well, it was just a couple of sentences and a picture, and then a couple of more sentences and it was over. I kept scrolling, but it was over.”

“Yeah,” chimed in an equally scorned party. “All it did was make me want to eat those peaches!”

For.Crying.Out.Loud. I even got called a blog tease.

Um, to the complainers. I’m not the only one who needs a moment to catch my breath now and then, okay? (In other thoughts, is there something about stuffed recipes that renders bloggers nearly wordless? I hypothesize we are stunned speechless by deliciousness.)

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The real problem is that perfection is the enemy of productivity. If I waited until I had just the right thing to put down in words, I would – at worst – still be thinking about blogging or – at best – posting a blog twice a year.

Far too often, I stand in my way, paralyzed with not knowing how to do what it is I want to do or equally stunned into inaction by the overwhelming feelings associated with trying to do something I have never done before. The path to success is littered with potholes of failure, making inaction seem like the path of least resistance.

I think I have always done a good job at recognizing life as I live it is now. Life does not start when I land the perfect job or get married or buy a house with a pool in the backyard. Life, with its grinding tasks and single Saturday nights and tiny townhome, is now.

I have embraced living a life that perhaps has not unfolded in the time frame I expected it to, but has still very much unfolded in its own imperfectly lovely way. And for that, I am grateful.

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Now, if anyone dares to comment about these pictures showing nothing more than cookies on a cooling rack… Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1½ cups peanut butter
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup chocolate chunks
Instructions
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the flaked coconut and cook, stirring often, until the coconut is a light golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, sugars, eggs, flour, and salt.
  4. Stir in the cooled toasted coconut and the chocolate chunks.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto parchment lined baking sheets.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees F for 10-14 minutes. The cookies will be set and slightly golden when done.
Notes
To get cookies that look like these, press a piece of chocolate into the top of each rounded ball of cookie dough before baking. No coconut sugar or coconut flour? No problem. Sub a sugar or flour of your choice.
 

Classic Sugar Cookies for Kids’ Cancer

Classic Sugar Cookies Classic Sugar Cookies for Kids Cancer

When October rolls around in a few weeks, we will be inundated with pink. Pink ribbons will be pinned to lapels. Pink gloves and cleats will dot football fields on Sunday. A pink version of practically everything will be available in stores. Last year, I even saw a pink firetruck.

And we all know why. Pink calls to mind breast cancer and the people in our lives who have dealt with the disease either through a diagnosis or loving someone with a diagnosis. Awareness is a good thing.

But before we think pink, let’s see green. Ideally, in the form of this:
1202 150x150 Classic Sugar Cookies for Kids Cancer

September is childhood cancer awareness month. For every product you buy that bears this green sticker, OXO will donate 25 cents as part of its $100,000 pledge to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

All proceeds raised through the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer campaign go toward disease research. The campaign has been able to fund nearly 50 research grants thanks to support from everyday people like you and me and corporate partners like OXO.

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Back up a second. What does OXO and cookies have to do with finding a cure for pediatric cancer?

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was founded by two OXO employees whose son was diagnosed with pediatric cancer. His battle with the disease inspired them to find ways to fund pediatric research, and the concept of bake sales to involve individuals, communities, and businesses was the result. (Learn more if you like at OXO Good Cookies.)

Since OXO will donate $100 for every blog post dedicated to the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer campaign, I baked these Classic Sugar Cookies for the cause. My efforts were aided with the use of a 3-piece cookie cutter set , icing knife, and a cookie spatula that OXO generously provided. Just FYI if you need some ideas when looking for those green stickers, or check out the full list of green-stickered products.

This blog post = $100 towards childhood cancer research. That is reason enough to bake any day.

Classic Sugar Cookies 3 Classic Sugar Cookies for Kids Cancer

Need recipe inspiration? Check out what the bloggers participating in this campaign have baked at the OXO Good Cookies Pinterest board.

*The Fine Print: In 2014, OXO will donate up to $100,000 in support of pediatric cancer research to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer  through specially marked baking tools, bake sale matches, and other fundraising efforts. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law.

Classic Sugar Cookies
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cups (1½ sticks butter)
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar, vegetable shortening, and vanilla extract together in a mixing bowl, then beat in the egg until just combined.
  3. Slowly add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl and mix until incorporated.
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least four hours. The dough will be very soft before it is refrigerated, and it should be hard when it comes out. It will soften up fairly quickly once it is rolled out.
  5. When the dough is sufficiently chilled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to about ¼ inch thickness.
  6. Use cookie cutters to cut out the cookies, refrigerating the dough between rolling and cutting as needed.
  7. Place the cut out cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  8. Bake at 325 degrees F for 12 minutes. The cookies should be set but not browned.
  9. Allow the cookies to cool to room temperature, then frost and decorate as desired.
Notes
I used store bought frosting on these cookies, but a recipe for Royal Icing was included with the original recipe:
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Sift the confectioners’ sugar to remove lumps. Mix the ingredients at medium speed 5-7 minutes. The icing should lose most of its sheen when done.

Here a couple of frosting recipes I have used on cookies in the past:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
¼ cup milk
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Beat all ingredients until smooth and creamy, one to two minutes.

