Almond Joy Milkshakes

Almond Joy Milkshakes

It’s been really hot these past few days.

How hot you ask?

HELLA hot.

Darn too hot to cook or even warm up food. So instead, I opted to make milkshakes for dinner the other night.

Almond Joy Milkshakes

I rummaged through the freezer and found some chocolate and coconut ice creams which I threw in the blender with some other goodies. And some how, I inadvertently made the most delicious milkshake with the flavors of Almond Joy. ‘Cause….

Sometimes you feel like a nut…
Sometimes you don’t…..

It was decadently yummy and helped keep me cool during the .5 seconds it took me to inhale the whole thing.

I love it when I make delish things by accidents.

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Almond Joy Milkshakes
Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 heaping scoop chocolate ice cream
1 heaping scoop coconut ice cream
½ cup almond milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon coconut extract
1 ounce creme de cacao (optional)
2 tablespoons toasted coconut flakes
1 teaspoon toasted almond slices
1 teaspoon cacao nibs or chocolate chunks

In a blender, add both ice creams, almond milk, both extracts, creme de cacao (if using) and 1½ tablespoons coconut flakes. Blend until the shake is smooth and frothy. Pour the contents into a glass and sprinkle the top with the remaining coconut flakes, almond slices and cacao nibs (or chocolate).

Enjoy!

 

 

Toasted Coconut Crème Brûlée

Toasted Coconut Creme Brulee2

Happy Hump Day Folks!

Now, if you’re anything like me, it’s been waaaaaaay too long since you’ve had dessert. Something sweet, a bit decadent, and a splash of sinful…..

So head on our over to our friends at Safest Choice® Eggs where I share my latest post and recipe for Toasted Coconut Crème Brûlée because it’s never too early for a sweet treat!

Samoa Cupcakes…and those savvy Girl Scouts

Samoa Cupcakes

When it comes to cookies, I’ve always believed that the Girl Scouts could hustle. I mean, c’mon now. Adorable little girls, pleading for some philanthropic cause while slinging delicious cookies. A no brainer!

And every year, you could always count me in for at least a box or two of those delectable bites. But alas, two years ago, my fate was sealed.

Yup. My niece, Maya, had joined the Scouts. I was in trouble.

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Look at that face! Who could say “no“?

Although, more accurately, I think she started as a “Daisy”—a neophyte Girl Scout, I think. Thus my 1-2 boxes of cookies has now grown to 6, 7, 8….. Ugh–you get my drift.

Samoa Cupcakes

But how can you really blame me? I’m a sucker for my little buggers and when they’ve got cookies, I’ve got no chance.

The cookies are delicious on their own and even frozen. But every so now and then, I try to rework the beloved Girl Scout cookie into a cupcake like my Tagalong Cupcakes (a cookie on the bottom and top), Thin Mint-Chocolate Cupcakes (cookies in the batter and on top), and finally these Samoa Cupcakes.

Samoa Cupcakes

These cuppies are my tribute to the Samoa Cookie (and Maya)—a chocolate cupcake topped with a caramel cream cheese frosting, rolled in toasted coconut flakes, topped with a chocolate drizzle and half a Samoa cookie. Yup…I went there.

So friends, as long as Maya is a Scout, you can count on an annual Girl Scout themed cuppie. With that said, anyone else having flashbacks of Shelley Long in Troop Beverly Hills?

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Samoa Cupcakes
Makes approximately 2 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcake Batter
5 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup strongly brewed hot coffee
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 heaping tablespoons caramel sauce
4-5 cups sifted confectioner sugar (varies due to preferred frosting consistency)

Toppings
1½ cups toasted coconut flakes
¼ cup melted chocolate
12 Samoa® Cookies, sliced in half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper liners in muffin pans.

Place finely chopped chocolate in a bowl and pour hot coffee over it. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 1-2 minutes. Remove plastic and stir until smooth.

Sift together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. In electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs until it becomes pale yellow. Beat in oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and slowly incorporate the melted chocolate. In increments, add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Pour batter into the lined cups–about 3/4 way. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add caramel sauce and then gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar, ¼ cup at a time. Continue adding sugar until desire consistency.

Fill a pastry bag and pipe frosting on top of cooled cupcakes. Roll the tops of the cupcakes in the toasted coconut flakes. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the tops and then garnish with ½ a Samoa® cookie. Enjoy!

Coconut Crunch French Toast with Guava Syrup

Coconut Crunch French Toast with Guava Syrup

After our glorious day at King’s Hawaiian, the wonderful KH ‘Ohana sent us home with a huge box of goodies to fill our kitchen and tummies. ONO-licious!!!

