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Small Batch Coconut-Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}

This month my Secret Recipe Club blog assignment was to Delicious Existence.  (Gotta love that blog title!)  On Twitter, Danielle (that’s my sister’s name, I love her already!) describes herself as a social worker, holistic health coach, lifestyle motivator and kitchen magician.  And after perusing her blog, I’d have to agree with the last two–all her wonderful vegan recipes are definitely motivating and magical!  Although not a vegan myself, I have mad love for their choice and actually try to eat vegan or vegetarian at least once a week, which isn’t too hard for me since I prefer fat and carbs (the good and bad kind :)) over meat anyway.  Over time I’ve been so wonderfully surprised how delicious & satisfying a completely meatless, dairy-free, and egg-free meal can be.

Don’t believe me?  Check out Danielle’s Herb Pinwheels, Jalapeno Popper Panini, Triple Chocolate Lust Cookies (I’m so making these!), Zucchini, Onion & One Pepper Stew, and Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Pie with Dark Chocolate Drizzle–just a few of the contenders for the recipes I marked to try.  I have gone vegan before and found it challenging to find enough variety, but Danielle is clearly a master.  Definitely go to her blog to get some inspiration!

I chose her coconut-chocolate chunk cookies to make for this month’s reveal, which is totally random, I know.  If it was December, they’d fit right in since that’ s the month everyone starts baking hoards of them to give away.  And these would be a great addition to your cookie tins this year!  But it’s the week of Thanksgiving and there’s not a speck  of cinnamon or pumpkin or even sweet potato in the recipe I chose.  I’m sorry, but you guys know about my obsession with coconut oil.  Did you really think I could pass up a recipe for cookies that contained not only my beloved coconut oil, but chocolate as well?  I think not.

You guys, these are so good.  Crazy good.  So good that I’m glad I kept it a small batch recipe so I could only eat a dozen at a time.  OK, so I didn’t really eat them all myself…but I did eat quite a few.  Both times I made them.  Yes, I made them twice this month, and will be making them again in a larger batch in December.  They’re so good!

The coconut flavor is perfectly balanced with the semisweet chocolate, IMHO.  You just would not believe how wonderful the coconut oil makes these cookies taste.  So much better than using an extract!  The cookies are sticky-crispy on the outside and the middles are soft & chewy-my favorite texture for a cookie, and I believe the corn syrup helps with it.  The original recipe did not call for corn syrup, but I wanted to use ingredients that most people would have in their kitchen so instead of making a flax seed egg (mixing flax meal with water creates a binder similar to egg), I decided to use something else that was sticky to bind the cookie together.  (You could also use agave nectar for a more natural cookie.) I used more corn syrup in the first batch and the cookies were a lot more chewy and a lot more crispy at the edges, and I think I’ve improved them by subbing a tablespoon of the corn syrup for milk (I used almond milk but coconut would obviously work great here), making the cookies softer but still crispy-chewy.

Whether you’re vegan or not, if you like coconut, I think you’re going to love these cookies!  If you don’t believe me take my friend Kevin’s word for it (it was his birthday and I gave him some, along with an accidentally egg-less version of this banana bread)–he cracks me up!

I call Kevin “Obiewan,” thus his Star Wars reference. :)

Thank you Danielle for sharing your fabulous recipe!  It pleases Jedi masters and padawans alike. :)

Coconut-Chocolate Chunk Cookies {Vegan}

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1/4 cup (1 7/8 oz / 52 g) virgin coconut oil, melted & cooled slightly (measured solid)
1/3 cup ( 2 ½ oz / 72 g) packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup or agave nectar
1 tablespoon milk of choice (I used almond)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
¾ cup (3 oz / 85 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat mat.

