Marble Pound Cake

IMG_5018 Time flies! These past few days have been a whirlwind of work, running, yoga, eating, sleeping. Repeat. It’s finally stopped raining (for now) so I’ve been trying to take advantage of the clear skies on my runs. I’ve also been working on getting a Running page up on this blog! Nothing too exciting, just an easier way for me to organize my thoughts and separate running from food. But like I said before, the recipes will still keep coming so have no fear if you aren’t quite into the running stories!

Let’s talk marble pound cake.

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I’ve actually had this post saved in my drafts for a while now but that doesn’t make me less excited to share it with you! I’ve always loved how beautiful a swirl effect can be in baked goods. This cake takes full advantage of that plus satisfies both white and chocolate cake lovers. I know pound cake isn’t really cake cake, but it’s still cake-like and this recipe especially make a lovely, fluffy pound cake.  Another bonus is that you most likely already have all of the ingredients you need for this recipe (or you can make* certain ingredients) so this is the perfect last-minute recipe!

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*how to make:
– buttermilk: 1 tbsp lemon juice or 1 tbsp white vinegar in a 1-cup measuring cup, fill to top with milk
cake flour: 1 cup all-purpose flour, replace 2 tbsp of flour with 2 tbsp cornstarch and sift

Marble Pound Cake

Yields: 1 9×5 loaf cake

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
butter or spray for pan

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter or spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan; set aside.

Whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour.

Scoop 1/3 of the batter into another bowl and set aside. In a separate small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of boiling water until smooth. Add the cocoa mixture to the small bowl of cake batter; and stir it well.

To assemble the cake- start by creating a checkerboard pattern in the bottom of the pan by spooning dollops of each batter on opposite sides of the pan. For the second layer, alternate the pattern, spooning vanilla batter over the chocolate and vice versa. Finish with a final layer of batter- again alternating it from the pattern of the 2nd layer. Use a knife or skewer to swirl all the batters together. Make a couple figure 8s and run it back and forth so it is swirled and pretty.

Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40-60 minutes (check at 40 minutes by inserting toothpick and if it does not come out clean, leave in longer as needed). Transfer pan to a rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn out cake from pan and cool completely on the rack. Cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

—SOURCE—
The Baker Chick, from Martha Stewart

Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I know, I can be pretty mean sometimes. Fresh off of your Valentine’s sugar overload, and I’m sharing chocolate chip cookies with you that not only have brown butter in them but are also stuffed with Nutella. For real?! I don’t think I can ever go back to a plain chocolate chip cookie ever again. Browning the butter (which in case you didn’t know is a favourite pastime of mine) really takes the cookie dough to another level by adding an intoxicatingly nutty scent and flavour that is perfectly complemented by a dollop of Nutella. I can’t get over how much awesomeness is packed into each cookie.

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Piping out the Nutella in advance and freezing it makes it much easier to put these cookies together. I will warn you though that frozen Nutella doesn’t stay frozen for long, so work quickly and keep half of the Nutella dollops in the freezer until you need them. Enjoy!

Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields: about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
Chocolate hazelnut spread (such as Nutella), about ½ cup
1 cup (16 tbsp.) unsalted butter
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. coarse sea salt, plus more sprinkling
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. greek yogurt or sour cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:
Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.  Place chocolate hazelnut spread in a plastic bag toward one corner of the bag.  Twist so that it does not squeeze out of the top.  Snip one corner off the end of the bag.  Pipe small dollops of the spread onto the wax paper, about 1-1½ teaspoons each.  You will need about 2 dozen.  Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and let sit until firm, about 2 hours.

Place the butter in a medium to large skillet over medium heat.  Melt the butter completely.  Continue to cook, whisking frequently, until the butter foams, bubbles slightly, and begins to brown.  Continue whisking until the butter is evenly browned, being careful not to burn.  Remove from the heat and let cool.

Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugars and the brown butter.  Mix on medium speed until well blended and smooth.  Blend in the egg and egg yolk, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla and greek yogurt.  With the mixer on low speed, blend in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Chill the dough briefly, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Use a medium dough scoop (about 2 tablespoons) to scoop a portion of cookie dough.  Press an indentation into the center of the dough ball to create a bowl shape.  Place a dollop of the frozen Nutella in the indentation and pinch together the edges of the cookie dough over the top to completely seal it in the center.

