coconut | Parsley, Sage and Sweet

Chocolate Marble Pumpkin Bark ‘Bars’ with Nutella Cookies and Salted Pepitas, for SRC

October 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Candy, Cookies, Holiday, SRC | 51 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I have never made any kind of chocolate bark.  No idea why..it’s one of simplest treats you can cobble together in no time, and the add-in possibilities are endless.  I’ve also never met or known a guy named Nigel who isn’t British, but that’s beside the point.  There have been a lot of  nevers in my life.  We all have a lot of nevers in our lives and some of them should stay nevers, but chocolate bark isn’t one of that should stay a never, for most.

Well..I just crossed the chocolate bark never off my list.  BUT, this did not come about until I made a no-bake cookie by my Secret Recipe Club blog assignment..Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic.  I love her blog..I loved all the goodies I could choose from..I loved her no-bake Nutella cookies, which I chose after mulling over many goodies.

Continue Reading Chocolate Marble Pumpkin Bark ‘Bars’ with Nutella Cookies and Salted Pepitas, for SRC…

Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips (or nuggets) for SRC, and Part 9

April 9, 2012 at 11:58 am | Posted in Appetizers, Dinner, Poultry, SRC | 65 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Yogurt Dipping Sauce

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned the blog, Edesia’s Notebook  (love the name) authored and photographed by Lesa.  For the first time since I joined, I didn’t have the urge to grab some gorgeous dessert, which Lesa has plenty of, and play with it.  Instead, the same thought kept going through my head.

Just.make.dinner.

You don’t often see posts where I just make dinner, nothing fancy, nothing outrageous, nothing you would only make for a special occasion.  It’s not that I don’t have a decent amount of simple recipes, but I just felt the need to cook dinner and blog it.  I chose her Crunchy Lemon Chicken.

Of course, I ended up futzing with it, because I truly believe it’s nearly impossible for me not to futz with recipes.  I cut each breast into strips, used limes instead of lemons, and added soy sauce and garlic to the marinade.  I also added dessicated coconut to the panko bread crumbs and beat the eggs with coconut water for the breading station.  Add to that a few other minor alterations, like the baking time and temperature, and there you have it.

Otherwise, it’s just dinner, and it was delicious.  I think these are the crunchiest, most delicious chicken fingers I’ve ever had.  Kids would go berserk over these.  Just my completely unbiased opinion.

Even though they were flavorful enough as is, I decided to made a dip to go with them – what I call a garbage dip, where you rummage through your fridge and cabinets and just throw something together.  It was interesting and tasty,  (it looks kind of gross in the photos..like Thousand Island dressing that sat out too long, doesn’t it?), but, again, the chicken fingers had so much flavor, it really wasn’t needed.

Crunchy Baked Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce.

Now to Bad Boy First Love Part 9.  If you’re reading this for the first time, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, and Part 8 is HERE.

Between the kissing, hugging, talking and staring into each other’s eyes (I didn’t laugh or look away once, for the first time in my life.  His eyes were so blue and clear in the dark, I can still picture it perfectly to this day), for hours, it was absolutely, unequivocally, the best.night.of.my.life.

Soon the sky started to lighten a bit, and I was exhausted.  So much raw emotion had been released in less than 24 hours, so many highs and lows.. the wine and beer certainly playing a part in that.  I couldn’t prevent the constant yawning, no matter how hard I tried . BUT, I wanted this night to last forever.  I wanted to fall asleep in his arms, right there..even if we were to wake up to harsh sunlight, screaming kids, the smell of suntan lotion and beach balls landing on us.  He held me for a while as I started to fade, then gently kissed me awake, stroking my hair.

“I think we better get you home, sweetheart – you’re starting to crash” he said sweetly.

“Huh? No..I’m awake.. just resting my eyes!” I lied.

The above is my usual line when someone wakes me up, whether in person or by phone.  No idea why I always say that, and still do to this day, as if it’s a bad thing to admit I’m falling asleep or that they woke me up from a deep sleep.  I’m strange that way.

On our drive back to my luxurious penthouse, he suddenly pulled over.  I was so busy staring at his beautiful profile that I hadn’t even noticed the scuffle going on between 4 guys, one of them apparently being ganged up on by the other three in a somewhat dark, out-of-the-way area near the beach.

One of the three was holding what looked to be a baseball bat, but he was leaning on it.  Maybe they were fighting over a late night-early morning baseball game that just ended?  Of course I said that to him, feeling like a total idiot once the words left my lips.

Crunchy Baked Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce | Parsley, Sage and Sweet
He looked at me calmly and said, “I’ll be right back”, like he was going to get me a soda or something..not like he was about to play vigilante.  I was terrified. I reached over and touched his arm..

“No, don’t..please, let’s just go.” I pleaded, suddenly terrified.

He smiled and kissed my cheek, “I’ll be right back.” He said, again, calmly.

OK, he meant business.

Nothing rattled this guy.  I heard the trunk open and close.  I watched in the rear view mirror as he pulled something out.  Upon further inspection, it looked like a tire iron.  He walked toward this scuffle like it was no big deal – such confidence, completely void of fear, I thought.  Now I was really scared, but in a strange way, it turned me on.  West Side Story was about to come to life, minus the singing and dancing, and I was slightly turned on..what the hell was wrong with me?

