Recipe: We publish a new challenge recipe on the 1st of each month. See below for June’s. Sign up for Sally’s Baking Challenge emails so you’re alerted as soon as a new challenge recipe is published.
Bake: Bake the recipe (or alternate recipe) during that month.
Send: Share your recipe photo with us via email: [email protected] before 5pm eastern on the last day of the month. By emailing your recipe photo, you are automatically entered to win the prize for the baking challenge. For a bonus entry, leave a review on the challenge recipe. Feel free to share your recipe photo on social media using #sallysbakingchallenge, but the only way to guarantee you are in the running is sending your entry via email.
June 2021 Sally’s Baking Challenge Recipe:Asiago and Sun-Dried Tomato Quick Bread. This is a savory quick bread filled with flavorful ingredients like cheese, fresh herbs, and sun-dried tomatoes. Cutting cold butter into the dry ingredients helps promise a deliciously flaky exterior. Feel free to swap some add-ins and flavors– see details in the post.
If you aren’t into this recipe, here is the alternate baking challenge recipe:
Strawberry Vanilla Crisp. This recipe utilizes a similar process of cutting cold butter into a flour mixture. It’s a wonderful dessert as we welcome summer.
END DATE & PRIZE
By emailing your recipe photo to us, you are automatically entered in the baking challenge. 1 winner receives a $250 Amazon Gift Card. The challenge is open to the whole world. Challenge ends on June 30th at 5pm eastern. The winner will be selected at random, emailed their prize, and posted in the July Baking Challenge blog post on July 1st 2021. Visit the Sally’s Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions about Sally’s Baking Challenge.
Let’s Review the May Baking Challenge
May 2021 Sally’s Baking Challenge Recipe:Chocolate Sweet Rolls. I warned you that they would be so chocolatey and rich! Some of my favorite challenge recipes are those with yeast because I know yeasted doughs are challenging for many– and therefore satisfying to conquer. My team and I loved seeing all the delicious success this past month. (And with all that chocolatey sweetness, we figured a savory recipe in June would be best. Ha!)
We gathered as many chocolate sweet rolls emailed photo entries as we could and included them below. Look at all this indulgence!!
Challenge winner for May is Vanessa and she has been notified. 🙂
This asiago cheese & sun-dried tomato bread is a savory quick bread made without yeast. You’ll cut cold butter into dry ingredients, which is the same technique utilized in scones, pie crust, and biscuits— this helps promise a deliciously flaky exterior. We usually make it with asiago cheese and fresh basil or parsley, but you can use your favorite cheeses, herbs, and even swap out the sun-dried tomatoes for corn, olives, chopped cooked bacon, and more. See flavor options below.
Savory Quick Bread Details
Flavor: Though the recipe calls for asiago cheese, fresh basil, and sun-dried tomatoes, the flavor can really be whatever you make it. This bread batter is very forgiving and we’ve tried it with plenty of add-ins including bacon, olives, feta cheese, and more. The base flavor is buttery and savory, with a hint of fresh pepper and garlic (feel free to add more!). Creamy nutty asiago cheese fits right in if you want to try that first!
Texture: It may be difficult to wrap your head around a savory quick bread, especially when you’re used to banana bread and cranberry bread. But despite its loaf shape, this quick bread isn’t really like either. The bread’s crumb is more similar to cornbread— though there’s no cornmeal in the batter– and its exterior reminds me of biscuits or scones. It’s soft, moist, and slightly dense.
Ease: This is a quick and easy recipe, but the butter step could be new to some beginner bakers. A pastry cutter or food processor makes this step quicker and more manageable, but you could certainly use a fork if needed. You’ll appreciate that this recipe delivers big as a bread and that there’s no dough rising or large time commitment required. It’s wonderful as a side dish for most dinners including soup, chili, salad, meatballs, and more. (And if you need a suggestion, we enjoyed it with lemon herb salmon and a side salad!)
Recipe Testing This Savory Quick Bread
When I began working on this recipe, I started by using olive oil as the fat in the batter. The resulting texture was too cake-like– honestly, it was just a confusing piece of bread/cake because the texture screamed “sweet!” but the flavor was savory and salty. It didn’t go over well with many taste testers! I tried melted butter, but the results were mediocre at best– still a lot of that contradicting flavor and texture.
