Monday, August 25, 2014

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Coconut Zucchini Cookies

I was going to do a "life" post instead of posting back-to-back baked goods that both consist of zucchini, but I'm way too jazzed about these cookies. 

I realize that most people will probably be turned off by their appearance, but I actually like the look of the green little zucchini bits found throughout these cookies. I know that's weird, but I'm not normal and really really enjoy strange things.


So after making, loving, devouring, and posting my Chocolate Zucchini Cake, I had one little lone zucchini left that probably would have been delicious sautéed and eaten with grilled chicken, but the fat kid in me simply said, "Nope. We are making cookies with that thing".


Behold the Chocolate Chip Coconut Zucchini Cookies! 

Just like the cake, the zucchini makes these cookies moist and dense and is hardly detectable (taste-wise, not appearance...obvi). I know I know I know, you're still like BUT WHY THE ZUCCHINI? Just try it. If you hate them, email me and I'll pay the postage for you to send me those bad boys so I can eat them :) But that won't happen because you will love these!

I know that many of you are either starting or have kiddos that are starting back to school today! Wishing you the best of luck for a successful, fun new school year!!!

Happy Monday! 


Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Coconut Zucchini Cookies
Makes 1 dozen large cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temp
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup organic white cane sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely shredded zucchini (about 1 small zucchini)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir coconut oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla together until combined.
  5. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture until combined (dough may seem a little dry)
  6. Stir in zucchini, chocolate chips, and coconut.
  7. Divide cookie dough into 12 balls and place on cookie sheets.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until edges start to brown slightly. 
  9. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheets for a few minutes.
  10. Remove cookies from baking sheets and place on a cooling rack to cool completely, or enjoy while they are still warm!
*These cookies will stay soft and chewy for several days if placed in a airtight container or Ziploc bag. They also freeze well!

ENJOY!


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Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Best Way To Eat Veggies

Growing up, my mom used to make no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies for us to have for breakfast. She said it was the only way we would eat oatmeal. Well friends, I'm here to top that. A few nights ago, I made my first Chocolate Zucchini Cake and it.is.ridiculous.


Up until now, I was always turned off by the idea of putting zucchini in my cakes. I never really understood it. Carrot cake, I get. But zucchini? Just too weird. But then I realized that you are not adding the zucchini because you just love zucchini and think it will give a cake that delicious zucchini-like taste. No. You add it because it makes the cake dense and keeps it super moist for days. And don't worry, you can't taste the zucchini at all.


I don't know who thought of adding zucchini to cakes, but they need a serious pat on the back followed by a slow clap. I'll start it.

Oh, and don't forget to pour that luscious chocolate ganache on top for the win.

Happy Saturday!


Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Ganache
(adapted from My Baking Addiction)

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cup organic cane sugar (I like Sugar In The Raw brand)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 large zucchini)
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
For the ganache:
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Line a 9x13 pan with foil and coat foil with butter so the batter doesn't stick.
  3. In a large bowl, blend butter, oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
  4. Stir in sour cream.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together flour and cocoa.
  6. Add flour mixture to batter and gently stir.
  7. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips.
  8. Pour batter into the pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out fairly clean.
  9. Allow cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack while you prepare the ganache.
  10. Place 1 cup chocolate chips in a heat-safe bowl.
  11. In a saucepan, heat heavy cream over medium heat.
  12. Once the cream is simmering, pour over the chips and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
  13. Whisk the chocolate and cream together until smooth and blended, then pour over the cake.
  14. Allow the ganache to sit for 45 minutes for cutting the cake.
ENJOY!



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Friday, August 22, 2014

Is This Real Life?

I have found myself questioning whether or not this is really my life several times since our little bumble bee (aka The Honey Bee, Kee-Kee, Miss K, Princess Kenn Kenn, K-Money, The Famous Miss Kee-Kee, Milk Monster, and The Kennedy Harper Show...) arrived. Don't get me wrong, life was unbelievable before her, but now that we get to live life with her, everything just seems very surreal in the best possible way.

May I just mention that fact that it's a little crazy how we spend an enormous amount of time deciding what to name our child, only to call them everything but their real name once they arrive. Just an observation.

Anyway, things got super surreal when my sister and I visited our alma mater last weekend. For some reason, bringing my offspring to a place where I went to school made me feel like I was having an out of body experience. I am a completely different person in so many ways since attending college and never ever ever thought I would be blessed enough to bring my beautiful daughter back with me. 

Pretty cool stuff.

Oh, and you just can't do Baylor without my lovely sister Hannah. While I love my school and have a deep respect for it, she is all kinds of Baylor crazy. Love her.

Once arriving in good 'ole Waco, TX, we headed straight to the Baylor Bookstore to buy insanely overpriced Baylor clothing and accessories for ourselves and the kiddo. We got there at 3:30 PM and even though they close at 4:00 PM, they joyfully stayed open for us until 5 PM! If that's not southern hospitality, I don't know what is :)


Then it was time to hit up one of our old favorite food spots, Food For Thought. We demolished two baskets of Chicken Black Bean Nachos and left ROLLING out of there. Amazing.


