Pineapple, White Chocolate and Coconut Cookies

Pineapple White Chocolate and Coconut Cookies
If there is one plaintive cry that is often heard in this house, it’s ‘Why do you never make cookies?’

It’s true that cookies are usually superseded by a sudden whim to make a cake or a brownie so they usually fall down the pecking order. Plus cookies are remarkably easy to eat aren’t they? What is it about them that makes you believe it’s okay to have two or three when you would normally only have once slice of cake. It’s probably because you have to eat one straight from the oven when the chocolate is oozing from within and they are still pretty dough like. Later on it would be churlish not to partake in a cooler cookie with your tea, letting your cup catch the crumbs so you can slurp them up later.

Pineapple White Chocolate and Coconut Cookies

My husband is also a bit of a dried fruit fanatic, there are usually odds and ends of trail mix or some exotic papaya strips that never seem remotely appealing to me. However, these candied pineapple chunks have been winking at me for weeks begging to be used in a recipe. I am not normally a pineapple junkie but I have found myself craving their sweet juicy acidity so whilst a few months ago I would have shuddered at including them in a bake, this time round they were the first ingredient on my list when preparing to make my cookies.

I think it’s rude not to include chocolate in a cookie don’t you? That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed the odd oat and raisin number in my time but I usually think a bit of a chocolate addition would liven up the proceedings immensely. This time round I poured in a few handfuls of white chocolate chips, which are the type of chocolate oft neglected from my bakes, but here they seemed so right.

The desiccated coconut was added just because I cannot bear to bake or cook anything without coconut at the moment. I thought I would be bored by now after my endless forays of coconut oil, coconut flour, coconut flakes and coconut milk but it’s just so damn versatile in all its different formats and there is usually a place for it in whatever I am cooking.

Pineapple White Chocolate and Coconut Cookies

Now these cookies are huge, so make sure you space them apart a good distance in your baking tray. They are chewy but also a little crisp on the corners for the variety of texture which is so important in your daily cookie. The true test was whether they would pass the husband test and they did with flying colours. The only problem is that now he sees no excuse why there can’t be cookies every day.

Pineapple, White Chocolate and Coconut Cookies
Makes 12 large cookies

175g unsalted butter
175g soft light brown sugar
125g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon salt
150g jumbo rolled oats
75g desiccated coconut
125g white chocolate chips
125g dried pineapple chunks

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170°C.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together until very light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time then the vanilla until completely combined.
  4. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, oats and coconut.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the rest of the batter and mix until combined.
  6. Finally mix in the chocolate chips and pineapple chunks until evenly dispersed.
  7. Portion out the cookies by weighing out each one out to 100g then rolling into a ball.
  8. Place each ball on large baking trays about 2 inches apart from each other and flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand.
  9. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until just turning golden brown.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes until transferring to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Or, eat straightaway so the cookie is warm and the chocolate is still melting.

Dark Chocolate Chip, Rosemary and Fleur de Sel Biscuits

Dark Chocolate Chip, Rosemary and Fleur de Sel Biscuits
It seems that I have given everything in my life over to preserving at the moment. It’s an addiction, I can’t get enough of filling up those jars and watching them stack up and up. My study, once the calm area of reading, writing and reflection has been invaded. Bookshelves have been emptied of books, books taken up to the attic as the jellies, relishes, pickles and jams have taken over.

I think that’s why I had a little moment this weekend in between the piccalilli and the apple and stem ginger chutney when I needed a recipe with instant results, something I could actually eat right that second. You know, dinner. And what better dinner than butter, eggs, sugar and flour. For a quick baking fix, you don’t need to go much further than a biscuit. The only impatience you need to overcome is that initial 20 minutes when the butter is being brought up to room temperature. Don’t let it kill your instant fix fun though, do what I do which is which is sit on my kitchen stool, a model of calmness as I leaf through a cookbook. Don’t shoot the butter murderous looks as the edges refuse to soften on this chilly August afternoon but instead… Oh alright then, after 10 minutes I might have
thrown the butter cubes unceremoniously into the kitcheanaid to let my faithful friend do the rest of the work. Whizzed up on high, it beats the butter around so it has no choice but to yield and when it does sugar is launched into the bowl as well and mixed for 3-4 minutes until light with air.

From there, it is no time at all to add the rest of the ingredients one at a time, mix, then add, mix then add. The egg, the vanilla, the flour, baking powder it all goes in before the chocolate chips, rosemary and fleur de sel are stiffly stirred in. At this point I forced myself to have the time and patience to weigh the dough out properly so my biscuits would all be the same size. It probably had a lot to do with the episode of GBBO I had just watched on catch up so was shamed into doing so, no one wants to get on the wrong side of Paul and Mary. However, this step was worth it as 12 minutes later, after the bake, seeing the biscuits lined up so uniformly, tweaked a little bit of perfectionist pride in me.
Dark Chocolate Chip Rosemary and Fleur de Sel Biscuits  |  Stroud Green Larder

I made these biscuits a few weeks ago and for some reason didn’t write about them. A bit of a travesty as they really are quite delicious, I was happy therefore to have found an opportunity to whip them up again for inclusion in the blog. These are more biscuit than cookie as the idea is that they should be crisp, with pockets of oozing chocolate providing the only give in the biscuit. They are also a little bit grown up and refined and are absolutely ideal sitting on the saucer of a cup of tea when you need a bit of time off from pickling, jamming and jarring.

