Chocolate Chip Macaroons

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There are billions of food blogs on the internet and hundreds of cookbooks on the shelves of the bookstore, but sometimes I’ll find a favorite recipe in the simplest of places. Like the newspaper. And I don’t mean the online version of the local paper. I mean the good old fashion black and white paper that is delivered to your doorstep a few times a week. When I was little I went straight for the comics. (Did you really expect a 10 year old to go for the finance section?) Later on I starting skimming through the Life & Home section to read the restaurant reviews and recipes. I still love relaxing on Sunday mornings and leisurely going through all the different sections of the paper. There is something wholesome and comforting about reading the actual newspaper rather than scanning the headlines online. It makes me sad to think the newspaper may soon disappear completely. But while the paper is still being delivered to my doorstep, I plan on taking advantage of the delicious recipes you can often find in it. Like these Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroon Cookies. My mom saw these in the paper and we immediately decided to whip them up. And with only 6 ingredients and 15 minutes of baking time, they came together in a flash. The cookies are very sweet and chewy with a delicate crunch. And if you are a fan of the chocolate + coconut combination you will love these cookies. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Makes 2 dozen, from Detroit Free Press

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, combine sugar, coconut, egg whites,chocolate chips, vanill and salt
  2. Dampen hands with cold water
  3. Roll the batter into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  4. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden brown

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Whole Wheat Banana Bread with Coconut Cinnamon Streusel

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Every morning, I follow the same routine. I get up around 6, and after I go for a run and shower, I sit down with my coffee and read the 6 or 7 blogs that I follow.  It’s such a relaxing start to my work day. My favorite blogs consist mostly of “healthy living blogs” which typically revolve around healthy recipes, race recaps and stories from the lives of other 20-something girls. But there are a few blogs that I read that have no mentions of exercise, vegetables or health food of any kind. Food Blogs. And in my opinion, one of the best ones out there is How Sweet It Is. This blog features recipe after recipe of indulgent and mouthwatering dishes. But I should warn you, perusing this blog will most definitely make you hungry. Well the other day, Jessica of How Sweet It Is posted a classic Liz Lemon “I want to go to there” recipe that I knew I would have to make in the coming week. This moist, flavorful banana bread is topped with the most delicious coconut cinnamon streusel I have ever tasted. The bread itself actually uses coconut oil, rather than your typical butter, as a source of fat. If you’ve never used coconut oil before, I highly recommend it. It is solid at room temperature, but a few seconds in the microwave results in a syrupy, lightly flavored oil that is delicious on toast. I’ve also heard it can be used as a lip balm or a hair mask. Personally, I prefer it in my recipes. Especially this recipe. It is a perfect sweet treat and will make your whole house smell absolutely heavenly. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Recipe from How Sweet It Is

  • 1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
  • 4 bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Streusel

  • 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan thoroughly with nonstick spray.

2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, whisking thoroughly. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar until smooth.

4. Add in coconut milk and coconut oil, whisking until combined.

5. Stir in mashed bananas, vanilla and coconut extracts until mixed.

6. Slowly stir in dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour batter in the greased loaf pan.

7. Combine all the streusel ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands until butter is well combined.  Evenly sprinkle on top of the banana bread batter.

8. Bake for 75-85 minutes, or until center is set. If the streusel begins to brown, tent the bread with aluminum foil.

9.Remove and let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.

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Pina Colada Bars

I haven’t spent much time in the kitchen lately…I’ve been too busy going to fun places like Margaritaville!

