Toasted Coconut Chocolate Cookies

Last weekend I was home in Indy and spending the day with my mom at home. She wasn’t feeling well, so I decided to bake while we spent time together! She had a recipe for some Chocolate Coconut cookies she found and was really wanting to try them, and luckily we had all of the ingredients!
I can’t wait until I have a big kitchen where I can have all kinds of baking ingredients and cooking tools on hand at all time. My kitchen now is pretty tiny and the more ingredients/tools I keep buying the smaller it seems to become. The cookies were fairly simple to make and turns out they are delicious!
My mom told me about a trick she read somewhere about how to make your cookies extra fluffy and to give them great shape. Once your dough is made, cover and put in the refrigerator over night. When you take out the next day to bake, the dough should rise perfectly in the oven and it will be easier to give them a good shape before baking!
We were instantly craving the cookies, so I didn’t wait, but next time I will try it out and let you know if it makes a difference. I took them to my Grandparent’s for Sunday dinner and everyone loved them. My Grandma even said they may be her favorite cookie so far, so I am sure I will be making these more often!
Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 350º – Makes about 20 cookies
1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
Cooking Spray
Put coconut in a small baking pan (in a single layer) and toast in the oven for about 7 minutes, or until golden brown and stir once. Remove from oven and let cool.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and blend with whisk. Set aside.
Place brown sugar and softened butter into a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until well blended. Beat in vanilla and egg. Add the flour mixture and beat on a low-speed until everything is combined. Stir in the coconut and the chocolate.
Cover the mixture and leave in the refrigerator over night. This helps to make the dough stick together and will make your cookies fluffier when you bake them.
When ready, put dough onto baking sheets (spray is optional) about an inch apart. Bake at 350º for 10 minutes.

Last night I made dinner for some of my friends to celebrate their birthday’s. They are all starting to turn 25 and it is making everyone a little on edge…25 used to seem so old, but I don’t feel old and I don’t think they seem old…hopefully I will say the same thing when we are all turning 30! Anyway, I made Edamame Risotto so stayed tuned for that AMAZING and fairly easy recipe!

Fall into the Kitchen!

Fall happened in the blink of an eye. I’m not sure if it is because Chicago’s weather has been all sorts of crazy or because I was so busy I didn’t notice that all of a sudden winter was quickly approaching! Snow is in the forecast for tonight…and I don’t think I am exactly ready for that kind of weather yet…or ever!

Life has been extra busy lately with work, travels and one of my favorite Holidays, Halloween! For my costume on Friday night I was spaghetti, which I thought was only fitting! The costume consisted of red and white checkered tablecloth (dress) with spaghetti falling off my shoulders and a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs on my head. I am sure there is a picture  somewhere, but as of now I regret I have nothing to share with you! I was planning to wear it again on Saturday, but it was sadly destroyed and had to be thrown away. Apparently Laura and I have no business going into fashion design because our attempt at making it a little “cuter” failed miserably. Luckily I had a back up costume from college and was able to quickly throw on a flapper outfit!

On Halloween I carved pumpkins with some friends and Laura made White Chicken Chili in her crock-pot. I had never had chili before and was glad I tried it! We did some cool designs on the pumpkins and I am pretty proud of my spider!

One of my best friends, who remain nameless, has been staying at our apartment for the past month or so while she looks for a job in Indianapolis and continues to work here. It’s been so wonderful having her here so we have been trying to take advantage of the time we have left all living here in Chicago together (my three best friends growing up and I all actually live in the same city again after 6 long years!) and we try to make dinner together once a week. Last week, my friends made the best appetizer ever! Goat cheese and Zucchini bread.  It was delicious and I can’t wait to make it myself one day!

Goat Cheese Zucchini Bread


Goat cheese


Olive oil

salt & pepper

Loaf of bread (we used fresh bread from Jimmy Johns)

Heat oven to 350º. zucchini into pieces and lightly saute in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Once slightly browned, removed and put on a baking tray. Put bread and zucchini in the oven for about 5 minutes until zucchini is cooked and bread is warm. Slice bread into pieces, cover in goat cheese and top with Zucchini. Enjoy!

If you ever need a quick appetizer or want a creative way to snack – this is perfect! This may not be an italian recipe, but I love zucchini and am glad I now have a new way to enjoy outside of pasta or alone!! Check out some of the fun I’ve been having this Fall…I can’t believe it’s almost time for Thanksgiving!! I know my family will soon be gathering to make hundreds of homemade ravioli’s for our Thanksgiving dinner and for Christmas. I am sad I won’t be there to help this year, so I am thinking my next kitchen adventure will have to be making my own ravioli!

Michigan Avenue

IU Homecoming & Carroll-Anne’s Homecoming reunion (she has been in Africa the past two years!!)

Fileno al Mirtilio aka Blueberry Steak

So I have been a scavenger, frantically searching the internet for recipes similar to the blueberry steak I had in Florence almost 4 years ago (AH! that makes me feel old…I wasn’t even 21!). Aqua al Due was my favorite restaurant and I have been wanting this steak more than anything! Even though according to my friend, who I won’t name, claimed that Laura and I liked everything in Florence because we were “fat,” so it isn’t a testament to how good the meal was. He is wrong. It was amazingly delicious.

Anyway, I hate to admit this, but trial #1 wasn’t exactly a success. The sauce, in my opinion, was not very good. I would have much rather enjoyed my steak without the sauce, but in my excitement I covered the steak without thinking. Some of my taste testers did not agree with me, and enjoyed the sauce, but I know it was gross and I can admit it…with hesitation. I know there is a fix to the sauce and I am determined to uncover the true recipe.

My parents and Grandparent’s were in Chicago this weekend and I saved the remaining sauce for them to try. My mother is an amazing cook, my Grandma’s food is famous, and my Grandfather is an amazing chef, so I knew they would be tough critics. They all thought the sauce was good, and said I probably did not cook the sauce long enough, and the flavors more than likely came out in the sauce overnight.

I thought using ketchup was the mistake I made, but my Grandma thinks I just used the wrong kind, and should have used a spicier ketchup, rather than the condiment kind. Also, she thought the sauce would be a lot better on pork. So I’m still not completely satisfied with the sauce, but I am glad it was not a complete failure! I am going to grab some pork this week and try the sauce out again!

Unfortunately I do not have any pictures to share. My lovely phone broke and the pictures I took are lost, but no worries, I got the new iPhone 4 this past weekend and have a ton of pictures from my Italian adventure around Chicago!