Dark Chocolate Chip, Rosemary and Fleur de Sel Biscuits
Makes 20 biscuits

125g butter, at room temperature
185g caster sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
185g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g dark chocolate chips
2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
½ tsp fleur de sel

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix in until thoroughly combined.
  4. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, rosemary leaves and fleur de sel then add to the rest of the biscuit dough along with the chocolate chips.
  5. Bring the dough together to form a ball.
  6. Bake the biscuits in two batches. Weigh out half the dough, setting one of the halves aside for a bit, then split into 10 balls, which should be about 30g each. Place each ball on a large baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes when the edges should be turning golden.
  7. Once the biscuits are ready, remove from the tray with a spatula and transfer to a cooling rack.
  8. Take the second half of the dough and split into another 10 balls, place them on the baking tray and bake also for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the tray and transfer to a cooling rack.

Biscoff Ice Cream

Biscoff Ice Cream

This year I have mainly been baking with my new favourite ingredient.

Biscoff Spread

But to be honest, I’m not really sure what to call it. It’s a biscuit spread of mystery, called many names but not answering to any one. The confusion began when I noticed on Pinterest that everyone was banging on and on about this Biscoff spread which they were using in cakes, frosting, cookies. Don’t care how I wanted it now. I love those Biscoff biscuits, although the only time I have ever had them is on holiday wrapped individually and served with my mid morning coffee.

This spread was really hard to find. I looked for it everywhere online but the only place which sold it was an American supplies shop and it was out of stock but they promised to send me some as soon as it came back in so I was forced to wait. I’m not very patient so that was rubbish.

Biscoff Ice Cream

Then, one fateful day I received an email to say some new stock was in and a pot of the good stuff was winging its way to me. I seized upon poor postie the next day like a baking banshee and immediately set about making the luxurious cake frosting recipe I had reverently set aside for this hallowed ingredient and squidged it within the layers of a dark chocolate cake.

The results were all I could have hoped for. The spread is divine, you can eat it straight from a pot with a spoon. Not that I did that. Much. I made the same cake incessantly until the pot had run dry.

Then a few weeks later I was at a friend’s house rifling through her pantry, like ya do when I saw she had a pot of this spread. I waggled it in her face, ‘Where did you buy this?’ I cried out. ‘Oh, I just got it from Sainsburys’. She said offhand. I felt cheated. Ruddy Sainsburys all along. However, when I looked a bit closer at the label it was no wonder a thickie like me couldn’t find it as for some reason in the UK the spread literally appears to have no name. All that’s on the label is the brand, Lotus’ and its tagline ‘The Original Caramelised Spread’ which is pretty confusing.

Biscoff Ice Cream

Apparently this spreadable version came about when Els Scheppers from Belgium entered a TV contest called ‘De Bedenkers’ (The Inventors) and bowled everyone over with her recipe for converting Lotus Speculoos biscuits (which is what they are called in Belgium to add to the branding intrigue) into a spread. She was contacted by the Lotus manufacturers and they got together and released this to the world in 2011. Since then it’s pretty much taken the baking world by storm and you can search for recipes which turn this spread into pretty much any type of cake, biscuit or brownie. Still, what I wanted this weekend was ice cream.
I like to stock up on ice cream around Christmas as it makes really quick desserts at a time when there is a lot of other baking going on. This ice cream is perfect as the caramel and cinnamon flavours in the Biscoff spread marry perfectly with the season to be jolly.

Whipping it up takes no time at all, just a couple of short bursts of activity over a couple of days. It is ice crystal free, sweet, cold and creamy. In short, it is a freezer must have.

Biscoff Ice Cream

Biscoff Ice Cream

Makes about 1 litre

300ml whipping cream
200ml whole milk
150g soft brown sugar
175g Lotus’ The Original Caramelised Biscuit Spread
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. In a saucepan heat up the whipping cream, whole milk and sugar to just below boiling point.
  2. Remove from the heat. Put the Biscoff spread in a large bowl and pour some of the cream mixture over the spread, stirring together so the spread loosens up. Pour a bit more cream mixture in and again stir together. Repeat this until all the cream mixture has been incorporated by the spread.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and stir in.
  4. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and place immediately into the fridge. Leave overnight to thoroughly chill.
  5. The next day churn in an ice cream machine for about 20-30 mins until it has thickened up to a soft serve consistency. Then transfer into a tub and put into the freezer overnight to set.