Friday, May 11, 2012

Baked Risotto with European Sausage and Mixed Vegetables

Adapted from Healthy Delicious.


6 links European sausages
4 c. Fresh vegetable mix, chopped (2 onions, 1/2 red pepper, 1/4 cauliflower head, 6-8 mushrooms)
1 1/2 c. Arborio Rice
1 c. White Wine
5 c. Chicken stock, low sodium
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
3 c. Spinach, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Remove the casing from 3 sausages and cook the meat on a large frying pan.  Break up any large pieces and continue to cook until the sausages start to brown.

Add the vegetables and cook for a few more minutes.

Stir in the rice and cook until the grains start to become translucent and white in the center, about 1-2 minute.

Pour in the white wine, stir and cook until the wine evaporates.  Stirring often to ensure even cooking.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken stock to a boil.

Once the wine has evaporated, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil again.

Preheat a large casserole dish by placing it in the oven 5 minute before using it.

Carefully transfer the risotto/vegetable mix into the preheated casserole dish and cover it.  Place the risotto in the oven for 30 min; the liquids in the casserole dish should be bubbling.

Stir in the parmesan cheese and sprinkle the chopped spinach on top.  Cover and return to the oven for another 10-15 min, until all the liquids are absorbed.

While the risotto is in the oven, cook the remaining 3 sausages on the stove top and cut each sausage into two.

Serve the risotto with the cooked sausage.

My comments:

We are big risotto fans here at my house. Unfortunately, I am the only one who makes them and I hate slaving over the stove for 30 min while I stir the risotto to make the darn thing starchy and creamy. So I couldn't be more delighted when I saw you can make risotto in the oven!!!

For those of you who are risotto connoisseurs, you'll find that this baked risotto is not as creamy as a risotto should be when it is properly prepared. However, I lack the patience at the stovetop, so my risottos are never authentic. This baked risotto recipe offered me an easy solution to making good risotto without slaving over the stove for 30 min.

The stirring process releases the starch in the Arborio rice which gives the risotto its creaminess. In a baked risotto, it's the bubbling process in the oven that brings out the starch from the rice. Therefore, the dutch oven is a great tool for making baked risotto because you can transfer the bubbling liquids from the stovetop into the oven without losing heat. I don't have a dutch oven, although I'd absolutely love one. So I made do with my casserole dish by preheating it in the oven first, then pour the risotto bubbling in chicken stock into the dish, cover and quickly transfer into the oven. I baked the risotto for an extra 5-10 min since it took a little longer for the liquid to reach the bubbling stage once it was transferred into the casserole dish.

The risotto came out beautifully. It was flavourful and creamy! My family loved it. I also hid a lot of chopped vegetables in the dish to ensure the kids are getting some fiber in their meal. All in all, this recipe was a huge success and I will most definitely make it again.

Starbucks Knock-Off Oat Fudge Bars

Adapted from


1/2 c. White sugar
1 c. Brown sugar
3/4 c. Unsalted butter
2 Eggs, room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla
2 c. All purpose flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking soda
3 c. Rolled oats

1 c. (250mL) Sweetened condensed milk
2 c. Semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. Unsalted butter
1 tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat 1/2 cup of butter in the microwave until mostly melted.  Check butter every 20 seconds; this could take a few minute if your butter is cold.  Add the last 1/4 cup of butter in the mostly melted butter.  Whisk until the butter are fully incorporated.

Whisk in sugars, eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and oats.  Stir with a fork until well mixed.

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.  Mix well.

Spread 3/4 of this mixture onto a lightly greased 9/13" pan.  (I lined the pan with parchment paper.)

Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add the chocolate chips into the melted butter, stirring constantly until the chocolate starts to melt.  Add the condense milk and vanilla until everything is well incorporated.

Pour the chocolate fudge onto the oat bottom and spread evenly.

Drop the remaining oat mixture in blobs on top of the fudge layer.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.


My comments:

I'm not a Starbucks junkie but I certainly know what I like when I go in there. Usually, I stop at a half-sweet skinny vanilla latte or just a plain latte if I'm feeling cheap. I often peek at their food display to see what they have. Things like cookies and cupcakes don't interest me but their Oat Fudge Bar is The Bomb!! Everytime I see it, I can't resist. If I don't have enough cash on me, I'd skip the latte and opt for their Oat Fudge Bar (and ask for free tap water to wash it down). It is that good!!!

