Zucchini Coconut Chippers

Every summer I go through an obsession with zucchini.

So far, I’ve made zucchini cinnamon muffins, zucchini brownies and now these chocolate chip cookies – with zucchini, naturally.

It’s not because zucchini has such a great taste. This is one vegetable that’s easily influenced. It jumps on the bandwagon of the flavors around it. Unlike the bossy onion or self-important pepper, the zucchini is not memorable; you can hide it in all types of goodies and no one realizes they’re eating vegetables.

I do feel sorry for zucchini. First they look like cucumbers, so people are always confused about them. And it’s hard to tell the head from the tail – who would want that? Then there’s the waxy skin and the odd little seeds inside. Both are edible, but are they palatable? Question of taste.
For me, I peel the skin, but leave the seeds and then shred them in the food processor. So you do see little shreds of green in the cookies. But with the coconut, walnuts and – dark chocolate chips – no one notices the modest zucchini.

I also used coconut palm sugar instead of white sugar. It doesn’t taste like coconut and has a brown color, so these cookies look a bit darker because of it. But the palm sugar is not supposed to spike blood sugar, so it’s a better choice than regular refined sugar. It has a rich, caramel flavor and I adore it in coffee!

coconut palm sugar

coconut palm sugar


The original recipe was on allrecipes.com, but I altered it quite a bit and cut it in half. I like to experiment, so small batches are more practical.

Note about the zucchini, remember to let it rest in a little hammock to get rid of some of the moisture. See this former post if you need more help.

doughballs

Ingredients for about 2 dozen small cookies
1 stick butter – 1/2 cup
3/4 cup sugar (I used coconut palm sugar)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup grated zucchini
1 1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon (or more)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
cookies 2

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Put parchment paper on two baking sheets – or grease
Cream butter and sugar together – either by hand or with a mixer.
Add egg and vanilla.
Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
Add them to the batter and fold in by hand.
Fold in zucchini, coconut, nuts and chocolate chips.
The batter may seem a bit dry but the zucchini will release it’s moisture as you stir.

Bake about 15 minutes until they are lightly browned. They do take a bit longer because of the raw zucchini.

They go together very quickly. The cookies are chewy and satisfying with so many flavors.
cookies done

Chocolate Covered Almond Balls

almond balls


Our family loves those peanut butter balls rolled in chocolate. But I had to wonder how much more delicious they would be made with almond butter. And I mean the real deal. Ground from almonds before my eyes. Our store has expanded their “health food section” and you can now make peanut butter or almond butter with the flick of a switch. No added ingredients. After wading through the ingredient lists on jars of almond butter, I decided to harvest my own, sans unpronounceable chemicals. The taste is very fresh and delicious.

Perfect dessert


However, if all you have available is the almond butter in a jar, then use it for these. If your jar lists salt, eliminate the salt in this recipe. But do try them!

perfect bite


stiff batter

drop by tablespoon

Ingredients for 18 – 20 Balls
1 cup almond butter
2 TBS butter
1/2 tsp salt (only if using almond butter that does not contain any salt)
1/2 tsp almond extract (don’t omit!)
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions
Mix the almond butter, butter, salt, and almond extract in a bowl and blend well.
Stir in the powdered sugar. Use a small mixer if you like.
The batter will be rather course, but should hold together to form balls.
If it’s too soft, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too stiff, add a bit more almond butter.
Cover a large plate with waxed paper or parchment paper.
Use a tablespoon scoop or measuring spoon to form into balls and place them on the prepared plate.
Refrigerate 20 – 30 minutes.

Perfect snack

Meanwhile, put the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat 30 seconds at a time until melted.
Roll the chilled almond balls in the chocolate and then place them back on the wax paper.
Pop back into the fridge until the chocolate has set up.
Store them in the fridge for best results and eat within about two weeks – if they last that long.

These are a great snack or dessert that won’t send your blood sugar into overdrive. They are elegant enough to give as a gift, yet simple enough for the kids to make.

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Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies

Urban Legend or Legendary Recipe… you decide.

I pledged to bake cookies for the winner of an auction at our church. The money raised is going to help students go on mission trips. A great cause which I’ve embraced for three years now.

Neiman Marcus Cookies


Before I could make a few cookie suggestions, Chuck, the eager auction winner, sent this recipe as a request for my first cookie “deposit.” The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe is an urban legend that has been around for several decades. It’s similar to the Mrs. Field’s Cookie recipe which has also circled the globe.

dark chocolate and mint chips


I made the recipe exactly as is because it was a request, but anyone who follows this blog knows that it is nearly impossible for me to follow a recipe AS IS. And because there was so much batter, I eventually had to divide it into two bowls, so I used different chips in half. A few additional suggestions follow the recipe below.

