From Spoon: In my fantasy life, I own a bakery. I get up before dawn to roll out pie crusts, stir chocolate chips into cookie dough and slather cupcakes with icing. Happy customers line up to buy my famous scones and my days are spent in a swirl of cinnamon scented air. Screeeech (think brakes slamming) … reality check!! As much as I love to bake, I could never own a bakery – no way could I get out of bed in time to make the doughnuts. And, as a former restaurateur, I know all too well how much hard work it is.
But every so often, when we visit a great bakery, the fantasy kicks in. It was running at full throttle the minute we walked through the door of Beach Pea Baking Co. in Kittery, Maine. Run by Thomas and Mariah Roberts, an adorable young couple committed to making high quality, natural baked goods and offering a delightful environment for the community to gather, Beach Pea is the place to pick up artisan bread, stop in for a morning coffee and croissant or meet a friend for lunch. We discovered it when Ted photographed Thomas for Share Our Strength Maine.
Thomas was kind enough to give us a copy of Beach Pea’s cookbook, “Artisan Breads, Pastries, Cookies and Desserts.” These cookies (with a few tweaks by me) are representative of the bakery’s philosophy; they are both a sweet treat and wholesome.
Beach Pea Bakery’s Cowgirl Cookies
2 1/2 tablespoons crushed pineapple (I used apricot jam)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 cups evaporated cane sugar (I used light brown sugar, loosely packed)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded coconut
Combine all dry ingredients except the sugar in one bowl. In a second bowl, combine the chocolate chips, walnuts and coconut.
In a mixer, cream the butter until it’s pale and fluffy. Add the pineapple puree and mix on medium speed until combined.
Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the sugar. Mix together on speed one, stop and scrape down the bowl again, then continue mixing on medium.
Add the eggs and vanilla, scrape the sides of the bowl, and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Stop the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Pulse the mixer on low until the dough begins to come together. Stop and scrape down the bowl, add the chocolate chips, walnuts and coconut, and mix again to incorporate (Because there was a lot of dough,I had to take the bowl off the mixer stand and do this by hand.)
With a large spoon or ice cream scoop, portion the cookie dough onto a sheet pan, leaving enough space for the cookies to double in size. Gently flatten the dough with the heel of your hand for consistent baking.
Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are light brown. Cool on a cooling rack.
Makes about three dozen.