Saturday, February 28, 2009

Joe and Sophie make croissants and then gain 9 lbs

For our five year anniversary, I arranged for Joe and I to take a cooking class at a local culinary school making croissants. I thought it would be a good way to maximize our butter intake. I mean... love intake?

No recipe because um, these take three days (or one really crappy day) to make and I'm not up to typing all that up. This looks pretty similar to the recipe and method we used though.

Here's the dough we started with. Obviously we couldn't make it all from scratch, this wasn't croissant making summer camp. Our teacher showed us how to make croissants from scratch using dough in various stages and provided us with dough to work with. So we started with dough in the final stages: this is what you would have on the third day. Look at all those layers already! You get those from doing three "3-folds" on the prior days.

At this stage we could roll out our dough, letting it relax for a bit between rollings. This is my sheet. I assure you it was the best in the class.

Actually, the teacher did compliment my very impressive dough rectangle and I was proud, though I saw him compliment some severely ugly rolls later that day. But I'll take what I can get.

Next we cut our rectangles into thirds: the bottom 2 thirds were cut smaller than the upper 1/3. We used the small sections to fill and roll up and the big section to form traditional crescent croissants.
Here are my cheese rolls. They were supposed to have ham and cheese but I don't eat meat so cheese it was. These ones were just rolled up from the bottom, pretty easy peasy.

Here are some of my finished rolls. Some of these are filled with cheese and the rest are filled with chocolate chips. A few of my chocolate chips didn't make it into the croissants because they mysteriously migrated into my mouth.

This is our baking sheet filled with our respective rolls, Joe's are the ones filled with ham and mine are the pretty ones, obviously.

I'm kidding. Joe's were very pretty too.

Hey, did you know that rolling crescents that are pretty is HARD? Here are some of mine in various stages of hideousness.

But it didn't matter how ugly they were because they were baked and all hideousness was canceled out by sweet, buttery innards. Here are some of the regular rolls, baked. Mmm. Is there cheese or chocolate inside? IT'S A DELIGHTFUL SURPRISE.

This one is chocolate filled. Sweet, sweet chocolate.

Look at that flaky, buttery goodness. This one is ham and cheese. Obviously.

I've never been a huge fan of croissants but I'd only ever had the ones from grocery stores. And really, anything is delicious when it contains six sticks of butter and is fresh out of the oven. These ones were amazing and I ate about five that morning. And then my stomach exploded. Luckily the healing properties of butter are amazing.

The class was really fun and we got to take home about nine million croissants. Definitely worth the money, although my hips may disagree.

Flourless Chocolate Cake and Coconut Sorbet

When you think Valentine's day, you think chocolate. So it is only appropriate that for February's Daring Bakers Challenge, a chocolate cake and ice cream was in order. The challenge was pretty straight forward: to make a flourless chocolate cake and homemade ice cream.

Blurb'o-the-month: The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

I'm not going to lie, I was not too excited about this challenge. I'm not wild about flourless chocolate cake in most forms, I usually find it too intense but kind of boring. And ice cream? I've never liked ice cream. Which didn't stop me from considering buying an ice cream machine for the challenge. I nearly rationalized by hey sometimes, like every five years or so, I like a couple bites of sorbet. Or gelato. Which would make it TOTALLY WORTH $50, right?

I managed to talk myself out of it and will probably spend the money on an absurdly expensive strightening iron instead.

I'll admit, I used a different recipe for the flourless chocolate cake. There was a chocolate bĂȘte noire recipe in The Sweet Life that I've been eying for awhile and it appealed to me more than the one given. And I'm glad I did because it was AWESOME. I loved it. It's a bit like a chocolate pudding cake. You can see the recipe I used here. I apologize to your thighs in advance. But it had to be done.

Most of the Daring Bakers did like the posted recipe though and I feel guilty not posting the recipe I was supposed to use so here it is:

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.


