Book club – month two
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Dinner for my sweet husband replaced cookie trays in the oven, as I tucked this month's book into my bag, and headed out into the cold Iowa night
This time I wasn't nervous at all. The downtown hang-out familiar and fun, a few starter questions at the ready, I hoped to remember everybody's name. A really great group of women, in a different season of their lives than I. The majority being professionals who've chosen to stay home and raise their young children
As we shared a drink, conversation floated between the book (a good one on all accounts) and musings of day-to-day life
There was talk of baking treats for grade-school parties, along with the art of juggling that comes with kids in multiple after-school activities. At the same time, I got to hear about them as well. One told of auditioning to compete on Survivor; another plays competitive volleyball with her husband
Then, out of the blue, it happened. The mention of someone turning 40 soon. An awkward sense of dread suddenly filled the space. I smiled, “You know, your 40s are a beautiful decade. You're smarter, wiser, established in your career, hopefully having made and learned from all of your big mistakes by now. You've come into your own skin.”
I paused, silently asking myself, am I the only one with this experience? “Huh, or so I hear.”
These are the cookies I brought to share, and without question are worth trying. Tender and cake-like, a crusty crunch on the outside, soft and moist on the inside, melt in your mouth good
They're an interesting mix, to say the least, Coconut and barley flours, full of coconut flavor from the flour, milk, oil, and shredded coconut they are rolled in. The oil (or butter, if using) added at the end. As they bake, the sweet, warm smell is nothing short of intoxicating
A few thoughts on coconut flour
It's become a familiar friend. One I reach for it more often than not. It's fairly affordable, as far as grain-free flours go, and I enjoy the cake-like texture it brings to the final product. Also, it's incredibly absorbent. A smaller amount needed in comparison to more traditional recipes
When using it as a substitution, you'll need to add more eggs than usual to compensate. I also find it does better when mixed with another type of flour, preventing your cookies from being gummy.
They can go straight from the mixing bowl to the oven, although my process for cookie dough is a bit different, always allowing for a 72-hour wait in the fridge. When baked from a chilled state, they are firm, with a mounded dome. If brought first to room temp you'll find they spread more and will be slightly softer.
Either way, they're absolutely delicious
ps: To make them extra fancy, once they've baked and are cool, dip their bottoms into a small bowl of melted chocolate chips, or chocolate protein fudge, then place them on parchment paper and refrigerate for a half-hour or so until the chocolate is set.
ppps: Next month's book? The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
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~ Adapted from iVillage
- 1 ¾ cup barley flour
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ¾ tsp kosher salt or fine-grain sea salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs (large or XL)
- ¼ cup natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 ¼ cup coconut milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 oz unsalted butter (or coconut oil, melted but not hot)
- 3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- Preheat oven to 350° F
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl
- Crack the eggs into the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix on low speed for 20-30 seconds, until the eggs are broken up. Add the sugars, increase the mixer speed to high, and mix 3 minutes or so, until the dough is the color of milky coffee
- Add the sifted dry ingredients to the egg/sugar mixture and mix on low speed until they are combined.
- Add the butter and mix.
- Add the coconut milk and vanilla. Mix until combined.
- Add 1 ½ cups of shredded coconut, using a large spoon to mix it in by hand. (Make sure to scrape down to the bottom of the bowl)
- (At this point, I refrigerate the dough for 72 hours, although you can easily bake them right away)
- Measure the remaining 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut into a shallow bowl. Scoop balls of dough (about 3 tablespoons in size) and dip them into the coconut.
- Place them on the prepared baking sheets, coconut side up, leaving about 2" between them
- Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through until the coconut crust is lightly toasted and the bottoms of the cookies are evenly brown.