I don't know what came over me but out of the blue, I decided I want to make them. I searched online and came up with surprisingly few copycat recipes. I selected this one on because it had the most reviews and the best reviews. The recipe was really easy to do and after a few little tweaks (you know I can't bake without tweaking), I think I am happy with the results.

It's been a long time since I had the Oat Fudge Bar at Starbucks so I can't make a fair comparison. But these bars are pretty darn good and every person who had piece told me it's awesome. In the end, I don't think it matters that it doesn't taste like Starbucks' Oat Fudge Bars as long as my knock-off version is delicious!! :)


Friday, April 06, 2012

Easter Bird Nests Treat

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.


2/3 cup Sweetened condensed milk (about 1/2 can)
1 Egg white
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/8 tsp Salt
1 1/2 c. Sweetened coconut flakes
2 c. Unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 c. Dulce de leche
Cadbury Mini Chocolate eggs (or other Easter eggs)

Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg white with vanilla and salt for about 30 seconds.  Then stir in the condensed milk until well combined.

Mix in the coconut flakes.

Using a cookie dough scoop, take about 1 tbsp of dough, slightly packed, and place onto the baking sheet.  Gently flatten the top with your hand.

Bake for 15-17 min, until the bottom edges are golden brown.  Remove the nest from the oven and immediately press down the center with your thumb to make an indentation.  Allow the cookies to cool for about 10 min and transfer them onto a cooling rack.

Add about 1/2 tsp of dulce de leche in the center of each nest and decorate with 2 mini eggs.

Makes 24-30 nests.


My comments:

I was sitting on the floor on Wednesday night, packing up a bunch of treat bags for the kids in my son's daycare, when I realized how much fun holidays are with little kids in our lives.  I really enjoyed filling the mini plastic eggs with toys and wrapping up homemade treats for the children (or should I say, their parents).  I am doing an Easter egg hunt with my two little monkeys on Sunday plus we are doing a huge belated Easter egg hunt with my friends and their children next weekend.  I may have plastic eggs and mini toys coming out of my ying-yang but I was basking in holiday glory.

I expected the other parents at daycare will be preparing treat bags for everyone and I knew their bags will be filled with loads of candies and chocolate.  I decided that I will fill our bags with toys and only give out homebaked treats as I did with their Valentine's Day celebration.  I saw these bird nest cookies on Two Peas and Their Pod and I knew these would be perfect for our Easter treat.  They are easy to make and super-duper cute!!

A new kid joined our daycare a few weeks ago.  Given her age, I figured she probably has not been introduced to nuts, so I opted for dulce de leche instead of Nutella spread for the centers.  Mmm mmm MMM!!  So Yummy!!  I Love Dulce de Leche!! Dulce de leche is a wonderful substitute for the Nutella because it is actually a caramelized version of condensed milk.  OMG! that stuff is just so darn good!!

The bird nests turned out so well that I made a second batch for my coworkers the next day.  Those nests were a big hit!!  I did, however, used Nutella for my coworkers.  I had to try the Nutella version and this is a perfect excuse for buying Nutella, which is something I never keep around because it is considered dangerous goods in this house.

I found a few tricks that worked well for me in this recipe:
  1. I highly recommend a cookie dough scoop for this.  (This is one of those kitchen gadgets I own but rarely use.)  The cookie dough is wet and the coconut flakes tend to stick to the fingers.  Once I drop the ball of dough onto the baking sheet, I gently pressed down the top of the dough ball with the bottom of my scoop; I didn't even need to get my hands dirty.
  2. I tried tightly, gently and no packing of the dough into the scoop.  I found the gently packing worked best.  The consistency of freshly baked cookie varies with the degree of "packness" of the dough.  The tightly packed cookie dough gave a firmer cookie which made it harder to press down to form the depression in the center.  Without the dough packing, the freshly baked cookie is too soft and it starts to fall apart a bit when you make the depression.  A gently packed dough produces a cookie that is soft enough to press down easily without falling apart and loses its shape.
  3. I lied in my instructions when I told you to press down the center of the cookie with your thumb - I used the back of a plastic, disposable syringe.  When you have kids, you end up with lots of those lying around because you receive one of those with every liquid prescription drug (for accurate measurements).  I needed something round a diameter of ~1.5cm.  The back of the syringe (where your thumb rests) is the perfect shape and size.  If you don't have a syringe, the thumb would work well (as long as you don't mind the HOT cookie) or the back end of a stirring spoon would do too!
  4. It's really up to you whether you want to use sweetened or unsweetened coconuts.  The sweetened coconut is a little more moist compared to the unsweetened.  So I didn't want to substitute all the coconut with unsweetened flakes, in fear that my cookies would turn out too dry.  These are essentially glorified macaroons and you need the moisture.  However, I did find the dough very moist and the cookies were not dry at all.  So next time, I will try using a 100% unsweetened coconut flakes and I think it should still taste pretty good.
I have always loved macaroons.  I think this is definitely a keeper recipe, a delicious treat I can make in a pinch.  I used to think that macaroons are hard to make but it totally is not!!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mini Chocolate Chip and Skor Bit Cookies

Adapted from Two Peas and their Pod.