Oh, I remember, I liked bad boys, and this was most certainly bad boy behavior, but he was a good bad boy, he was going to protect someone.  Then the thought of him getting really hurt brought back the fear.  I opened the window and called out to him meekly.  He didn’t hear me, but I couldn’t hear me either since my voice was shaking a little and I think I squeaked.

I watched intently as he walked up to them and stood in front of the victim, protecting him from harm,  He still looked calm, but so damn tough.

I was excited again.

I couldn’t hear what they were saying outside of my now even sexier guy commanding them to “‘Keep walking” when the bullies started to back off after trying to get tough with him and apparently not succeeding.  Tire iron > baseball bat.

Then they came forward again and I couldn’t take it anymore…he was going to get hurt!  I do have to admit I liked how he didn’t back up, not even one inch, when they came toward him.

Just as I was about to open the car door so I could run over and fling myself in front of him, he pushed one of them in the chest.  I was shocked to see the guy stumble back quite a ways and fall when it seemed like such a light push, with one hand, no less.  They took off.  Wow, that was too easy. I guess they realized that if he could push that lightly and send the guy back that far and on his ass, one swing of the tire iron could be pretty fierce.  Then again, I didn’t hear what was said, so that probably played a part too.  It didn’t matter, there was no way he was going to let three guys beat up on one and that made me want him even more.  I actually trembled, in a good way, when I realized that nothing scared him.


He walked back to the car with the victim.  Turns out, after an introduction, the kid, who couldn’t have been more than 16 (well..a little younger than me..shhhh) worked in one of the booths on the pier and he knew him well.  The kid got into the car and couldn’t stop thanking Dreamboat.  I was in awe of how cool, calm and collected Dreamboat remained, as if he simply bought the kid a slice of pizza and there was no need to make anything of it.

Apparently, this kid owed a little money to one of the guys and that guy brought along his two friends and a bat to collect, when this kid couldn’t have weighed more than 120 lbs soaking wet.

“No problem. I don’t care what you owe him, if he can’t collect on his own, he’s weak. Let me know if they ever give you a hard time again, okay?” Dreamboat said, again, calmly.  How did he continue to remain so cool after that? I thought, as I stared at him adoringly.

The guy was an ‘effin chickensh*t according to Dreamboat.  Damn, he grew sexier by the minute!  If I didn’t marry this guy one day, they may as well move me in with a horde of cats because no one would ever compare to him - no one.

Once wee dropped the kid off, and we were alone again, I couldn’t keep my hands off of him..I hugged and kissed him as he drove.  I was even more crazy about him than before, and frankly, I didn’t think that was possible.  I thought I had already reached the apex of love, longing, lust – or whatever you want to call it, with him, but, apparently, that wasn’t the case and it was only going to get better.

When he pulled up to my mini ‘party central’ apartment complex (there were parties still going on and the place was hopping..at 5:30 am), after about a 20 minute goodbye (our goodbyes would become legendary, to us, that is) I reached to pick up a little purse I had brought with me and left on the passenger seat floor.

Cut to 6 months prior..during my sad junior year of high school.  My friend bought me one of those white button pins with an I HEART Dreamboat on it – aka I LOVE plus his real name, when we were at the mall one night.  I always kept it in my purse, for no reason other than I did HEART him and being a little superstitious, felt that maybe it might bring us back together again (like the cup holder!).

I bet you can guess what happened next.

I forgot that I had opened the purse before getting out of the car to walk, well, trip over my own feet, to the beach, to grab a few orange and cinnamon tic-tacs.  The button came flying out of my open purse and landed right on his lap.

I wanted to die.

He picked it up and looked at it, not saying anything for about a minute.  Why, why, why?  Now he would think I was some obsessive, stalker child!  Why would a supposed 18-year old be carrying something like that around? 

Maybe there was a slight chance he was illiterate?  I had never wished someone to be illiterate that desperately, at that moment.  I could teach him to read, kissing him every time he read a word correctly!

Crunchy Baked Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce.
I braced myself, my face was burning. I desperately wished I could to turn back the clock two minutes and do it over again, gently picking up the purse.  Maybe I could say it was another Dreamboat!  Yeah..I could hear myself now..trying to act all cool..

“Well, during our time apart I just so happened to meet a guy named Dreamboat, what a coincidence, huh?  I thought I was never going to see you again, so I thought I loved him, but I didn’t, and I forgot it was still in this purse .I rarely use this purse!” *confident flick of my hair*

He interrupted my momentary lapse of reasonable thinking..

“You shouldn’t have one of these unless you mean it” he said, a serious look in his eyes.

I DO MEAN IT!  I’m madly in love with you!

Instead…I told him the truth, without confessing my love for him.

“I know, D bought it for me, and I kept it in my purse hoping it would bring me luck and I’d see you again.”

Whoa, that was easy, why was I so freaked out about it?

He pulled me to him and hugged me tight, then whispered in my ear..

“I guess it worked then, like the cup holder.” Hellooogoosebumps.

I smiled, a wave of relief washing over me.  I decided I’d drop the age bomb the next night.