*Cut in Cold Butter: Using the same amount of butter but adding it in a different way was the fix the bread (and all of us!) craved. The texture had an instant improvement. Oh, the magic of butter. Make sure it’s extra cold and work the butter into the dry ingredients until coarse crumbs form:
After you cut the butter into the dry ingredients, mix in the cheese and add-in (sun-dried tomatoes, if using), then mix in your wet ingredients. The batter is thick, chunky, and sticky. You cannot bake this batter on a baking sheet because it’s quite loose. For other pan options, see the recipe notes below.
Think of this bread as having 3 add-ins including (1) cheese, (2) herbs, and (3) extras like sun-dried tomatoes. You can swap and substitute your favorites as long as you stick with the base recipe including buttermilk, eggs, flour, baking powder & soda, sugar, salt & pepper, and cold butter. Here are some suggestions– there are endless variations!
Herbs: I recommend 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil and parsley here, but feel free to substitute your favorite herb. If you’re using a fresh herb that isn’t leafy such as rosemary or thyme, reduce the amount down to 1 Tablespoon. If using dried herbs, reduce down to 1 teaspoon.
Shredded Cheese: Asiago cheese is a favorite, but I’ve tested this batter with parmesan cheese, crumbled feta cheese (I reduced down to 1 cup feta, but feel free to use the full amount), sharp cheddar, white cheddar, gouda, and pepper jack. Avoid super soft cheeses. You can leave out the cheese if you’d like, but you’ll lose some flavor. If skipping the cheese, add extras like another few Tablespoons of chopped sun-dried tomatoes or any of the other options described in Extras next.
Extras: I stick with 1/3 cup of chopped sun-dried tomatoes because this amount adds enough flavor without overpowering the bread. If you want to use other extras, you could definitely increase that amount to about 3/4 – 1 cup and use chopped or sliced olives, corn (cooked or canned, and if using frozen, thaw first), finely chopped pepperoni, or chopped cooked bacon. 1 finely diced jalapeño is another great option and would pair wonderfully with cheddar cheese and 1 Tablespoon of fresh oregano as the herb. I haven’t tested this with wetter additions like roasted red peppers, but if you do, use about 1/2 cup chopped and pat it dry with a towel before adding to the batter.
Let me know if there are any other combinations you try!
This asiago cheese & sun-dried tomato bread is a savory quick bread made without yeast. We usually make it as written, but you can use your favorite cheeses, herbs, and even swap out the sun-dried tomatoes for corn, olives, chopped cooked bacon, and more. See flavor options described above.
5 Tablespoons (72g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 and 1/2 cups (190g) shredded asiago cheese*
1/3 cup (50g) chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes*
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with butter or nonstick spray.
Whisk the buttermilk and eggs together until combined.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, garlic powder, sugar, salt, pepper, and basil/parsley together in a large bowl or pulse together in a large food processor. Add the cubed butter and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or by pulsing several times in the processor. Cut/pulse until coarse crumbs form. If you used a food processor, pour the mixture into a large bowl.
Stir in the cheese and sun-dried tomatoes until combined, then pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir to combine. Batter is thick, chunky, and sticky.
Pour/spread batter into prepared pan. Feel free to lightly sprinkle with additional fresh pepper and/or cheese. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Start checking at about 47 minutes. Halfway through bake time, if you notice the top is quickly browning, tent a piece of aluminum foil over the loaf pan to help the bread bake more evenly.
Cool bread in the pan set on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving or cool completely in the pan.
Cover leftovers tightly and store bread at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Freezing Instructions: Baked and cooled bread freezes well up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Garlic: Feel free to skip the garlic powder and replace with 3 cloves of minced garlic. Add it when you add the garlic powder.
Do not leave out the sugar. You really need it to balance out the robust salty and savory flavors– the flavor is quite flat without it.
Cheese & Herbs: For other flavor options such as a replacement for the asiago cheese or if you want to use dried herbs or other fresh herbs, see details above.
Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Use sun-dried tomatoes that are packed in oil. No need to pat dry, but try to avoid getting a lot of excess oil in the batter. We found dry sun-dried tomatoes dried out the texture of the bread.
Muffins or Other Size Pans: Feel free to bake this batter in a greased or lined muffin pan to yield about 12 muffins. Prepare batter as directed, then use the same baking instructions as banana muffins. (Steps 1 and 3.) You can also bake this batter in a greased 9-inch square baking pan or a seasoned 9-inch or 10-inch cast iron skillet. Bake time at 350°F (177°C) is at least 25 minutes, but use a toothpick to test for doneness.
Make the savory quick bread. Feel free to make it as directed or use different herbs/cheese/add-ins. Have fun with the flavors! You can also bake it as muffins or in another pan listed in the recipe notes. If you aren’t into this recipe, here is the alternate baking challenge recipe:
Strawberry Vanilla Crisp. This recipe utilizes a similar process of cutting cold butter into a flour mixture. It’s a wonderful dessert as we welcome summer.
After you make the chocolate rolls or the alternate recipe, email us your recipe photo. For a bonus entry, leave a review on the recipe below.
By emailing your recipe photo to us, you are automatically entered in the baking challenge. 1 winner receives a $250 Amazon Gift Card. The challenge is open to the whole world. Challenge ends on June 30th at 5pm eastern. The winner will be selected at random, emailed their prize, and posted in the July Baking Challenge blog post on July 1st 2021.
In cookie recipes, it’s difficult to find the balance of enough liquid flavor without ruining the cookie’s texture and spreadability. However, these soft coconut lime cookies nail it! Using 1/4 cup of lime juice, a little coconut extract, and plenty of sweetened shredded coconut, the cookies are flavorful with just enough spread. Roll the dough balls in granulated sugar before baking, then finish the cookies with tangy lime glaze.
Coconut Lime Cookies Details
Flavor: These coconut lime cookies have a refreshing summery flavor that hits the spot if you crave a unique cookie when the weather warms up. Don’t skip the glaze because it adds flavor– it also sets after a couple hours so the cookies are convenient to stack, store, and/or transport.
Texture: These are soft cookies with a slightly cakey crumb. They are not nearly as cake-like as blueberry muffin cookies though.
Helpful Tools: This is a pretty simple cookie recipe that requires an electric mixer. If you have a food processor, pulse the coconut a few times to break the shreds down before mixing into the cookie dough. I recommend this in our coconut macaroons and coconut cake recipes, too. Smaller pieces of coconut keep the cookie dough balls tight and compact and leave a more desirable texture. If you don’t have a food processor, just give the coconut a quick chop with a sharp knife. You can use bottled lime juice or squeeze fresh limes at home using a citrus juicer. Here is a wonderful juicer if you don’t have one and need a recommendation. And finally, make sure you have a zester.
Time: Chilling the cookie dough for at least 1.5 hours in the refrigerator is a non-negotiable. These coconut lime cookies contain excess liquid (lime juice), so the dough is very soft and sticky. The colder and firmer the cookie dough, the less they’ll over-spread. As a bonus, giving the dough time in the refrigerator before baking allows the flavors to develop and settle.
Key Flavor Ingredients in Coconut Lime Cookies
Lime Juice & Zest: You can use regular limes or key limes. I haven’t tested these coconut lime cookies without citrus. For a coconut lemon cookie, feel free to swap the lime juice and zest with lemon juice/zest. There’s a bit more citrus flavor in today’s cookies than the lemon ginger cookies. (This recipe also yields more.)
Sweetened Shredded Coconut: I strongly recommend using sweetened shredded coconut because it’s moister than unsweetened and that makes a big difference in the cookie’s flavor, moisture, and texture. Knowing the texture and flavor will change, you can use unsweetened coconut flakes if that’s all you have.
Coconut Extract: Like in this coconut cupcakes recipe, I found the coconut flavor lacking in these cookies without a little coconut extract. The cookies are still great without it, but if you can find coconut extract, use it. It’s pretty common in most major grocery stores.