I like sorbets far more than ice creams so that's what I decided to go with. I settled on either espresso or coconut and ultimately decided on coconut so my dish wouldn't be all brown. Plus, I just made espresso shortbread.

I'm usually too lazy to type up recipes I get from cookbooks but this one is so easy that I remember everything. Here's the basic recipe I used:

Coconut Sorbet, Adapted from the Millennium cookbook

1 can light coconut milk
6 tablespoons fructose
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Dash vanilla
Dash salt

Combine the above ingredients. I used a hand blender so that the coconut flakes would be better incorporated. If you don't have one, I would either blend it in a food processor or finely chop the coconut before hand. To make by hand, pour the liquid into a large glass pan and freeze. Take out of the freezer every 30 minutes or so and blend with a whisk or large wooden spoon before returning to the freezer. Repeat until desired consistency is reached.


Can you use regular sugar instead of fructose? Dunno. Joe happened to get me some fructose from the local health food store, otherwise I would've used regular sugar. But it was soooo easy, the recipe doesn't make a whole lot so it freezes really fast. Tasted lovely, though I prefered the unfrozen coconut liquid. Because I am a heathen and I DON'T LIKE ICE CREAM. It balanced really well with the cake though, especially when it was piping hot. The cake, not the ice cream.

Glad I did this month's challenge, I'm not sure I would've tried making ice cream by hand otherwise. I'm not sure I would make it again for myself but I would serve it to company.

Hahahhaa. Like I have fancy dinner parties and don't spend my Friday nights baking and watching Pokemon with Joe. Hahahahah. Company. More like force feed it to Brian immediately after he comes back from working out.

Looking forward to March's challenge!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Espresso Shortbread for the Week of Doom

I don't even know what to say about this week except that forks were looking like mighty fine objects to slowly advance into my skull. I took these pictures last Sunday but The Week of Doom prevented me from posting until today.

On Sunday I finished a giant 20 page project and decided to celebrate and bake. Except that nobody bothered to tell me that the due date of the project was changed while I was out of the room and wouldn't be due for another week. Fork to brain incident #1. Anyways, I eventually decided on making a chocolate-dipped espresso shortbread recipe from my cookie magazine that I'm baking my way through.

This (and the other shortbread recipe from the magazine) is one of the better recipes I've tried, I'm a big fan of shortbread. I thought the coffee flavor of these guys could be stronger but I still liked them a lot. Next time I wouldn't roll them as thin but I've only made shortbread once before and I don't really know what I'm doing. It could've been a lot worse, like the time I made pumpkin pie and forgot to add sugar. DELICIOUS.

Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Shortbread, from Fine Cooking


8 oz. (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. table salt
10 oz. (2-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. finely ground espresso coffee beans

For the dipping chocolate
9 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 Tbs. vegetable shortening:

Line two baking sheets with parchment. Combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer bowl (use the paddle attachment) or a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until the butter combines with the sugar but isn't perfectly smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour and ground espresso and mix on low speed, scraping the bowl frequently, until the dough has just about pulled together, about 3 minutes; don't overmix.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Aim for a uniform thickness to ensure even baking. Using a heart or other shape cookie cutter, cut out shapes as close to one another as possible. Press the scraps together, roll them out, and cut out more cookies. If the dough becomes sticky, refrigerate it briefly. Arrange the cookies on two parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate until chilled, at least 20 minutes.

Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 300° F. Bake the cookies until golden on the bottom and edges and pale to golden on top, 30 minutes to 1 hour. (After 15 minutes, swap the position of the baking sheets and rotate them 180 degrees for even baking.) If the cookies are done before 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 275° F for the remaining batches; if they take longer than 1 hour, increase the temperature to 325° F.

Dip the baked, cooled cookies:

Set a sheet of parchment or waxed paper on a work surface. Put the chocolate and shortening in a small heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate, stirring, until it's smooth and warm; don't let it get hot. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate. Set the cookies on the parchment and let the chocolate set up at room temperature, about 2 hours.