1 3/4 c. All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking soda
1/2 c. Unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 c. Brown sugar
1/3 c. White sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 c. Mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. Skor bits

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Prepare baking sheet with a silicone mat.

Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together.  Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars together until smooth.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Mix in the flour until well incorporated.  Stir in mini chocolate chips and Skor bits.

Roll dough into 1" balls and place them on the baking sheet.  Flatten the balls slightly with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 7-8 minutes; the bottom should be light golden brown but the middle is still soft to touch.

Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


My comments:

I've had a lot of baking disasters since Christmas. I don't know what happened but nothing seemed to come out of the oven right. Even when the cookies/cakes/whatever are edible, something about it would taste odd and it wouldn't satisfy my craving. In fact, I have been so down on the baking dump that I don't even have the desire to bake anymore.

Then, Two Peas and Their Pod came out with their first cookbook.  It's not just any cookbook; it is a COOKIE cookbook called Cookies Cravings.  O.M.G.!!  O.M.G.!!  A cookbook with 30 cookie recipes, some of which were developed just for this cookbook (ie. cannot be found on their blog).

Now, I am not normally a cookbook person.  I love flipping through cookbooks and all, but I have never actually purchased one, mainly because I never wanted to pay $30 for any books.  Plus, I love surfing the internet for recipes because recipes from sites like AllRecipes or Epicurious often come with ratings and comments from people who tried the recipes.  I always skim the comments to avoid making the same mistakes other people has and incorporate suggestions to make the recipe even better.

I also love trying recipes from my favourite food blogs.  Their recipes are tried and tested, and their photos are always amazing.  I've got quite a little list of blogs I stalk via various social media sites.  Two Peas and Their Pod is definitely on top of my list because they share not only delicious dessert recipes, but also their favour meal ideas!!

This is why I was so excited when they announced their cookbook project.  Despite the fact that I can get 1/2 of the recipes in their blog, there are 15 new ones that I have never seen before and will not be privy to without purchasing this book.  Another reason I wanted a copy of Cookie Cravings is that this is actually an e-Cookbook!!  That meant once the transaction is confirmed, the cookbook is sent directly to my inbox.  I didn't have to take time out of my busy schedule just to go the bookstore to pick it up.  It was awesome!!

When I finally decided to buy it, I opted for their digital package, which included a second mini e-Cookbook, featuring recipes from other food bloggers, some of which I happen to stalk frequently already.  For only $12, I have 45 cookie recipes at my fingertips, all of which comes with beautiful scrumptious looking photos.

This Mini Chocolate Chip cookie recipe is one of the recipes Maria decided to include in her Cookie Cravings.  I have made this before, following her recipe to the T, and it was good.  This time, I tweaked the sweetness a little bit by reducing some sugar and added 1/2 cup of Skor bits to it.  It was delicious!!  I love Skor, love it love it love it!!!  I made these cookies last night and they are gone, All Gone!!  I ate quite a few but Hubby literally inhaled them.  They were that good!!!

I haven't decided what I want to try next in the cookbook.  But I can guarantee you that my next cookie recipe will come from there.  I just bought a couple blocks of unsalted butter last week because it was on sale.  Perhaps Butter and I will have a little baking date this weekend!!  :)


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mini Carmelita "Pi"

Adapted from My Recession Kitchen.


1 c. Whole wheat flour
1 c. Rolled oats
1/2 c. Brown sugar
1/4 tsp Baking soda

1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 c. Unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 c. Chocolate chips
3/4 c. Pecans, chopped small
1 c. Dulce de leche

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line your muffin pan with paper liners.

Stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt and baking soda.

Add the butter pieces to the oat mixture.  Mix until the butter is well incorporated but the mixture should still be crumbly.

Reserve about 1/2 of the oat-butter mixture for the topping.

Transfer about 2 tbsp of this mixture to each prepare muffin cups and press the mixture evenly to fill the bottom.

