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Archive for the ‘Delectable Desserts’ Category

I made up this cookie recipe last night when I was craving something sweet and healthy. I’ve been trying to incorporate flax into more of my recipes since you can mix it into anything to increase the nutritional value and let me just say these are some of the best cookies that I have EVER made! The oats, flax, raisins, and walnuts add a HUGE nutritional punch to your diet and the coconut and chocolate give the cookie a sweet flavor that will leave you craving more and more and more. I think I ate 4 cookies within 4 minutes! I brought these to work today and they were a HUGE hit. A must-make for a BBQ, potluck, or just because!

Makes: ~ 48 cookies

Oven temp: 325 degrees

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
  • 2.5 cups oats
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup ground golden flax (I use Flax USA brand from Costco)
  • 1.5 sticks butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Cream together brown sugar, white sugar, and butter. Add in eggs and vanilla.
  3. In a another bowl, gently mix together flour, oats, flax, and baking soda. Add in slowly to sugar/butter/egg/vanilla mixture.
  4. One at a time, add in coconut, chocolate chips, raisins, and walnuts.
  5. Scoop cookie batter using a tablespoon onto cookie sheets.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes or until cookies start to brown around the edges. Let cool for about a minute on the cookie sheet and then immediately move cookies to a cooling rack- this is the secret to making them chewy!
  7. Serve with milk or crumble cookies over ice cream. Yum!!!
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The added cinnamon to the classic peanut butter chocolate chip cookie makes it perfect for winter and the holidays. I got this recipe through the daily emails from MyRecipes.com and couldn’t wait to make them. They were delicious and a HUGE hit at work. The huge chocolate chunks and peanuts make them a crowd pleaser and everyone loved the taste that the cinnamon added. I can’t wait to make these again soon!

Here is the recipe, straight from MyRecipes.com:

Yield: Makes 28 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2  cup  butter, softened
  • 1/2  cup  shortening
  • 1  cup  chunky peanut butter
  • 1  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1  cup  firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2  large eggs
  • 2 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1  cup  unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1  (11.5-ounce) bag chocolate chunks

Preparation:

  1. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add chunky peanut butter and sugars, beating well. Add eggs, beating until blended.
  2. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients. Add to butter mixture, beating well.
  3. Stir in peanuts and chocolate chunks.
  4. Shape dough into 2-inch balls (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie). Flatten slightly, and place on ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake at 375° for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on pan 1 to 2 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Double Chocolate Chunk-Peanut Cookies: Reduce flour to 2 cups; add 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted. Proceed as directed.

 

Recipe Source: MyRecipes.com

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My friend Tanya and I made this dessert for our Cultural Nutrition class project and it was absolutely delicious. The main flavor is coconut and it gives the rice pudding a creamy and luscious flavor that is unlike anything I have ever had before! We topped it with fresh fruit, consisting of mango, kiwi, strawberries, and pineapple. In my opinion, the more fruit the better!

Here is the recipe for this delicious dessert!

Serves 2-4

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 33 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Thai Sweet Rice (also called “sticky rice”, available at Asian food stores)
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1-2 ripe mangos, cut into bite-size pieces (look for mangos that are fragrant and easily bruised), or 1 pkg frozen mango
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. brown sugar (for a natural sweetener substitute maple syrup)
  • 1 can good-quality coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp. + pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp. coconut flavoring
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder dissolved in 2 Tbsp. water

Preparation:

  1. Soak the sweet rice in 1 cup water for 20 minutes, or up to 1 hour.
  2. The sticky rice can be steamed or made in a pot. To make it in a pot, do not drain. Add 3/4 cup (more) water to the rice, plus 1/4 can coconut milk, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. coconut flavoring, and 1 Tbsp. brown sugar. Stir this into the rice, lifting any rice grains that have stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Bring to a gentle boil, then partially cover with a lid (leaving some room for steam to escape). Turn the heat down to medium-low (#2.5 to 3 on the dial).
  4. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed by the rice. Remove the pot from the heat, place the lid on tight, and leave to “steam” cook for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Make sauce and serve the dessert right away, or store the rice (covered) in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
  6. To make the sauce, warm the rest of the can of coconut milk together with 1/4 cup sugar, a pinch of salt, 1 tsp. coconut flavoring (optional) and 1 tsp. vanilla flavoring over medium heat (5 minutes).
  7. Add cornstarch (dissolved in the water) to the sauce and stir to thicken it slightly. As it thickens, turn down heat to low. When thickened, remove from heat. Tip: Try not to boil the sauce, or you will lose that wonderful coconut flavor.
  8. Before serving, taste-test the sauce for sweetness, adding more sugar if desired. If too sweet for your taste, add a little more coconut milk.
  9. There are 2 ways to serve this dessert:
  • Place scoops of the sticky rice in bowls (Note that sticky rice can be served cold, warm, or at room temperature, as desired). Ladle a generous amount of warm coconut sauce over the rice (creating an “island” of sticky rice). Add slices/pieces of ripe fresh mango. (If using frozen mango, be sure to give it enough time to thaw before serving.)
  • For “saucier” rice: Add rice (portion out 1 scoop per person) directly to the sauce pot and stir over low heat, gently breaking apart the larger lumps, but leaving smaller lumps/chunks). Now add the mango pieces and gently stir until everything is warmed through. Portion out into serving bowls, making sure everyone has equal amounts of rice, mango, and sauce. Enjoy!