I don't get these baking instructions. Bake somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour? Uh, that's a big range, especially when a minute or two extra could ruin these. I ended up baking them about 25 minutes but I did make mine a bit thin. Also, I had to chill the dough some, it was reeeeeally soft and hard to work with. But other than that, it was a-okay. Oh: I melted the chocolate and shortening in the microwave. Worked fine.

I made these while wearing my robe, which is not at all surprising if you know me and my disdain for clothing, especially pants and socks. Brian happened to come in as I noticed that one of my sleeves was covered in flour. I mused out loud, "Hm, I should probably stop baking in my robe..." to which Brian said, "Um, yeah. About that. It is acceptable to wear a robe an hour before bed and up to an hour after waking up. Not, you know, NINETY PERCENT OF YOUR WAKING DAY." But this is coming from somebody who A) survived for a good year on white rice and ranch dressing to save money and B) once became so drunk that he forgot how to read. He cannot be trusted.

Joe has been making tons of bread lately. Joe decided it looked like fun after I made a few loaves of bread at the beginning of the year. And then he quickly became obsessed with it and I have been literally unable to make more bread because Joe is undoubtedly already making five different loaves that day. He's been hinting that I should post some of his bread on the blog, which I've been hesitant to do because I like to post recipes and Joe's recipes are 20 pages long from a scary looking bread encyclopedia. But here's one anyways, sans recipe: cheese bread!

I loved this bread, which is unsurprising since it combined simple carbs with cheese which made my bones turn to jelly. Then I had a feeding tube installed so that no time would be wasted in that time consuming chewing stuff. Luckily, it's gone now and I can stop gorging on it.

In other news, today is Joe's and my five year anniversary. I won't get too mushy, I'll just say that Joe's presence is probably the sole reason why the forks were not actually forcibly inserted into my brain this week. The Tiffany's ring he got me didn't hurt either. I love you.

Our anniversary gift from Brian was him cleaning the shower curtain. Which actually was a great gift, since we had a few mold colonies the size of several small continents growing on it. I was starting to fear for my life whenever I took a shower.

Stay tuned for February's Daring Bakers challenge!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Too Lazy to Bakes, Here's Some Pictures

I don't know if I'm still recovering from The Mysterious Flu Strain (let's call it TMFS) or if TMFS is actually mono but I have been EXHAUSTED the last week. Even if I sleep eight hours, I am exhausted all day and my brain is so nonfunctional that I have the attention span of a drugged flea. All I can seem to be able to focus on is marathon episodes of The Girls Next Door. It's an excellent show to rest your brain cells but not what I need to be doing when I have midterms next week. I've started taking naps during the day but that doesn't seem to recharge me either.

So in the mean time, here are some pictures of a sunrise from the top of Haleakala in Hawaii that I've been meaning to share. I'm not sure how Joe managed to convince me to wake up at 3 am for the drive, especially after the Hike of Horror and Doom. I was probably in the middle of eating some decadent dessert when I would agree to anything as long as nobody tried to take away my spoon.

I'm not going to pretend I took any of these pictures, I was definitely a huddled mass in the observation deck, trying to conserve body heat. It turns out, hey, it's not warm at 10,000 feet at 5 am, even in Hawaii. So because Joe was more properly dressed (and had also consumed an alarming amount of caffeine on the drive and was a perky, bouncy ball of Joe) he took all the pictures.

I was also trying to stand very still because I became nauseous, which I thought was my stomach punishing me for not getting an acceptable 14 hours of sleep. But it turns out I had altitude sickness, which I didn't realize until we were about to leave. We walked back to the car and when I sat down I started and yelled, "OW!!" because it felt like I had just sat in a vat of needles. And then I put my arms back and screamed again because my arms felt the same way. All of my skin felt like it was being simultaneously stabbed by millions of tiny needles. Apparently this pin and needles feeling is uncommon with altitude sickness, I'm was just one of the lucky ones.

