The idea for this was not my own. I can’t give attribution because I don’t know who came up with it–or where I came across the idea, but creating a love triangle between the sugar cookie, coconut and sesame seemed like a really good idea when I saw it.
Sugar cookies, like love triangles, come in all shapes and sizes (well, except love triangles are only one shape…technically). Some are soft. Some are chewy. Some are crunchy (I’m talking about the cookies now…not love triangles).
For this recipe, I decided to use my favorite no-fail cut-out cookie recipe as the base. When it comes to texture, this version is buttery and tender but with enough structure to hold its shape.
I played with several finishes: coconut, coconut and sesame, coconut, sesame and sanding sugar. Plain.
The best by far in my opinion was the sanding sugar version.
Coconut Sesame Sugar Cookies
makes about 30 thick cookies
1 C sugar
2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter at room temp
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, at room temp
2 C all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 C finely ground and then toasted coconut (I used the food processor here. I bet you could sub-in actual coconut flour, just make sure to toast it first)
1 C toasted sesame seeds (I used regular because that’s what I had, but these would be really pretty with black sesame seeds or a combination)
Sanding sugar for topping
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk-in coconut.
Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy (I prefer to use a standing mixer for this recipe, but can be done with a hand mixer), about 3-4 minutes.
Add in egg and vanilla, beat another 2 minutes.
Dump dry ingredients into butter and egg mixture, mix on low until well combined. Add-in sesame seeds and mix until incorporated.
Divide dough in half. One at a time, roll out each half between two pieces of parchment paper. Allow to chill in fridge for at least an hour, even better over night.
When you are ready to bake, preheat over to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment.
Pour sanding sugar into a shallow dish wide enough so that you drop your entire cut-out cookie into it face-down.
Cut cookies into desired shapes. Re-roll leftover dough and pop into the fridge to chill or cut-out. I like to cut out all the dough and allow cut cookies to chill for another hour but you don’t need to.
One by one, place each cut-out cookie face down into sanding sugar. Push gently to get sanding sugar to stick to the entire surface of the cut out.
Bake two sheets at a time for 10-12 minutes (depending on how thickly you rolled-out the dough) or until the edges of the cookies are light gold. Rotate baking sheets halfway through.
Allow to cool on a rack. These will freeze really well in double-bagged ziplocks.
Okay, I admit it, I jumped on the sourdough starter train. It started just as it did with most people: lockdown (well, and because my college friend Ann Mah was doing it too).
For two weeks, Stevie the Starter lived in our guest bedroom (warmest room in the house) and I lovingly fed him and cleaned up after him. I nurtured his little yeasty smells as he went from “dirty feet” to “good funky” (not my words). And when he was “ready” I split him, saved half to the fridge and tried my hand at sourdough bread.
My first attempt wasn’t great, but I kept caring for Stevie week after week. My second, third and fourth attempts weren’t spectacular either.
Setting aside my bread failures, I did successfully make a handful of tasty recipes with the weekly sourdough discard. I’ve since put Stevie into the deep freeze (literally: I dried him out, flaked him and had him cryogenically stored [and by that, I mean in the freezer in the garage]). But, in case you are on the sourdough bus, I thought I’d share some of the best things we made with his weekly ‘leftovers.’
The Sourdough Crackers from King Arthur are dangerous. Like CheezIt dangerous. I only made a half batch which turned out to be a good thing since I ate every single one of them.
Finally, I’d be completely remiss if I left out the queen of sourdough discard recipes: focaccia. I have to admit, I’ve lost track of the recipe I used in this picture. I think I might have just modified a Cook’s Illustrated recipe I’ve used before, but I can’t remember. So, I’m linking to the King Arthur recipe for Focaccia because I know their recipes reign supreme.
Page 56 of September’s bon appetit; the delicious looking but ridiculously named apple cider doughnut loaf cake (after the third word I was like ‘now you’re just stringing words together’).
Enrobed in melted butter and then liberally dusted with cinnamon sugar, this doughnut loaf cake tart pie may actually scream autumn louder than pumpkin spice latte.
I took it as a sign that I was meant to make this sooner rather than later when, on my first trip to Trader Joe’s since March, I laid eyes on their Pink Lady Cider.
The cider, reduced to a thick, fragrant syrup is what gives this doughnut cake loaf brownie cookie its apple-y flavor.
I have to admit, I’ve never actually had an apple cider doughnut, so I can’t make comparison. But, this moist, spiced treat holds up on its own regardless of how much it might taste like its namesake.
I appreciate that the magazine’s editors had space constraints and only so many inches to write-up the recipe (perhaps a more succinct name would have helped). However, I found the recipe disjointed as originally printed (and even rewritten, be forewarned, it’s fiddly). So, I’ve reorganized it a bit in my own version.
Apple Cider Doughnut Cake Loaf
bon appétit, September 2020
Makes 1 loaf
9 TBS butter total (8 + 1 TBS) plus more to butter pan (or use 1/2 C neutral oil for brad plus 1 TBS butter for topping)
1 1/2 C apple cider
1/2 C sour cream (buttermilk can be subbed)
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBS corn starch (or sub in same amount of flour)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees with rack in the middle. Lightly butter an 8 1/2X4 1/2 or 9X5 loaf pan. Line with parchment so that long ends overhang the sides.
Bring cider to boil, allow to reduce to about 3/4 C. Add 1/2 C to small bowl and set aside remaining 1/4 C in another bowl or measuring cup. Set aside saucepan (you’ll use it again in a minute). Allow cider to cool for 5 minutes.
While apple cider reduces, sift together flour, cornstarch, soda, powder, salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 cut nutmeg (I grind my nutmeg right into the bowl and just eyeball it). Set aside.
Returning to your small bowl of cider (the 1/2 C), whisk-in sour cream (or buttermilk) and vanilla.
Melt 8 TBS of your butter in the saucepan. Set aside for a couple of minutes.
Whisk together 3/4 C sugar and eggs until pale, volumous and frothy (about 2 minutes). In a steady stream, whisk melted butter into sugar and egg mixture until butter has emulsified (no visible fat) into the mixture.
Add dry mixture and cider/sour cream mixture to sugar mixture in alternating turns, starting and ending with the dry mixture (3 adds of dry mixture, 2 of the cider).
Bake batter in prepared pan set over a baking sheet for 60-80 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes up clean.
Right out of the oven, use the same toothpick to poke lots of holes in the top of the baked load. Gently spoon 3 TBS of reserved cider over top. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
While loaf is cooling for 10, melt 1 TBS of butter together to remaining cider. Mix together 1/4 C sugar, pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg.
Once loaf has cooled for 10 minutes, grab the sides of parchment, carefully lift out of pan and set in a baking pan. Brush butter-cider mixture all over the loaf. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over entire loaf, using parchment to shift loaf side to side.
I know. This could not get any more vanilla. Plain Jane. Milquetoast. Waspy.
There is a reason you don’t see many ice cream posts on this blog (I think there may be one).
I do not have the ice cream juju.
Every summer, I set out to conquer the beast, and every summer I fail. Regardless of recipe, my attempts turn out chalky, overly rich and just plain sad. Oh, and expensive. Last summer’s attempt involved Sicilian pistachios and dozens of hand-pitted cherries. The result was inedible.
So this summer I decided to dial it back and start with crawling instead of toe picking. And it worked. The result was creamy, just sweet enough and perfect for topping a piece of peach pie.
So, I thought I’d share. In case I’m not the only remedial ice cream maker out there.