Mocha Sandwich Cookies with Coconut Cream Filling

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We recently went on a trip up north to Pennsylvania and Delaware. We were stuck up there, in frigid temperatures, for two weeks while West underwent surgery and recovered. The morning of the operation it was 9 degrees outside, 9 degrees! I ran to the car with wet hair and had a full head of ice dreads when I got there. The trip was a long time coming and went wonderfully, we are so glad to have it behind us. The trek to and from Delaware is about 600 miles, two 6 hour days with 16 month old. I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to start seeing road signs for the Carolinas on our way home. The landscape got greener and greener, warmer and warmer. People became increasingly nicer and conversational the closer we got to home. Could it be? I think I’m a Carolina girl now.

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The longer I’m here, the longer it feels like Carolina is less a destination and more a lifestyle. Even in other parts of the south, they just don’t seem to breed them as sweet as they do here. Total strangers strike up conversations with a sincere interest in your life, local restaurants supporting their local farmers, everyone helping each other. There’s a sense of community I’ve never felt anywhere else, I never knew could exist.

I’ve been working on this little blog off and on for a couple of years now. I’m drawn to it when I’m inspired – by the season, by a new discovery, by people. I enjoy creating in the kitchen and trying to improve my volatile relationship with my camera.

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Sometimes, though, I drift. I find myself immersed in a new project, West’s medical needs need my attention, and any number of other life distractions. It’s been a few months since my last post, but in true Carolina form I was approached recently by Nichole of Gap Creek Gourmet about being a part of her latest project, the Greenville Small Plate Crawl. I was touched and honored she would consider me, but that’s how sweet South Carolinians, Greenville especially, are. Always reaching out to their neighbor.

Nichole has established herself as Greenville’s ultimate restaurant review guide. Her blog is full of honest reviews, interviews with local chefs, and event happenings. Somehow she always has the latest updates before anyone else! Always fresh, she’s bringing something brand new to Greenville with her partner, Carolina Epicurean. Greenville Small Plate Crawl includes dozens of restaurants, all offering dishes ranging from $3 to $8. An event everyone can participate in without breaking the bank. The event takes place from March 24-26, you can head on over to their site to get all the details, especially about how to win prizes!

Nichole partnered me up with The Forest Coffeehouse in Travelers Rest. I created a dessert for them to serve on their menu for the crawl that highlights my favorite roast they serve, Leopard Forest Total Eclipse.

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These chewy mocha cookies have a definite coffee punch. In fact, nibbling on a few of them for breakfast had me feeling like I had my morning cup already. The coconut cream filling is fresh and light, great contrast to the rich cookie. Coconut screams sunshine and warmth to me and I think we’re all ready for some of that. You can taste my creation at The Forest Coffeehouse during the crawl. Then, when you become addicted, you can use the recipe below to make more.

Mocha Sandwich Cookies with Coconut Cream Filling
{makes 32 cookies/16 sandwiches}

Mocha Cookies:

1.5 sticks butter (room temperature)
1 3/4 cups sugar 3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tablespoons Total Eclipse coffee grinds, finely ground (1.5 T for a less intense coffee flavor)
1.5 tablespoons brewed Total Eclipse (brewed STRONG!)
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350

Cream the butter, sugar, and coffee grinds together until smooth (1-2 minutes in an electric mixer)

Add the first egg and mix until just incorporated, add the egg yolk and mix until just incorporated.

Add the vanilla and brewed coffee and mix in.

Combine your remaining dry ingredients (flour, salt, cocoa powder, and baking soda) and sift or stir with a fork.

With the mixer going, add a little bit at a time to the wet mix until the dough just comes together. It will be very thick, make sure to give it a couple stirs by hand to make sure all the sugars and flours are mixed in from the bottom.

Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet 2″ apart. Gently flatten the balls so they are uniform, but not thin.

Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, until the tops have a cracked appearance. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a cooling rack. Makes 32 cookies/16 sandwiches. Allow cookies to cool completely before assembling sandwiches.

Coconut Cream Filling

2 sticks of butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered/confectioner’s sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk (regular milk is fine, coconut milk if you have it would be fantastic!)
1 tsp coconut extract

Mix the butter in an electric mixer until it is light and fluffy.Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and combine.

Add 2 tablespoons milk and the coconut extract, combine.

Add the rest of the powdered sugar, combine.

If the mixture appears too thick, add the last tablespoon of milk.

Spread the icing onto one cookie and sandwich another on top.
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