Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Soft Batch Brown Sugar Cookies

A couple of months ago I bought a jar of coconut oil at Trader Joe's. It was sitting out on an "impulse" display and I got suckered. It looked interesting. Plus, I'd be reading and hearing all sorts of bru-ha-ha about the miracle of coconut oil. I wasn't sure what I was going to use it for: to wash my hair, to try oil pulling, as a dietary supplement, cook with it, make a face scrub or bla bla bla. Apparently there are about a million different things that you can use coconut oil for and if you believe everything you read, it'll pretty much cure whatever ails you. WOW, this stuff is a miracle in a jar. I'm gunna save the world with this stuff, or at least my family. Look out, I'm armed with coconut oil, and not afraid to use it. . .

And then it sat, for about 6 months, in my pantry, unused. I didn't save the world, or my family. We're the same old family we were before I bought it. And, ya know, that's my life sometimes, lots of good intention and no time for follow through. Whatcha gunna do? 

Then, on Pinterest, I came across a beautiful picture of Soft Batch Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies. So I retrieved the coconut oil from the far corner of my pantry, dusted it off, checked the "best by" date (whew, just in time) and decided to try making these cookies. . .

Here's what you need: coconut oil, brown sugar, an egg, vanilla, molasses, AP flour, corn starch, baking soda and salt.
(Optional: 1/2 cup butterscotch or chocolate chips, not shown or in the original recipe)

Start by creaming the sugar, coconut oil and egg. Cream until light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and molasses and mix well.

Then add the flour, corn starch, baking soda and optional salt and mix just until incorporated.

I went rogue and added about 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips. I just had a hunch.

Scoop the cookies onto a lined cookie sheet. I used a #24 disher and got 14 cookies. The recipe says to use a 2 tablespoon scoop and you should get 15-16 cookies. Whateves. The #24 worked.

Flatten the cookies slightly, cover and chill at least 2 hours. I went overnight.

When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F and set the cookies at least 2 inches apart on a lined or greased cookie sheet. I followed the blog post and let my chilled cookies set out 30 minutes before I baked them.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until bottoms just start to brown and tops are just set, maybe a tad underdone. Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes. The cookies will continue to cook a bit and the "underdone" tops will set up. In the blog 8 minutes is recommended but since my cookie scoops were a bit bigger, I went the full 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a rack. Store up to one week.

Here's my take on these cookies: not bad. Not really great, or awesome, or spectacular. Just good. A little bit better than ok. If I hadn't thrown in the butterscotch chips I think they would have been kind of bland. I sampled a cookie after it had cooled completely and it was still soft and chewy. The texture was great and the flavor was good. Caramely and brown sugary. If you're worried about a coconut flavor, its hardly detectible, my kids didn't even know. The cookies seemed a bit oily, particularly in the bottom and I'm thinking that's the coconut oil. Again, we ate them and enjoyed them and none were thrown away, just no raves.

On the subject of coconut oil, I found it difficult to work with for a cookie recipe. It needs to be soft enough to "cream" with the sugar, yet work it too much and it wants to turn liquid. The ambient temperature of my kitchen was about 75° and after about 4 minutes of creaming, it started to get oily. I think that if you cream the coconut oil and sugar without the egg first, you might get a fluffier texture with less mixing time and avoid getting the mixture too warm. You may also consider chilling the mixing bowl and paddle attachment. There was also an odd smell when the cookies were baking. Not a bad smell, just kind of odd and unfamiliar.

I love the idea of a soft chewy brown sugar cookie and I might try these again substituting butter for the coconut oil and see if I can achieve the same soft texture. As far as making cookies with coconut oil, I think I'll pass. Just not a fan.

Here's a link if you think you'd like to try: 
If you read the post from the link you notice that my cookies seem to have a darker color and less "fluffy" texture. It's odd, because the recipe calls for dark brown sugar and I used golden brown. Hmmmm?? I think the texture and color difference may be that my kitchen was too warm and the mixture wasn't properly "creamed".

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