Sometimes, when it comes to baking cookies that are really special, I bite the bullet and go all the way, white flour, white sugar and butter. A marriage made in heaven. This holiday season I found two new recipes that will go into my file as “make every year and share.” They are delicious.
Coconut Apricot Cookies
I changed the recipe to suit me. I used unsweetened coconut flakes (using sweetened desiccated coconut makes them super sweet) which give the cookies more “chew.” Try and find apricots or mangoes that don’t have sugar added to them. Read the ingredient list on the back, it should just say apricots or mangoes! Use whatever nuts you like but make sure they are chopped. This recipe calls for rolling the dough into a log, then chilling, then slicing. I didn’t have time so I formed the dough into small balls, pressed them into thin circles with a fork and baked.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup sweetened, desiccated coconut
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots or mango
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds, hazelnuts or pecans
1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. In a medium bowl, stir flour with baking powder until evenly mixed. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer beat butter with granulated sugar at least 2 minutes. Beat in egg, scraping down side of bowl as necessary. On low speed or using a wooden spoon, gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture until evenly mixed. Stir in coconut, almonds and apricots.
3. Divide dough into 4 portions (or follow my directions). Shape each into a rectangular or round log about 6 inch long and 11/4 inch wide. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to a week. Or seal in a plastic bag and freeze up to 1 month.
4. To bake, remove wrapped logs from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for about 15 min. so they’re easier to slice. With a serrated knife, using a gentle sawing motion, slice into rectangles or rounds about 1/3 inch thick. Spread slices out on a parchment lined baking sheet.
5. Bake in centre of oven until cookie edges are lightly browned from 8 to 10 minutes. Remove cookies to a rack and let cool completely. Cookies will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks or in the freezer up to 1 month. Good luck on keeping them that long!
Mini Fruit Cake Balls
No baking for this recipe! Great for snacks—your own healthy granola bar in a ball. The secret in keeping the dough together is in how fine you grind the ingredients in the food processor.
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup pitted packed dates, chopped
1 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1/3 cup mixed dried fruit with no added sugar (goji berries, mulberries, raisins)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
2 Tbsp melted coconut butter (small squares of solid coconut)
1 Tbsp raw cashew butter or almond
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1. Soak the dried fruit in the lemon and orange juice for about 1 hour or overnight to soften and absorb the flavours. Strain the fruit but keep the juice.
2. Grind the almonds, cashews, and coconut down to crumbs in the food processor. Add the dates, extract, and zests. Process until the dates are broken down and the mixture is combined.
Add the soaked fruit mixture and pulse several times to incorporate it. Add up to 1 Tbsp of the juice as needed to create a dough that holds together. Stir in the pecans by hand. If it doesn’t hold together mix in some more of the juice.
3. Using a small scoop to create balls of dough place them onto a parchment paper-lined tray. Place in the freezer while making the frosting.
Place all ingredients together in a bowl set over a pot of hot water to melt. Whisk together, then set aside to cool. While cooling whisk periodically until it starts to thicken slightly, about 10 minutes. Pour a little over each chilled ball and it will firm up quickly. store in the fridge.