#69, White Chocolate Coconut Cookies with Hazelnuts

“All the exotic tastes of a tropical island wrapped up in one yummy cookie” (Allysa Torey)

DETOUR: i substituted Hazlenuts for the Macadamia nuts called for in the recipe, “White Chocolate Coconut Macademia Cookies.” I never think to look for these nuts when I’m shopping, and I had hazelnuts ready to go, so I sent in the sub.

SILLY EXCITEMENT: This is the first time I’ve used the kind of shredded coconut expected in the Magnolia recipes. It comes already sweetened.



Well, I had a little extra time on my hands this morning. We are having Parent-Teacher-Student conferences at school this morning beginning at 8 AM. No ducks that I needed to get in a row this morning, so I took the opportunity to bake.


These cookies are at my station and available to my students and parents who come by for a chat. If you are reading this blog and are at ASD, you too are welcome to drop by and put your hand into the cookie jar.

Wanna see what my morning looked like while everyone else was sleeping? Ok!

Vrooom. Vrooom.

Here’s a gif of our trusty mixer creaming butter with white and brown sugars.


Here’s what Hazelnuts, Coconut, and coarsely chopped White Chocolate looks like BEFORE getting mixed up with batter.

The volume of these ingredients was actually more than the rest of the cookie batter.

TAKING A PEAK! (Is it “peek” or “peak”? — still too early in the morning.)

I put this on Instagram as “A baker’s selfie”.


You can tell pretty early on whether your cookies are going to hold their shape or flatten out like a cow pie in the pasture (Sorry, but having been raised in a cow barn, that’s the most accurate image I could conjure.) As you can see in the photo above and here below, the cookies held their own.




#42, Banana Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

This recipe came about because Allysa wanted to make a banana cake using butter instead of the traditional oil as the shortening. The result is a cake with a very different and quite lovely texture, and it’s perfectly complemented by the white chocolate icing. (p. 115)



Thank you Crumm.com for the pic. I don’t know why I didn’t take pictures this morning. This is only the third cake from Magnolia that I’ve baked. I enjoyed the early morning in the quiet kitchen,


but things heated up a bit when at 6:30 am:

1) I was reminded that we had a 7:15 meeting at school,

2) everyone but me was still in bed,

3) the cake hadn’t yet been iced,

4) breakfast wasn’t ready (although a bowl full of Martha Stewart inspired pancake batter was ready to go!), and

5) lunches weren’t made.

Well, off with the monastic calm and on with the firefighter’s rush to have everything in order and out the door in time.

LEARNED: Don’t put a freshly made layer cake in the trunk of a car and expect it to be standing when you get to where you’re going. Ask someone to hold it instead. I failed to do that and it looked like something out of Disney when we got to school.

Luckily mine was only two layers – I managed to right the wrong and regained its former beauty.

When I got to school and saw the landslide, I got upset. So, being the economically minded couple that my wife and I are, she reasoned that it was her turn to be calm and rational and mine to do the opposite. Contrary to my normal testosterone laden, cortisol restricted behavior, I listened, and had the cake looking better than ever in a matter of minutes. Thanks, sweetheart.


So who ended up with this cake today?

Today’s cake was made for the delight of the high school teachers who have hallway and dining hall duty this week.

“Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down, in the most delightful way.” (Mary Poppins)


There, there now children. I’m afraid I’ve run out of sugar. But I do have a delightful piece of cake.


#40, White Chocolate Pecan Drop Cookies

Two of Allysa’s favorite ingredients—toasted pecans and creamy white chocolate— together in what is definitely the most often baked cookie at her house.


These cookies were baked to keep a birthday promise for some of my French 3 students. We had an unusual class that day, spending the entire period playing a series of games in French (Monopoly, Scrabble, Guess who) and putting together French jigsaw puzzles (Mont St. Michel, Astérix). The cookies added to the festive atmosphere.

What about these cookies? Nothing really new discovered, but an old problem revisited.

“SOFTENED BUTTER” – No doubt that the temperature of the butter can make a big difference in the way a cookie turns out.

Guess which ones started out to warm?

The cookies on the left went straight into the oven after mixing. They taste great, but they are more difficult to control in terms of baking time. A bit too little, and it tastes not quite cooked and falls apart. A bit too much and they get hard and brittle quickly.

The cookies on the right came from batter that spent about 10 minutes in the fridge after mixing to allow them to firm up a bit. I also chilled the cookie sheet to help keep the cookies keep a better shape. A better cookie, I think, especially to offer to someone else.

#34, Blondies with White and Dark Chocolate Chunks

“A moist and chewy butterscotch bar with two kinds of chocolate and lots of walnuts.” (p. 82)


– OR –

My reluctant biscotti

My first confection with real white chocolate. A birthday treat for a special girl who just turned 13.

What’s the meaning of this “reluctant biscotti” tag? Well (Please allow me to say “well” a lot. I don’t know what else to substitute to introduce my unexpectedness, excuse-making remarks.).. Well, these chewy brownies turned out like crusty biscotti. OK, they were a little more moist than biscotti, but not much. They were crusty, crumbly, tastey, but very cookie like and not chewy – except maybe for a couple of squares toward the middle of the pan. But, HEY!, I’ve already jumped to the end right at the beginning. What’s that about? Hmmmm. And what if my life-sharing friends and family don’t agree with my assessment? HEY-HEY, it’s their/your assessment that really counts. Reserving just a little space for the francophone artist in me that gets to throw a fit about his cooking no matter what the world says — but just a very little space. OK?

Hmmm. How did this begin? Where did it all start? Aha!

It started with these goodies. But I decided not to include the kisses – even though these were a birthday treat.

And where’d it go from there? Oh yah. Now I remember.

Brown sugar, butter, flour + 2 eggs = the brownie dough

And then what? Then what?

Then what? What else?

Looks pretty good, doesn’t it? Looks can be deceiving? I need my taste testers from lower elementary Art department to let me know what they think about this brownie that I call “my reluctant biscotti”.


Think I’ll take this outside for my morning wake up.

HUMILITY NOTE: From the beginning of this blog, my goal has been to establish a standard skill set to produce the product in a consistent way before going my own way. It’s easy to say, “Hey it didn’t work out, but it was still good.” This MAY be such a case, although this brownie-turned-cookie is open for critique. There are some recipes in the book for pie. I think one of them is called “Humble”. (wink)