Part 10 coming soon.  I’m sorry I left you all with the same cliffhanger as last time, but I started this post before everything happened, and couldn’t finish it, which would have included that story, due to the current circumstances.  I didn’t want to give you all something half-assed.  I promise Part 10 soon!

Crunchy Coconut Lime Chicken Strips or Bites

Adapted from and Inspired by Lesa from Edesia’s Notebook
Yields about 4 servings

2 limes, zested and juiced
1/4 cup light olive oil
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped finely
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 chicken breasts (About 1 lb) cut into 1-inch wide strips.  Cut each strip in half to make ‘nuggets’.
1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
2/3 cup dessicated coconut shreds
3/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to season flour
2 eggs, beaten with 4 tablespoons of coconut water (you can use coconut milk if you can’t find coconut water)
Oil spray, doesn’t matter what kind

DIRECTIONS:
1.  In a bowl, stir together lime juice, zest, light olive oil, ginger, light soy sauce, garlic and salt.  Add the chicken strips and stir until they’re completely coated with the marinade.  You can also pour the marinade  with the chicken strips, into a ziplock bag, which is what I did.  Marinate for 4 to 5 hours at the most..stirring the strips in the bowl of marinade or squeezing around the bag every hour to an hour and a half to insure even marinating.

2. Line a large baking sheet with foil sprayed lightly with oil. Mix the flour, salt and pepper in one bowl, the beaten eggs and coconut water in a second bowl, and the panko and dessicated coconut in a third bowl. Remove the chicken strips from the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

3. Lift up each chicken strip and shake off some of the marinade so it isn’t overly-saturated  (I just ran two impeccably clean fingers down each strip, sliding off the extra marinade). Coat each chicken strip in flour, knocking off the excess, then dip and coat well in the egg mixture and then dredge it in the panko - dessicated coconut mixture, pressing it onto each strip. Place each chicken strip on the oiled baking sheet and continue until all chicken has been coated.

4.  Lightly spray some oil on the breaded chicken strips, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  IMPORTANT – Do not let them sit on the baking sheet once out of the oven.  Transfer them to a rack if not eating within a few minutes, or the bottoms will get soggy.

Spicy Yogurt Dip
1 cup greek yogurt
2  to 3 tablespoons Asian chile-garlic sauce
1 small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS|:
1.  Mix all the ingredients together, then cover and refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors blend.

If you get a chance, please click on the blue frog below to see all the amazing dishes recreated by Group A of The Secret Recipe Club.  Also, click on over to Edesia’s Notebook for some fantastic sweet and savory recipes!

Crunchy, Baked Coconut Lime Chicken Strips with Spicy Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Bookmark and Share

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut – Cream Cheese Frosting

July 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Posted in Cakes, Dessert, Fruit, Giveaway, Vegetables | 65 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I preface a lot of my blog entries, don’t I?  Well, here’s another one before I get to this post.  I couldn’t take part in this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge because of time constraints due to another obligation – a sort of last-minute obligation, but a good one, which you will all see soon.

However, I’m kind of bummed because the challenge was the classic french cake ‘Fraisier’, hosted by Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes, and I was reeeeaaaally looking forward to making it.  I will make one and post it eventually, but until then, please take a few moments to check out the beautiful Fraisier’s created by all the talented Daring Bakers, via clicking on the links to their blogs, HERE.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

Since I don’t have a Fraisier to show off *sniff*, I present to you a carrot cake I made a few weeks ago – after I preface once again…

It’s funny how the weirdest things from early childhood stick to your brain eternally.  I can still remember the lyrics to every chorus class song between the ages of 8 and 13 yrs old.  When I try to impress people by reciting all 50 states in alphabetical order, super fast, it’s because ‘Fifty, Nifty United States’ permeated my fresh, young brain, permanently, not because I was born with this amazing ability to recite the states in alphabetical order on a whim.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese FrostingThese are not real carrots, they are macadamia marzipan carrots and yes, I made them.  The carrot fronds are real.  I did not make those, just an unfortunate, inedible decoration decision that didn’t turn out as hoped.

When I was maybe 4 or 5, there was a TV interview with Shaun Cassidy (I think it was Shaun Cassidy (???).  Apparently it was his birthday, and the host asked what his favorite cake was.  He said carrot cake.  Ewwww..a cake with carrots in it??  Yuck!  I couldn’t believe anyone would eat a cake with vegetables in it!

Several years later, I tasted some for the first time.  Oh my Gahh, moist, spicy, sweet, delicious..and the cream cheese frosting..I was in love.  I spit bullets when I order a slice of carrot cake and the frosting is buttercream or anything other than cream cheese frosting.  I feel the same about red velvet cake, but I’ll get to that another time.  My point is, I still think of that interview every time I bite into a slice of carrot cake.  No idea what to make of it – especially since I was never a Shaun Cassidy fan.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

SO, I had an urge to make carrot cake a few weeks ago. and not just any carrot cake – a carrot cake I’ve been coveting for some time at Epicurious.com (I shall covet thy carrot cake!).  I think it’s been in my saved recipe box for at least 5 years.  It’s a tropical carrot cake and it contains macadamia nuts instead of the usual walnuts or pecans, and pineapple and coconut.  Normally, I don’t flip over cooked pineapple unless it’s doused with sugar and grilled.  I have similar feelings about strawberries, but again, I’ll get to that another time.

