ottawa cookie jam 2013

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Wouldn’t it be GREAT if there was an event in Ottawa that celebrated the cookie?

A place where you could find a plethora of cookies … some thin and crunchy, others thick and chewy. Chalk full of chocolate-chips or intensely spiced. Cookies of every shape, size, texture. Basically … wouldn’t it be amazing if you could go to one place and find just about every kind of cookie you could dream of?

Each and every one of them would obviously ALSO be home baked.

Thanks to the organizers of Ottawa Cookie Jam, we are about to have just that … an event where cookies are the star.

Actually … that’s a lie.

Ottawa Cookie Jam is all about eating cookies AND helping a great cause: In From the Cold, a programme run by the Parkdale United Church.

It doesn’t get much better than eating cookies for a good cause does it?

This isn’t just your run-of-the-mill basement of a church cookie sale though. There’s also a commpetition going on … there will be judges, there will be categories to enter … and proceeds go to a great cause.

Here’s the thing. Whether you decide to participate as a baker or simply as a taster and supporter of a good cause, you NEED TO REGISTER. The organizers need to know how many people are baking and attending.

In case you’re wondering, Ottawa Cookie Jam takes place Saturday, October 5th between 1 pm and 4 pm at the Parkdale United Church.

Will I see you there?????

Now … since this is a baking blog … and I’m promoting a cookie event … I wanted to do my part. I decided to take the classic oatmeal raisin cookie and … well turn it upside down. I opted for chocolate chips, oats and coconut. The result: A thick and chewy cookie with a kick of cinnamon. It’s pretty awesome.

It’s kind of the perfect cookie for this time of year. Hint hint … I think you should make a batch. Seriously.

*bakers note: you might find the measurements slightly strange … the original base of this recipe is from Thomas Keller. He prefers to weigh his ingredients, so this is my attempt at converting the measurements.

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oatmeal, coconut, chocolate-chip cookies
ingredients:

1 c. flour
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. + 3 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 c. + 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 c. butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 1/4 tsp vanilla paste
2 c. oats
1/2 c. flaked coconut
1/2 c. chocolate-chips

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, using your paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed, until it is the consistency of mayonnaise (about 5 to 7 minutes). Add the sugars and mix for a further 3-4 minutes, until fluffy.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the egg and vanilla paste, mixing on low until combined, about 15-30 seconds. The mixture might look a little curdled – no big deal. You would rather that than over-mixing.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, whisking together.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter, sugar, egg mixture in 2 additions; mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds each time. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate.

Add the oats, and count to ten with the mixer on medium – low speed.

Add in the flaked coconut and chocolate-chips. Again count to 10 with the mixer on medium-low speed.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

*bakers note: If you chill for 30 minutes, the result is a thin, crunchy cookie. If you chill for longer than 30 minutes – say overnight, then you end up with thicker, chewy cookies. It’s up to you.
Also – the original recipe actually makes 6 x 4-inch cookies (quite large). I actually opted to bake 16 2-inch cookies. Again, it’s up to you.

Heat the oven to 325 F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

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Whatever size of cookie you decide to bake, make sure you don’t allow the dough to touch while baking … especially if you are baking after only allowing the cookie dough to rest for 30 minutes – these spread.

If you are making the larger cookies, bake them fro 21 to 23 minutes, reversing the tray position halfway through the baking time.

If you opt for the smaller cookies, bake 18 minutes. Again … reversing the tray position halfway through the baking time.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then remove from the cookie sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.

Or you know … grab a glass of milk and dunk right it. They are so good freshly out of the oven.

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almond milk chocolate pudding coconut tarts

20130507-153151.jpgWho doesn’t love chocolate pudding? And I don’t mean jello pudding cups … I mean homemade chocolate pudding … richness and sweetness and creaminess and deliciousness all rolled into one spoonful of joy.

How about we toss in a coconut pastry crust … and turn it into a tart? Does that make it even more appealing?

I am unabashedly in love with this combination.

This recipe came on my radar when (surprise surprise) I came upon it on pinterest. The picture I pinned promised me the best chocolate pie recipe ever. Who can resist that?

I clicked to follow the link to the original source, and was introduced to Kelly and her mammy’s chocolate pie.

Who doesn’t love something grandma made?

I fell hook, line and sinker for it … have made it several times over the last two and a half weeks … and tweaked it to what it is today.

The first time I made it … I stuck to the original. Pastry crust and chocolate pudding filling. Rather than top it with toasted meringue … I opted to pipe a little whipped cream. A little added decadence to a very simple recipe.

After that … I thought: I like chocolate and coconut together. Why don’t I made a coconut pastry crust?

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Done.

Kelly’s grandma’s recipe evolved to include a dressed up base. I opted to make them both into mini tarts (using muffin pans lined with cupcake liners) and a rectangular tart.

Dee-light-FUL!

Then it was time to fiddle around with the chocolate pudding. I replaced the milk with almond milk. I tossed in a teaspoon of espresso powder, swapped the butter for coconut oil and … bam! I ended up with one of my favourite things.

