Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chocolate & Roasted Coconut Chip Cookies

As any loyal Trader Joe's shopper knows, they have some interesting/weird/amazing stuff. A lot of which is chronicled on the hilarious and awesome What's Good At Trader Joe's. I'm mad I didn't think of that idea first. The marketing people from Trader Joe's and Sephora must have gone to the same seminar on impulse buys at the registers because they each have the best. Peanut butter filled pretzels? Yep. Banana chips? Okay. Chocolate covered whatevers? Definitely. Did anyone else notice the roasted coconut chips they've had for the past few weeks? I did.

They are only $1.99 so I tossed a bag in my cart two Sundays ago on a whim. I always bring a list to the grocery store and I'm really good at sticking to it. But sometimes there are exceptions. These are delightful. They're sweet and a little bit salty and the coconut flavor is multiplied by 10 because they're soaked in coconut milk and then roasted. YUM. My first thought when I tasted them was, "these need to be in some cookies, like, now." So that is exactly what I did.

Trader Joe's also happens to have dark chocolate coconut bonbons that are insanely delicious so I thought a dark chocolate chunk cookie with roasted coconut chips would be just like them. I could recite what goes into a standard chocolate chip cookie in my sleep, but I forget the measurements sometimes. I googled quickly on Saturday afternoon and thought I was all set. And then this happened:

I forgot an entire CUP of flour. DUH. They were sort of edible, but I wasn't about the give those to anyone!

Here is the recipe with nothing forgotten. This makes 4 dozen.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (at room temp.)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs (at room temp.)
2 cups chocolate chunks or chips (I used semi-sweet)
1 cup roasted coconut chips

Pre-heat your oven to 375. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Cream the butter, sugars, and vanilla using an electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time making sure each is well incorporated. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients little buy little until the dough comes together. Stir in the chocolate and coconut chips and scoop level tablespoons of the batter on non-stick baking sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes until the cookies are golden brown. Let them cool for a minute or so on the baking sheets and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Eat many at one time.

I gave the coconut chips a rough chop so they were about the same size as a chocolate chip.

Now that's more like it! Let this serve as a friendly reminder that baking has to be precise or else disaster ensues.

These are YUMMY. The coconut chips are a little more subtle than I expected, but you can definitely tell that they're there. Putting them in the oven again makes the sugars in them caramelize just a little bit more so they're even more toasty and delicious. I definitely prefer roasted coconut chips to nuts.

I brought around two dozen of these to work Monday morning and they barely lasted an hour. So I think they turned out pretty well! The roasted coconut chips are obviously unique to Trader Joe's, but they probably wouldn't be hard to replicate on your own. Or try some shredded coconut that's been toasted in the oven for a bit. I don't see how you could go wrong with either option!

What's your favorite cookie add in? And if you shop at Trader Joe's, what's the most bizarre or surprisingly delicious thing you've found? 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Spotlight: Zac Posen Resort 2014

In fashion there are four seasons: Pre-Fall, Fall, Resort (a/k/a Cruise, Pre-Spring), and Spring. The seasons we salivate over twice a year at fashion week are obviously Fall and Spring, but with more and more designers putting out "off" season collections, I feel like everyone is upping their game. Pre-Fall and Resort have been turning out some amazing collections lately! I will admit to not paying as much attention to them as I do to Spring and Fall. I look at collections until my eyes cross during fashion weeks, but from here on out I vow to give just as much attention to the middle seasons. And Zac Posen is partially to blame.

I have been a fan of Zac's for some time now and his recent stint filling in for Michael Kors on the last season on Project Runway furthered that. Am I the only on still watching Project Runway? Anyway, he was delightful - funny, realistic, and he gave really practical advice. Zac is a master at creating phenomenal red carpet gowns and they're always the showstoppers in his collections. His pieces are always feminine and floaty and I can't imagine any girl wouldn't want to wear one. Enough talking from me. Here are my favorites from Zac Posen's Resort 2014 collection:

Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Are you blown away? This is a stunning campaign. And if you don't know who the models are, please allow me to tell you. They would be none other than the legendary Pat Cleveland and her model daughter, Anna von Ravenstein. I'll let you guess who is who, but you may not believe me when I say that one of the women in these photos is about to turn 61 years old. Pat Cleveland was a supermodel before that term even existed. She was BFF with Halston, Yves Saint Laurent, and Warhol, and probably had her own booth at Studio 54. Basically my dream! Zac uses her quite often in his campaigns and why wouldn't he? She looks just as incredible now as she did back in her heyday.

I think that's one of the reasons why this campaign stands out to me. Not only are the clothes beautiful, but he allowed Pat and Anna to really be themselves instead of just acting as hangers. I'm sure they had a blast!

Head over to Style.com to see the other looks in Zac Posen's Resort 2014 collection and the many others that have been presented already. If you're a collections junkie like me, do you pay as much attention to Resort as the main seasons? Do you have a favorite collection from the newbies? I think Jason Wu's offering is also quite stunning!