If you’ve never heard of Margaritaville, you need to get your hands on some Jimmy Buffet music asap. His music is the perfect summer soundtrack and instantly transports you to a breezy island shore land. And for me, it usually transports me to my childhood. Because thanks to my dad, Jimmy Buffet music was also the soundtrack of my childhood. We always had Jimmy’s tropical songs about boats, beaches and “island time” drifting through our house. My dad even played Jimmy Buffet during my soccer practices…so all my friends from grade school know all about Jimmy and his classic “Fins.” So I’m sure you can understand my excitement when Jimmy Buffet himself came to Detroit for one of his fantastic summer concerts and we got tickets. But his concerts are a bit more than a few hours of great music. Jimmy Buffet fans, or “Parrot Heads” camp out for a full day of tropical tailgating before the concert. So what do you bring to a tropical tailgate? This dessert. Chock full of coconut, pineapple & lime, these Pina Colada bars are the perfect summer dessert. The bars are incredibly moist and decadent with a sweet and tangy pineapple glaze. I would suggest you whip these bars up, make yourself a boat drink and turn up the Buffet tunes, and soon you’ll be a Parrot Head too.

 

Ingredients: Makes 9 bars

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • lime zest from 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy
  2. Beat in eggs, one at a time
  3. Beat in coconut extract, lime juice & zest
  4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder & salt
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients into butter mixture and beat until well combined
  6. Stir coconut and white chocolate chips into batter
  7. Spread batter into a greased 9 x 9 baking dish
  8. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes
  9. For the glaze, whisk powdered sugar and pineapple juice together
  10. Drizzle glaze over cooled bars

Coconut Cupcakes with Whipped Coconut Milk Frosting

When my mom was pregnant with me, she was pretty convinced I was going to be a boy. They even had a name picked out and ready for me. But to my mom’s excitement, she had a little girl to share a love of fashion, makeup and other girly things. Or so she thought. Although I’m far from a tomboy…shopping and makeup have always been very low on my priority list. In fact, shopping for clothes is something I dread. I would prefer to hold on to clothes until they are so tattered and faded that my mother has to secretly throw them out without me knowing. I’m not a fan of this hobby of hers, but I realize it is at times quite necessary. And it came as no surprise that when I was on the brink of entering the working world, I had little interest in putting together a good “work wardrobe.” If it were up to me, I would probably be wearing the same black pants to work that I wore to my 8th grade choir concert. So thank goodness I have a mom that has had the patience to inform me again and again of the importance of owning some classic wardrobe items. Little black dress. Tailored pants with blouses that actually match. And shoes in the classic neutral colors. And though I do agree that owning these classic items of clothing is important for life in the working world, I’m still far more interested in a different set of “classics.” Classic cupcake flavors. Not too long ago, I discovered my essential chocolate cupcake recipe. And soon after I discovered my vanilla cupcake and lemon cake standbys. But one that I hadn’t yet found was a perfect recipe for coconut cake. Until now. Because at last, my classic coconut has arrived. This coconut cake recipe has the perfectly light and airy texture with a subtly sweet coconut flavor. And oh my goodness the frosting. It took mass amounts of willpower to resist the urge to eat the majority of this frosting with a spoon. It is incredibly creamy and light, and isn’t too sweet. You can definitely mix and match these classic flavors with your favorite cake or frosting recipes. Because as my mother taught me, the beauty of the classics is the ability to mix and match.

Ingredients: Makes 20 cupcakes, (Cake Recipe from Georgetown Cupcakes)

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  •  1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
Coconut Frosting:
  • 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk (thickened)
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preparation:

  1. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder & salt together, set aside
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together
  3. Beat eggs into butter mixture, one at a time
  4. Stir vanilla extract into milk
  5. Alternate adding milk and dry ingredients into butter mixture until all is well combined
  6. Fold in coconut into batter
  7. Divide batter into 20 cupcake liners and bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes
  8. For the frosting, start by taking one 15 oz can of ful fat coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen brand) and chill in the fridge for at least 5 hours. This will thicken the milk to the consistency of whipped cream, if it hasn’t yet reached that state after 5 hours, cool in the fridge for a bit longer
  9. Next place 1/3 cup of the thickened coconut milk, and the butter in a large bowl and beat on high until light and fluffy
  10. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until well incorporated and frosting is light and fluffy

Key Lime Cupcakes & Homemade Funfetti

My family usually had parties for everything. Random holidays, EVERYONE’s birthday…it was pretty much a given that we would have a family party every weekend growing up. But nowadays, as everyone is getting more and more busy, we’ve gotten into … Continue reading