OR
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat all ingredients until smooth and creamy, one to two minutes.
 

Food Blog Forum Asheville: Day 2

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Day two of Food Blog Forum showcased the Asheville food scene from farm to fork. We arrived at Highland Brewing Company to what essentially amounted to a sea of food and beer.

At 11 a.m.

On a Tuesday.

To say I was happy is an understatement.

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Creative. Delicious. All-around amazing. I am not sure how to best describe the food at the tasting event, but any of those will do. I hope I have struck the right balance between enjoying it in the moment and sharing it with you here.

Top Row:

Montadito en Escabeche by Cúrate – Toast with mussels, a roasted tomato and garlic vinaigrette, and pickled seaweed.

Appalachian Okra by Green River Pickles –  Slightly spiced with cayenne peppers and garlic. Enjoy straight up or stuffed with pimento cheese.

Sunburst Mountain Trout by Red Stag Grill – Trout paired with seasonal vegetables and topped with heirloom tomato jam and lemon balm creme fraiche.

Middle Row:

Mimosa Fried Chicken Biscuit by Biscuit Head – More than fried chicken on a biscuit, their signature dish includes sriracha slaw, sweet potato chai butter, and cheerwine bacon. A personal favorite.

Citrus Kale Salad by Green Sage Cafe – Kale with beets, carrots, avocado, and raisins.

Duck Liver Pate by King James  Public House –  Served with pickles on lavash (a crisp flatbread). Quite possibly the prettiest dish of the day.

Bottom Row:

Foraged Mushroom Gratin by The Market Place – Mushroms, roasted shallots, and a parmesan herb crust served atop crostini. Another personal favorite.

Duck Terrine Biscuit by The Junction – Duck leg and liver terrine on a buttermilk biscuit, peach-pepper jelly, shaved jalapeño. This was a crowd favorite.

Dessert Empanada by The Cantina  – Stuffed with strawberry cheesecake and topped with a Nutella molé sauce.

Not pictured but another personal favorite was the sweet corn pudding with spicy peppers from 12 Bones Smokehouse. An Asheville local told me 12 Bones maked the best barbecue in the city.

Want to make some of these dishes at home? Download a sampling of Asheville Recipe Cards. (They may take a while to load, but they will eventually.)

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There were other food artisans present as well. Remember French Broad Chocolates from Day 1? They were there with trays of caramels and tiers of Mocha Stout cupcakes made with Highland’s Black Mocha Stout. It got me thinking about my Oktoberfest menu

One of the more interesting experiences I had was provided courtesy of the Asheville Bee Charmer. They brought their honey tasting bar of local and artisan honey with them, providing me the chance to try honey varieties like nothing I had every tasted. I started with a honey from Idaho that was derived from Fireweed, which is an herb common to the Pacific Northwest. I then tried a honey form Oregon that tasted like vanilla marshmallows.

Tastes do not typically move me to much emotion beyond the spectrum of “that was really good” or “I didn’t much care for that.” This honey, however, moved me. I wanted to try them all but moved along out of fear of a sugar coma.

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So that was Highland. A little about the brewery, by the way. Highland was established in 1994 and the first brewery to open in Asheville since prohibition. It is now one of 19 breweries in Asheville. I have only visited five, so I guess you could say I have some work to do.

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Our next stop was Hickory Nut Gap Farm. Husband and wife duo Jamie and Amy Ager operate the farm, and Jamie took time out of his day to talk about what goes on there. The farm offers grassfed beef, pork, chicken, and turkey, as well as you-pick berries. In a few weeks, they will have apples, a corn maze, and a pumpkin patch. I got the sense that the Ager’s are passionate about what they do and are committed to their community.

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We traipsed through the field to find the cows.

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 Found ‘em!

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Looking Glass creamery was our final stop. When I heard the word “creamery,” I immediately thought, “ice cream!” Nope, not this creamery.

Founded in 2009 by Jennifer and Andy Perkins, Looking Glass creamery makes cheeses from both cow and goats’ milk. The Ellington pictured in the bottom left is an ash-coated goats’ milk cheese. It placed second at the American Cheese Society competition in 2012. Impressive.

I also tried their Chocolate Lab cheese (pictured center) and Ridgeline (pictured right). I was glad I left my wallet on the bus, or else I probably would have bought each one.

Cheese is not their only forte. Looking Glass also makes small batch caramel sauces, and they graciously provided a jar of Carmelita goats’ milk caramel sauce to Food Blog Forum attendees. I am saving mine for apple dipping. At least that’s the plan for now. I could very well end up eating it straight out of the jar, depending on how the week continues.

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 They had a lot of hops growing too.

In addition to the cheese, we were treated to sake by Blue Kudzu, trout by Sunburst Trout Farm, and bread by Farm & Sparrow wood-fired bakery.

And that was the day. Festivities continued into the night with a culinary tour of restaurants downtown, but I had to hit the road to work the next day. That was my excuse anyway. Missing out really just gives me a reason to go back. Sooner rather than later.

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{Photo Credit: Explore Asheville}

 

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