Time again to mark your calendars. The Third Annual National Food Blogger Bake Sale is a week from this tomorrow. This event is pretty meaningful to me because in addition to raising money for Share Our Strength, a fantastic organization, it also personally symbolizes how far I’ve come since the first sale was held two years ago.
When I participated in the sale I had just moved to Chicago two months prior. I was still adjusting to living in a new city, being single again for the first time in nearly four years and in essence, starting over from scratch. And there, selling cookies, bars and breads with my food blogging peers and talking recipes and SEO I felt like myself for the first time. I’ll never know if that event truly was the catalyst for the life that has unfolded here for me since but I can tell you that two years later I constantly find myself thinking that Chicago was the home I always knew I was meant to find. It’s corny, but true. This city just fits. But I digress, I meant this post to be about the bake sale, and not me.
Our local Chicago sale will be happening April 28 from 10 am – 3pm at The Poison Cup (1128 W. Armitage, between Clifton and Seminary) and is organized again by the fantastic Maris. Last year Chicago’s sale contributed $1,000 to the national total of $25,000 across 26 sales. This year the national goal is an even more ambitious $50,000 so you can bet I’ll be baking even more than last year.
But because it’s a national sale participation as a baker or a buyer isn’t limited to the Chicago area. To see if there is a sale in your area, check out the full list here. If you’ve ever wanted to taste your favorite blogger’s good straight out of their kitchen, this is your chance. Or if you are a blogger, there may still be time to sign up to bake or volunteer.
As for my contribution, I will sheepishly admit I haven’t decided what I’m going to make yet. It’s hard to top the goat cheese brownie recipe I made for the first year’s bake sale or the Brioche Donuts with Maple Frosting and Bacon Crumbles, Compost Cookies and Apple Butter Coconut Crumble Bars I made last year. But I’d be a failure as a food blogger if I didn’t at least try. Right now I’m thinking there might be a couple of batches of granola involved, but I am also of course, auditioning cookies like these Chewy Toasted Coconut and Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies. The inspiration came from Jessica of How Sweet It Is. Her Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies caught my eye, but having no coconut oil on hand it seemed like another excuse to adapt a base recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar. Is my obsession with that cookbook becoming apparent yet?
These cookies are delightfully chewy on the inside and crisp on the outside. And even better, they have crunchy toasted coconut and molten dark chocolate throughout. To get substantial pieces of coconut I used coconut chips, which are really just those large pieces of dried coconut. They are most commonly found at health food stores like Whole Foods, but you could always substitute unsweetened coconut if it’s easier to find. (You may need to watch it more closely when it is toasting up though as it may need less oven time.) Most cookies call for sweetened coconut, but I like how unsweetened coconut really balances out the sugariness of the dough. There’s also just a slight noticeable hint of salt to this which I really, really like.
Loosely adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar
Yields about 36 cookies
-2 cups coconut chips
-16 tablespoons (two sticks) butter, room temperature
-3/4 cup granulated sugar
-2/3 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
-1/4 cup glucose
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-2 cups all purpose flour
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
-4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange coconut in a single layer. Bake for 7 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring once. Set aside to cool.
Combine the butter, sugars, and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes until very light and fluffy.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl until well combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Still on low speed, add the cooled coconut and chopped chocolate until they are just incorporated.
Using a small scoop, portion out the dough onto parchment lined baking sheets, keeping the cookies well spaced (about 2 inches apart). Pat the tops of the cookie domes flat. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Don’t try to bake the cookies from room temperature because they will not hold their shape properly.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake the cookies for 18 minutes. Cookies should be faintly browned on the the edges, but still light in the centers. They might seem soft, but they will firm up after they cool.
Cool the cookies completely on sheet pans before transferring to a plate or airtight container for storage.