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I love how creamy the pudding is, how crispy the pastry is … and when you put them together …

Happiness in a bite. Or several bites.

I’m gonna tell you … it’s a little messy.

You see, the coconut crust isn’t like regular pastry dough that I roll out, and then shape to fit into my cupcake pans or regular tart pans. This dough doesn’t cover the base and go up the sides, ensuring a perfect little conduit for the chocolate pudding.

No. This coconut crust is more like a shortbread crust, and so it’s a little more difficult to mold as well as traditional pastry dough.

But who cares right?!

I combined all the ingredients and then pressed pieces of the dough into the base of the cupcake pan / tart pan / mini tart pan (I told you … I’ve made these multiple times: multiple baking vessels have been used).

The coconut pastry is then blind baked until it’s crispy. Cooled and then topped with almond milk chocolate pudding.

Crunchy base, creamy centre … top with a dollop of whipped cream …

Perfection in my opinion. You should probably try it … immediately.

almond milk chocolate pudding coconut tarts

ingredients:

almond milk chocolate pudding

2 c. almond milk

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp flour

1 c. sugar

pinch of salt

1 tsp espresso powder

1/4 c. cocoa powder

3 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp coconut oil

Combine the almond milk, cornstarch, flour, sugar, salt, espresso powder, cocoa powder and egg yolks in a medium saucepan.

Cook over medium-low heat, whisking continuously. It’ll take about 10 minutes, be patient, but it’ll thicken nicely (make sure you whisk along the sides of the saucepan so that the custard doesn’t stick to the bottom).

Once it’s just about to bubble, remove the saucepan from heat. Stir in the vanilla and the coconut oil. Once incorporated, pass the custard through a strainer. You want to get all those little bits out so that you end up with the smoothest pudding possible.

Cover with plastic wrap and cool in the fridge.

almond milk chocolate pudding. Done.

coconut pastry dough

1 1/2 c. flour

3/4 c. flaked coconut

3/4 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

10 tbsp coconut oil (melted if it’s hardened)

Heat your oven to 350 F.

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Mix your flour, coconut, brown sugar and salt together.

Add the melted coconut oil. Mix until it comes together (it’ll look like wet sand … not mud, but wet sand).

Press into your tart pan / mini tart pans / cupcake pan.

Bake for 12 minutes. You might think it’s overkill. It’s not. You want a really crunchy tart shell.

Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

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The hard work is done. Now all you have to do is assemble. Generously top or fill your pastry crust with the chocolate pudding.

Bet you can’t eat just one (mini tart or slice).

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smores bars

These are addictive.

Highly addictive.

Eating them was descirbed to me as “floating down a chocolate river in a graham wafer boat with marshmallow sails” … I kinda totally agree!

I have loved smores … since … well … since forever.

Who doesn’t love an ooey-gooey bite of delight?

Because that’s what graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows are … bites of delight.

Especially when you add a little momofuku twist to the recipe.

Actually … I should call these twisted smores.

You’ll see that these are easy to make … as easy as making them on a campfire … you start with the graham cracker base …

then you make the chocolate layer … melted chocolate and milk … stirring in mini marshmallows and the cornflake crunch (flaked coconut is a supurb susbstitute as well) …  

Finishing it off by spreading even more mini-marshamllows on top; then broil for 3 minutes.

That’s it.  Simple eh?

Oh wait!!!!

I do recommend that if you line the pan with parchment paper … don’t place the rack too close to the broiler … otherwise … a fire might ensue.

True story … it happened to me ;0)

I guess I really wanted to make smores by the campfire!

twisted smores bars

ingredients:

the base:

2 c. graham cracker crumbs

7 tbsp butter, melted

2 tbsp sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Line a rectangular pan with parchment paper, and then spray it with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; stirring with a wooden spoon.  Press the crumbs into the base of the pan; make sure that the base is spread out evenly.

Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from heat, turn off your oven and set the pan aside to cool slightly.

chocolate mini-marshmallow-crunch filling:

ingredients:

1 c. milk

16 oz chocolate, chopped into small chunks (or chips)

4 c. mini marshmallows, divided

2 c. momofuku cornflake crunch (or flaked coconut)

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stir the chocolate and milk together; slowly melting the chocolate.  The mixture should never get to a boiling point.  Remove the pan from heat and pour the mixture into a medium sized bowl (this will allow the mixture to cool immediately).

Add 2 cups of the mini marshmallows and the 2 cups cornflake crunch.  Stir in … and then pour the mixture over the graham cracker base.

Top with the remaining 2 cups of mini marshmallows.

Turn the broiler on in your oven … move a rack close(ish) to the broiler and toast the marhsmallows… this takes about 3 minutes.  I do tend to move the pan around to ensure that they are all evenly toasted.

Remove from the oven and allow the pan to cool in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours (or over night).  I don’t cover the pan right away … but once firm, I do cut the smores into squares and store in an airtight container.

I’d say they will last up to 1 week in the fridge … only they won’t.  Because you’re gonna want to eat them … pretty much immediately.

No lies.

I can’t stop eating them!