Can someone please come over to clean our apartment and do our laundry????? I'll pay you in cookies and real money.
Reuben and I are currently in manic cleaning mode this week because his parent are flying into town on Friday. What I really mean is that I am just shuffling things around and Reuben is actually deep cleaning the whole place. I'm a bad cleaner. My mom probably laughed her butt off as she read that. Reuben is really a saint though.
Anyways, Reuben's folks are flying into town from New Jersey for the holidays and I'm excited! I love having visitors in San Francisco. It means that we get to eat at all of our favorite restaurants, see our favorite sights, and get some quality family hangout time. I feel stuffed and happy just thinking about it. They visit this time every year and I feel like their arrival always signifies the beginning of Christmas vacation for me. I normally get a few days with them before I jet home to Ohio. So, I have one more holiday party, some San Francisco touring, a few days of a work, and a quick red eye flight until I'm all cozy with my own family in Ohio. I. CAN'T. WAIT. Before I leave for Cleveland, I'm planning on cooking some of Cho Momma's best dishes (sticky rice and her secret fried chicken recipe) for Reuben's parents so they get a little taste of a Cho Family Christmas! I'll have to figure out a way to make Reuben watch Love Actually with me........
You should see the google doc I have going with all the recipes and ideas that I want to test out. It's crazy. But I'm hoping that my time at home will allow me some quality time in the kitchen and a dishwasher to help me clean my tornado level mess. I have buns, a birthday cake for my grandma, homemade noodles, and of course Christmas cookies on the agenda. I like to make a ton of cookies every Christmas. They either go to Mom's coworkers or sit out on a pretty platter at one of our family dinners. It's nice to have family around to help eat my experiments!
With all the sugar flying around this month, I've been attempting to be more mindful about the amount of sugar I'm putting into my baked goods. I've mentioned it before, but I reduce the amount of sugar in all my recipes. I want it just perfectly sweet! Not "ah, I feel a cavity coming in" sweet. Lately, I've been researching and experimenting with alternative sugars. I'm really into coconut sugar. It's naturally nutty, slightly malty in flavor, and works as an awesome substitute for brown or white sugar. It's also lower on the glycemic index than sugar, which is definitely a perk when you have some diabetic loved ones.
I've swapped out all the sugar in the actual cookie with coconut sugar and it gives them a pretty light brown color and delicious malty flavor. To keep the coconut train going, I also added some unrefined coconut oil in the cookie, coconut milk in the glaze, and some toasted coconut as a topping. I can't get enough of the coconut! Seriously though. I'm finding myself trying to work in some coconut flavor into everything. Coconut buttercream. Coconut Curries. Coconut Chicken. Coconut Rice. Coconut Pizza??? Reuben would hate that idea.
The colorful cookie toppings are crushed pistachios and freeze dried strawberries. They are my way of avoiding to buy basic red and green sprinkles. Nothing wrong with them if that's your thing! I just had some laying around and thought they would be pretty. If you squint your eyes a little, they sort of look like flower petals. Spring time cookie too?!
The cookies are not super sweet on their own because you're about to pour more sugar on top of it. So if you're going to not glaze the cookies, I would up the sugar to 3/4 cup of coconut sugar. These shortbread cookies are really delightful after a few hours. It allows the glaze to set and the shortbread to reach it's ideal soft yet crumbly texture. I found myself sneaking a bar or two in the mornings to enjoy with my tea and it was such a cozy experience!
Coconut Shortbread Cookies
makes about 28 1"x2.5"cookies
12 Tbsp unsalted butter - softened
1/2 coconut sugar
3 tbsp melted coconut oil (unrefined)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup flour
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp coconut milk (regular milk works fine too)
toasted coconut flakes
crushed freeze fried strawberries
1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
2. Cream together the softened butter, coconut sugar, melted coconut oil, and salt until smooth. Stir in the flour until combined.
3. On a lightly floured surface, lightly knead the dough for 1-2 minutes. Dough should be smooth and consistent. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Pat into round discs and wrap is plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4. On a lightly floured surface again, roll out one dough disc until it is about a 1/4" thick. Dust the dough or the rolling pin with flour in case it starts to stick. Lightly flour your cookie cutter and punch out your cookies. Place cookies on a parchment lined baking tray. Repeat with other half of dough. Poke the cookies a few times with a fork.
5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Allow to completely cool on a cooling rack. If your cookies are bigger they may need to cook a little longer.
6. Prepare your glaze by whisking together powdered sugar and coconut milk until smooth. Add a little more milk or powdered sugar to get your desired consistency.
7. Once the cookie on completely cooled, pour the glaze over the cookies. Top with toasted coconut flakes, crushed pistachios, and freeze dried strawberries. Allow the glaze to set up and enjoy!
* I think they are best after a few hours!