Proof of Life: Alive and Cooking!

Friday, December 18, 2009 51 comments

Tropical Holiday Cookies

Thanks to my unfortunate tendencies to overestimate my abilities, underestimate my time and generally procrastinate every task, major and minor, the past six weeks have been so much more hectic than anticipated. As a result, anything that dealt with blogging has been held hostage by my utter lack of time management capabilities.

This has been a serious source of stress for me lately: after all, isn't it the cornerstone of nearly every "How to Blog Successfully" article that consistent and prolific posting is a must? Instead of the two-per-week goal I had set for myself at the beginning of the year, I'm ending 2009 barely able to eke out one every 2 weeks. But something had to give - as much as I love blogging and blog reading, my classes demanded full concentration; now that the semester is over, I can honestly say that it was worth the sacrifice. Graduation Day is that much closer - Spring 2010!

Now, it's time to rekindle some blog friendships as I hope to get back into the swing of reading and commenting on my favorite sites. As for my own blog, the old tangled noodle has been in knots over numerous ideas that will hopefully see the light of day in the new year. But before I earnestly promise too much, I should say that actually getting back in the game will be delayed for just a bit longer as Mr. Noodle and I are on our way to spend the holidays in warmer climes.

In the meantime, here's a little proof of life - evidence that my blogging mojo will soon be released from academic captivity as soon as my demands for fruity, frosty, umbrella-adorned drinks are met to my satisfaction!

Tropical Holiday Cookies 
(adapted from Yummy Magazine, June 2009)

My sudden urge to bake as soon as I finished the last class of the year was sparked by the "CS" time of year - no, not Christmas Season . . . Cookie Swap! I've been hearing about them everywhere I turn but the tipping point came when I recently read a New York Times article describing the tradition of a cookie table at wedding receptions in the Pittsburgh, PA region - we're talking thousands of various baked treats, putting the wedding cake to shame.

I am offering only one - what I call Tropical Holiday Cookies, flavored with lime zest, sweetened coconut and dried mangos, in honor of our Christmas destination. These are refrigerator cookies, meant to be rolled into logs and frozen until freshly-baked goodies are needed on the spot [question: why not call them 'freezer cookies' instead?] This recipe yielded a very crisp cookie but with a nice bit of chewiness from the mango and coconut. The original recipe appeared in the June '09 issue of Yummy, a glossy, gorgeously-photographed food magazine from the Philippines; if it were possible to receive Stateside, this would be the gift subscription that tops my Christmas wish list!


1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one lime
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 cup sweetened coconut
1/2 cup dried mangoes, chopped fine

Parchment paper
Plastic wrap

To make:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, vanilla and lime zest. Add egg and mix well;
3. Add flour, one cup at a time, mixing until just incorporated before adding next cup; repeat. Add coconut and mangoes and mix well;
4. Turn out mixture onto flat surface and form into 8" logs; wrap securely in plastic wrap and place in the freezer until ready to use;
5. To bake immediately, allow to chill in the freezer until dough is somewhat firm. Using a sharp knife (serrated worked well for me), slice 1/4" thick slices and place about an inch apart on parchment-lined cookie sheet;
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cookies are a light golden color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wishing you a happy holiday season and a joyous New Year!
Maligayang Pasko at Manigong bagong taon!


  • My Carolina Kitchen said...

    Glad to hear school is going well and graduation is near. I don't know how you managed school, blogging, and life with Mr. N all at the same time.

    Cookies taking over wedding cake? Wow. Wait until my sister-in-law hears this. She is our cookie queen in the family and loves the cookie swaps.

    Enjoy the warmer weather. That tropical cookie looks just like the incentive to get to warmer ground. Have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy the sunshine. Rain here turing to sleet today.

  • Bergamot said...

    The cookies look really good. I like the lime zest addition to the cookie. I too have a tough time trying to put up a post. I do not juggle with many things in my life just work and home is good enough to keep me busy.

  • HoneyB said...

    I will look forward to seeing you back after the holidays!! Enjoy your warm weather! Our temp here this morning was only 3 F this morning! BRRR.

    Happy Holidays!!

  • Table Talk said...

    Enjoy your tropical getaway- rest, relax, and have fun!
    We are supposed to have a big snow storm here tomorrow (unusual for VA)...kind of excited to bake cookies and sled with the kids...although sipping a tropical drink by the pool like you will soon be doing sounds pretty good too.

  • Caroline said...

    These cookies looks & sounds very tropical, something my in-laws & I would enjoy (adding to my christmas baking as we speak). Yep and Yummy magazine is something I would like a subscription to also, too bad they don't mail to States. Have a great Christmas in the Philippines!

  • Chef E said...

    I always love when I see you put up your post...your stories, and all...those cookies look and sound great, but I will not try, I just do not have that cookie touch, they look either like cake or I over bake...cheers and enjoy the time off from school! My son calls stressed at this time over his finals...