 Then we walked around campus reminiscing about the good old days, when our primary worry was whether or not our bodies would give out from the amount of caffeine we consumed and all-nighters we pulled.


Of course, I had to show Miss K the Hankamer Business School, where I spent countless hours debiting and crediting and reviewing employee handbooks (majored in Accounting & Human Resources).


It's insane how much the campus has changed in 5 years, but many of the same buildings and signs remain, which is awesome and necessary.


We stopped by the new stadium that I think cost around a gazillion dollars to build...no big.


Then we took a selfie break.


Then we were very brave and visited the bears.

Oh, and I would like to mention that Kenn had a very cute outfit on, but it was 100 degrees with 1000% humidity in Waco that day, so we stripped her down to her baby wife-beater.


My sister (aka Auntie Tutu) unknowingly took some candid shots of us strollin', which is always fun.


After covering most of campus, we called it a night. We went back to the hotel and, after more reminiscing and laughing uncontrollably while chowing down on York Peppermint Patties and trying not to wake up the baby, we CRASHED.

This was my first time back after attending a homecoming 3 years ago and it felt great to be back. So many fun memories. Yes, I'll be ok if Kee-Kee does not want to attend Baylor, but it sure would be fun if she did :) Will I still be paying for MY time at Baylor when she attends? Probably. But going back and soaking up the memory reminds me that the cost is totally worth it.

This is real life, and it's a good one.



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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Healthy Dark Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread (Paleo-Approved!)

I will admit that I have dipped my toes in the Paleo pond a time or two, just to see if it was manageable. Sadly, it never lasted more than a few days since I am 100% addicted to not only sugar but the experience of making giant cookies and cupcakes that are worth my time.

Up until baking this Banana Bread, I was not impressed with the Paleo baking options. They would leave me dissatisfied and pissed that I spent a whole paycheck at the grocery store buying Paleo-approved baking items only to make "chocolate chip cookies" that tasted like a Magic Eraser.

Just to clarify, I've never actually eaten a Magic Eraser, but you get me.

Give me a big bowl of Paleo-rific protein and veggies any time of the day and I will joyful consume, but Paleo cookies? I'm still waiting to be impressed.

Now this Dark Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread? This is good. I've been snacking on it from morning to night the past few days and am working on finishing off the whole loaf as we speak.

And yes, I've already eaten breakfast, but that's really just another bag of issues. Another day.


I wasn't really intending on baking a Paleo treat when I saw that I had two black bananas on my counter, but when my mom dropped off two bags of Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour and Unsweetened Fine Macaroon Coconut that she wasn't using, it just seemed right.


I love this bread because even though it doesn't rise very much like your typical banana bread, it's still dense, moist, and super flavorful. The almond flour and coconut also gives it a crazy texture that will keep you coming back for more :)

Happy Thursday! Let's get to baking!


Paleo Dark Chocolate Coconut Banana Bread

Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened fine coconut shreds
  • 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large, ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (anything over 70% cacao)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil and sprinkle with almond flour so the batter doesn't stick to the pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together baking soda, baking powder, salt, almond flour, and coconut shreds.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir coconut oil, eggs, mashed banana, maple syrup, and vanilla together.
  4. Add banana mixture to flour mixture and stir until barely combined.
  5. Stir in dark chocolate chips.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, until edges are brown and an inserted toothpick comes out fairly clean.
  7. Let loaf cool completely before removing from pan.
ENJOY!


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Monday, August 11, 2014

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies with Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate Chips

I'm always skeptical when I see "flourless" cakes, cookies, etc. To me, fresh flour always seems like the key ingredient to delicious baked goods. However, a friend of mine is eliminating wheat from her diet but still wanted a treat that didn't taste like cardboard, so after some experimentation and researching a few recipes, delicious flourless peanut butter cookies were all over my kitchen! 
 
These are sure to please any palate, gluten-free or not. It was pretty obvious when I made a batch for her, proceeded to devour it, then made another batch and literally had to leave the house so I wouldn't partake in a shameless round 2 cookie binge. I mean, they're gluten-free! It's practically salad.


These are crazy easy to make and only contain a handful of ingredients that you more than likely already have on hand. All good things.

 
I ate mine at room temp, but my friend refrigerated hers and we ate them cold (yes, I ate her cookies too), which was also incredibly delicious.
 
Well, it's Monday, and Mondays can sometimes be a drag, so I hope these cookies make your day a little bit sweeter!
 
Happy Monday!
 
 
 
Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies with Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate Chips
(makes 1 dozen cookies)
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-natural peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • sea salt, for sprinkling
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together peanut butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg.
  3. Stir in dark chocolate chips.
  4. Roll dough into 12 balls and place on two parchment-lined cookie sheets, 6 cookies per sheet.
  5. Using a fork, gently press the dough balls down onto the pan.
  6. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with a pinch of sea salt.
  7. Bake until slightly golden around the edges, about 10 minutes.
ENJOY!
 
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