Bake for 8 minutes and remove the muffin pan from the oven.

Add 1-2 tsp of dulce de leche to each baked crust.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips and pecan.

Top with the remaining oat-butter mixture

Bake for another 20 minutes.

[Makes about 18 carmelitas.]


My comments:

It's Pi Day!!  So why am I not posting some sort of pie recipe?  Well, first of all, I don't make pies.  Never have and never will.

Oh wait, rewind!!!  I did make apple pie once with my friend, rolled our own crust and everything.  My crust was awful.  It broke everywhere and barely salvageable.  From that one and only experience I had with pie making, I decided that it's well-worth the money to pay the $5 for a grocery store pie or even $10 for a more decadent, higher quality pie.  I will never make my own pie again.

[I don't think I will pay more than $10 for a pie because I like to drown my pie with ice-cream anyway.  Anything more expensive than $10 will be wasted on me and my ice-cream.]

But my little carmelitas are round, shaped like pies, so I thought it was appropriate to share this recipe on Pi Day.  :)

There is a sad, pathetic story that goes with these carmelitas.  I made them on Sunday night.  I wasn't feeling quite myself because I didn't snack on the chocolate chips, I didn't lick the spoon with dulce de leche - in fact, I didn't even want to eat one of these little babies when they came out of the oven.  Odd, huh?  I wondered why?

The answer came shortly after I had gone to bed: Stomach bug.  Nasty nasty stomach bug.  Hubby and I took turns in the bathroom all night long.  Nasty nasty nasty.  We ended up staying home from work for 2 days.  It was pretty horrible.

I was able to keep food down by Tuesday and I was actually feeling hungry.  My stomach was still feeling a bit queasy and I knew I had to take it easy.  But oh my carmelitas! they were calling for me, "Eat me! Eat me!", they said.  How could I resist?!

So I took a bite.  Mmmm... Oh. So. Good!!  This little dessert is flavourful and has so many layers of textures.  The top was crumbly, the middle was chocolatey, caramely and chewy, and the bottom was crunchy.  These will be great to bring for a potluck dinner, something you can whip up in a pinch.  This is also a very customizable recipe.  I like my carmelitas to be all about the filling, so I went light on the crust and topping, and heavy on the chocolate/dulce de leche/pecan.  This recipe serves as a guideline as to how much of each filling ingredients you may need to get you started but go ahead and make this your carmelita, with your name on it!!  :P

Now, the REAL sad part of this story is, I have to throw away any carmelitas I cannot eat.  And no, I cannot possibly eat all 18 carmelitas all by myself.  I've had 6 and I'm getting tired of them.  But considering I made these right before I became deathly ill with the stomach bug, my conscience would not allow me to share these little guys with others and risk the chance of them getting my stomach bug.  Perhaps the high temperature of the oven would've killed everything and I am positive there was no fingerlicking during the food preparation.  But this is a nasty, resilient virus - I do not wish that upon anybody.  So in a few days, when I literally cannot stand the sight of them anymore, I will throw them out.  :(  BOO!!

Will I make them again?  Most definitely!!  The only change I'll make next time is to use homemade caramel sauce.  When I made this 1.5 years ago, I used the real stuff in the amount called for in the original recipe.  It was good, just not enough caramel.  I have faith that with free supply of homemade caramel sauce, this recipe will be absolutely divine.


Thursday, March 08, 2012

Pineapple Almond Muffins

Inspired by Joy of Baking.


1 c. All-purpose flour
1 c. Whole wheat flour
1/4 c. Ground flax seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 c. Vegetable oil
1/2 c. White sugar
1 large egg
1/2 c. Milk (3.5%)
1 can (14 fl. oz) Crushed pineapple
Zest from one large navel orange
1/2 c. Almonds

Pineapple Glaze
1/4 c. White sugar
1/4 c. Pineapple juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Toast the almonds until lightly browned, about 8 min.  Cool and chop into small pieces.  Set aside.

Line muffin pan with paper liners or grease with nonstick spray.

Whisk together the flour, ground flax seed, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.

Strain the pineapple and collect the juice.

Transfer about 2/3 cup of the pineapple juice to a measuring cup and top up to 3/4 cup with milk.  Stir to mix.  The milk may start to curdle a little but it's ok.

In another bowl, beat the oil and sugar together. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Beat in the pineapple juice mixture and the orange zest.

Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir with a spoon until just incorporated.  Do not overmix.

Fold in the toasted almonds and drained pineapple.