In a small mixing bowl combine the coconut oil, brown sugar, corn syrup, milk, and vanilla. Stir until blended, then add the baking soda and salt and stir well. Add the flour and mix well, using your hands if necessary, then stir in the coconut & chocolate, again using your hands to combine. Roll the dough into 12 (1-inch) balls, making sure there are three chocolate chunks per cookie. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden at the edges. As soon as you remove them from the oven, use a spatula to push any misshapen cookies into place so that they retain a round shape. Allow to cool on baking sheet for five minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.

Makes 1 dozen cookies.

Recipe source: adapted from Delicious Existence

I learned this trick from fellow SRC members Katrina & Liz–to whip any misshapen cookies back into shape, as soon as they’re out of the oven, scoot them into a round shape with your metal spatula.  Easy peasy and looks so much better!

To check out the other Group C SRC recipes, click the linky man below!  As always, thank you for being the bestest hostess with the mostest Miss Debbi!


Kumquat & Coconut Cookies {Grain & Sugar-Free}

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Whew, two recipe contests in the same week!  I don’t know what’s come over me.  It must be all that state fair competitive spirit leaking over into my everyday baking life!  This one is for Baker Bettie’s Cookie Wars, in which she charged us with a mission to invent a cookie using at least two of the following ingredients:

  • Avocado
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Basil
  • Beer
  • Coffee
  • Cranberries
  • Cream Cheese
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Dried Chilies
  • Dr. Pepper
  • Fennel Bulb
  • Garlic
  • Goat Cheese
  • Grapefruit
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Hazelnut
  • Honey
  • Kumquat
  • Maple Syrup
  • Marshmallows
  • Mint
  • Passion Fruit
  • Peach
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Rosemary
  • Sour Cherries
  • Sweet Potato
  • Tomato

I’m really curious to see how many people are daring and creative enough to use tomato, vinegar (wait, I’ve done that and it’s fabulous! lol), beer, rosemary, etc.  I’m thinking there are going to be a few savory cookies in the mix!

But me, well, you know my affinity for sweets, so that’s what I went for.  I didn’t intend to make a wholesome cookie, it kinda just happened in the evolution of my creative process.  Here’s how it went.

My first inclination was to create a yogurt and honey spice cookie, which I knew would be a cake-like cookie because of the honey, and since I don’t like cakey cookies unless they’re part of a whoopie pie, I figured I’d also make a yogurt and honey filing for them.

Then I remembered the bag of coconut flour in my refrigerator that I won from Nutmeg Nanny’s giveaway several months ago, and thought it would work well here since the honey and yogurt would add a lot of liquid that usually isn’t in cookies, and you need more wet ingredients in any coconut flour recipe–it’s very thirsty and absorbs lots of moisture.  (I know this from a previous failure.)

I scanned the list again, trying to see if any other ingredients would pair well with the flavor of coconut and pondered over the kumquats.  I’d never had them but had seen them at the grocery store from time to time and always assumed they were miniature oranges.  I remember asking Dennis, “What is the point of these?  It would take forever to peel enough of these to make them worth eating!”  But I Googled kumquats anyway, to see if they might work for me in my cookies.

I found out that the skin is the part that is sweet and delicious, and the inside is very sour.  Most people eat them whole to savor the contrast of sweet and sour.  (I tried this after buying them, and whoo-ey, even the sweet peel wasn’t enough for me to dig the sour explosion on the inside.  But the flavor is very good-very similar to an orange.)  I also found a recipe for kumquat chocolate chip cookies that described the kumquat peels as being great after baking because they get chewy like pieces of candy.  OK, I was sold.  I had to find me some kumquats.

Find them I did, and then I went to work.  I’m pretty happy with my creation!  These cookies have an exotic flavor profile, with a semi-tropical feel.  The honey wasn’t quite enough to balance the sour yogurt and and kumquats (yes, I totally tasted the raw dough. I always do. :) ), but the stevia made them nicely sweet like any good cookie should be.  I love the kumquat flavor, it is a perfect match with the coconut.  I added the spices because a recipe I have from my friend, Marina, called “Cream Cheese Cookies” uses them, but I honestly can’t say they really pronounce themselves on the palate.  They sort of just add a layer of mystery in the background to the overall exotic flavor.