Place the shaped cookies on the prepared baking sheets, 2-3 inches apart.  Bake until the cookies are golden brown and set, rotating the pans halfway through, about 14 minutes total. Let sit a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Repeat with the remaining dough as needed (if you can resist eating it.)  Be sure to replace the remaining Nutella dollops in the freezer while waiting for cookies to bake.  It softens fairly quickly otherwise.

—SOURCE—
Annie’s Eats, from Ambitious Kitchen

Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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Despite the fact that I easily have hundreds of recipes bookmarked for future reference, sometimes I come across something that instantly catches my eye and makes me feel the strongest urge to run to the kitchen and start measuring and mixing ingredients together. I wouldn’t say that this happens regularly mainly because I like to think that I am able to exercise some sort of restraint, but reading about these cheesecake stuffed chocolate chip cookie bars honestly made me dizzy with excitement. I mean seriously? Whoever thought up this combo is a genius in my eyes. These bars manage to combine chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake, two of my very favourite things in the world, into one dessert. These bars are great chilled, at room temperature, and even after a quick zap in the microwave for melty chocolatey goodness. You really do get the best of both worlds with these bars 🙂

Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Yields: a 9×13″ pan, about 20 bars

Ingredients:
For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer:
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

For the Cheesecake Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch pan with aluminum foil and lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

For the cookie layer whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour, salt and baking soda, folding into the dough with a rubber spatula; do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips until combined. Press half of the dough onto the bottom of the prepared pan. It will be a thin layer, so use lightly moistened hands to press the dough into a thin even layer, filling in any holes with a bit of cookie dough from the bowl.

For the cheesecake filling, mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar together with an electric mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined. Spread the cheesecake filling over the layer of cookie dough in the pan.

Using the remaining cookie dough, flatten tablespoon sized amounts of cookie dough in your hands into flat disc shapes, about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Place these discs over the top of the cheesecake layer, pressing very lightly to adhere them to the cheesecake layer. It’s ok if there are small spaces; the entire top doesn’t need to be completely covered just make sure it is mostly covered with cookie dough.

Bake the bars for 35-40 minutes until very lightly browned on the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled, 1-2 hours. Cut into squares and serve. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

—SOURCE—
slightly adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Honey Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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You know how some people bite their nails or grind their teeth when they’re nervous or uncomfortable or stressed? Well I nervous eat. If possible, alone in my bedroom with the door shut. Nervous or stressed eating is not pretty. Big test tomorrow that I haven’t really studied for? Yep, I’m eating an entire bag of chips. Awkward moment when the only 2 friends you’re hanging out with start arguing loudly and one of them starts crying and you don’t know what to do? Yep, I’m quietly picking every single grape off of the bunch. Just witnessed your only housemate walk into the bathroom to have a long shower with his girlfriend and noticed that the water has not been running for the past 10 minutes? Yikes. Not okay. I’m stuffing my mouth full with this honey chocolate chip banana bread right now.
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The good news is that I rarely feel nervous or stressed enough to eat everything in sight. I like to think I’m pretty laid back and happy anyways. But right now, I’m glad that this banana bread is somewhat healthy, with greek yogurt to keep things moist and the use of honey instead of plain sugar. So it’s not so bad after all that I may have just eaten a few slices..

Honey Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups pastry flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 heaping cup mashed ripe banana (about 2-3 bananas)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt or sour cream
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 tbsp milk (I used 1%)
1 egg
1 egg white
2/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 8×4 or 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder,baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed banana, honey, greek yogurt or sour cream, olive oil, milk and vanilla and beat on low until smooth in consistency. Add in the egg and egg white and beat again until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and combine until moist — It’s important to not over mix!

Next gently fold the chocolate chips into the batter. Spoon all of the batter into the greased loaf pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until a tester inserted into middle of the bread comes out clean. The length of time will vary based on which loaf pan you use, so I suggest checking the bread at 45 minutes. Once a tester inserted into the bread comes out clean, cool for 10 minutes in pan on wire rack, then remove from pan gently and cool completely on wire rack. Cut into thick slices and enjoy!

