Toasted Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
R-E-L-A-X-E-D. That’s what Punta Cana did to me. R-E-L-A-X-E-D. Just a little bit, just a little bit. heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. (Sang in my best Aretha Franklin voice). Oh man oh man. Five days beachside with my work laptop shut off for the most part with two of my favorite friends from home, you wouldn’t even recognize me compared to the insane person I am at the Philadelphia airport Thursday nights. Prepare yourself because ninety percent of the photos in this blog post are recapping my vacation. This cookie recipe is nothing but an excuse to try to relive my vacation via photos, while I write this from a hotel room back to reality in Philly.
Last week I had coconut on the mind. A few different dishes that I ate on vacation had some delicious coconut flavors, most notably this delicious coconut shrimp stir fry with veggies at La Yola, a restaurant right on a marina in Punta Cana with beautiful views and delicious food. I’ve also started to become addicted to Dang Coconut Chips, specifically the dark chocolate covered ones are my drug of choice. They usually have them at the airports I frequent on a regular basis, so I picked up some at JFK last week en route to vacation and these did not last long. In another recipe experiment, I’ll try to make my own coconut chips, but that’s for another day. Today’s recipe is for toasted coconut oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I was really just trying to think of a good cookie base that would hold the toasted coconut, and I love oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips, so I just tossed it in there, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best. And well, the best happened. These cookies have a nutty crunch from the coconut mixed with the sweetness of the melty chocolate chips. And I added in the coconut oil to add a little moisture to the dough, since sometimes oatmeal can dry it out a bit. Delicious.
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks) softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark)
- 1 cup shredded coconut
Step 1: To toast the coconut: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the coconut on parchment paper or a lightly-greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees, stirring with a spatula every few minutes until it is evenly toasted and light-golden in color. Put in a separate bowl to cool.
Step 2: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cream together the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until well mixed. Add in the egg, vanilla and coconut oil and beat until well incorporated. Scrape down the side of the bowl before adding the dry ingredients.
Step 3: Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add in the oats and mix lightly until incorporated.
Step 4: Add in the chocolate chips and coconut, and mix on a low speed until evenly distributed. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes (not required, but will help if your coconut was still a little warm).
Step 5: On a sil-pat or parchment-lined baking sheet, use a medium cookie scoop to place even-size balls of dough at least 2 inches apart. (I fit 8 cookies per baking sheet). If you have extra coconut or chocolate chips, sprinkle on top and then press down the dough lightly with your fingertips.
Step 6: Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes until the tops are lightly golden. Let the cookies set on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
These turned out PHENOMENAL. Always great when a new recipe experiment turns out well. The texture of these is perfect with the crunch from the toasted coconut combined with the soft chewiness of the oatmeal. The only thing that could make this better would be if I was enjoying it on the beach in Punta Cana.All I can think of is that song “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts.” Which I don’t even know why i know that, but I am sure it has something to do with my Dad since it’s a Monty Python thing. I really like this shot from above. Risking my life on my kitchen stool seems totally worth it now.
This is what you get beyond the toasty crunch of the first bite. Super soft chewy insides to the cookies. Jam packed full of coconut flavor.
So it’s been a few weeks since my last post, because I stayed far away from my laptop during vacation (for the first time ever). If you follow me on Instagram (@thesaltedcookie) which you should by now, you’d already have seen some of these Punta Cana adventures, but let me recap for all of you. First, this vacation was simply amazing. It was nothing but straight relaxation for 6 days, 5 nights. No travel woes. Nothing but perfect sunshiney warm weather. Great times with great friends. What more could you ask for?
So let’s start with how we booked this trip. Last year when we thought the winter was awfully brutal (little did we know what 2015 had in store), my friend Caitlin and I booked our first trip together to the Westin in Cancun with only like 5 weeks notice for early April 2014. We also had never traveled together before, but we’ve stayed friends since high school when we met on the softball team (she could field, I could hit – we were a great pair). And we had nothing but a fantastic relaxing trip. So since then Caitlin was added to my “friends who I can travel with” approved traveler list.
So this year, somewhere in between one of the first 7 major blizzards of the year, we decided – we need to book our April trip asap so that we have a light at the end of the dark dark tunnel that was this winter. So as you know, I live in hotels Mon-Thur for my consultant job. Which frankly, stinks. However, the one major perk is I rack up quite a lot of hotel points. So I open two browsers when I plan my trips – SPG.com and JetBlue.com. Love Jetblue as my vacation airline of choice. So this year we settled on the Westin in Punta Cana, because I could pay for the entire hotel getting a great deal using points. The resort is only about two years old so it was beautiful. And JetBlue flew directly from JFK where I connected through to meet my friends. The timing also worked out that my other best friend since 7th grade Katie was able to join us this year. So the three amigos from Wiffletown hit the road to Punta Cana.
This was the view from our beach chairs. This is where we would spend our mornings through early afternoon. Sometimes floating in the warm teal Caribbean waters, napping under the beach umbrellas, or just enjoying some Coca Cola Light’s under the sun.