  • The Diva on a Diet said...

    Good to see you back, Noodle, and congrats on finishing the semester! The nice thing about blogs is they'll all be waiting for you when you return. :)

    Wishing you and Mr. Noodle a wonderful holiday!!!


  • Dawn said...

    there she is! alive and well?
    coconut, I crave that a lot, I don't know why, maybe because I'm supposed to always be somewhere tropical, right? lol

  • gastroanthropologist said...

    Lime, coconut, and mango - sold!

    I set similar posting frequency goals, but life takes over and I am often shocked at how much time goes by in between posts sometimes because I've always got the blog on the brain.

    Your posts are always so great -definitely worth the wait!

    Happy holidays - and have fun in a warmer climate!

  • Daily Spud said...

    I worry sometimes about just how alike we seem - I have been cursing my own poor time management skills lately (though, in my case, what's been slipping is the time spent on my paid, non-blog work - oops!). Oh well, I will cook up a batch of new years resolutions (maybe even tropical, chewy ones) and see what they bring.

    Meanwhile, have a wonderful, cocktail-filled holiday season and looking forward to catching up when you return!

  • Forager said...

    Hooray! You're back! Hope the exams went well and you're doing some serious R&R now. The cookies sound great! Perfect for the warm summer weather over where I am!

  • Phyllis said...

    LOL! I set the same goal when I first started blogging, now I'm averaging once a month (gasp!)and only when I'm truly inspired. The cookies look fabulous and easy enough for even me to do. And I have to admit I'm a little jealous that you're going somewhere warm, especially since we just got hit by a blizzard!
    Have a wonderful and safe holiday:)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Greetings from Manila! I should have a little down time later this morning from visiting with family to be able to reply to all your great comments. But I have to say that the time difference and jet lag have really played tricks on me - I'm not sure where I am or what I'm doing half the time! 8-D

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    It's Christmas Eve eve and I finally have a few moments between shopping and eating! 8-D

    Sam - Thank you! Did the huge East Coast snowstorm affect you in NC? I've heard that a big storm is headed toward MN now, so I'm doubly happy to be somewhere snow-less for the time being. As for cookie swaps, I'd love to participate one of these days (and I'm game for any season, not just Christmas!)

    Bergamot - The lime zest does give it some zing although next time, I think I'll add even more. As for posting, I hope to be more consistent in the new year!

    Angie - Thank you! They turned out butter-y and crispy, and perfect with a mug of hot tea.

    HoneyB - The week before we left on this trip, the daytime highs in MN were in the low 10s and under! I'm going to soak up the sun so that I can face those temps again. Hope all is well with you - we need to catch up with each other!

    Table Talk - The storm was HUGE! Hope you are safe & snug at home and starting to dig out! Funny thing is that I've been indulging in local hot chocolate rather tropical fruit drinks - maybe it's subconscious empathy with all of you back in the States! 8-D

    Kat - Thank you! I do love blogging so taking a moment or two away to remind myself of the reasons why I do it is a good way to keep up my enthusiasm. And it helps to be inspired by great blogs such as yours!

    KennyT - I have become such a coconut fan this past year! What a great flavor.

    Vrinda - Thank you! The coconut & lime are a great flavor base but the fruit can be switched up for something different.

    Unplanned Cooking - Thank you so much! My time management is terrible but I'm working on it. 8-)

    Elra - Thanks! I've always loved mango but as I commented to Kenny, I've recently rekindle my appreciation for coconut. I'll have to use these ingredients together more often!

    Trissa - Wish I could take a side trip to your neck of the woods and visit the Kulinarya Club in person! Sorry I couldn't participate this month but I look forward to the next one.

    Caroline - Thank you! I wouldn't be surprised if there's already a Brazilian cookie with the same ingredients. As for Yummy, I'm planning to buy the most recent issue and reading it very slowly so I can enjoy it as long as possible.

    Chef E - I can relate to your son's experience . . . I was a bit of a mess the last week of school. But I hope to come back refreshed this spring. As for cookies, I don't make them often but I certainly love to eat them!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Diva - Thank you! I've felt so guilty about missing your posts but I'll be back. I hope you and your family also have a lovely holiday and a raucous New Year! 8-D

    Jenn - Thanks! I so appreciate everyone's encouragement and support. BTW, just had halo-halo at Razon's . . . are you SURE you're not related? 8-P

    Mariana - I can hardly wait!!! It's only 5 more months but this degree seems to have been in the works for ages. Wishing you and your loved ones joyous Christmas as well!

