Friday, November 26, 2010

Baking season has begun!

In the Hinson household, baking is a season. We tend to bake all year long, but in the fall and winter months it's almost as if baking were a sport. The oven is constantly on with something baking away, making the air smell delightful. We, being my mother and I, make cookies, breads, cakes, pies...the list goes on. I always enjoy being in the kitchen concocting something new. My dad and fiance make great taste testers, too! As a side note, it still feels weird (and awesome) to say fiance as opposed to boyfriend.

This year's baking season began with Pumpkin-Pear spice bread and a pumpkin cheesecake. I used roasted pumpkin that I froze earlier this fall for both recipes. I added the pear to the bread basically just to use up some over ripe pears that I didn't want to throw out. It added a lot of moisture to the bread making the texture awesome! I think it also added a nice sweetness, but it's not too sugary. Tonight, my baking season continued with Coconut-Chocolate chip cookies. They taste like a Mounds candy bar in cookie form. The flake coconut helps keep the cookies moist and chewy, which is my favorite texture combination in a cookie.

As requested, here's the recipe!

Coconut-Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 C. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C.white, granulated sugar
3/4 C. light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 and 1/4 C. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1, 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup flake coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the butter, white granulated sugar, and brown sugar together using a stand or hand mixer. Next, add the eggs and extracts. Blend until everything is incorporated very well. Then, add the salt, baking soda and about half of the flour. When that is well mixed, add the rest of the flour and mix just until blended. Using a heavy duty wooden spoon, stir in the coconut flakes and the chocolate chips. (Charlie had to help me with this because I have zero upper arm strength.) When the cookie dough is mixed well, drop rounded teaspoon fulls of the dough onto greased or parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake for about 9 minutes give or take, depending on your oven. Allow to cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack or sheet of parchment. This recipe makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Most cookies freeze well if you put them in vacuum sealed bags. Otherwise, they'll keep for about 2 weeks or as long as the people in your house allow them to :)

I'll try to share some pictures and a few more recipes of my baking season in the coming weeks. Until then, happy baking!