Zoe’s Notes: This recipe originally just used mango as the fruit part of it. For our class project, we were challenged to make healthy modifications to the recipe, so we added the additional chopped strawberries (1 pint), 2 sliced kiwis, and 1 large can of pineapple chunks. If there are other fruits that you like, I would definitely recommend adding them and please let me know how they taste in the recipe!

Source: About.com

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Just in time for Halloween, here is a super fun recipe for pumpkin cupcakes! I got this recipe via the daily emails that Real Simple sends out and it seemed so quick and easy that I wanted to make them immediately. With only 6 ingredients, you can’t get a much simpler and yummy cupcake recipe!

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 18.5-ounce box yellow cake mix (plus the ingredients called for in the package directions)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 8-ounce bars cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 24 pieces candy corn

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners. Prepare the cake mix as directed but with the following change: Add the pumpkin pie spice and substitute the can of pumpkin puree for the water called for in the package directions.
  2. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Spread on the cupcakes and top each with a piece of candy corn.

Zoe’s Notes: Instead of making the cream cheese frosting, I bought it pre-made… you can do it whichever way you like! I also doubled the pumpkin pie spice since I love that flavor… try it and see what you think!

Source: Real Simple

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My friend Tori is truly one of my foodie soul mates.  The yin to my yang, she dominates in the savory department while my strength lies in the sweet…I dare say that together we put out quite delicious meals.  So of course, it seemed only fitting that I bring a birthday cake to her 30th birthday celebration this past weekend.

A milestone birthday demanded a special effort, and when Tori suggested I give this coconut rum cake recipe a try it

Cake soaked in coconut milk

seemed like the perfect challenge.  That was until I read the entire paragraph explaining how to extract the meat out of a fresh coconut (there are hammers and screw drivers involved).  No easy task but well worth the effort, I was thisclose to calling around to find me a coconut when it dawned on me that there may be another way….indeed, one quick call to Whole Foods confirmed that they do indeed carry fresh coconut meat in their produce section – yet another plus of living in the tropics!

Although relatively easy, this cake does have quite a few steps and takes a few hours to assemble, so make sure you give yourself enough time.  Its presentation is gorgeous and it was quite good, however it lacked the punch of flavor that I was expecting (and also, to be fair, I am not a huge coconut or rum fan and tremendously critical of my desserts – everyone else seemed to think it was superb).  Post-cake, the consensus seemed to be that making an additional cake and layering a lemon curd or something similar in between the two might just be the solution….I’ll have to give it a try someday and let you know.  Personally I thought the frosting was too rummy (is that possible?) and not thick enough…I’ll most definitely have to play around with the proportions of those ingredients (perhaps more cream cheese and powdered sugar, a little less rum and heavy cream?).

Either way it was a good excuse to try something new and the party was quite the good time as well.  Happy Birthday Tori! xo

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs plus 3 large yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup well-stirred sweetened cream of coconut (I used coconut milk)

Coconut Slivers:

  • 1 medium coconut
  • 2 tsp confectioners sugar

Icing:

  • 3 tbsp cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tbsp well-stirred sweetened cream of coconut
  • 1 tbsp dark rum (I used Meyers)
  • 1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Instructions

Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle.  Lightly butter a 9 inch round cake pan, line it with parchment paper on the bottom, and then lightly butter the parchment paper.  Flour lightly and set aside.

Two cakes are ALWAYS better than one! Birthday cake shot & coco rum cake yumm!

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.  Whisk together the whole eggs and yolks, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until combined.  Gradually add in the flour mixture until well combined, and then whisk the butter until just combined.  Pour the batter into the cake pan and rap on the counter several times to expel the air bubbles.  Bake the cake until golden brown and cake starts to pull away from the side of the pan – about 45 minutes (mine only took 40).

Remove the cake from the oven and set it on a rack to cool for 10 minutes (leave the oven on).  Next, invert the cake onto the rack and remove the parchment paper, allowing the cake to cool for another 10 minutes.  While still warm, generously brush the top and sides of the cake with the 3/4 cup coconut milk, allowing it to soak in before brushing more on.  Let the cake cool completely.

Coconut Slivers (if you don’t have fresh coconut meat already prepared for you):  Pierce the softest eye of the coconut shell with a small screwdriver and drain out and discard the liquid (or drink it as it’s quite yummy and good for you!).  Bake the coconut in a shallow baking pan for 15 minutes (leave the oven on).  Break the shell with a hammer and then pry the flesh from the shell with a screwdriver.

Thinly shave (preferable) or slice enough to measure two cups and then toss with the confectioners sugar.  Spread the coconut shavings on a baking sheet in one layer and bake until just dry but not golden (some tips may color), 5 to 10 minutes.  Cool coconut completely (it will crisp as it cools).  Shave and bake remaining coconut with more confectioners sugar to serve on the side, or freeze for another use.