The texture is soft and moist and very tender, which isn’t my usual choice for a cookie (I’m in the crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside camp), but these are so unique that it doesn’t strike me as “wrong.”  These cookies are supposed to be different, and it’s actually a nice texture…not unlike shortbread.  The one downside is that coconut flour makes them a bit grainy and while they’re not a dry cookie, the flour makes you thirsty after eating one.

All in all, these aren’t the typical American cookie, but I think they’d be perfect with tea.  In fact, I think I’m going to enjoy a few with a hot cup right now…

Kumquat & Coconut Cookies

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

½ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ cup raw, local honey
½ cup Greek yogurt (I used nonfat)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coconut flour
5 packets NuNaturals stevia powder
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon mace
¼ teaspoon salt
½ lb. kumquats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk the butter and honey together in a small bowl until combined, then whisk in the yogurt until combined, then the eggs and vanilla. Doing it in this way emulsifies the butter so that it doesn’t harden and get clotted when you add the cold yogurt and eggs.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the coconut flour to get any clumps out, then whisk in the coriander, ginger, mace, and salt. Add the honey & yogurt mixture, and stir with a spoon until mixed. The dough will be thick and will get thicker upon standing. Set aside.

Pick off the small stems from the kumquats, then roughly chop them, removing seeds as you go. I don’t have a great knife, so I sliced each kumquat into four slices, then quartered each slice, otherwise I just would have gone nuts chopping like I do with nuts. Add the chopped kumquats into the cookie dough along with the coconut and mix well with your clean hands.

Scoop the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets with a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop. You can place them fairly close together as they will not spread. Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown around the edges.

Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Notes: coconut oil can be substituted for the butter to make these dairy-free. If you are using a different brand or form of stevia, add it in to taste. There is no gluten to toughen the cookies, so you can mix and re-mix to your heart’s content as you add ingredients to get the right balance to suit your tastes.

Dixie Pie

This is one of the pies my friend, Teri, and I made during our pie-palooza, which is why the pie pictured is so small.  We made each recipe into two small pies so each of us could have one to keep.

This pie was the most popular of the four we served before a Bible study at her house that night.  It was gone in a flash!  It’s similar to a pecan pie, but it has chocolate chips (or raisins, if you prefer) and coconut in it too, so it’s even richer.

Which brings me to the reason I’m sharing it with you now instead of back in July, when we made it.  Something this rich is what I deem a winter holiday dessert, and it certainly fits the bill!  It would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving and Christmas spreads.

*Note:  I cut this pie when it was still warm, hence the gooey runniness.  It will set up nicely if you give it time!

Dixie Pie

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 9-inch pie crust
3/4 cup chocolate chips or raisins
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup flaked coconut
Whipped cream, for serving

Bake pie crust at 450 degrees F for 10 minutes; remove to cool on a wire rack and reduce oven temperature to 350.

If using raisins, place in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth. Drain raisins. Stir Raisins, coconut, and nuts into creamed mixture ( mixture will appear curdled). Pour mixture into crust, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until set. Cool completely, ideally 6-8 hours to allow it to completely set up, before serving. Serve with whipped cream.

Recipe Source: adapted from Desserts In My Kitchen

Easy Coconut Layer Cake

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This year I told Dennis and everyone else that the only thing I wanted for my birthday was a cake made by him.  He took on the challenge enthusiastically.  Keeping his skill level in mind (the first and last cake he baked was ten years ago), I came up with this cake for him to prepare which uses a box mix and Cool Whip for the frosting.  Watch the video to see what we all thought of it!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

If the video doesn’t play for you, you can click here to watch it on Myspace.

