Monday, May 14, 2012

Coconut Stuffed Chocolate Cake Cookies

Wow that is one pretty intense alliteration- Coconut Stuffed Chocolate Cake Cookies... what a mouthful! It was really for a lack of any better name. And is it just me, or does this picture oddly resemble a Christmas scene? Maybe it's just the red and the chocolate... it wasn't my intention to have it look like the holidays. What can I say, I'm no pro at photography or props and scenery. I'm very new at this still so most of the time I'm just going with what I think looks good. Sometimes it comes back to kick me in the butt, and often I've been able to correct it later in that day or the following day and try something new. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do that with this, as all of the cookies disappeared in pretty much a day and a half. A good handful went to work, a couple went to me and Sean (although I'm pretty sure I've eaten all but one of those), and the rest went to volunteering right away. It's not that I'm a super-giving person (although I do enjoy giving and it makes me happy), it's more so that if I keep all of these goodies around my house I WILL get fat. So shipping them off to somewhere else as soon as possible IS the answer.

I've been wanting to make these cookies for quite awhile now. I flagged this recipe from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen right when it came out. When I finally got around to making them, I realized that the cookies were made out of a cake box mix... I was very disappointed. I must admit I'm a bit of a self-professed food snob. I don't do box mixes; to me it feels like the cheap way out of things, and I can't say that I made the item from scratch. And let's face it- I like to take the credit for my work, not give it to a box mix. All the glory to me! 

These cookies were pretty good. I'm not going to say they were REALLY good, because they need just a slight bit of tweaking to get them there. While most of the people that tried them told me they were amazing, I felt that they lacked just a teeny bit of flavour. Not only that, but in a couple of the ones that I ate, I didn't get enough coconut, and the coconut is the best part. This all can be easily remedied I think.

These are the changes that I will make the next time I bake these up: I would replace 1/2 cup of the brown sugar with white sugar, add 1 more teaspoon of vanilla extract, and possibly add another 2-4 tablespoons of cocoa powder. I'd also use less dough for the actual cookie and try to flatten it out more, because the cookie- as it's a 'chocolate cake' cookie, bakes up quite a bit and is very fluffy, and so it was a bit too much cookie to coconut ratio. Also, I made way too much of the coconut filling, and put the remainder in the freezer to use for next time (I can't stand wasting food!) I've reflected the changes for that below. If you're making these you can use the original recipe or try with my additions, which I've starred beside the original ingredients.

Yield: approximately 3 dozen cookies

1/2 cup cocoa powder  *+ 2-4 tablespoons extra
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar  *1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar instead
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract  *+ 1 teaspoon extra
3/4 cup milk

For the filling:
3/4 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
(You may still have extra for this as I did not measure when I originally made it, and I'm guessing for how much you should use for less, as I had too much)

Combine the condensed milk and coconut in a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat. Stir regularly to avoid burning until the mixture has thickened and begins to pull from the sides, approximately 10-12 minutes. Once this is done, transfer to a bowl and set in the freezer to cool for an hour.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare the batter. Combine the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk until evenly combined. Combine the softened butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand-mixer and beat until light and fluffy, approximately 2-3 minutes. Mixing on low, add one egg until combined, and then add the other egg. Mix in the vanilla extract. Add half of the flour mixture, and beat until mostly combined. Stir in the milk, and then the remaining flour mixture. Allow the batter to stiffen in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Remove the batter and coconut mixture from the fridge and freezer and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Scoop out approximately 1 teaspoon of batter and drop it on the baking sheet. Flatten the batter and create a well to drop the coconut into. I found it very helpful to dip a spoon into flour and flatten it with that, as the batter is very sticky. It's funny, you can see me in the reflection of the spoon if you look closely. Now what I'd like to note is that I would use less batter that you see here in this picture. Try to make them thinner too and make more of a well. The spoon works great for this.

 Add a scoop of coconut onto the cookie. I used approximately 1/2 - 1 teaspoon, but I wish I used more! Stuff in as much as you can :).

Add another scoop of cookie dough on top. This is where it gets tricky. Because the dough is so sticky, it's difficult to handle. Make sure you have that bowl of flour nearby, because you will need it. Try your best to flatten the dough as much as you can before plopping it on top. Seal the top piece with the bottom by pinching the top and bottom together.

Bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.


Source: adapted from Ann Arbor Pin It

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