I couldn’t wait to try out different recipes with the delicious products and I started off with an island inspired French Toast.

Coconut Crunch French Toast with Guava Syrup

While daydreaming about warm, tropical beaches I whipped up a batch of French Toast utilizing island based ingredients– coconut, guava, and of course– King’s Hawaiian Bread.

The slightly sweetened bread soaks up the perfect amount of custard base to yield a rich and creamy center. I also chose to coat the toast with Coconut Crunch pieces but if you can’t find it, non-toasted coconut flakes will also work well to create a wonderful texture.

Coconut Crunch French Toast with Guava Syrup

And after all this island goodness, I couldn’t bear the thought of settling for maple syrup. Lucky for me I had some guava puree on hand and was able to make a quick syrup. It was PERFECT!!!

Perhaps we all can’t be whisked away to some beautiful tropical paradise at any given moment but at least our tummies can be transported there with some Coconut Crunch French Toast and Guava Syrup.

Much Alohas to you all!

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Coconut Crunch French Toast with Guava Syrup
Serves 2

Ingredients:

Guava Syrup
1 Cup Guava Puree
1 Cup Water
1 Tablespoon Palm Sugar

French Toast
2 Large Eggs
1 Cup Milk
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
½ Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2-3 Pinches Ground Nutmeg
4 Slices Kings Hawaiian Sweet Bread, about 1 inch thickness (Brioche can be substituted)
1 Cup Coconut Crunch Pieces (Coconut flakes can be substituted)
Confectioners’ Sugar for dusting
Vegetable Oil
Butter

Prepare the Guava Syrup by adding all the syrup ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a light boil, stirring frequently. Once at a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook down until the syrup is thickened and reduced by half. Remove from heat and warm prior to serving.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, heavy cream and sugar together. Add in the vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and whisk until the sugar has dissolved and all items have combined. Pour the Coconut Crunch pieces into a shallow dish.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-low heat. Swirl the skillet to evenly coat the bottom. While the skillet is heating, dip the slices of bread into the egg mixture, coating each side. Lightly shake off the excess liquids and coat each side of bread with the Coconut Crunch pieces– gently pressing the coconut into the bread. Once coated, slide the bread into the heated skillet. This may need to be done in batches depending on your skillet size. Cook each side of the French Toast for 3-4 minutes until golden brown.

Plate the French Toast and dust lightly with confectioner’s sugar. Serve immediately with the warmed Guava Syrup.

Cocktail Buns….Take 1

Cocktail Buns

 

For the past few years, I’ve been pretty obsessed with Cocktail Buns– a Chinese bread/pastry filled with a sweet and sugary coconut filling. I really blame it all on TC Pastry located in Daly City, California. Hands down, they have the BEST Cocktail Buns–EVER! Somehow, their rendition is always extra fluffy, extra buttery, and just extra GOOD. And at 60 cents a pop, you just can’t beat it!

Sadly, now that I’m no longer in the Bay Area, I miss my regular fix of Cocktail Buns and needed to take matters into my own hands. My sister recommended trying out the Corner Cafe’s version which used a good amount of milk powder in the recipe. What further intrigued me was the use of a “water roux” in the bread dough.

Like most yeast products, this recipe did take some time to come together and required a few proofings. The end results produced an OK product for me. Right out of the oven, the bread was pretty flavorful and had a nice texture. However, I found the filling to be too dry and not sweet enough. Perhaps next time I’ll add a tablespoon of condensed milk to assist with the moisture.

Sadly, my Cocktails Buns paled in comparison to TC Pastry…..they are after all, “dee best”. But until I can make a visit to the Bay again, I’ll just need to go back to the drawing board. :)

 

Cocktail Buns

 

So, if you’re in the area, you MUST go to TC Pastry and pick up a dozen or so Cocktail Buns. They also have some delicious and affordable Dim Sum. Ugh…I’ll be so jealous. :)

TC Pastry
67 Saint Francis Square
Daly City, California 94015
(650) 755-8612
Hours: Mon, Wed-Sun 8:30 am – 7:00 pm

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Cocktail Buns
From Corner Cafe

Ingredients:

Cocktail Buns:
1/2 portion Japanese-Style Sweet Bun Dough
1/2 egg, lightly beaten for eggwash
White sesame seeds

Cocktail Bun Filling:
100g softened butter
45g plain flour, sifted
50g milk powder, sifted
45g caster sugar, sifted
20g desiccated coconut