As always, I digress – this was supposed to be a tropical carrot cake, but the only two things, outside of your basic carrot cake that made it tropical were the macadamia nuts, and this luscious sounding coconut – cream cheese frosting, containing cream of coconut.  Cream of coconut, not to be confused with coconut cream, is this amazing, thick, glossy sweetened, condensed milk like can of coconut something or other concoction.  I really don’t know exactly how it’s made, but I do know I’ve actually eaten it with a spoon right out of the can.  It’s so bleepin’ good.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

That said, I didn’t want pineapple in this cake and wasn’t feeling most other tropical fruits like mango or papaya.  I had an urge for banana, and three, ripe mashed bananas did the trick.  I’ve always liked (yes, liked, kind of have to be in the mood for it. so that does not qualify as ‘loved’ to me) banana bread and banana cake, and I was in the mood for it.

The cake and frosting turned out terrific..the cake is superdupercalifragilistic moist with a hint of warm, gingery heat surprising you with each bite, and the frosting, PHENOMENAL, although the heat wave wouldn’t let me get decorative with it (my rosettes keeled  – then morphed into lumps).  It was hard not to ditch the layer cake deal and tear off hunks of cake to dip in the frosting, but somehow, I managed.  However, I broke one of my cardinal rules when it came to decorating it.

I don’t believe in ever putting inedible* things on anything edible, whether it be a plate of food, sweet or savory, a cake..whatever.  Not only did I do it, but I OVERDID it.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot fronds jammed into homemade macadamia marzipan (omit coffee) carrots.  I got the frond idea from Martha Stewart (I only used orange gel paste).  Martha Stewart only puts one small frond in each carrot.  I thought a bunch would look cool, especially hanging over the sides of the cake.  Once I looked at the photos, after it had already been cut into and attacked with savage, voracious ferocity, I hated it.

Regardless, I wasn’t going to make another one any time soon – we had our fill, so here it is in all it’s greenery glory and 70′s psychedelic orange background.  Ignore that and make this cake.  It’s worth it.

Carrot fronds are not inedible, but they don’t taste good (unless they’re from baby carrots), especially with cake.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Epicurious.com, with my revisions

Cake
Dry Ingredients
2 1/3 cups sifted all purpose flour (sifted, then measured)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup dry-roasted macadamia nuts, toasted
3/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger*
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon*
1/2 teaspoon fresh, grated or ground nutmeg
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Wet Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1 cup melted Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil, or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups finely grated peeled carrots
3 very ripe bananas, mashed, with some chunks remaining

* For a less spicy cake, reduce crystallized ginger to 1/2 cup or just add 1 tablespoon fresh, grated ginger, and reduce cinnamon to 2 teaspoons.

Coconut Cream – Cream Cheese Frosting*
4 1/2 8-ounce packages (36 ounce total) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks), plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons canned sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco López or Goya)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon (scant) pure coconut extract

*This recipe makes a lot of frosting.  I originally developed it to do a basket weave piping around the cake.  You can cut in half and still get a decent amount to fill and frost the cake.

Decorating Ideas
14 whole dry-roasted macadamia nuts, candied
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger ,cut into strips
Toasted coconut shreds of flakes
Marzipan or Frosting piped carrots

DIRECTIONS:
FOR CAKE:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Combine 1/3 cup flour and next 3 ingredients in processor. Process until nuts are finely chopped. Whisk remaining 2 cups flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl to blend.

2. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Beat in flour-spice mixture. Stir in coconut-macadamia mixture, then carrots and mashed bananas.

3. Divide batter among pans ( I weighed out close to even layers..about 1 lb 6 oz batter per pan). Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 1 hour. Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely.

FOR FROSTING:
1. Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar, then cream of coconut and both extracts. Chill until firm enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

2. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread heaping cup frosting over top of cake. Top with second cake layer, flat side up. Spread another heaping cup frosting over the top. Top with third cake layer, pressing slightly to adhere. Spread thin layer of frosting on top and sides of cake. Chill cake and remaining frosting 30 minutes. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Arrange whole nuts and ginger (or whatever decor you decide on) around top edge of cake. Chill 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

Finally, the winner of the hunka hunk of Grana Padano Riserva cheese, and $40.00 worth of custom goodies from buildasign.com (I thought today was the 27th! So sorry for being a day late! LOL)….

#93 is Barbara of Barbara Bakes, one of my favorite blogs!  Congrats, Barbara!  Sending you an email to get your info so the cheese can be mailed out asap, and will send your email to buildasign.com so they can send you your coupon code for $40.00 worth of custom goodies!


Bookmark and Share

I Found My Thrill……With Coconut and Lime Plus the Winner of the Custom T-shirt Giveaway and another Giveaway! GIVEAWAY CLOSED

July 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Cakes, Dessert, Fruit, Giveaway, Puddings | 143 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

First off..Happy 4th of July to all in the USA, and Happy July 4th to everyone outside the USA!  I’ve got the blue and the white (well..yellowish) but not the red.  No matter, this dessert is pretty awesome, red, white and blue. or not.