—SOURCE—

slightly adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

IMG_4613I’ve been feeling a little down in the dumps this past week with very little motivation to do anything really. All I’ve been wanting to do these past couple of days is to bury myself in my bed and just watch movies on Netflix on repeat. I’ve been replacing all of my outdoor runs with sessions on the treadmill at the gym this month because with the snow and extremely cold weather we’ve been experiencing this January it’s been difficult to run outside. However two days ago I got up early, made myself these pancakes (which I’ll get back to in a sec) and then ventured outside into -20°C/-4°F weather and ran just under 10km. This is probably the coldest temperature I’ve run in, and despite wearing 2 pairs of leggings and 4 long sleeved shirts, it still took me at least 5 km to actually warm up. I’m so glad I went though as the cold, crisp air really cleared my mind and helped to put things into perspective for me.

I feel like all my life I’ve always been putting other people first, before me. I always did what made other people happy, and if I did something that made me happy but made someone else upset I would feel horribly guilty for it and wouldn’t be able to shake the feeling that I had upset someone.  This past year I’ve really grown as a person and decided that enough was enough, I refuse to do things I don’t want to do, just to keep others happy. I’m going to do the things I want to do, when I want to do them and how I want to do them. I’m no longer interested in compromising my happiness just to keep someone else happy. The reason I’ve been feeling so down is because this time around I wasn’t afraid to change something in my life even if it meant upsetting a friend. However ever since I made that change I feel like I have constantly been punished in my relationship with them. Things are constantly changing in life and unfortunately so do friends. However in this ever-changing world we live in where people come and go, there have been a few friends that have stuck around and are still there for me when I need them, no matter what. And I’m happy to say that those are my real friends.
IMG_4626I’m really sorry for that massive, selfish rant, so now onto something a bit more positive! I’m constantly on the lookout for a good pancake recipe to bookmark for a weekend breakfast when I have a bit more time to play around in the kitchen. These pancakes are great in that the batter comes together quite quickly in one bowl! Peanut butter, a banana and coconut oil all go into these fluffy pancakes but not enough to take away from the chocolate chip oatmeal cookie flavour. Whether you are about to go for an hour-long run or just laze around the house watching movies, these pancakes are effortlessly good and I know I will be making them again soon 🙂

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

Yields: 2 servings (6 pancakes)

Ingredients:
1 banana, ripe
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
Pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp skim milk
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cups whole wheat flour
3 tbsp chocolate chips

Directions:
In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using an electric hand mixer), beat together the banana and baking powder until the banana is mushy.

With the mixer speed on medium-low, add the egg, salt, vanilla, almond butter, coconut oil, milk, oats, and whole wheat flour.  Mix until the batter is mostly smooth (you will still have lumps, and this is ok.)

Gently fold in the chocolate chips by hand until incorporated.

Meanwhile, heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.  (I sprayed mine lightly with cooking spray.)

About 1/4-cup at a time, gently pour the batter into the hot frying pan and cook the pancakes, flipping after about 2-3 minutes (or until one side is cooked-check yours frequently) and cooking evenly on both sides.  Serve immediately.

—SOURCE—
slightly adapted from The Curvy Carrot, adapted from the Minimalist Baker.

Double Chocolate Pancakes

IMG_3977It’s only Thursday but it already feels like its the weekend for me! Winter break has officially started for me and I’m planning on making the most of every minute I get to spend back home. I got back into the city late yesterday afternoon and spent the night eating great food surrounded by old and new friends. It was a perfect night! My friend Nina planned out an amazing vegetarian dinner that finished off with these gorgeous baked apples and cocoa puff pastry cigars, I wish I had taken a picture of it all to show you. I have a feeling I’ll be trying out some sort of baked apple sometime in the near future.

I feel like I’ve said this before but pancakes are a perfect breakfast treat for a lazy morning. I love trying out different pancake recipes (like these single lady banana chocolate chip pancakes or lemon poppyseed pancakes to name a few), so I was excited to try out these double chocolate pancakes. Cocoa powder + chocolate chips = double chocolate. Simple math! I enjoyed my pancakes with a drizzle of maple syrup, yum!

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Double Chocolate Pancakes
Yield:  about 8 pancakes

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature

Directions:
 Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a medium bowl. In a large measuring cup, whisk the eggs, butter and milk together. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, and gently mix just until combined – the batter will be somewhat lumpy and thick.