Grated Hershey bar added little

Over flowing mixer

one tablespoon sized scoop

Nieman Marcus Cookies – original recipe
Makes 10 dozen (no kidding!)
2 c butter
2 c sugar
2 c brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
4 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
5 c blended oatmeal
1 8-oz Hershey bar (grated)
3 c chopped nuts
24 oz chocolate chips (You may want to divide the batter and use different chips in each half. Pictured are one batch wtih semi sweet chips and one with dark chocolate and mint chips.)

Directions
Measure oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder.
Cream butter and both sugars.
Add eggs and vanilla.
Mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda.
Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar, and nuts.
Roll into balls and place 2 in apart on a cookie sheet. (I used a 1 TBS scoop.)
Bake at 375 for 10 min.
Makes 112 cookies.
Recipe may be halved.

The cookies were delicious, but naturally I have several opinions about them which you may want to consider.
Nana Clare’s Notes:1. They suggest that you might want to cut the recipe in half. Might? This makes 10 dozen, so unless you have a crowd of cooie monsters at the ready, do consider halving it. Or make the batter and freeze in balls. Then bake as you desire, a few nibbles at a time.

2. The huge grated Hershey bar was a pain because my food processor stopped after the first pulse and I had to “grate” these by hand. But regardless, I didn’t think the milk chocolate bar added much flavor so I would ditch it.
3. The recipe was so enormous that eventually I had to divide it into two bowls. I used the traditional semi sweet chips in one bowl and put the dark chocolate and mint chips in the other. That was a winner! The batch that I took to a church function disappeared quickly and people really seemed to enjoy the mint. Butterscotch or other chips would work well too.
4.I thought grinding the oatmeal was a wasted step. Personally, I love oats and enjoy seeing them in baked goods.
5. The cookies would retain their moistness more easily if some of the sugar was changed out for honey.
6. Finally, I would have swapped out some of the white flour for some whole wheat pastry flour, just so I could pretend these are “health foods.”

Dark and White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Butter Brickle Bits

It’s my daughter Rose’s birthday. I should be making her a French Silk Pie, which is her favorite birhday treat. But she lives 250 miles away, so we’re baking cookies in her honor.

Is this my Devil or Angel side? The Dark or the Light Side of chocolate?
Or was I just tidying up my “baking basket?” You know – the catch-all that contains partially used bags of chocolate chips, butter brickle bits and tantalizing goodies of all sorts.


I’m in a vicious cycle that goes like this:
1. Chocolate chips go on sale, (or I find an excuse to buy them at whatever price) along with butterscotch and peanut butter bits. I tell myself I’ll bake for my grandchildren, or a neighbor or the poor hungry kids in China.
2. I bake and sample the batter and the fresh warm cookies. The experience of warm cookies makes me forget about my bossy bathroom scales and the too-tight pants hanging in my closet. I’m a junkie on a high and I think only good things are possible at this moment.
3. The next morning, my bathroom scales have a chat with me and I decide to give away the rest of the batch. Unsuspecting neighbors love me for my impulse-baking.
4. Next I clean out the sugar in my cupboards, shine my halo and resolve to eat healthier – i.e. without cookies.
5. I walk around for days thinking about baking cookies.
6. I find myself in the baking aisle of the store – just for a whiff, mind you. But I’m clutching a coupon and soon my grocery cart is piled high with the forbidden goods.
7. Back at home, I feel remorseful. I watch Dr. Oz to encourage my resolve to eat healthier and I stash the baking bits in a sack in the back of an unused closet in the basement and try to forget about their existence. But I know they’re there. They call to me to rescue them and give them a higher purpose.
8. I dig into the closet, pull out the mixer and the cycle begins anew. I repeat steps 2 through 7 like a crazed Betty Crocker.

c is for cookie


OK, now that I’ve gotten that off my flour-dusted chest, let’s bake some cookies!
This will make a large batch – 4-5 dozen, so choose a victim (err, companion) to share these with. Or perhaps a whole team of folks.


Ingredients for the Dark and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups rolled oats
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter brickle bits
3/4 cups white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
Note: Traditionally, you are supposed to mix the dry ingredients separately and then put them into the wet ingredients. However, I have discovered in my 50 years of cookie baking, that the soda and salt blend much better when they go into the wet ingredients, so that’s what I do.


Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Get out several cookie or bar sheets. No need to grease them.
Put the butter into your mixing bowl and beat until it’s smooth.
Add the sugars and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat for 30 seconds after each addition.
Now add the dry ingredients in the order listed.
When the flour and oats are incorporated, stop and add the chips and butter brickle bits. Fold these in by hand.
Use a small scoop or tablespoon to drop them onto the ungreased baking sheets.
Bake about 12 minutes. More if you like them crisp; less if you like them chewy.

The combination of the white and dark chocolate chips is a nice contrast. The addition of the butter brickle bits adds a caramel hint throughout the cookie like a sweet little kiss.

Dark and White Chocolate Chip Cookies are not quite like the “Black and White” cookies featured in a Seinfeld episode, but they’re a Midwest version with the blend of dark chocolate and white. Devil or Angel? You decide.

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