So what do you do when you ask someone to pick you up blackberries, and instead they bring you blueberries?  Nothing, because summer berries are so interchangeable..and all will taste great in whatever recipe that called for one berry in particular.  Just my luck, about 5 minutes after receiving these blueberries, a tweet from Mark Bittman scrolled past.  Blueberry Pudding Cake.  I clicked on the link, then ditched my plan for a coconut blueberry custard pie.  I could essentially have all the components of my pie in this easy, quick, one batter cake.

I’ve made plenty of chocolate pudding, aka hot fudge, cakes in my day, and who hasn’t?  It’s one of the simplest cakes you could make..one quick batter in a square pan, pour boiling water on top, and voilà, chocolate cake with a fudgy pudding/custard saucy deal underneath.  When rushed for a dessert, or a sudden bout of PMS chocolate craving, it was always a win-win situation, and it only took about 30 minutes from mixing bowl to table.  Before anyone/I could say ‘cake’ they/Iwere/was eating big scoops of cakey, chocolatey goo with vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry Coconut Lime Pudding Cake

This pudding cake is simple, but it involves eggs and the separating of eggs.  I don’t know why, but when I see a recipe that involves separating eggs and beating the whites, which are then folded in, I cringe a little.  It’s not that it’s difficult, but when I’m in a ‘simple recipe’ mindset, it’s kind of like someone telling me the elevator is out-of-order and I need to take the stairs…the number of flights depending on the number of eggs.

Sometimes I’m a rebel, and just crack the amount of whole eggs in as is.

Sometimes the issue is forced when there’s a lopsided amount of yolks to whites.  Great..now I’m going to have leftover yolks or whites.  I’ll have to scour the net to find something to do with them outside of meringues, macarons and crème brûlée.  I’m not an egg white omelet person.  I like my omelets yellow.

In any event, I obeyed the recipe, and the results were worth it.  Of course, I made a few revisions to the recipe. As my usual mantra goes, I can’t leave most recipes alone..I always feel some could be better, or more to my liking.  I’m a futzer, a fiddler.  It’s a common thing in cooking, but baking not as much because baking is a SCIENCE and any little sway from the formula can completely change or destroy it.

My changes didn’t destroy it.  All I did was add some extra flavor, coconut and lime.  Kelapo Coconut sent me a sample of their coconut oil, so I used that instead of the melted butter, and I used lime zest in lieu of the lemon zest listed in the recipe.  Small changes, no big whoop, right?  Well..I felt it needed more coconut flavor, so I toasted some coconut and ground it with the sugar in the recipe.  Then, instead of plain buttermilk, I made coconut buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of  lime juice to the coconut milk.  The end result was perfect – plump, juicy blueberries floating in a sea of custard with a light, fluffy, slightly crisp, cake topping..a subtle background of coconut and the perfect hint of lime to cut the richness.

This is all great and good, but for the most part, you can’t tell that there’s coconut and lime in this cake pudding via the photos   because I only had one lime and a bit of shredded coconut for the recipe.  When it came time for photos, I had nothing to top it with that said..’There is lime and coconut in this pudding cake!’.

Another reason I’m a bad food blogger.

I don’t think of these things until the last-minute, when it’s already too late.  As far as all of you can see, it’s just a blueberry pudding cake.  I suppose I could type ..’with coconut and lime’ under every photo, but I’m not that obsessive a person..I think…I hope.

Now, the GIVEAWAY.  Part one is a yummy one. Jen from Kelapo Coconut contacted me a few weeks back and asked if I would like a sample jar of their virgin coconut oil to try.  Of course it was an affirmative, I love trying new things.  However, I thought it would be cool if she could also provide an extra jar to give away to my readers.  Affirmative again.  SO, when the winner is announced, Jen will personally ship a 15 oz jar of Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil to that winner.

Blueberry Coconut Lime Pudding Cake

I admit, at first I was iffy on coconut oil..I heard a buzz here and there that it was bad for us.  Apparently, new studies have reversed that charge, and now they say it’s good for us.  UPDATE : a commenter named jean said that only the virgin and unrefined coconut oils are good for you, so Kelapo organic VIRGIN coconut oil, IS good for you! Refined coconut oil is NOT good for you.

Good to know, because coconut oil is also a flavorful replacement for butter, which is a plus for those who are allergic to dairy or just dairy-free in general.  It’s great for vegan cooking and baking too, not to mention a good substitute for neutral oils in most recipes. Personally, I love the stuff because it tastes and smells amazing, and I wanna saute something savory in it soon.  Coconut seared chicken something or other keeps sprinting through my brain.  Also, my friend, Suzanne just let me know that a health food store she shops at pops their popcorn in coconut oil.  Is that not a fantastic idea?  I’m definitely trying that!

The second part of this giveaway is the cookbook How to Cook Everything (10th anniversary Edition), by Mark Bittman.  I always wanted this cookbook, so I bought one for myself, and one for one of you!  It’s become sort of a habit now when I buy things.  One for me and one to give away here.

To enter this giveaway for both the coconut oil and the cookbook, leave a commentFor extra entries, you can leave separate comments for all or any of the below;

1.  Follow @parsleynsage on Twitter

2.  Follow @kelapo_coconut on Twitter

3.  Like Kelapo Coconut on Facebook

4. Tweet the following: A Kelapo Coconut Oil & Mark Bittman cookbook GIVEAWAY @parsleynsage http://t.co/NnhVqCG #giveaway

I’ll be choosing the winner 10 days from today using random integer.