{If you aren’t going to serve the pancakes until you’ve cooked all of them, preheat oven to 200 F. Spray a wire rack with cooking spray and set it inside a baking sheet then place the baking sheet in the oven.}

Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet set over medium heat (you could use butter too if you’d rather). Once the oil starts shimmering, use paper towels to wipe the pan so only a thin, even coating of oil covers the bottom and sides. Use a 1/4 cup measure to portion the batter into the pan. Spread it into roughly a 4-inch circle. Cook on the first side until the edges are set and bubbles form on the surface. Use a spatula to flip the pancakes and cook on the second side until cooked through. {If not serving immediately, transfer the pancakes to the wire rack in the oven.} Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan if necessary.

—SOURCE—
Rachel Cooks

Nutella Cherry Almond Fudge

IMG_4319One of my favourite things about the winter holidays is having an excuse to accomplish excessive amounts of baking and putting together tins and boxes of baked goods for friends and loved ones. I’ve actually never tried making fudge before, simply because I’ve never really had an affinity towards it. If I don’t like it, I don’t bake it! This is probably why it will probably be a few years before you see any sort of gingerbread recipe on this blog. I’m sorry to admit that just the idea of anything gingerbread flavoured makes my stomach turn…  If you haven’t already started your holiday baking or if you weren’t planning on it, I hope this nutella cherry almond fudge will change your mind. It definitely changed my perspective of fudge!  This fudge is so decadent, these creamy bite-sized pieces will melt in your mouth, and each piece has the perfect combination of sweet and slightly tart dried cherries, nutty and crunchy almonds and of course, Nutella!  And if you’re still looking for a reason to make this fudge, let me tell you now that it is ridiculously easy to make and you will end up with a lot of fudge!

Nutella Cherry Almond Fudge
Yield: 64 1-inch pieces

Ingredients:
½ cup almonds
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ tsp. salt
½ cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 300˚ F.  Place the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes until lightly toasted, flipping almonds halfway.  Once the almonds have cooled, transfer to a cutting board and chop coarsely.Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with foil and grease lightly with butter.  Set a heatproof bowl over a pot with a few inches of simmering water (do not boil).  In the bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, chocolate, Nutella, butter, and salt.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is fully melted and smooth.Remove the bowl from the heat.  Add the toasted hazelnuts and dried cherries to the bowl and fold in until evenly combined.  Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer.  Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 3-4 hours.

Use the foil to lift the fudge from the pan.  Remove and discard the foil.  Use a large chef’s knife to slice the fudge into 64 1-inch squares.  Store in an airtight container.

—SOURCE—
adapted from Annie’s Eats,

Hedgehog Shortbread Cookies

IMG_4233One of my friends recently discovered these cute little hedgehog shortbread cookies on Pinterest and instantly emailed me the link…as soon as I saw them I knew I had to try them out. The original link didn’t show any step-by-step pictures, so after a few attempts, this is the method that worked best for me in shaping shortbread into hedgehogs!

After you have mixed your dough, it will be very crumbly and light. Grab a fistful with one hand.
IMG_4180Squeeze your fist to bring all of the shortbread dough crumbs together into something you can mold.

IMG_4181Now that you have a more pliable piece of dough, it’s time to shape it!
IMG_4182Keeping the hand that is holding the dough flat, place your other hand flat over the dough and rough both hands together to form an oval shape. If you find that your dough is crumbling off in small pieces, squeeze it again so it all sticks together, and gently work to reshape it.
IMG_4184I found that it helped to round out the edges a bit by curving my palm into a C-shape as shown below. I also went ahead and pinched the opposite end with my 2 fingers a little bit to form the beginnings of the snout.
IMG_4185Place your hedgehog down onto a sheet of parchment paper, and using your thumb, lightly make an indentation where the snout would be.

