Thursday, April 12, 2012

Consolation Baking / Drinking

It's been a rather not-so-fun week around here. On Monday I strained my hamstring at karate. At first I was like, "Oh, maybe it's not so bad." (This in spite of the fact that after it happened I couldn't put weight on my left leg or lift my knee higher than my waist without significant pain, and that every muscle on the left side of my body from my hamstring up through my shoulder hurt to move.) I had ten minute 10K pace intervals scheduled for Tuesday, but while I may not always be the smartest runner, I'm rarely a complete and total moron, so I just did some easy miles instead.

Ugh. Talk about misery. In addition to just feeling plain exhausted, the tightness and shooting pain up from my hamstring into my back made this run just a whole lot of not very fun at all. It still kind of hurts to walk. I've tried stretching, just to try to loosen up the left side of my body, but it's so painful (or maybe I am just enough of a wuss) that I haven't been able to get very far. Then I did my my taxes Tuesday evening and discovered I will have the pleasure of writing the tax man a big, fat check this year. Oh, the joys of being an independent contractor where they don't take your taxes out ahead of time.

I am coping, as per usual, with wine & baking. Baking seems to be where I put the energy I can't put into running when I'm hurt. As for the wine, well, we have a certain philosophy around here...

Specifically, I opened a lovely '06 Pipestone Syrah. Pipestone is this lovely little carbon-netrual, biodynamic winery in Paso Robles we discovered a few years back. They make a lot of good stuff at very reasonable prices (I feel like mostly in the $20s?), but in particular I'm a fan of their mourvedre (big, fruity, peppery) & viognier (crisp, floral, & with hints of tropical fruit). Alas all I had left & easily accessible was the syrah & the grenache. If you ever get down that way, I highly recommend taking a spin up their way. He isn't RIGHT next to anyone I would super highly recommend, but he's far enough out (Niderer Rd) that you'll have to pass any number of respectable places to get there. (I recommend stops at Lone Madrone & Kenneth Volk, in particular.)

As for the baking, I've had a craving lately for coconut. It's one of my favorite flavors, but in the last few years it’s become one of those things that I almost never eat anymore, the way you kind of mostly stop eating something you’re not out-of-this-world obsessed with when your live-in significant other doesn’t really care for it. Not that he really dislikes coconut; he’s just not really that into it, so it's not something we use much when we’re cooking for the two of us.

Lately I've been excited about coconut milk, particularly about putting it in a cookie. Googling recipes was kind of a disappointment. Most called either for coconut extract and that’s it, or a billion tons of sugar and a bunch of that nasty fake sugary shredded coconut, which I find unholy and revolting.

Then, I found this recipe. The description: “The key to the rich coconut taste in this sugar cookie dough comes from layering flavors. Coconut milk, coconut extract and dried grated coconut are all used to make an aromatic, buttery cookie that can be the foundation for a number of variations.” So I decided to give it a shot, with a few tweaks.


  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups finely grated dried coconut (not sweetened) (originally ¼ cup)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ sticks (¾ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup coconut milk (originally ¼ cup)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract (originally 1 tsp each of vanilla & coconut extract, but we were out of vanilla, so I just used 2 tsp of coconut)

The original recipe also called for rolling the cookies in the sugary sweetened shit before baking, which I skipped.


  • 1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • 2) Whisk together flour, dried coconut and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
  • 3) Cream the butter and sugar together until pale yellow and fluffy. Add the egg, coconut milk, vanilla and coconut extract and beat until well combined, about 45 seconds.
  • 4) Add the flour mixture in three batches, stirring well after each addition.
  • 5) Wrap in plastic wrap & chill for at least 1 hour or until firm.
  • 6) Arrange the cookies on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes. (Recipe called for 14, but mine were still underdone & pale, so I cooked them for 5 extra minutes, which resulted in a slight, pale gold color. I cooked the rest for 20 full minutes straight & got a little bit of nice browning.) Remove & cool.

They turned out very rich & coconutty & not too sweet, which is what I was looking for. The texture is a lot like a plain sugar cookie. If I were to make them again, I would use fresh grated coconut instead of dry, real coconut extract instead of imitation, & probably less sugar, more coconut milk, & more extract.

Also, for a tasty beverage, I highly recommend mixing equal parts coconut water & coconut milk! It's fabulous! I have most of a quart of coconut milk leftover from the cookies, so I'm coming up with all sorts of creative uses for it. Mixing with coconut water, adding to smoothies (AWESOME), potentially some Thai curry at some point...the list goes on.

Today my hammy is feeling *slightly* less horrible, so I'm going to try a short, easy run later just to see how it holds up. Who knows, I may even try throwing in a couple of HM miles. We'll see what happens.


  1. Going out on a limb here and suggesting you not run until it stops hurting. Don't hate me! *hiding in corner* Those cookies sound amazing. Putting coconut and coconut extract on the grocery list now...already have the coconut milk. And I'm going to try making a GF version. I'll let you know how that works out :)

    Be well and heal fast!

    1. worries. I got about twenty feet before it was clear that I need another day or two. So more cookies it is! I'd think you could substitute gluten-free flour pretty easily -- you should definitely let me know how it works, because we have a gf friend in our dinner party group so we are always looking for dessert recipes that work for her.

    2. Simply subbing in GF flours doesn't always work...the texture can get really 'off.' I've been using a combo of GF All-Purpose flours (King Arthur's and Gluten-Free Pantry's) combined with a small amount of flaxmeal when I make chocolate chip cookies and that seems to yield an amazing texture!

      Take care of that leg!