Easy Coconut Layer Cake
This cake has a filling that soaks in while it chills in the refrigerator for three days, making it super moist!
Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 white cake mix
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup vegetable
¼ cup water
4 egg whites

¾ cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup coconut milk
½ cup shredded, sweetened coconut

16 oz Cool Whip
1-2 cups toasted coconut (sweetened, shredded)

Beat cake ingredients on low for two minutes, scraping sides of bowl.  Pour into two 8 inch round cake pans that have been greased and floured and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and sit pans on wire racks for ten minutes, then invert and allow to cool completely, about an hour.

Prepare filling while cake cools. Stir together sugar, sour cream, milk, and coconut in a bowl until well blended.

Cut each cake layer in half to make four layers total.  Place one layer on a cake plate and spread ¼ of the filling (about ½ cup) over it.  Repeat with additional layers, putting the last ¼ of the filling on the very top.  (At this point, Dennis poked straws, cut to the height of the cake, through the layers to keep them from shifting). The filling will leak out between the layers so once you’ve got them all stacked and the filling in place, spread the extra that leaked out all around the edges of the layers so that the filling will keep the sides moist and soak in there as well.

Place in a cake box or container and refrigerate for 24 hours to let the filling soak in somewhat..  Frost with Cool whip on day two and on day three, sprinkle with the toasted coconut just prior to serving.


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My friend Rhonda’s grandmother, who is a full blooded Czech, learned how to make kolaches from her own grandmother and she passed the recipe onto Rhonda, who in turn passed it on to me after I begged and pleaded for it.  As you may already know, I was born in the wrong century and am constantly longing for a butter churn and a kitchen the size of our toilet that barely fits the wood burning stove.  Since I unfortunately have a decent-sized kitchen and an electric oven, I try to keep history alive through the food I make by using old recipes.  I don’t do it often, but I enjoy cooking and baking so much more when I’m using a recipe like this one.

Kolaches are a Czech dessert and are hard to describe.  They’re not really like a doughnut, not really like a danish, definitely not a cookie.  I guess the closest I can describe them is “pastry-ish.”  The dough is sweet and buttery and they are quite delicious.  I changed the method so that the preparation time was cut by half, but they didn’t seem to suffer for it.  I still spoiled my dinner by gorging on them.


Adapted from Rhonda’s recipe that was passed down from her Grandmother

1 stick of unsalted butter
3/4 cup of milk
1 egg, room temperature
1/4 cup warm water
4+ cups of flour, divided
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 ¼ tsp (1 packet) rapid acting yeast

Melt butter in a small saucepan.  Add milk and heat just until warm—about 110 degrees.  Set aside.

Beat egg in a medium bowl, then add a small amount of the warm milk & butter mixture to temper it, mixing it in.  Add a little more and continue beating, adding all the rest of the liquid in a steady stream.  Mix well, then stir in the water and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour and the remaining ingredients.  Whisk in the liquid mixture until smooth.  Slowly add the remaining flour, stirring with a spoon until it gets too stiff and then using your hands.  When you have enough flour, the dough should be soft, but stiff enough to clean the sides of bowl.

Knead dough in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about five minutes.  Lightly spray three baking sheets with Pam.  Pull off 1-ounce pieces of dough, about the size of a walnut, and roll into balls.  Place a dozen on each cookie sheet in rows of 4×3, evenly spaced.  Spray the tops with Pam and allow to rise in a warm place for one hour or until doubled in size.

While the balls are rising, prepare filling(s).  Recipes follow.

Make a dent in each ball by pressing finger through to the cooking sheet. Leave about 1/2″ edge around outside of circle. Spoon filling into center. Brush sides of rolls with melted butter.

Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and cool on racks. Makes 3 dozen.

Apple Filling
(my recipe)
1 t cornstarch
2 T sugar
2 T brown sugar
1 T butter
1 t vanilla, lemon juice, apple juice or water
1 ½ cups chopped apples

Stir the cornstarch & sugar together in a small bowl, then add the brown sugar and stir until well blended.  Set aside.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then stir in the sugar mixture & liquid.  Stir in the apples and cook over medium heat until apples are as tender as you desire and liquid is thick.  Sprinkle on as much cinnamon as you wish and stir it in well.  You can sprinkle your choice of nuts over the kolaches with this filling if you desire.  I used pecans.