IMG_4187(You would do this with both thumbs, I couldn’t show that in the pictures though because I was holding the camera in my other hand 🙂 )
IMG_4188Next, use both thumbs on an angle to shape the snout/nose part.
IMG_4189Once you have baked the hedgehogs and have let them cool, dip/roll each individual hedgehog into melted chocolate, and then crushed walnuts or pecans. I found this to be the trickiest part, as the snouts were so delicate they kept breaking off. Some I was able to salvage by performing surgery (aka sticking the broken pieces back together with a bit of melted chocolate), but be warned that if a piece breaks off, it is hard to put back together!
IMG_4194Now all that’s left is to give each hedgehog a face! I melted a bit of chocolate in a ziploc bag in the microwave, cut the tip off a corner of the bag and used that to paint on the eyes and nose!
IMG_4235How cute are they?! I love how each hedgehog is different, just like us 🙂

Hedgehog Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Melted Chocolate chips
Crushed walnuts or pecans

Directions:
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Form cookies (in an oval shape with a pointed end) and place 2″ apart on on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 6-8 minutes or until set but not brown. Cool on wire racks.

Dip 3/4 of cookies in melted chocolate and then in crushed walnuts. Dot two eyes and a nose!

—SOURCE—
Six in the Suburbs

Toasted Coconut Shortbread

Now that December has finally arrived, it seems as though it is officially acceptable to start counting down the days until Christmas and to play Justin Bieber’s holiday album on repeat. Of course the upcoming holiday season only really means one thing to me: an excuse to bake as many sweet treats as my heart could possibly desire and share them with friends and family. If you are planning on giving out boxes of baked goods to your friends and family, I highly recommend adding these toasted coconut shortbread cookies to your list.
If you do bake these with the intention of giving the majority of them away, it will save you a lot of guilt from accidentally eating maybe 5 or 6 or 7 of these in one sitting. Oops. I can’t get over how addictive these things are. They are buttery and crumbly with a hint of toasted coconut, and are pretty easy to make considering how decadent they look. The only difficulty I had was rolling out the shortbread dough. It crumbled easy and I found it hard to make it hold it’s shape, but I only had the dough in the fridge for just barely an hour before I rolled it out, so next time I will probably plan my timing better and give myself more time to let the dough chill properly. I hope you will give these shortbread cookies a try!

Toasted Coconut Shortbread
Yield: about 32 medium sized cookies (depends on size and shape of cutter)

Ingredients:
For the cookies:
1 cup shredded coconut
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar
1¼ tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour

To finish (optional):
Bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped and melted
Toasted coconut

Directions:
Add the coconut to a medium skillet over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the coconut is lightly browned, being careful not to burn it.   Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Blend in the salt and vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour just until incorporated and a dough begins to form.  Mix in the toasted coconut.  Form a disc of dough and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let chill at least 1 hour or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to just less than ¼-inch thickness.  Use a cookie cutter or pastry cutter to cut out cookie shapes.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheets.  Reroll dough scraps as needed.

Bake until light golden and crisp, rotating the pans halfway through baking, about 16-18 minutes total.  (Baking time will vary depending on the size/shape of your cookies.  Keep an eye on them!)  Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

If desired, dip cookies or drizzle with melted chocolate.  Transfer to a pan lined with wax or parchment paper.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut.  Let chocolate set completely before removing from the pans.

—SOURCE—
Annie’s Eats

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Words can’t describe just how good this double chocolate zucchini bread is. This is probably one of my favourite things ever.  I’d seen variations of zucchini bread and cakes floating around the blogosphere for a while, but had always been skeptical about the idea of sticking a zucchini into batter of any sort. I’m so happy I finally mustered up the courage to bake this bread because seriously, this is really good.

I originally wanted to trick my housemate into trying a slice and seeing if he would notice that there was a vegetable incorporated into the bread (let’s just say he’s not the biggest fan of vegetables), but unfortunately he walked in to the kitchen right as I was shredding the zucchinis. I was a bit surprised that he then went on to willingly try a slice fresh out of the oven, but I think he was as blown away as I was. We both happily had a big slice of this chocolate bread every day for snack for a week straight. That’s how good it is!
The zucchinis help to keep this bread really moist, and the cocoa powder and chocolate chips really add that irresistible chocolate-y goodness. I already am planning to buy a zucchini just so I can make this bread again, asap!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:
2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Wrap the zucchini in a clean towel and gently squeeze to remove excess moisture. Set aside.

Whisk the eggs, honey, oil, brown sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl until well combined and smooth. Add the salt, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and flour, and whisk until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 65-75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the bread to cool for about 15 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto the rack and allow to cool completely before slicing.

—SOURCE—
Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, from King Arthur Flour (originally seen on Brown Eyed Baker)

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