It got better gradually as we got further down the mountain so it was over fairly quickly, thankfully. Still, it was worth it. It was really gorgeous, obviously. My favorite view was actually before the sun rose. The stars were out and it was pitch black so it was like being suspended in space. It was breathtaking, though it also freaked me out a lot. One of my top three irrational fears is falling endlessly through space, which was kind of like this felt like. In case you were wondering, my other two irrational fears are probably airplanes and atomic bombs. Disturbing fact? Every single time a camera flash goes off around me, I have a small heart attack because I immediately think ATOMIC BOMB. And yes, I'm aware that therapy is probably a good idea if I want to live past 25 without having a stroke.

While we're on the topic, top rational fears are probably 1) death and 2) having to face the wrath of my mom if I were to get pregnant or elope before I graduate. And of course since I'm mysteriously nauseous all the time, 400 people are always asking me if perhaps I'm pregnant. To which I say, "Shh! Don't suggest something so awful, my mom might hear you!" and they say, "Um, isn't she in Alaska?" to which I reply, "Have you met my mom? IF I GET PREGNANT SHE WILL STOP MY HEART WITH LASER EYES."

Suggest something for me to bake, I'm uninspired at the moment. Decide for me, I need to conserve my energy for walking to and from the kitchen.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Humungo Cupcake Takes Over Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's day, interwebs. Joe and I had a pretty low key Valentine's, our anniversary is a little over a week after Valentine's so we don't make a big deal out of it. Plus, I'm still getting over my mysterious stomach virus, which I also gave to Joe. Well maybe, his infection is all in his lungs so maybe I just weakened his immune system, allowing him to get some sort of other flu strain. Very romantic.

We decided to just cook dinner at home and ended up eating with Brian and his girlfriend. Joe made some balsamic braised portabellas and roasted red onions, I made some millet. We didn't have a heart cookie cutter so Joe used a star cookie cutter to cut out mushroom steaks and star toasts. Brian thought we may be insane. But he later used various Christmas themed cookie cutters to make some festive french toast so apparently the crazy is contagious.

It was good though. I love portabellas in balsamic sauce. One of my favorite sandwiches that Joe makes me is a grilled portabello marinated in balsamic vinegar, put on toasted bread with a nice layer of goat cheese. Ljgfoigfufdi, it is soooo good.

For dessert I made a giant cupcake with my giant cupcake pan. After agonizing over what cake to make in it, I decided to make pound cake from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey which my sister bought me for Christmas. I poured chocolate ganache over the "frosting" cake and threw some sprinkles on for good measure.

The cake turned out well but it's definitely not pound cake, which was a little disappointing. It's just regular yellow cake, which was tasty but not what I was going for. I thought it was a bit eggy too, which isn't surprising since it has SIX eggs in it. Still, making a giant cupcake was immensely satisfying and fulfilled some sort of deeply rooted desire. And I'm still looking forward to making other recipes from the book, they all look amazing and are all ridiculously decadent. There's a Cheesecake Milkshake recipe in the book which basically blends a pint of ice cream with two slices of cheesecake, which would fulfill your fat requirement for about 10 years. But at the same time I think, Why haven't I thought of that and fed it to Brian?

In other news, I had a really weird day recently, just a series of strange events that made me feel like I was going a little bit insane. One of them was going into the guest room to open the blinds, which are sorta broken and won't stay up. So I kept tugging the blinds up to the top and yanking on them to make them stay put. After one good tug, the blinds broke completely and fell on me. I stood there stunned for a minute because it was just so ridiculous. You have to understand that I have zero upper body strength, I make Joe open jars for me because my stick-like wrists collapse under the effort. And yet I had just ripped the blinds out of the wall.

I didn't know what to do with them so I scooped them up and cradled them while I took them to Joe. I was laughing like a mad loon at this point, carrying the shards of blinds like it was my first born child. I explained what happened to Joe and Brian and had this conversation with Brian:
Me: Look, Brian. I ripped the blinds down with my super human strength.
Brian: Sophie, what have I told you about using your super powers in the house? You know how they say to use your inside voice? Well, use your inside strength.

