We are in sugar shock here right now. Not really, but close. Alex got a bee in her bonnet about the fact that she never got mousse for her birthday (I refer you to our birthday mousse tradition) but I needed to make cookies for Creative Cookie Exchange and then I also needed cake for Bundt Bakers (coming Thursday). And after taking 2 months off of serious blogging I was pretty determined to get back in the game so to speak. But I also felt badly for Alex, whose birthday celebrations really got the short end of the stick this summer with my surgery melodrama.
It is a good thing we have had a lot of guests the last few days.
The theme for this month’s Creative Cookie Exchange is Summer Harvest. I was batting around tons of ideas–once you start thinking about it you realize there are so many creative ways to shove August fruits and even vegetables into cookies–when I came across these Zucchini-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies over at Cooking Classy.
I became obsessed. Probably because at the end of the day my favorite cookie will always be Chocolate Chip and all of its various permutations. I played with the recipe a bit, adding some nut flour, reducing the all purpose flour, reducing the butter, using almonds instead of pecans, increasing the brown sugar… I also used 4 egg yolks instead of 2 eggs since I had them in my fridge. The zucchini somehow (from moisture? Any baking chemist types want to take a stab?) made the cookie cakier than is my ideal–but they were still darn tasty. They got thumbs up from both my parents (who had them after lunch and then mousse after dinner!!!) and my brother and his girlfriend, who visited after running/swimming/biking in a multisport event near my house. They have grown on me–once I accepted their cakiness, I found myself craving them at odd hours.
With zucchini and nut flour they are basically health food, right? Right!?!?!?
- 3 medium zucchini or four scant cups of shredded zucchini
- 1 t fine sea salt, divided
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups AP flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 t baking soda
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 T vanilla extract
- 3-4 cups chocolate chips (I like a lot but use 3 if you prefer more cookie and less chocolate)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped almonds
- 2 cups rolled oats
- Vanilla Salt for sprinkling
Begin by tossing the zucchini in a colander with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Place either in a sink or with a towel underneath it. Set aside while you prepare the cookie dough.
Whisk together in a medium large bowl the flours (including the almond meal), baking soda and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.
Beat the butter creamy using either a stand mixer or handheld. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the sugars. Beat until lightened and fluffy. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. Keep scraping the bowl as needed.
Now return to the zucchini. The salt will have helped it expunge a lot of liquid. Using a clean towel, squeeze even more water out of it. Then mix it into the butter/sugar/egg mixture.
With the mixer on the slowest speed, mix in the flour mixture. When it is mostly mixed in, add the chocolate chips and chopped almonds. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Continue mixing on the lowest speed until the flour is incorporated evenly and the nuts and chocolate chips are evenly distributed.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest at least one hour, preferably overnight (I compromise by baking off a few only that day) in the fridge.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Scoop the dough out--I like to use a cookie scoop that scoops 2-3 tablespoon sized balls of dough. I got 6 to a cookie sheet (you want room for plenty of hot air to swirl around the cookies).
Sprinkle the cookie dough balls with Vanilla Salt to taste.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until browned and cooked through. This is one cookie that I think is better not undercooked, since the zucchini is already keeping them so moist.
Let cool on the cookie sheet on a cooling rack. Remove with a metal spatula as otherwise the cookies might stick just a bit from the moist zucchini.
If you are wondering, I did not try to serve all of these cookies plus mousse to anyone! I have a bag of frozen cookie dough balls in the freezer waiting for moments when we really need fresh baked cookies.
The theme this month is Creative Uses for the Summer Bounty! Why should cookies be left out from the summer harvest? They shouldn’t! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact me at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and I will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.
You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes–be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:
- Nectarine Drop Cookies from A Baker’s House
- Blueberry Pecan Rugelach from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies with Zucchini and Almond from The Spiced Life
- Cherry Viennese Sandwich Cookies from Magnolia Days
- Jammy Gooseberry Oatmeal Cookies from Food Lust People Love
- Lemon Blueberry Cookies from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Blackberry Thumbprints from Cookie Dough & Oven Mitt
- Breskvice -(Jam Filled, Peach Shaped Cookies) from Spiceroots
- Rhubarb Shortcake Cookies from Rhubarb and Honey
- Lemonade Poppy Seed Linzer Cookie from Made with Love
- Raspberry Crumble Cookie Bars from from gate to plate