Speaking of winners..the winner of the $50.00 worth of custom designed t-shirts from ooshirts.com is…

Number 19 is Carolyn of Cookin’ for my Captain!  Congratulations, Carolyn.  I will pass your email to Colleen at ooshirts.com so she can email you the code for your $50.00 worth of custom printed shirts!  I’m sure you’ll have fun making them!

Magic Blueberry Coconut Lime Pudding (Custard) Cake
adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, with my revisions – For the original recipe minus coconut and lime – click HERE.
About 6 servings, but I say more like 4 big ones
Time: About 1 1/4 hours, plus time to cool

4 tablespoons Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil, melted, plus more for greasing dish
1 cup coconut milk minus 1 tablespoon, plus 1 tablespoon lime juice (or lemon juice or cider vinegar)
3 /4 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted
3 eggs, separated
1 /3 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 1/2 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon grated lime zest

1. Combine the coconut milk with the cider vinegar or lime juice..let it curdle.  Grind 1/2 cup of the sugar and toasted coconut together in a food processor or blender.  Set both aside.  Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease an 8- inch square ceramic or glass baking dish or a deep dish pie plate with Kelapo coconut oil.

2. Put the coconut oil, coconut buttermilk, the 1/2 cup of coconut sugar, the egg yolks, flour, and salt in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Pour the batter into a bowl. Stir in the blueberries and lime zest and set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg whites until they hold soft peaks, sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar while beating until the whites hold stiff peaks; fold them into the batter gently but thoroughly.

4. Turn the batter into the prepared dish and put the dish in a baking pan large enough to hold it comfortably. Add enough warm water to the baking pan to come to within an inch or so of the top of the dish. Transfer carefully to the oven and bake until the top is golden brown and the center is just set but slightly jiggly, about 50 minutes.

5. Remove the cake from the oven and cool the dish completely on a rack, cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours, before serving. This will keep in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days.  Serve with whipped cream, if desired.


Bookmark and Share

Milanos or Mallomars? No need to run to the Supermarket.

July 27, 2009 at 12:08 am | Posted in Cookies, Dessert, Fruit | 159 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alright, so I’m using the actual brand names of these cookies, when the copycat recipe of these are called Milan and Mallows.  Then again, I could have used some supermarket brand rip-off names… like Stop & Shop Chocolate covered Mallow cookies, or Shop-Rite Chocolate filled Vanilla Sandwich cookies (I’m just improvising the latter two), but really, who cares?  We could call them Atomic Ass Expanders and Big Butt Biscuits, and it wouldn’t make a difference.

Well, due to copyright infringements, Chicago pastry chef and co-owner of Tru, not to mention former Food Network maven, Gale Gand has dubbed them Milan and Mallow (Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies) cookies, in her attempt to recreate them.

Homemade Milano Cookies                                                                      OR                                 Homemade Mallomar Cookies                                   ‘Fingerprint’ explained toward the end of this entry.

As usual, before I go on..OK, forget it, I’m not going to make any snarky remarks about the DB-BOT, since I’d say it’s gotten a bit old.  OK, here it is, minus the sarcasm…maybe we could even be frien..wait, it’s a freakin’ computer program!!  I think I need to lay off the pain meds completely at this point! :P

The July Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.  Thanks, Nicole!

Homemade MarshmallowGooey marshmallow, ready to pipe.  I like marshmallow in this form too, minus the gelatin so it doesn’t set, especially over ice cream, or as a frosting for cakes/cupcakes.

For both cookies, we were given free reign when it came to flavors, fillings and chocolate (which is usually the case), so I suppose you could say I went a little (COUGH – extremely) crazy with both the Milano AND the Mallow, as you can see in the overabundance of photos.  Every photo of each cookie is clearly identified, so no need to type out every single direction I took with each and every cookie flavor, addition etc… twice!

Homemade Mallomar Cookies

Having said all that, I’ve always liked Gale Gand a lot.  I own some her cookbooks, in which most of the recipes are great and extremely creative.  However, I’ve run into some where the ingredient amounts or just something is off.  In this case, it’s the Mallomars, errr, Mallow cookies.  The recipe states that the yield is two dozen cookies.  Poppycock! (first time I ever used that word, I swear!).

The dough for the cookie base gives you about 8 dozen cookies, the amount of homemade marshmallow is enough to top about 4 dozen cookies, and the chocolate coating is enough for two dozen.  WTF?  I ended up just using half the dough, rolled 1/8 -inch thin and cut with a 1 1/2-inch round cutter, which is exactly how the recipe reads – and I got 50 cookies!

I froze the other half of the dough, since what the hell was I going to do with 100 cookies, 50 of which contain no marshmallow and 25 no marshmallow AND chocolate?   NO, I’m not making extra marshmallow and melting more chocolate.  Heck, I don’t even like marshmallows unless they’re toasted golden brown and gooey inside, atop a piece of chocolate on a graham cracker, OR, again, toasted golden brown on top of candied sweet potatoes, OR, at the end of a long stick around a campfire while telling ghost stories about the giant untoasted marshmallow that exploded in some guy’s tummy and killed him.