Spoon the batter into the muffin pan and fill it to about 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes; the toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

While the muffins are baking, combine the rest of your pineapple juice (should be about 1/4 cup) and the white sugar.  Warm the glaze in the microwave for 10 seconds and stir to dissolve the sugar a little bit.

Remove the muffins from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack.  Brush the muffins with the glaze while the muffins are still hot.

Makes about 18 muffins.

My comments:

We love our homecare provider.  She is absolutely wonderful with the kids and she is always coming up with events to make their time spent with her extra fun and extra special.  Today was PJ day, and with us being so disorganized all the time, we missed it.  Our little guy didn't get to show off his cool PJs.  We feel really bad.

Tomorrow is Hawaiian Day and I am determined not to let my son down again.  I know we are not expected to run out the store everytime for these special occasions.  We are supposed to ransack our house to find something appropriate for our child to bring, but Hawaiian theme is So Hard!  We don't have anything Hawaiian; I even googled it to find more information but we simply don't have Hawaiian toys or clothes at home.  We don't even have Hawaiian travel books.

So I decided I'll bake the kids something.  Hawaiian is almost synonymous with pineapples, right?  And who doesn't like pineapples?  It's so easy to bake delicious anything with pineapples because pineapple is such a flavourful fruit.

Then, I thought I could make this uber-Hawaiian by throwing in some coconut flakes. muffin idea is beginning to take shape and I searched online for the perfect recipe.  I discovered the Orange Pineapple Muffin recipe on Joy of Baking, one of my favourite food blogs.  The recipe is simple and OH! Stephanie used pecan in her recipe - they have pecans in Hawaiian, right?  Pineapple! Coconut! Pecan!  Voila! Hawaiian muffins.  Perfecto!!!

Except...I don't have any coconut flakes.  I used it all up last time for my granola bars and I forgot to replenish.  And I don't have pecans.  Heck! I don't even have sour cream or yogurt!  Holy jeepers! I don't have orange juice either!!


Well, I had to make these muffins one way or another.  So I improvised.  A lot.

I was worried these wouldn't turn out because I deviated so much from the original recipe, plus I tried to make it healthy.  I am good at tweaking recipes as long as I don't try to make it healthy.  My healthier versions don't always taste good and I really really need to make these work.

To my surprise, these muffins turned out absolutely, fantastically delicious.  I gave my mom one and she liked it so much she snuck another one when she thought I wasn't looking.  Hahah...the muffins were moist and not overly sweet.  Perfect way to kick start your day!!

I think the kids are going to love these muffins.  Normally, I wouldn't put the glaze on for the kids but hey, what the heck! tomorrow is a special day - it's Hawaiian Day!!


Saturday, March 03, 2012

Dark Chocolate and Cherry Biscotti


1/4 c. Vegetable oil
1/4 c. Brown sugar
1/4 c. White sugar
2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 Eggs
1 c. All purpose flour
3/4 c. Whole wheat flour
1/4 c. Ground flax seeds (optional)
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking powder
1/2 c. Dried cherries, chopped
1/2 c. 70% Dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

Mix oil and sugars together until well combined. Beat in vanilla and the eggs and mix well.

Combine flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly stir into the egg mixture. The dough will be soft and sticky.

Fold in the cherries and chocolate using a silicone stirring spoon.

Divide the dough in half and form two long skinny logs using your hands.  (Lightly wet your hands if the dough sticks to your fingers.)

Bake for 30-35 min; the logs should be lightly golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15-20 min. Meanwhile, reduce the oven heat to 275°F.

Using a non-serrated knife, slice the logs diagonally into 1/2-3/4" slices. Lay them on the sides on the cookie sheet and bake until dry, about 10 min.

Biscottis can be store in air-tight containers.

My comments:

So, this is another one of those "I wasn't going to post it" recipe.  These biscottis really weren't all that great when it first came out of the oven.  I thought the taste was missing something and my mom thought it tasted undercooked.  Also, I went a little overboard and added the whole chocolate bar (100g, which was about 3/4 cup) and the chocolate was so overpowering that I couldn't taste the cherries at all.  I was disappointed because the cherries, by themselves, were so good!!!  I had trouble keeping my son's little hands out of the bag.

Plus, we were going to our friend's house for dinner and I made these for them!!  I was a bit embarrassed that these biscottis didn't turn out but I had nothing else to bring.