Caitlin and I flew out together on Friday, and when Katie met us on Saturday this was our first order of business — margs and mojitos. This was one of the two main restaurants at the Westin which was beachside and delicious.
A quick beach selfie on our first beach day. Caitlin (left) Me (middle) and Katie. All before we got wicked tan. (aka – Katie gets Pocahontas tan while the Irish girls over here get red and freckled).So one of our FAVORITE parts of the trip was the beachfront yoga we did every morning with Juan Carlos. So I have fit friends, which is a good thing so you don’t come back from vacation 100 margaritas heavier. So every morning we hit the hotel gym around 6:30 for some cardio, and then we would take this yoga class on the gazebo over the water. Juan Carlos never spoke, but just snapped his fingers in an oddly soothing manner. Combined with the real-live sound machine noises of lapping ocean waves. Namastay-here forever please?
In the afternoon after lunch we would hit up the hotel pool. The first day there was some crazy rowdy work conference there with some drunk adults who were getting after it. We 30 year olds were much classier.
And the best part … they would deliver drinks right to you when you were sitting in the pool. Yes please.
Just to rub it in a bit … let’s get up close and personal with these perfect drinks. Strawberry Daiquiri and Mudslide! Perfect for poolside. Another favorite drink of mine that my dad introduced me to – a Miami Vice. For when you can’t make up your mind between a Pina Colada and Daiquiri. Both mixed in one drink!
If there are two things I have a complete obsession with, it’s definitely sunrises and sunsets. The last two mornings we were there, I convinced Katie and Caitlin that getting up at 5:45 am was totally worth chasing the sunrise. This was the first day when it was a bit cloudy, but still beautiful.
Insert angels singing here. I mean, come on. It almost doesn’t look real. But it was and it was beautiful. Such a great way to start the morning off right. I’m already looking forward to planning our annual trip next year. Almost makes sleeping in this Sheraton tonight worth it … almost.
So then we flew back Wednesday night, totally hassle free (who knew air travel could be?!) where I even miraculously caught a connecting flight 2 hours earlier than planned so I had FIVE nights in a row in my own bed in Boston. I haven’t done that since New Year’s I think. It was great. I got lots of time with friends and lots of cooking. Starting with Friday night my friend Amanda came over and I made this deconstructed zucchini manicotti recipe from Inspiralized. I love recipes like this. I also have skills beyond baking (yes, I can cook too!) so I think this has inspired me to branch out of my regular dessert recipes and start posting some of my cooking experiments on the site as well. What do you guys think about that?
Sunday morning was perfect. I took the early morning yoga class at South Boston Yoga with my friend Heather which was a relaxing way to start the day (though made me miss Juan Carlos a bit). And then I had a real treat …. I met my friend Molly and her parents who were in town for the Boston Marathon, which Molly’s dad was running. So Molly’s mom is a big fan of The Salted Cookie and keeps track of all of my adventures via instagram. So we had this amazing brunch with even more amazing company at Stella’s in the South End. Molly’s mom is an absolute hoot, and we just had such a nice brunch. I seem to be a hit among my friends moms, so I’m going to need to start planning drinks and brunches with them all. (Caroline’s mom, you’re next! Martinis at Mooncussers???)
So just when I thought my Sunday couldn’t get any better, of course it did. My friend Lauren and I have become home shopping buddies when it comes to major purchases for our homes. She helped me buy my kitchen table, the rug for my family room, and most recently this winter the new media stand for my family room from Crate and Barrel. So we met up at my favorite spot Pottery Barn in Chestnut Hill Sunday afternoon for some shopping. Lauren was in the market for a new rug for her dining room, and I have decided that since I am not getting married anytime soon (unless someone feels so inclined to wife me up sooner rather than later) I wanted to replace my dishwear and not wait until I register for it hopefully one fine day. So we put our extreme couponing skills to use. Lauren got a great deal on her rug using the 20% off coupon, saving on shipping and delivery fees by picking it up in store. I put together the below set of new dishes, bowls and mugs. Used my 20% off coupon (which may have already been used … shhh!) and an (expired) $25 off coupon, then a gift card … so only costing me $12 out of pocket. BAM! Seriously, if you ever need to make a major purchase, consult me first. Especially if it involves CVS ExtraBucks, I know all the tricks there.
So that’s it! I dogsat this weekend for my upstairs neighbor which has convinced me that even if I get a job that doesn’t involve travel, I will not be getting a dog anytime soon. I did learn how to lay perfectly still in the morning so that the dog wouldn’t detect I was awake, which I think must be an acquired skill learned by dog owners. I flew back down to Philly this morning, and had one of those experiences where you commute to work and get there and don’t even remember how you got there. It’s sad though when that involves an airplane. Though it was nice to get in a little extra snoozing since I was woken up before 4am today with a thunderstorm passing through Boston. I also hit SPG Gold Status for LIFE last week, which will only excite you if you’re a sick in the head consultant and status and points really get you jazzed (like me). And I’m already counting the minutes until I hit the Cape this weekend for my first trip of the spring. Bring on summer! I’m ready for it. In the meantime, I will continue to channel this Punta Cana relaxation for as long as I can … which I predict will end with the PHL airport commute home on Thursday.