Chocaroon Pie

This is a recipe my mom had saved from a Baker’s chocolate box.  It’s a classic coconut-chocolate combination, which you really can’t go wrong with.  Combined with some condensed milk, this is a rich, decadent treat that really is as easy as pie.  A delicious chocolate base topped with a sweet toasted coconut macaroon flavored topping, perfect for an easy, yet impressive dessert.

Chocaroon PieChocaroon Pie

Serves 8

Adapted from Baker’s recipes

  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9″ pie pan with cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over low heat.  Remove from heat when melted and whisk in eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla.  Pour into prepared pie dish.  Mix together condensed milk and coconut and spoon over the chocolate mixture leaving a 1/2″ border.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through.  Allow to cool then serve and enjoy!

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Morning Glory Muffins (Paleo)

I saw this recipe ages ago, and while I was intrigued, I was also totally skeptical…a delicious baked good without butter or oil or flour???  So when I was doing some cooking for a paleo-eating friend of mine, it was the perfect excuse to try out these muffins, and holy delicious, Batman!  These are awesome!  They’re moist and tender and slightly sweet and nutty and kind of taste like carrot cake with little bursts of tart cranberry!  I think I’m going to have to make another batch since I gave all the first batch away.  So if you’re skeptical about the whole paleo thing, or you’re following a paleo and/or gluten-free diet, or just looking for something delicious and little different, I highly recommend trying these muffins!!

These muffins use sweet potato.  Since I was lazy, I microwaved mine (stab with a fork all over, wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave for about 5 minutes, or until tender.  If you’ve got time to spend anyway, roasting them in the oven would work too (make extra and stuff them with deliciousness for your dinner!).  I’ve never used canned sweet potato but that might work as well, or substitute pumpkin if you’re feeling pumpkin-y.

Morning Glory Muffins (Paleo)Morning Glory Muffins (Paleo)

Makes about 14 (I filled a dozen muffins all the way to the top and put the remaining batter in a mini-loaf pan)

Adapted from Carrots ‘n’ Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal/flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato (about 2 medium sized)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened because that’s what I have on hand)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot (one large carrot)
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini (1/2 large zucchini), squeeze out excess liquid
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease very well with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk together.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin, filling all the way to the top since they don’t rise much.  Bake for 25-28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (a few crumbs clinging on is fine).  Serve warm or room temperature, but store in an airtight container in the fridge (with the high moisture content, these probably won’t last very long at room temperature).  Enjoy!

Cowboy Cookies

In my dad’s opinion, there is nothing better than a chocolate chip cookie.  Unfortunately for him, I’ve been making a different Christmas cookie each week this month and plain chocolate chip cookies haven’t made the cut.  On the upside, apparently my dad’s qualifications for a chocolate chip cookie is just a cookie that contains chocolate chips, so this recipe ended up being right up his alley.

So whether you like chocolate chip cookies, or are looking for a recipe to feed an army, these cookies are delicious and a little something special.  I particularly liked the cinnamon in these and the oats bring a delicious chewiness without turning these into oatmeal cookies.  These are super yummy and are great for a party, or you can scoop all the cookie dough and freeze them until you’re ready to bake them.

Cowboy CookiesCowboy Cookie half

Makes about 6 dozen

Adapted from Laura Bush

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 scant cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut, toasted
  • 2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

Cowboy Cookies

In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth, gradually add sugar, beat for about 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla beating well after each addition.  Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips and oats.  Fold in the toasted coconut and pecans.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets spacing them about one inch apart.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.  Move cookies on the parchment paper onto wire racks to cool.

Lemon Creme with Sweet Thyme & Oat Granola

So last night was the start of the new School of Christian Living classes.  This term one of the classes is focused on animal rights, so I’m rising to the challenge to make 6 weeks of vegan meals.  I’m going to try to stick to cooking with regular ingredients and limit the use of any vegan replacement products.  I’m hoping these recipes will just be a tasty, easy addition that you can incorporate in your meal planning regardless of your carnivore, omnivore, herbivore status.

Let’s start with dessert first.  This was very popular and I had several people double check that I’d be posting it on here.  This is a great combination of smooth creme with crunchy topping.  The lemon is tart and bright, cleansing the palate.  It’s refreshing and light.  I was a little skeptical, but the combination of lemon and thyme is delicious and works great as a sophisticated dessert.  I kept the lemon creme on the tart side, but the topping is very sweet (I’ll decrease the sugar by a 1/4 cup as reflected below) so the combination works well.  If you like it sweeter feel free to add more agave (or honey if you’re not keeping vegan).  This is also dairy-free, so great for all sorts of dietary restrictions!