But my friends liked them!  They weren't lying because they kept eating them.  :)

When I got home, I had to put away the rest of my biscottis.  I figured I might as well eat a few since I don't want them to go to waste.  I was really surprised by how good these biscottis tasted!!  I mean, they were really really good!!  There was still a lot of chocolate but it wasn't overwhelming.  I can definitely taste the cherries, fruity and sweet with a hint of sour.  The dark chocolate and the cherries paired perfectly.  Whatever that made the biscottis tasted off, it was no longer there.  Perhaps the biscottis just needed to be tempered for a few hours for the flavours to mellow and blend.

I will have to make these again.  They were easy to make and I love the taste.  I still think 100g of dark chocolate was way too much, so I will stick to the 1/2 cup as instructed in this recipe.  Oh, and don't bother with chocolate chips; I definitely recommend buying good quality dark chocolate and chop it up yourself.  It's more work and it makes such a mess everywhere but it is totally worth it.

I recently found a cappuccino biscotti recipe that I have been dying to try.  Maybe sometime this week... If it turns out well, I'll post it!  :)


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Red Velvet Cookies


1/2 c. Butter, unsalted, room temperature
1/2 c. Brown sugar
1/2 c. White sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Vinegar
2 tbsp Sour cream
1/2-1 tsp Red gel colour, "no taste"
1 3/4  c. Flour
1/4 c. Cocoa powder
1 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 c. White chocolate chips
1/4 c. Coconut flakes

[Optional:  Toast the coconut flakes on the stove top for 3-5 min or until the coconut flakes begin to turn golden brown.  Remove from heat completely and set aside to cool.]

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare a cookie sheet by lining with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Break up clumps of cocoa powder as much as possible. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the egg, vanilla, vinegar and sour cream. Beat until combined.

Add 1/2 tsp of food colouring, beat until the colour is evenly distributed.  Scrap down the sides and beat again.  Continue to add food colour until the desired shade of red is achieved.  The wet mixture should be close to the colour of blood orange.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat until smooth.

Stir in white chocolate chips.

Using two spoons (or forks), drop about 1 teaspoon of dough onto cookie sheet.  Flatten cookie with the spoon and sprinkle coconut flakes on top.  Bake for 8-10 min.  The cookies should look puffy but it will not rise or spread a lot.

Allow the cookies to cook for 10 min before transferring to cooling rack.  Store cookies in airtight containers.


My comments:

It's Valentine's Day and there are tons and tons of red velvet recipes floating around the internet.  I love red velvet cupcakes, which I made with a friend a few weeks ago, but I think I'm definitely a cookie girl at heart because it was all the Red Velvet Cookies recipes that really caught my eye.

I originally saw Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies by Two Peas And Their Pods around Christmas time.  I wanted to make it but their recipe called for the use of store bought cake mix.  I didn't like the idea of using cake mix, plus I can't find a red velvet cake mix at my grocery store anyway.  So then, I got this brilliant idea of converting a red velvet cupcake recipe into a cookie recipe.  How hard could that be, right?

It was much easier than I thought...after I got my hands on a totally awesome red velvet cupcake recipe.  I compared the cupcake recipe with a couple of cookie recipes, adjusted a few ingredients, and voila! my very own red velvet cookie recipe.

With only 1/4 cup cocoa powder, this cookie isn't super-chocolatey.  I think I prefer a chocolate cookie with a lot more chocolate flavour.  However, this is as close to inventing-my-own-recipe as I am ever going to get.  I am truly proud of what I've done here!!  :)

I made these for my son's daycare Valentine's Day party.  I originally wanted to make red velvet coconut cookie (add 1/2 cup coconut flakes), decorate the top with a few white chocolate chips, and shape the cookies into hearts before baking.  But I ran out of coconut flakes and my dough was too gooey to shape into anything.  Ah well...  I packed up the cookies in little baggies and taped the Green Lantern Valentine's Day card to each treat bag; it's super cute!!  (Especially the cards with Ryan Reynolds on it! Ha!)  I honestly can't tell you whether people liked it or not.  I can only assumed the kids enjoyed it because kids will love anything sweet.  But the cookies have been in the kitchen for 3 days now and they are still as soft and moist as the day I baked them.  To me, that's a successful cookie recipe!!

(Don't judge me.  I really like Ryan Reynolds.  *blush*  While I tried to dissuade my son from choosing the Green Lantern cards, I was secretly glad I had an excuse to buy cards with Ryan's face on it.  Heehee...)

Next time, I will definitely try the cream cheese filling from Two Peas And Their Pod.  I think the taste will resemble red velvet cookies even more and I love red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  Thinking about it makes me want to bake the cookies now!!  :)