    Bob - I've felt quite zombie-like recently so I'm relieved to know that I'm actually still with all of you! 8-)

    Dawn - Yes, still here although a bit dazed and confused. [LOL] I've been jonesing for coconut all year and now I know why - I was impatient for this vacation to start! I'll eat prodigious amount of coconut on your behalf! 8-)

    Crystal - Thank you! It's been ages but I'm happy to to confirm that I can still make edible cookies. Hope it's a good sign for the new year!

    5 Star - Thank you so much! Hoping you and your lovely family have a fantastic holiday season as well. Looking forward to a new year of 5 Star food!

    Karen - Me, too! Baking cookies all at once is great if you can eat them all at once but I love the idea of just slicing & baking as needed ('though that need is often!)

    Burpandslurp - A blog-wide cookie swap would be such fun! I'm excited to see what the new year will bring for all of us!

    Gastroanthropologist - Thank you! I love blogging so I'm determined not to turn into a source of stress and appreciate the fact that I've found such great friends through it. Even though I didn't reach my goals this past year, it won't me from being optimistic and setting equally ambitious ones for the new year! Have a wonderful holiday!

    Daily Spud - If you discover the secrets to successful time management, please share! Even in the middle of reading assignments and paper-writing, I was thinking about my blog constantly. We're just poor addicted souls! May you have a marvelous Christmas and a joyous, equally-lubricated New Year! 8-P

    Forager - Exams and assignments are finally all done (though I'm still waiting for final grades - fingers crossed!) These cookies certainly put me in the mood for a warm-weather holidays, and I'm actually (relatively) close by to you - wish I could take a side trip over your way, too!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Guinnah - Thank you and hello! Have you finally kicked off the holiday baking yet? But honestly, anytime is a great time for cookies!

    Phyllis - Your posts are definitely inspired so it's always a joy to read them! But I feel terrible that I've missed the most recent ones . . . I'll make up for it in the new year! Hope you are staying safe, warm and starting to dig out of the Great Blizzard of '09. Happy Holidays to you and the hubs!

    Gera - Thank you! Living in the (very) North, coconut and mango flavors have the power to transport me to warm paradise! Hope you have a joyous holiday, too!

    Food Addicts - Thank you so much! I am truly determined to catch up and keep up with my blog posting and reading when I return home. Wishing you a marvelous holiday season!

    Stephanie - Thank you and hello! So pleased you like these; I have such great fun both cooking and blogging!

    Nora - I hope you had a marvelous vacation (where did you go?) We're four days into ours and I hope it doesn't go by too quickly. Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year to you!

  • nora@ffr said...

    I bet it smell superb...from the combination! Great job TN!! they look pretty :) hope ye had a wonderful Christmas!! wish you and ye family a very happy new year!! :)

  • Cyn said...

    Girlfriend, we feel you on the stress thing! Take care of you and we will all be here in 2010 awaiting your next post. Let's start the graduation countdown now! Have a safe and happy new year. :)

  • Velva said...

    Happy New Year! Life has a way of getting in the way of blogging- so be it! You are close to graduation and your foodie friends are all still here. So life is good.

    Your cookies look awesome! Enjoy your vacation with the hubby and we will be here when you return.

  • Lo said...

    Oooh. Those cookies look just fabulous. I'll take them :)

    And hey -- look at all of us, gathering back around, noticing that you're back again. It's all good! And trust me, we've ALL been there.

    Happy 2010! Looking forward to all new adventures with you in the new year.

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Happy New Year everyone! Back from holidays in the Philippines but laid low by jet lag & a lingering cold. Still, happy to be back and thanks for your great comments!

    Erica - Thank you! They were a bit last minute but I wanted to celebrate Christmas at home before we left for our trip.

    Duo - It was such a great time but now I miss my parents and sisters. Still, I'm so thankful for the opportunity to celebrate the holidays with them.

    Nora - Thank you so much! Wishing you a happy new year and many delicious kitchen aromas! 8-)

    Sarah - I'm hoping I don't get complacent in the coming months. 8-) Thanks so much!

    Cyn - Thanks for the words of encouragement! It's almost a week into the new year and I'm still a bit behind in posting. But I hope to have a new one out soon!

    Velva - Darn life! 8-P Can't complain because it's been good to me but I do hope to catch up with blogging. Thanks so much!

    Lo - Happy New Year! I miss blogging and commenting so I hope to drop by soon to see what you are up to. 8-)

  • MaryMoh said...

    Congratulations that you are going to graduate soon. Enjoy your holiday and thanks for this lovely cookie recipe. Wish I can have some to go with my hot coffee now.

  • Lori said...

    Obviously I'm way behind on my reading. These look fantastic! And lucky for me with the tropical flavors they will work as good for a spring/summer cookie around here as well as for the holidays. :) I'm going to try them for sure.

  • Iron Cook Carl said...

    Everyone I know practically on Facebook is on the east coast and it seems everyone is making cookies. This looks like a recipe I could forward to my friend Valerie. They look delicious because of the great photography. Thanks.


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