I wasn’t aware there was such a thing as extra-firm silken tofu, but I happened to find it at my local Asian market (it was not in the chilled section though, so look on the shelves).

Lemon Creme with Sweet Thyme and Oat Granola

Serves 10-15

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Lemon Creme:

  • 2 (12.3oz) pkgs extra-firm silken tofu
  • 4 Tbsp finely ground cornmeal
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup agave
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced

Wrap tofu in paper towels and press with a skillet (or something moderately heavy) for about 10 minutes.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor (or whisk really vigorously–arm workout for the day!), blend until smooth, about 1 minute.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.  Can be made ahead of time.  If separation occurs just stir.

Sweet Thyme and Oat Granola:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9×13″ pan with cooking spray.

Combine oats, sugar, salt, coconut, and thyme.  Stir together melted coconut oil and vanilla extract.  Mix together wet and dry ingredients until everything’s well mixed.  Place in oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Curry Chicken Salad

I made this recently for my dad’s retreat.  It’s a great make ahead meal and combines some great surprising flavors.  This is another recipe from a woman who used to go to my church.  Further proof  that church ladies know good food, see here and here for the other proof.

Curry Chicken Salad

Serves 6-8

  • 6 chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups grapes, sliced in half
  • 1 lb cashews, toasted
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 6 spring onions, chopped
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2-3 Tbsp curry powder, or to taste
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place on baking sheet.  Roast for 35-45 minutes, until cooked through.  Allow to cool and chop in to bite size pieces.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  Chill for several hours.  Serve over salad or on bread or crackers.  (If not serving on the same day, add grapes and cashews shortly before serving so they don’t water down/get soggy.)

Happy Birthday, Dad!! Happy Birthday, Grampy!!

I hope you both have a magnificent start to your new year!

And of course, may there be lots of cake!

German Chocolate Cake

Makes a three layer cake

Baker’s German Chocolate recipe

For the Coconut-Pecan Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cans evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 10 oz sweetened flaked coconut (most of 1 pkg)
  • 2 cups chopped pecans

Mix milk, sugar, margarine, egg yolks, and vanilla in a large saucepan. Cook and stir on medium heat for about 12-15 minutes or until thickened and golden brown. Remove from heat.

Stir in coconut and pecans. Allow mixture to come to room temperature before spreading on cake.

German Chocolate Cake:

  • 1 pkg (4oz) Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 egg whites

Line bottoms of 3 (9″) round cake pans with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350°F.

In your measuring cup, combine water and chocolate, microwave in 30 second rounds until chocolate is completely melted, stirring after each time.

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the chocolate mixture and the vanilla. Add flour mixture in batches alternating with the buttermilk, beating until just combined.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites (with clean beaters) until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into the batter. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans and bake for 28-30 minutes, until cake springs back when lightly touched in the center. Run a spatula or knife around the edge of the cakes. Allow cakes to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pans. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.

Enjoy!

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Granola

This is my grandma’s recipe.  Mom used to make it when we were little, but I hated it.  These days I’m making up for all the times I didn’t eat this granola as a child.  Can’t get enough!  So you might as well make a double recipe when you try it.  I’ve made a few tweaks, a little less honey, using olive oil instead of canola, you can use whatever kind of nuts you like (or pepitas, or sunflower seeds), sometimes I add chia seeds.  I highly recommend this granola on yogurt with fruit.  It’s divine.  In fact it’s breakfast every single day.

Granola

Makes about 4 cups

4 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not the quick cook kind)
1/2-1 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, slivered almonds…)
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup roasted sesame seeds
1 cup wheat germ
1 t salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup honey

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a 9″x13″ pan with high sides, combine all the dry ingredients and mix
together.  Pour oil into a 1 cup measuring cup and then pour in honey on top
of oil. (This will make it easier to pour in the honey.) Pour honey and oil
mixture evenly on the dry ingredients and then stir until all the dry
ingredients are covered.

Place pan uncovered in the oven and bake for 40-55 minutes, stirring periodically. Remove when the granola is golden brown.  Let cool and then place in a large Ziploc bag or Tupperware.  (At this point you can add dried fruit if you’re into that sort of thing.)

Toasted Coconut Cupcakes (Vegan)

This was also the first time I’ve created a vegan baked good.  I was very skeptical.  I mean butter and eggs are the best friends of a baker!