OK, I guess you’ve already figured out that I only like toasted marshmallows.  A big EWWW to Marshmallow Peeps, although they are fun to nuke in the microwave (someone showed me this in college, and those cute, little, sugar coated chickies morph into giant, killer marshmallow chickens before you can say ‘Stay-Puff’).

Homemade Mallomar Cookies in a Variety of FlavorsTop row: Left to right - Plain, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Blackberry Swirl.  Bottom Row: Left to right – Ancho Chocolate Swirl, Roasted Banana Caramel, Nutella.  All of the above flavors were dipped in either dark, milk or white chocolate.

There were some DB’ers who said they got exactly two dozen cookies, and the amounts were correct.  I don’t doubt them for one second, although I do wonder how small their ‘kisses’ of marshmallow were.  To be fair, I added fillings to some of the Mallows, which required more of a long, deep kiss of marshmallow instead of a peck, so that could explain the lack of marshmallow past 50 cookies.  At times, I can be pretty heavy handed with a pastry bag, so even the plain ones got a nice, big, globby swirl.  No perfect, little ‘mushroom cap’ rounds (LIKE the ones you buy at the market) on my Mallows.

Obviously, the main component of these are marshmallow, and if you’re a huge fan of marshmallow, you cannot bite into a slender, little strip or petite round of marshmallow between the cookie and the chocolate, and be completely satisfied, can you? (Yes, I am making excuses for my over piping ;D)

Homemade Milano Cookies - Plain and Black Sesame Green TeaIMG_5536 copy  Left: Basic Milano, vanilla cookies filled with dark chocolate.  Right: Black Sesame Milano with White Chocolate-Matcha filling.

All in all, the Mallows were fun to make, and those who took them off my hands loved them, especially the ones with the fillings, various chocolate coatings, and swirled flavors, as you can see in the Mallow collage.  Yep, the Mallows get mostly collages, while the Milanos get mostly top photo billing.  Why, you ask?  Maybe because I LOVE Milano cookies.

Milanos..well, in this case, Milans, and I have had a romance for years.  I can scarf a whole bag of them pretty rapidly (although I do have to take sporadic rests).  As far as Gale’s recipe for them goes, I would say they were ummm, sorta’ close.  I don’t think they needed all that lemon extract.  I understand the recipe for her Milans contain orange zest in the chocolate filling, but I prefer the basic dark (one of the few cases where I tolerate dark chocolate) or milk chocolate filled Milano’s, and the vanilla cookies definitely do not taste that lemony or even lemony at all.

I know the lemon extract is in the cookie to cut some of the richness and add some zing, but I still think it’s too much and it tasted different than the Milano’s I’m used to.  I don’t know, maybe it’s just my palate.  However, I did use some orange zest in the chocolate ganache filling in one of my takes on this recipe, along with cardamom, sandwiched between ground pistachio Milano cookies, but still went light on the lemon extract.

 Pistachio Milanos with Orange Chocolate-Cardamom filling                     Pistachio Milanos with Orange Chocolate-Cardamom filling.

I chose not to post any prep photos of of the Milano’s since they were all just boring lines of black sesame, dark chocolate, vanilla, marble, and **pistachio batter, each on it’s own baking sheet.  Oh, and the melted chocolate *YAWN*, which I’m sure you’ve all seen ohhh, maybe a few times before (besides, I covered that with the Mallows).  Nothing new or scintillating there!

Regarding those boring lines of batters, I used the recommended 1/4-inch pastry tip for my first sheet of plain Milanos, and ended up with a thin, crisp ‘tuile like’ cookie, which most seemed to strive for in this challenge.  However, if you look at and bite into an authentic Milano, it’s got a little more heft to it, especially in the middle, so I used a 1/2-inch pastry tip for the second sheet, and ended up with what I thought was closer to a Milano in looks and texture.

By the third sheet of plain batter, no one could tell the difference between mine and a real Milano (obviously, those are the ones I chose to photograph), though not as light in color as a true Milano, (they just look lighter than they actually are in the first photo because they’re on a black plate) BUT, only some of the cookies – as I had quite a few that looked like silhouettes of Elvis and uhhh…part of the male anatomy below the waist.  Thin and a little thicker were equally good though, so that was just a matter of  ‘more cookie or less cookie?’

Dark Chocolate - Coconut Milano Cookies***Double Dark Chocolate Milanos with Chocolate-Coconut truffle filling dipped in melted chocolate and toasted coconut.  I was able to make good use of the leftover meat from that headstrong coconut in the last Daring Cooks challenge – a lot of use!

On a sucky note, the humidity monster decided to drop by and terrorize me the past two weeks or so, on and off, but mostly on.  Naturally, this affected the texture of the Milano cookie greatly.  Instead of crispy, I had flaccid, limp cookies.  Every time I would pick one up to spread the chocolate on it, it would keel over, and in slo-mo no less!  It was actually quite fascinating to watch, and I felt Vivaldi’s Lute Concerto in D Major Largo would have been the perfect musical accompaniment to it .

That said, I kept them in a turned off oven in hopes that they would dry out a bit, then miraculously, the next day was beautiful and dry, so I was finally able to work with them.  After that, I just kept them in a sealed container in the fridge, and they remained somewhat crispier than they had been, but still not as crispy as authentic Milanos.