Some step-by-step photos to help guide you through the recipe:
Recipe Testing: What Works and What Doesn’t
After I mastered the base recipe with enough lime juice and coconut flavor, I wanted to experiment with different finishing touches. These include rolling the cookie dough balls in confectioners’ sugar, leaving them plain, and rolling in granulated sugar. When I first envisioned the cookies, I wanted a crinkle cookie similar to chocolate crinkles. However, as you’ll read below, I found their flavor lacking without the glaze.
Each of the following cookies were made with the same cookie dough.
Top Left – Butter Too Warm: Before I could even start taste testing with different finishing touches, I sabotaged my efforts by accidentally starting with too soft/too warm butter. Remember that room temperature butter is still quite solid and cool to the touch.
Top Right – Rolled in Confectioners’ Sugar: These coconut lime crinkles were certainly delicious, but taste testers couldn’t detect a strong lime flavor.
Bottom Left – Plain: I baked the cookie dough balls completely plain without rolling in granulated sugar. I also skipped the lime glaze. The cookies were tasty, but they definitely benefit from both of the following finishes.
Bottom Right – Rolled in Granulated Sugar + Added Lime Glaze: These were the clear winner. Taste testers could not stop snacking on them (even when the cookies were 3 days old!). Thanks to the lime glaze, the lime flavor was strong. Rolling in granulated sugar was the perfect amount of sweetness AND it gave the edges a little bit of texture.
These coconut lime cookies have a refreshing summery flavor that hits the spot when the weather warms up. Don’t skip the glaze because it adds flavor– it also sets after a couple hours so the cookies are convenient to stack, store, and/or transport. Set aside enough time to chill the cookie dough in step 4.
1/4 cup (60ml) fresh or bottled lime juice (regular or key lime), at room temperature*
2 teaspoonslime zest (regular or key lime)*
1 teaspooncoconut extract
1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar (or more, as needed)
2 Tablespoons (23ml) fresh lime juice
Optional but recommended: Pulse the coconut shreds in a food processor or chop them up with a sharp knife so they are finer. Smaller pieces make a more desirable texture in the baked cookies. Set aside for step 3.
Whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until creamed, about 1 minute. Add the egg, lime juice, lime zest, and coconut extract and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Mixture will appear curdled and that’s ok. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl. Turn the mixer down to medium speed and beat in the coconut. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined. Dough is thick, creamy, and sticky.
Cover and chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 1.5 hours (and up to 4 days). If chilling for longer than a few hours, allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling and baking because the dough will be quite firm.
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
Pour remaining sugar into a large bowl. Roll cookie dough into balls, about 1 Tablespoon of dough per cookie. Roll each in granulated sugar. Arrange 3 inches apart on the baking sheets.
Bake for 12-13 minutes or until very lightly browned on the sides.
Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the glaze: Whisk the glaze ingredients together. If desired, add more confectioners’ sugar to thicken or more juice to thin out. The thicker the glaze, the whiter (and less translucent) it will be. Drizzle on cooled cookies and feel free to garnish each with more shredded coconut and/or lime zest. Icing will set after about 1 hour, so these are convenient to store and transport.
Cookies without glaze stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Cookies with glaze stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough. Baked cookies, with or without glaze, freeze well for up to 3 months.
Sweetened Shredded Coconut: I strongly recommend using sweetened shredded coconut because it’s moister than unsweetened and that makes a big difference in the cookie’s flavor, moisture, and texture. Knowing the texture and flavor will change, you can use unsweetened coconut flakes if that’s all you have. Give them a rough chop or pulse in the food processor as instructed in step 1.
Cornstarch: If you don’t have cornstarch, you can leave it out. It helps maintain a thicker, softer cookie but test batches without it were still intact and delicious.
Limes: You can use regular limes or key limes. Since they’re so tiny, you need at least 7-8 key limes for this amount of juice (in the dough and glaze) and zest. If using regular limes, you need about 3. Feel free to use lemon juice/zest instead of lime. I haven’t tested this recipe without citrus. If you want a plain coconut cookie, try these coconut macadamia nut cookies, skip the nuts, and add 1 teaspoon coconut extract when you beat in the vanilla extract.