Fortunately, this recipe was surprisingly amazing.  A friend said you wouldn’t even know they were vegan.  My dad, dessert connoisseur that he is, said that these Toasted Coconut cupcakes were his favorite of the Fresh Strawberry and the Double Chocolate Raspberry cupcakes.  If you like coconut, you’ll definitely like these!

I found the frosting to be too sweet at first, but if you let it sit for a day, it mellows out.  I didn’t use very much of the frosting, so I’ve halved the original frosting recipe.

Toasted Coconut Cupcakes (Vegan)

Makes 21 regular cupcakes, 72 mini cupcakes

Adapted from Chef Chloe (who won cupcake wars)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp white or apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, oil, vanilla, and vinegar.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until just combined.

Fill the cupcake liners most of the way full.  Bake for 8-10 minutes for mini cupcakes, or 15-18 minutes for regular cupcakes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with a few crumbs clinging to it.  Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.

Coconut Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil (should be solid at room temperature)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 -3 Tbsp coconut milk
  • 1-2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

While the oven preheats for the cupcakes, place the shredded coconut on a baking sheet and toast for a few minutes, stirring frequently.

Using an electric mixer, beat the coconut oil until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk.  Frost the cupcakes and then sprinkle the toasted coconut on top.

German Chocolate Cupcakes

In honor of my uncle’s 40th birthday on Sunday, his wife asked me to bake cupcakes for them to take to church as a surprise celebration for him.  Ken isn’t much a of a sweets eater, but when it comes to that side of the family nothing says birthday like German Chocolate Cake.  My grandpa and my dad both request German Chocolate Cake on their birthday (which happens to be the same day), so I figured this traditional cake would be a crowd pleaser for such a momentous occasion.  And since cheesecake is Ken’s favorite dessert, I made Double Chocolate Cheesecake for the smaller birthday celebration Sunday evening.

I tried out a new recipe, instead of using the recipe on the inside of the Baker’s German chocolate packaging.  This cake tasted more like dark chocolate and my dad claims the frosting tasted “lighter” than usual, but I thought it tasted pretty spot on.  I’d definitely make these cupcakes again.

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes about 24

Adapted from Ina Garten in House Beautiful

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup natural cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp coffee, cooled

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line cupcake pans with liners.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream and coffee.  Alternate mixing in the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture into the creamed butter, beginning with buttermilk and ending with flour.  Be careful not to overmix, but make sure you get everything mixed in from the bottom.

Divide the batter into the cupcake tins.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

German Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 (12oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 2 cups pecans, chopped

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the milk, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt with a wooden spoon.  Allow mixture to get just to boiling point, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes until thickened.  Mixture should coat the back of the spoon.

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl.  Stir in the coconut and pecans.  Allow to cool at least 1 hour before frosting.  Place in the fridge if needed to speed the cooling process.

 

Chocolate Dipped Toasted Coconut Macaroons

I’ve been wanting to make coconut macaroons for ages but for some reason I never got around to it.  I think in part because I was skeptical about the seeming simplicity of the recipe.  Four ingredients!  In a cookie?!  Too easy to be super tasty.

However, since it’s Passover, I decided to embrace the simplicity.  And one of my trusty bloggers, Joy the Baker, had a recipe so I knew it’d be good.

These were a big hit at the SCL.  Definitely worth sharing!  Although so tasty it’s easy to eat these all yourself.

Chocolate Dipped Toasted Coconut Macaroons

Made 39 cookies:  About 74 calories per cookie

Adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 12 oz sweetened shredded coconut
  • 6 oz (1/2 a package) chocolate chips (I used a combination of milk, semi and bittersweet)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place coconut on a baking sheet, spread out evenly and place in oven.  Stir the coconut every 5 minutes until a lovely toasted brown, about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Using an electric mixer, whip egg whites and salt until white and beginning to stiffen.  Add the sugar in 3 parts, continuing to whip until the whites are very stiff.  Fold in the cooled toasted coconut.

Scoop batter onto parchment lined cookie sheets (I used a cookie scoop).  Place in the center of the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

While the macaroons are cooling, melt the chocolate.  Place the chocolate in a microwave safe dish and microwave on 1/2 power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between.  It takes about 3 rounds, but don’t forget to use 1/2 power or you might burn the chocolate.  Alternatively you can use a double-boiler and melt the chocolate that way.

Once the chocolate is melted and the cookies are cooled, dip them and allow them to dry on parchment paper.  I just spooned a little melted chocolate on to the top of each cookie (less messy).  Allow to cool and harden, a few minutes in the refrigerator will help speed this along and won’t alter the taste.