Icing:  Beat together cream cheese, cream of coconut, rum, vanilla, and 2 tbsp cream with an electric mixer until smooth, then beat in confectioners sugar.  Icing should be smooth and slightly runny; stir in remaining tbsp cream if necessary.

Smooth icing over top of cooled cake, allowing some to drip over the side, then top with coconut slivers.

*Notes: Cake can be baked 1 day ahead and soaked with cream of coconut, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature.  Cake can be iced 2 hours ahead.  Also, the coconut slivers can be made 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe from Gourmet Magazine, September 2007

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Quick, easy, aromatic and moist (i.e. amazingly delicious), this cake was a favorite the first time around, just as Nigella promised.  Made with basic ingredients everyone has in their pantry, it’s the perfect go-to dessert when you don’t have much time or can’t make it to the store.  What I love most is the versatility….change it up with different preserves, serve it with fresh fruit, creme fraiche, ice cream…mmmmmmmmm.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces (I used chocolate chips)
  • 1 1/3 cups good, thin-cut marmalade (or any other flavor jam you like – I used apricot, Nigella recommends raspberry or prune puree)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup self-rising cake flour
  • 8 inch springform pan, buttered and floured

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put the butter in a heavy-bottom saucepan over a low heat to melt.  When it’s nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate.  Leave for a moment to begin softening, then take the pan off the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted.  Now add the marmalade, sugar, salt and eggs.  Stir with your wooden spoon and when all is pretty well amalgamated, pour into a mixing bowl and beat in the flour bit by bit.  Put into your prepared pan and and bake for about 50 minutes or until a cake tester or skewer comes out clean.  Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out.

You can eat it slightly warm or cold.  To dress it up a bit, dust lightly with confectioners sugar pushed through a super fine strainer.  Serves 6.

*Nigella suggests that if you use prune puree, serve it with creme fraiche to which you’ve added a few crucial drops of Armagnac.  You can also had a slug to the cake, or just pour a little over as soon as you unmold it.

This recipe is out of ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’ by Nigella Lawson and you can buy it on amazon HERE.

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Birthday Worthy!

It was my friend Sky’s birthday a few weeks ago, and to celebrate we went to his favorite Japanese restaurant Gaku (more on that later), and afterward we all went to Krazy Karaoke where we continued to celebrate with much singing, libations, and of course, cake and ice cream….or at least my version of it.

When I called Tori to see what I should make, she informed me that Sky’s favorite dessert is fruit pie.  I’m going to come clean right now and admit that until just a few weeks before that, I attempted to bake a pie for the first time in my life; sure I had helped eat the extra pie dough when my grandma made them, but I was a total novice.  And let me tell you, although it looked pretty and tasted amazing, it was in desperate need of refining (more on this later as well).  But you can’t really tell the birthday boy “sorry, I’m not great at pie so I made you cake,” so I dug deep and gave it another go.

I remembered finding a recipe for a free form summer fruit tart (that came with an idiot proof video and all) in my email, and immediately went looking for it.  What I am learning is that a successful pie is a delicate balance between crust and filling…flaky but not soggy crust and moist but not overly wet filling…not the easiest thing in the world.  Much simpler than my last pie recipe, I stocked up on peaches and blueberries, gave the tutorial video a once-over, and came out on the other side with a beautiful and I dare say tasty pie.

Here’s the recipe…

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 10 Tbsp butter cut up into half inch chunks and frozen for about a half hour
  • 3-6 Tbsp ice water
  • 3 cups fruit
  • 3-5 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar

In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt a few times so that it is evenly distributed.  Add in butter and

Getting the sides up and pinched around the fruit was a little tough...I think my dough wasn't quite soft enough at first, but it all worked out.

pulse again 10-12 times until the butter is in pieces smaller than a pea.  Add water into the food processor one tablespoon at a time and continue to pulse until the mixture can be pinched together to form a dough (the amount of water you need will be determined by the temperature and humidity of your kitchen).

Empty the dough out onto the counter and gather into a mound.  You are now going to “fressage” the dough across the counter to create small sheets of dough – watch the tutorial on the video for this part HERE.  Afterward, form a disk with the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Take the dough out of the fridge after letting it set, and leave out on the counter for 15 minutes or so to make it more pliable.  Spray the counter lightly with water and put a piece of parchment paper down (the water will help it to stay put).  Roll the dough out on the parchment paper, using just enough flour that the process is a smooth one.

When the dough measures 12 inches across, transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and return it to the refrigerator for another 15 minutes.  While you’re waiting, cut up three cups of fruit (I used peaches and blueberries, they use plums and raspberries in the video) and sprinkle with 3-5 Tbsp sugar (depending on the sweetness of the fruit), and mix gently until the fruit is coated evenly.

Take the dough out of the fridge and put the fruit in the middle, gently folding the edges up around the fruit and pinching it closed so that none of the fruit spills out while baking.  Lightly brush the outside of the crust with water and sprinkle the entire tart with 1 Tbsp sugar.  Bake on the bottom, middle rack at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes.  Leave the tart on the pan for 10 minutes and then remove it to a wire baking rack to cool completely for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Serve with ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

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