Ancho Mallomar CookiesI thought I should give at least one Mallomar/Mallow some room on the marquee.  Most loved the spicy ancho bite swirled in with the chocolate.  Even I liked it – although second to nuking the peanut butter and jelly Mallomar..seriously.

Finally, a word of advice regarding the chocolate coating for the Mallow cookies.  If you use dark chocolate, use the cocoa butter or vegetable oil, it sets up perfectly.  HOWEVER, if you use milk or white chocolate, do NOT use either.  The reasoning behind the white chocolate is simple, it pretty much IS vanilla flavored cocoa butter, so it’ll never set up properly out of the fridge, and even if you do refrigerate them, the coating softens within minutes of being taken out of the fridge.  I forgot about this, and had many a fingerprint on each one when I tried to plate them for photos.

The reasoning behind why the same problem occured with the milk chocolate is also simple – I don’t know – but it just doesn’t set up fully.  SO, in conclusion and to reiterate,  melt those two chocolates dry, over a double boiler prior to dipping the cookies..no cocoa butter or vegetable oil needed, or maybe half the amount of cocoa butter or vegetable oil for the milk chocolate.  You may not get as thin a coating as you would with the dark chocolate, but with a little care, you’ll come close.  As Renato pointed out in my comment section, you could also temper each of those chocolates for a better result.

Miniature Milanos!  Milk Chocolate Coconut and Milk Chocolate and Vanilla Marble with various chocolate fillings

Miniature Milanos!  Milk Chocolate Coconut and Milk Chocolate and Vanilla Marble with various chocolate fillingsI only had Halloween mini-muffin cup liners, but hey, they’re colorful!

**If you want to add ground pistachios to the batter, my advice would be to grind them as finely as you can, almost to a powder, and omit some of the flour in the recipe, depending on how much pistachio you add.  I didn’t, and my cookies didn’t spread as much as they should have.  OR, you can just forgo adding them to the batter, and sprinkle some on top of the plain batter after it’s piped - but, I prefer a nice, pistachio bite throughout the cookie.

*** For the Double Dark Chocolate cookies, I omitted two tablespoons of the flour and substituted it with two tablespoons of dark unsweetened cocoa powder.  I also added melted semisweet chocolate to the batter.  The filling is a chocolate ganache made using coconut milk instead of heavy cream, plus a little pure coconut extract.

OH, a little factoid.  Did you know they don’t sell Mallomars during the summer?  I just found that out a few days ago.  Can’t they pack them in coolers when they ship them off to AIR CONDITIONED supermarkets?  Then again, I wonder if it’s just area related?  Can’t find them in the NY area, according to my source.

Mallows (Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Serves: about 2 dozen cookies (2 dozen? Try 8 dozen!)

• 3 cups (375grams/13.23oz) all purpose flour
• 1/2 cup (112.5grams/3.97oz) white sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/8 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter
• 3 eggs, whisked together
• Homemade marshmallows, recipe follows
• Chocolate glaze, recipe follows

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients.
2. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy.
3. Add the eggs and mix until combine.
4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
5. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
7. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough.
8. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.
9. Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours.
10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat.
11. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the hot chocolate glaze.
12. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
13. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

Note: if you don’t want to make your own marshmallows, you can cut a large marshmallow in half and place on the cookie base. Heat in a preheated 350-degree oven to slump the marshmallow slightly, it will expand and brown a little. Let cool, then proceed with the chocolate dipping.

Homemade Marshmallow

Homemade marshmallows:
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/4 cup light corn syrup
• 3/4 cup (168.76 grams/5.95oz) sugar
• 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
• 2 tablespoons cold water
• 2 egg whites , room temperature
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer.
2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve.
3. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix.
4. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.
5. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.
6. Transfer to a pastry bag.

Chocolate glaze:
• 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
• 2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS:
1. Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.

Milan Cookies
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies

• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
• 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons lemon extract
• 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling:
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 orange, zested

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.

Black Sesame Milanos with White Chocolate-Matcha Ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz good quality white chocolate
2 teaspoons Matcha powder*

DIRECTIONS:
1. To start, using the above Milan cookie batter, omit 1 tablespoon of lemon extract, and use 3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract, or 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract plus 1 tablespoon almond extract. Stir about 1/2 to 1 cup of black sesame seeds into the batter, then proceed as directed above.

2. Scald heavy cream, then pour over chopped white chocolate in a bowl.  Let sit for a minute or two, then stir until uniform and smooth.  Stir in two teaspoons of matcha powder, and set aside until until thickened and spreadable.

*Matcha powder is green tea powder, and can be found in most specialty markets, tea shops, and some supermarkets.

Don’t forget to check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll (also temporary) to see some of the cool ideas other Daring Bakers came up with for this challenge.

I linked up the marshmallow recipe at The Country Cook,  Weekend Potluck #60 !

Homemade Mallomars (chocolate covered marshmallow cookies) They don't sell these during the summer, so this recipe is great to have on hand.

Bookmark and Share

Next Page »

Get a free blog at WordPress.com | Theme: Pool by Borja Fernandez.
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: