Cloudberry Cheesecake Cookie Bars

oat wheat aqpik bars_n

Make these! Really, we couldn’t believe how good these jam-and-cream-cheese bars came out. You’ll have to patiently wait while they chill in the refrigerator to get the most flavor. 

The end of our school year provides us with an education on amounts over or under-ordered in our annual shopping. We ended up a little short on all-purpose flour and a little heavy on whole wheat. The challenge with 100% whole wheat is the heaviness and denseness it lends to baked goods. Mixing finely chopped nuts into the whole wheat crust and layering lighter flavors on top solved the problem in a delicious way.

This recipe would work with any jam. Of course, we love cloudberries and as long as we’re in the Arctic these delicious, rare berries will be our fruit of choice.

Cloudberry Cheesecake Cookie Bars

Crust

  • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake layer

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Top layers

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups cloudberry jam

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter 8 x 8 inch glass baking dish. Set aside.
  3. Mix crust ingredients until coarse meal forms.
  4. Press crust mixture into bottom of glass baking dish.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.
  6. Prepare cheesecake layer while crust is baking.
  7. Beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.
  8. Pour cream cheese mixture evenly over baked crust.
  9. Return baking dish to oven and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until layer sets.
  10. Mix the remaining ingredients for top layer (except jam) until crumbly.
  11. Evenly and gently spread jam over cream cheese layer taking care not to disturb the cheese layer.
  12. Sprinkle crumble on top of jam.
  13. Return to oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until top begins to turn golden brown and jam bubbles.
  14. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  15. For best results, chill pan in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight before cutting.

Cloudberries, also called aqpik in the Eskimo language of Inupiaq, are a sublimely sweet, berry that grow in the extreme north. Read more about them in these articles:

Cloudberry Country

Cloudberry Syrup

Cloudberry Cake

Cloudberry Sorbet

Coconut Aqpik Thumbprints

Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cookies – It’s All About the Penzeys Dutch Processed Cocoa

These dark, rich, chocolatey cookies disappeared within 24 hours of their creation. 

For this season in the Alaska bush, we ordered most of our spices and seasonings from Penzeys Spices. Whether we’re using their smoked chipotle chili peppers in a squash soup, the Italian seasoning blend we make from a combination of their herbs and spices, or a cup of hot cocoa, the quality of Penzeys’ products has been notable. In these cookies, its Penzeys’ Dutch-processed cocoa that takes them to a higher level.

By the way, yogurt is easy and economical to make in your own kitchen!

Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 7 tbsp dutch processed cocoa
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Measure flour and baking soda into a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir in cocoa and sugars.
  5. Add yogurt and vanilla. Mix well.
  6. Add flour just until combined.
  7. Drop by tablespoon onto parchment-covered baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. Cool on pan for a few minutes until firm. Finish cooling on wire racks.

Adapted from Myrecipes.com.

Coconut Butter Cookies – One Egg to Go

Chewy, sweet coconut butter cookies.

Some people count down by crossing off days. Up here in the village, the days are often counted in “sleeps.” This week, we’ve been counting in eggs. These cookies contain the second to last egg remaining in our refrigerator before we leave for the summer.

One egg, three days, two sleeps to go…

My mom cooked with fresh ingredients whenever she could, and so I have many memories of cracking coconuts and drinking the milk. Afterwards, we’d use fresh coconut shavings in various recipes.

Out here in bush Alaska, we’ve been using powdered coconut milk (obtained from our favorite Asian grocery store, New Sagaya, in Anchorage). Shredded coconut is also on our annual shopping list.

A few weeks ago, I made chocolate dipped macaroons. The coconut lovers around here gave them high marks. Others (those who couldn’t handle the coconut – you know who you are) diplomatically rated them “a-little-too-coconutty.” In an attempt to mellow out the coconut in this cookie, I mixed it into a tried and true butter cookie recipe. The coconut flavor and chewiness of these cookies goes perfectly with the butter-cookie sweetness. I was tempted to dip them in chocolate but resisted, thinking that might have made them too sweet. These cookies are already perfectly sweet!

Coconut Butter Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups sweetened coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, mix sugar and butter until smooth and pale colored.
  4. Mix egg into sugar mixture.
  5. Mix vanilla into sugar mixture.
  6. Blend in flour mixture to create a dough.
  7. Incorporate coconut into dough mixture.
  8. Drop dough by tablespoons onto parchment-lined baking sheets leaving 2 inches between cookies.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are toasted lightly on the top and golden brown on the bottom.
  10. Cool on wire racks.