Random Recipe: Salted Caramel Coconut Cookies

I was a Girl Scout who loved selling Girl Scout Cookies. I think that was the reason I stayed involved so long. It was the competition, trying to surpass my goal from the year before, and the adrenaline of it all. At the time I hated Samoas, mostly because I did not like coconut. I have always had food texture issues, and something about the texture of coconut grossed me out. Until about five years ago. Somehow as I changed the types of foods I ate to become healthier I found coconut in its purest form (not mixed with chocolate and caramel). I fell in love with coconut and eventually added chocolate and coconut and now love Samoas.

These quasi cookies / slight macaroons would not have been something I would have eaten as a child. I would have been missing out. What is not to love about coconut and salted caramel? These are pretty easy to make and hit the spot, plus the added flake salt makes them even better. Definitely worth trying. Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Coconut Cookies

Makes about 20 cookies

1 1/5 sticks unsalted softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large beaten egg
6 oz sweetened flaked coconut
7 oz soft caramel candies (soft!)
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon flaky sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer. Then beat in the vanilla and salt. Gradually mix in the flour and beat until combined.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls with your hands.

Beat eggs in a small bowl. Put the coconut in another small bowl. Dip each ball first in the egg, then roll in the coconut.

Place balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press an indentation into each ball with your finger. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and re-press the indentations. Place the cookies back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes or until the cookies and coconut are golden.

Remove and let cool on a wire rack.

Unwrap the caramels and place in saucepan with heavy cream over low heat. Stir until the caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth. Spoon the caramel sauce into the cookie indentations. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Random recipe: Toasted Coconut Vanilla Limeade Slushie

In Portland, summer is often equated by sun. Yes, when the flip-flops come out and day after day is blue skies and no rain. Usually in Portland it is a given that you begin to have that AFTER the Fourth of July, and ends sometimes around Labor Day or after. Often I think why do I live here? I love sun. But. I also love Portland. This summer, however, it has been gorgeous out, between 80-90 degrees and sun, sun, sun.

When it is sunny out, everyone wants a refreshing drink. Right? We have been exploring new, refreshing recipes for the summer, especially ones that hit the spot. This one is tangy and sweet all in one glass.

Toasted Coconut Vanilla Limeade Slushie [Adapted from Kitchy Kitchen]

1 1/4 cup lime juice, fresh squeezed
1 cup sweet coconut flakes, packed
2 1/2 cups hot water and 1 1/2 cups cool water
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Toast the coconut on a baking sheet for about 6 minutes, mixing them up after 3 minutes. While the coconut is toasting, juice the limes in a blender. Put all of the used lime halves into a separate bowl along with the coconut and vanilla bean and then add the hot water.  Let it soak together for about 10 minutes. Strain into the blender and add the cold water and agave nectar. Blend! Pour into a pitcher and chill in the fridge until ready to serve. When ready, add equal parts of the limeade and ice into the blender to make your slushie!

Enjoy drinking in the sun with your feet up this weekend!

Random recipe: Vegan Dark Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

We tried it. Being vegan. We could not do it. While I could probably give up meat, it was impossible to give up cheese and eggs. I love both way too much, and the fake vegan version of cheese just does not compare. I am my father’s daughter. My dad was all about cheese (even if he probably at the time was not “cultured” in his cheese knowledge — no pun intended). With that all in mind, I love finding recipes, especially desserts that have the core of the ingredients inclusive of coconut milk and creme because it is so much better for you. This recipe is vegan and almost gluten-free, (if you can find a substitute for the flour). Maybe I will try to recreate into a gluten-free version. These cupcakes were good, and super moist (ugh I hate that word, but it is true). The frosting was not that sweet which is just the way I like it.

Vegan Dark Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes [Original recipe from Love & Olive Oil]

Yield: 1 dozen
Total Time: 1 hour

Cupcakes:
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted (we used dark chocolate cocoa powder)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Frosting:
12 ounces coconut cream, chilled overnight*
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, and coconut oil until incorporated. It you are making it in the summer you might need to slightly warm the coconut oil (depending on where you live). Since it is warm here, no need to do so as my coconut oil is not solid right now. Stir in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Pour the coconut milk mixture in the middle of the dry ingredients. Stir until dry ingredients are just incorporated (do not overmix).
  4. Spoon into liners, filling each with a scant 1/4 cup of batter (cups should be no more than 2/3 full). Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  5. For whipped coconut cream, spoon solid coconut out of can, discarding any remaining liquid in the bottom (or reserve for another use). Place in a chilled mixing bowl (keeping it cold is key here!) and beat on high-speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth and holds soft peaks. It won’t firm up quite like whipped cream. Return to refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes to firm up slightly.
  6. Frost cupcakes with a thin layer of coconut cream. It’s pretty lose, so it won’t hold huge swirls like buttercream. Dollop a bit of frosting on top of the cupcake, then dip top in a bowl of shredded coconut. The coconut will help hold the frosting in place.
  7. Cupcakes are best enjoyed the day they are made, but can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days.

