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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rainy Day Animal Cookies

I'm really enjoying toddler land. It's nice to know that the person you've been talking to all day for two years is excited to hold up his end of the conversation. Our chats give me a little glimpse into his mind. This morning Dylan started talking, out of nowhere, about Tortellini the Turtle who lives at the Providence Children's Museum. He just wanted to chat about him for a bit, remembering how he likes to eat lettuce and sleep in the straw pile.

Baking cookies together is an added bonus. Especially when it's raining again and you live far away from Tortellini and any city Children's Museum. 

I used Heidi Swanson's Animal Cracker Cookie recipe and it turned out really well. Super easy, just a few simple ingredients, and delicious. 

Rainy Day Animal Cookies

Heidi's Note: The kind of coconut oil you purchase is key. You want it to actually smell like coconut. You want pure, unrefined coconut oil - it will likely have the words virgin or extra-virgin and (hopefully) organic on the jar. If you see the word "refined" on the jar, find a different brand. I've just finished off a jar of Nutiva, and really enjoyed cooking with it - but there are other great brands out there as well. You can make your own walnut (or almond meal) by pulsing almonds in a food processor until it is the texture of sand - don't go too far or you'll end up with almond butter. For added depth feel free to use lightly toasted shredded coconut.

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup walnut of almond meal (see head notes)
1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut, very finely minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil, softened
1/3 cup fine-grain natural cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
a few tablespoons big-grain turbinado sugar

Whisk the flour, walnut meal, and shredded coconut together in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a separate medium bowl, beat the coconut oil with the sugar and salt until it's smooth and looks a bit like a brown sugar frosting. Beat in the egg until everything is uniform in appearance. Add the flour mixture and stir just until incorporated. Turn the dough out onto the counter-top, knead it once or twice and gather it into a ball. Flatten the dough, wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Place the racks in the middle and line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper. On a floured work surface roll the dough out 1/8-inch thick. If the dough cracks, let it sit and warm up for a couple more minutes. Stamp out shapes with floured cookie cutters and place the cookies an inch apart on the baking sheets, sprinkle with a bit of the turbinado sugar. Bake until the cookie are just beginning to color at the edges 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on racks if you have them.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutters.

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