Summer Baking

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Over the weekend, Jordan and I spent time in Lincoln Park and visited the Green City Market. Our camera battery was left at home on accident, so we weren’t able to capture all of the wonderful goodies, but oh did I want it all! Organic meat, eggs, honey, and veggies, etc. While walking through the market, the products had me thinking about one of my favorite aspects of summer; fresh berries!

When the seasons change, the recipes I use follow suit. I immediately wanted to dust off my summer baking favorites. Smitten Kitchen’s Raspberry Buttermilk Cake came to mind first. This recipe was discovered during the great Summer Baking Extravaganza of 2009. That was the period right after I graduated college but before I began working full time. I spent the extra time I had baking everything from bagels to pita bread. It was glorious.

This recipe is simple and delicious. It is also the perfect cake size for my little family or a small dinner party.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil

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I have a sweet tooth, especially if the dessert involves dark chocolate. In fact, for almost every holiday/birthday I receive chocolate from either my mom or mother in law. This love of sweets led me to bake a lot growing up with my mother. Now if I feel a craving coming, instead of buying packaged cookies I simply bake them. Sadly, cookies aren’t a dark leafy green so moderation and quality of ingredients do become important. Over the last few months, as my staples have dwindled, I’ve been replacing them with their healthier or organic equilvalent, ie. whole wheat pasta instead of white. On my last trip to Whole Foods I decided to buy coconut oil. It’s mentioned as a potential healthier alternative oil, but I wasn’t exactly sure if I would use it more for cooking or as a beauty product.

A favorite combination of mine is chocolate and coconut. I was having a chocolate craving and remembered a jar of coconut oil in my kitchen and thought, why not make chocolate chip cookies with coconut oil! I found this recipe and adapted it slightly.

  • 2 cups white whole-wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup virgin coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) chocolate chip cookies

I  used one cup all purpose flour and one cup white whole wheat (I didn’t want to over kill the health factor the first time I made this recipe).

For the sugar, I didn’t fill the measuring cups fully, a little space below the rim was fine.

Jordan enjoys chocolate but not as much as me, so I never use the full amount of chocolate chips. 2/3 of a cup was closer to what I put into the dough. After mixing began, I decided to add actual coconut flakes to enhance the oil.

They turned out great! The white whole wheat added a nice nutty flavor and using less sugar didn’t affect it. The only thing I would have done differently was to buy unrefined coconut oil instead of refined. I didn’t realize there were two options and one has more of a coconut flavor than the other, ie. use the refined with vegetables but the unrefined with baking for a lingering coconut flavor. Sadly, there wasn’t the full coconut flavor I was hoping for, but they still were a decent chocolate chip cookie. I’m looking forward to trying this again with the unrefined oil.

If you try this recipe or have favorite ways to use coconut oil, please let me know!

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