Note: We did not read early enough that the coconut cream needs to be chilled overnight. So we made the cupcakes at night and finished the frosting the next morning. Breakfast anyone?

*You can also use full fat coconut milk but will need twice as much. Refrigerate at least 24 hours until thoroughly chilled. When you open the can, spoon off the solid layer of coconut at the top; this is what you will use to make the frosting. Any liquid at the bottom of the can can be discarded or reserved for another use. Note that if you use full-fat coconut milk instead of coconut cream, you may need 2 cans to get enough cream for the frosting.

Random recipe: Three Ingredient Fudge Bites

I love finding a dessert recipe that is free of white sugar and is mostly good for you. Oh, and of course that tastes good. We recently found a recipe that has three ingredients. Chocolate chips, coconut milk and coconut oil. That is it. Hard to believe, but they are oh so good and of course rich too. With just the two of us, we split the recipe in half (below is the full recipe). Even then it took us a few days to finish them. We topped a few with shredded coconut, a few others with coarse salt, and left some plain. My favorite was the coarse salt. It added just the needed amount of salt to cut the richness.

The Easiest 3-Ingredient Fudge Bites

YIELD: 24 fudge bites
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (dairy free, if needed)
  • 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Place the chocolate chips in a large bowl.
  2. Combine the coconut milk and coconut oil in a small pan, and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally to ensure the coconut oil melts fully, and the milk warms evenly.
  3. Pour the hot coconut milk/oil mixture over the chips, and let sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until totally smooth.
  4. Line a mini muffin pan with liners, and grease liberally. Fill each liner to the top (a heaping tablespoon of the chocolate).
  5. Sprinkle sea salt on top (or any of the other toppings listed below). If using caramel, drizzle 1/2 teaspoon on each fudge bite, and use a toothpick to swirl.
  6. Freeze (1 hour) or refrigerate (2-3 hours) until set.

You can store your finished fudge bites in the fridge or freezer. As you may guess, storing them in the fridge makes them a little softer, and the freezer makes them slightly firmer. They never freeze. They will melt if left out on the countertop.

The chocolate chips are key to the quality of the fudge, so use Ghirardelli or Guittard (if not vegan), or Enjoy Life (if vegan).

Optional Toppings

Let me know what you think!

Random recipe: Coconut Chicken Curry (Slow Cooker)

Some recipes work, others do not. Some become our favorites, and we make them over and over again. This recipe was in between. It was not my favorite, but since we all have different tastes I wanted to share. It was good, but a bit too strong in flavor for me. One day last week Chris was working from home and when I got home from work and opened the front door, there was the strongest of smells and flavors that shot right back to me. Mmm. It was soo good. The problem? The house smelled like that for days. This recipe was strong and pungent. What would I do differently if we made it again? I wanted more vegetables. The interesting part is that the recipe is full of vegetables all made into the recipe. I wanted to eat them with the sauce, chicken, and rice. Maybe I would add some broccoli or asparagus?

Slow Cooker: Coconut Chicken Curry

  • 2 pounds, 3-⅓ ounces, weight Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, Cut Into Large Cubes
  • 1 whole Onion, Peeled And Halved
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Peeled
  • 1 whole Small Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Quartered
  • 1 can (156ml Can) Tomato Paste
  • 1 can (about 400ml Can) Coconut Milk
  • 1-½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Curry Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Garam Masala (Indian Spice Mix)
  • 2 whole Dry Red Chili Peppers (optional For Extra Heat)
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 1-½ Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1 bunch Coriander (optional, For Decoration)

Instructions:

1. Place chicken cubes inside the slow cooker.

2. Place the rest of the ingredients (except chili peppers, cornstarch, water and coriander) in a food processor bowl and process together until the mix is smooth(ish). Pour sauce mix on top of the chicken, mix well, add hot peppers if using any, then close the lid. Cook on low for 6 hours.

3. An hour before serving, mix together water and cornstarch until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add to the chicken curry and mix well. Place the lid back on for the rest of the cooking time.

4. Serve on top of steaming white rice, like jasmine or basmati rice. Decorate with chopped coriander.

Try it. I am curious what you think. Maybe it was too fragrant and perfumed for me. Let me know what you think.