I need to go use my inside strength to figure out who to force feed my 90 lb cupcake to.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sick Whinning + Chocolate Chewies

Internet, I am sick. This is weird for me because since I started working in hospitals a few years ago, I never get sick. Well, first I was sick ALL THE TIME for the first year and then I developed crazy antibodies and my white blood cells are now made of steel. Until now.

Friday night I was unable to sleep because I was so nauseous, but I figured it was just my stomach hating me as per usual, I'm nauseous all the time. But then I started throwing up and getting chills and I knew I was in trouble. My fever finally broke today, which means I can do more than a) sleep or b) stare blankly at the TV for ten hours. But my stomach is still rioting and won't let me consume more than a bottle of vitamin water a day. Thanks, mysterious stomach virus.

So no baking until I can look at a glass of water without gagging. Lucky for you, here are some cookies I made earlier this month. On the Super Bowl, actually.

I've never been a big sports person. Nobody in my family played or watched sports and I don't have a competitive bone in my body. I tried a bunch of sports in middle school, but was tragically bad at all of them. Being five feet tall didn't help. I did become track manager in 8th grade when I promised to make the coaches batches of cookies. And so began my obsession with baking.

Anyways, so I'm not sure I've watched a Super Bowl in my life, except for bits and pieces when I was waiting to watch commercials. I watched more this year than I ever have in my life, and that was only after watching the Puppy Bowl.

The Puppy Bowl is put on by Animal Planet is exactly what it sounds like: for two hours, they put various puppies in a room decorated to look like a football stadium and then film the adorable puppies playing. There is also a delightful kitty half time show, in which a dozen kittens play with various spinning, shinning, and moving objects. It kind of looks like an acid flashback, actually.

Joe, BJ and I had a Puppy Bowl party and recorded the Super Bowl to browse through later. Joe made a caloric-ly dense onion dip and I made chocolate cookies. There's these low-fat chocolate cookies at Whole Foods which I really like, not because they're low fat but because they have a crunchy meringue-like shell with chewy cake like interior. I hadn't been able to replicate them very well but recently stumbled on this site which looked pretty close to the Whole Foods version.

And they were! I really liked this guys. The only thing that I would like to change is how thick these were and looking at her page, it looks like that could be changed by using a muffin top or english muffin pan.

Here's her recipe at Cafe Luna,you'll have to read it ALL BY YOURSELF.

I'll admit I used Hershey's cocoa, it's all I had and the choices at my local grocery store were either Hershey's cocoa or "Food Club" brand cocoa, which is probably saw dust and food coloring. I added a few melted squares of a good quality 100% chocolate bar, which improved the flavor but my cookies still looked a bit anemic compared to hers. I also left out the walnuts since we didn't have them and I don't like them much.

Overall, I really like this recipe and will probably experiment with it again in the future with better ingredients when my body stops hating me.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Things I made a while ago: Butterscotch bars and panna cotta

I made both of these awhile ago, I'm a slacker and am just getting around to posting these guys.

The first one is honey-yogurt panna cotta. Panna cotta is a very delicate molded custard, it is basically the closest you can come to eating heavy whipping cream without feeling like you're eating heaving whipping cream. But shh, don't tell my thighs.

I'd made panna cotta once before, last year when I was stranded in Joe's apartment and lived in the common area in a bathrobe while making Joe's roommate's vaguely uncomfortable for two days. It's a long story. But Joe wouldn't be back for another day and since all of my belongings were locked in his room until he returned, the only thing I could think of doing was to commander their kitchen and bake all day. I think I made various custards and cookies and only stopped when I had used all their sugar and eggs.

I was interested in a particular recipe from The Sweet Life because it lightened panna cotta with strained plain yogurt and sweetened it with honey. The idea was that it was supposed to taste like a Greek version of panna cotta. Sign me up!