Sour Cream Coconut Filling (my recipe)
½ cup sweetened, shredded coconut
2 T sugar
2 T sour cream

Mash all ingredients together with a fork until well blended. Mixture should be thick and creamy.

Coconut Filling (Rhonda’s recipe)
3 T butter
½ cup coconut
½ cup brown sugar

Melt butter and stir in the coconut and brown sugar until well blended.

Other fillings–all from Rhonda:

Prune & Apricot Filling
1 cup dried prunes
1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 TBSP. lemon juice

Cover dried fruits with enough water to cover them. Cook on med. heat for about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain. Add remaining ingredients.

Poppy Seed Filling
1 cup ground poppy seed
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk (probably whole)
1 & 1/2 tsp. lemon juice or 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 & 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Blend all ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool before filling kolache. Will fill one dozen or more.

Prune Filling
Cook 1 pound of dried prunes until very tender, remove seeds and sweeten to taste with sugar. Add 1/8 tsp. full cloves and grated rind of 1/2 lemon, if the flavor is desired. Cook until quite thich. You may add a little vanilla if desired.

Dulce de Leche Bars

I came up with this recipe for the “mix it up” contest at the fair.  You could either use a mix for something it wasn’t intended for or make a cake with a mix and put a twist on it.  I went for the former and used a cake mix for the base of these indulgent treats.  Although they didn’t place, the judges wrote “Very good–wonderful flavor!” in the notes on my eval sheet and everyone I’ve served them to agrees.  My favorite thing about them is that you can whip them up and have them in the oven in less than 10 minutes.  Perfect for us busy people!

Dulce de Leche Bars

1 (18.25 oz) Golden Butter Recipe cake mix
1 egg
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 (13.4 oz) can Nestle Dulce de Leche (or 1 cup homemade)
1 cup pecan pieces
½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
1cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup Heath candy baking bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 pan.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg & butter.  Beat on medium speed until well mixed.  Shape the dough into a ball and, using your hands, press it out into the bottom of the prepared pan until it is in an even layer & reaches the edges.

Spread the dulce de leche over the cake mix layer, all the way to the edges.  Sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the top, layering half of each and then repeating, and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove from oven and give it a few hard taps against a heat resistant surface to settle any puffiness.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

Coconut Poke Cake

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I love recipes that start with a cake mix.  I guess that’s because I love cake, love the ease of using a cake mix, and love adding anything to it that makes it seem more home made.  This one really is over-the-top indulgent but sooooo good.  Dennis is taking the leftovers (1 slice…) to work tomorrow so I’m not tempted to polish it off!

I only had an 8 oz tub of Cool Whip on hand this time, that’s why the “frosting” layer is so thin.

Coconut Poke Cake

1 (18.25 oz.) package white cake mix
1 (14 oz.) can cream of coconut (NOT coconut milk)
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (16 oz.) package frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (8 oz.) package flaked coconut

Prepare and bake white cake mix in a 9″x13″ pan according to package directions.

While it is baking, toast the coconut in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned.  Set aside. Mix the cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk together in a bowl and set aside.

Remove cake from oven and immediately (yes, while it’s still hot–very important!) poke holes all over the top of the cake.  Pour the cream of coconut mixture over the hot cake–it will soak in through the holes.

Let cake cool completely,then frost with the whipped topping and top with the toasted coconut. Keep cake refrigerated.

Veronica’s notes: The only cream of coconut I’ve found has enough to make two recipes.  Instead of saving half for later (I saved the last half for a couple months in the fridge–it apparently lasts forever), next time I will just omit the sweetened condensed milk and use all the cream of coconut. Cream of coconut is the same consistency & is just as sweet as sweetened condensed milk but has a coconut flavor, so I think this would have the same result except with a slightly more coconutty flavor!

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