Tag Archives: coconut oil

Whole Grain Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Coconut Oil

This post is brought to you by summer camp.  Sweet, sweet summer camp.

After several weeks of kids at home all day and attempts to get real work done late at night, I have a bit of breathing space.   And you’d think after cooking three meals a day for three weeks that I might have some recipes to show for it.  I probably would have — other than the fighting.  Oh man, the fighting and bickering and whining between siblings is almost too much to handle.  My older sisters alluded to this a few years ago with not-so-vague comments like “Just wait until they start to fight.”  These comments probably occurred (and went right around my perfection force field) as I was praising how much my children love each other, what a great big sister my daughter is, and how my son just looks adoringly at his sister all day long.  Right.

But now my son goes crazy when his sister sings.  Which is always.  And she goes crazy when he ruins her stuff.  Which is always.  They started out sort of like roommates.  You think the person is super cool because she brought BOTH a boom box and a microwave; and then you realize she has very bad body odor and you want to pummel her when she schmoopy talks to her boyfriend at night.  I guess all you can hope for is that by the end of the year, they end up going to a kicking party, have an “I love you man” moment, and are BFFs forever.

So if you are able, take a moment today to thank your mother for putting up with all of your annoying shit.  You can bet she considered leaving you alongside the road at some point in your childhood — though she’ll deny it.  You can also bet that when she enrolled you in clarinet camp, she was more interested in her sanity than in your music skills.  She’ll deny that too.  And just to shatter the rest of your childhood, she made chocolate chip cookies because she had PMS cravings.

Luckily, these cookies will both satisfy the cravings and quiet the children.  They use coconut oil, making them dairy free and giving them just a hint of coconut flavor.  They also have a bit more salt than I would normally use, giving them a touch of that perfect salty/sweet combination.  Chilling the dough will keep them taller and prevent them from spreading too much.  We used ours for cookie ice cream sandwiches one warm evening, which was pretty fantastic.

Whole Grain Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Coconut Oil

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 cup coconut oil, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 t vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups of dark chocolate chunks or chips (from about 9 ounces of chocolate)

1.  Mix whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

2.  Using an electric mixer, cream the softened coconut oil with the brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs (one at a time) and mix until incorporated.  Add in vanilla extract and mix.

3.  Add about a third of the dry ingredients mixture to the coconut oil mixture and mix until just incorporated.  Repeat with remaining dry ingredients (1/3 at a time).  Do not overmix.  With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in chocolate chunks/chips until mixture is thoroughly combined.  Chill dough for 45 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Drop spoonfuls of the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Because they do tend to spread, I only put 9 on a single sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes until just golden.  Allow to cool for a minute or two and then transfer to cooling racks and cool completely.  Repeat with remaining dough (keep dough in the refrigerator while baking other batches).  When completely cooled, store in an airtight container or freeze.

Almost Vegan Whole Grain Apple Dumplings

So, last week we were fortunate enough to be among the Pennsylvania residents who received the earliest October snowfall on record.  And not only did we end up with about 5 inches of snow (a day or so after our first frost of the season), we had major trees down and power outages because of the weight of the snow on the tree leaves.

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Luckily, we were only without power for about eight hours (many were without for three days or more).  By the evening, all we had to do was enjoy the fireplace and some impromptu company for a snow day dinner.  Did I forget to mention that school was even cancelled?  Nothing like recording your first snow day in mid October.

Because I am a lazy, lazy woman, I refused to go out of the house to pick up any ingredients to make dessert.  And I quickly realized that I was completely out of butter.  This does not generally make for a very good dessert.  I improvised with coconut oil and pretended it was because I was trying to be healthier.  The rest of the ingredients were luckily sitting around — apples, apple cider, and some basic staples.  I call these dumplings “almost vegan” because I made them with honey and cow’s milk — which are clearly not vegan (although some vegans debate the use of honey).  However, you could easily substitute those ingredients with agave nectar or sugar for the honey and soy milk or your choice of milk substitute.

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And if you are in no mood to be healthy, you could reverse engineer them with butter.  Especially if you don’t have to put boots on to go get it.  I would say that the one thing you wouldn’t want to change is the freshly ground cinnamon and nutmeg — you will not believe the difference.  I have a coffee grinder that I use exclusively for “sweet” spices and the end result is unlike anything you have ever tasted pre-ground.

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Almost Vegan Whole Grain Apple Dumplings

Serves 8-10

For the apple mixture:
4 apples (I used a softer baking apple, but any will do), peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 cup honey or agave nectar
3 T coconut oil, melted
1 cinnamon stick (or 1 t pre-ground), freshly ground in a spice grinder
1 small piece of whole nutmeg (or 1 t pre-ground), freshly ground in a spice grinder
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

For the pastry:
4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
4 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
3/4 cup coconut oil, at room temperature or chilled (in a hardened state)
1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
1 cup milk (can easily substitute with soy milk, etc.)

For the sauce:
1 3/4 cups apple cider
1 cup honey or agave nectar

Plus additional milk for brushing tops of dumplings

1.  Make the apple mixture by combining the 1/2 cup of honey and 3 T of melted coconut oil.  Toss with chopped apples and combine with cinnamon, nutmeg, and breadcrumbs.  Set aside.

2.  Make the pastry by placing pastry flour, baking powder, and salt in a a food processor.  Pulse a few times.  Add in 3/4 cup of coconut oil and process until it looks like a fine meal, with no large lumps of coconut oil remaining.  Add in honey and milk and pulse until just combined.  Turn out onto a piece of parchment paper and knead a few times until it comes together as dough.  (It will feel a bit like cookie dough — it is somewhat fragile.)

3.  Make sauce by combining apple cider and 1 cup of honey in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and let cook for about 3-5 minutes until slightly thickened.

4.  Preheat oven to 425 F.  Flatten pastry dough into a square shape and gently roll out (leaving it on the parchment paper) into about a 12 inch by 12 inch square.  It should be about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut that square into 9 smaller squares (a 3×3 matrix).

5.  To assemble a dumpling:  take one pastry square, flatten it a bit more, and place about 1/3 cup of the apple mixture in the center of the square.  Bring each corner of the pastry square over top the apples to the center.  Place the dumpling into the palm of your hand to firm up any cracks on the bottom and seal the dough to the top of the apples.  Repeat with remaining dough and apples.

6.  Place dumplings into a greased baking pan (I used a 11×14 pyrex), leaving a little space between them.  Brush the tops of the dumplings with milk.  (Can refrigerate at this point until ready to bake and serve.)

7.  When ready to bake (you will want to serve them somewhat warm), pour apple cider sauce around the base of the dumplings.  Bake at 425 F for 20-25 minutes until golden and the sauce is bubbly and nicely absorbed into the dumplings.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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