This was the week that I failed coddling eggs so I wasted a ton of eggs trying to make the "egg white custard" which I think may be an invention of the author because it would just NOT. WORK. On my third try I used a hand blender which either worked or hid the curdled egg whites, I couldn't tell. But it was good enough for me!

I was a bit disappointed in how they turned out, I didn't think they tasted yogurt-y enough. I ended up adding a lot more honey as well, since I didn't think it tasted strongly enough of honey. However, I made the grapefruit curd shortly after this and the panna cotta were greatly improved when smothered in grapefruit curd. Then again, just about anything is good smoothered in creamy grapefruity goodness.

I'm too lazy to steal the recipe from The Sweet Life but here's a recipe from Martha Stewart that is very similar to what I used, except it doesn't use egg whites. Which is brilliant, since you can't curdle the stupid eggs.

Honey Yogurt Panna Cotta, from Martha Stewart



Serves 8

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 envelope (1/4 ounce) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup honey, plus more for serving
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Place cream and sugar in a medium saucepan. With a paring knife, split vanilla bean lengthwise; scrape out seeds, and add to cream along with empty pod (if using vanilla extract, add to yogurt mixture in step 4).
  2. Bring cream to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cover pan, remove from heat, and set aside to steep, at least 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place 1/2 cup cold water in a small bowl, and sprinkle gelatin over water; set aside to soften, at least 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk yogurt, honey, and salt until combined; set aside.
  4. Return cream to a boil. Remove from heat, and immediately stir in softened gelatin until dissolved. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into yogurt-honey mixture; mix until combined.
  5. Divide mixture among eight 4- to 6-ounce ramekins. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 2 days.
  6. To serve, unmold each panna cotta from its ramekin: Run a paring knife around the top inner edge of ramekin, then dip bottom of ramekin in a bowl of boiling water for 10 seconds. Invert ramekin onto serving plate. Holding ramekin tightly to plate, shake firmly to release panna cotta. Drizzle with honey before serving.

I also got a e-mail recently calling for volunteers for a bake sale and I jumped on the opportunity. I decided on Nutty Butterscotch and Chocolate Bars from my cookie book. And I just found the recipe online, so I don't even need to steal it from my magazine! Excellent.

Nutty Butterscotch and Chocolate Bars from Fine Cooking magazine


11-1/4 oz. (2-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/2 lb. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature; more for the pan
1-3/4 cup very firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
7-1/2 oz. (1-1/4 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
1-1/4 oz. (1/2 cup) sweetened coconut flakes
4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) medium-finely chopped pecans or walnuts


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt to blend. In a large bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar. With a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium until very well blended and fluffy, about 2 min. Add the eggs and vanilla and continue to beat on medium until well blended, about another 1 min. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until just blended, about 1 minute. Pour in the chocolate chips and coconut; mix on low until combined.

Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Scatter the nuts evenly over the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, about 40 min. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely. Cut into bars, squares, or triangles. Cover with plastic and store at room temperature for up to two days or freeze for up to one month.


Mine were actually chocolate-less since I discovered last minute that BJ had used all the chocolate chips by stirring them into his coffee. I had about three white chocolate chips that I scrounged up and added in. But honestly, I don't think the bars needed them. They were plenty sweet and I think the chocolate would be overwhelming. I DO think the walnuts are needed and I'm not usually a nut person. They added some depth to the bars, which are pretty sweet and one dimensional otherwise.

Anyways, I kept a few for us and packaged the rest for the bake sale. The secretary of the organization it was for, who is the sweetest girl ever, thanked me profusely for bringing stuff. I thought, "Pfft, are you kidding? Can you have a bake sale like three times a week so I can bake stuff and give it away every 48 hours?" but I like to hide my crazy so instead I said, "No problem!"

Still one more to play catch up: Chocolate chewies from the Super Bowl