Mexican Topping:
30g softened butter
10g caster sugar, sifted
20g plain flour, sifted

Japanese-Style Sweet Bun Dough:
375g bread flour
100g plain flour
35g milk powder
75g caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 sachet (7g or 2 1/2 tsp) instant dry yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
150ml (approx.) lukewarm water, adjust as necessary
40g butter, cubed

Water-Roux Paste:
25g (just under 2 tbsp) bread flour
125ml (1/2 cup) water

Prepare the Water Roux. Mix flour and water in a small saucepan. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring continuously until it reaches 65ºC. It should have thickened to a paste at this stage, that is when you stir you can see the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat, place a cling film over the paste and leave until lukewarm, or room temperature, before using. (Alternatively if you don’t have a thermometer, cook as before until it starts to thicken, then continue to cook for about 1 more minute before removing from heat.) This water roux can be kept in an airtight container after cooling in the refrigerator for 1 day if not used immediately. However DO NOT USE if it turns grey in colour, that means it has gone bad.

For the Bun Dough: Sift bread flour, plain flour, milk powder, caster sugar and salt onto the working surface. Add instant dry yeast and mix well. Form the flour mixture into a well. Add lightly beaten egg and lukewarm water roux and mix in. Gradually add just enough lukewarm water to form into a slightly sticky, soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. During hand kneading, the dough also needs to be thrown onto the working surface once every few minutes between kneading to improve the dough structure. (I usually just pick up the dough to about head-high and throw it down onto the working surface 10 to 20 times every few minutes between kneading.)

Knead in butter until incorporated. (In many cookbooks, they mentioned that the dough at this stage should be able to be pulled and stretched into membrane, but it’s hard to achieve with hand kneading. I usually stop kneading when the dough sticks to the work surface and stretches like chewing gum when pulled!) Form the dough into a round ball and let it rise until double in size in a large greased bowl, cover with cling film (should take about 1 hour in warm weather, longer in winter months). Optimum room temperature for this first prove is 28°C with a humidity of 75%. To test if the dough has risen properly, dip a finger into bread or plain flour and poke down into the centre of the dough as far as your finger will go and pull out again – the hole should remain if it is ready. If the dough springs back, then it is not ready, continue to prove further.

Punch down, knead briefly and form into a ball shape. Then divide into 16 equal portions. The easiest way is to first divide equally into 4 larger portions first, then divide each of these again into quarters each. Form each into balls and let rest for 10 minutes.

Prepare the Cocktail Bun Filling: Mix everything together. Divide into 8 equal portions.

Prepare the Mexican Topping: Cream softened butter and sugar until pale. Fold in flour. Transfer into a small freezer/snack bag with a tiny cut at one corner for piping (or use a piping bag fixed with a 1/2cm or smaller round nozzle).

Assemble. Take one of the 8 small divided balls and roll out with a rolling pin into a flat circle. Place one portion of the Cocktail Bun Filling in the centre of dough circle. Gather the outer edges of the dough circle and wrap up the filling. Pinch the edges together to seal in the filling. Roll the sealed dough with your palm on the work surface lightly up and down to shape the dough into a cylindrical shape. Repeat with the other 7 dough balls. Let rise, lightly covered, until double in size on a lightly greased tray. When ready, brush with eggwash. Then sprinkle a little sesame seeds onto the buns and pipe 2 lines of the Mexican Topping on top of each bun. Bake in preheated 190°C oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Coconut Macarons with White Chocolate-Mango Ganache

Coconut Macarons with White Chocolate-Mango Ganache

Coconut again?! Yup. This time in Macaron form. What can I say, I’m a coco-nutty kind of gal.

I learned my lessons from our first Parisian Macarons experience and paid heed to do the following:

  • Use a scale to measure the weight of ingredients;
  • Age the egg whites;
  • Let the shells “harden” for at least 30 minutes before baking;

Initially I had wanted to fill the Coconut Shells with a Passion Fruit-flavor filling but was unsuccessful in finding a pure concentrate or nectar flavoring agent. But since I had Mango extract on hand, I figured it would be a nice tropical “oompf” for the white chocolate ganache filling. Unfortunately it didn’t bring out as much of the mango flavor as I had hoped—though the end result was still quite tasty. Next time, I’m taking my sister’s advice and use a pineapple filling. Coconut Shells + Pineapple Filling = Piña Colada Macarons. And that, dear friends, is a Nguyen-Win Situation at its best :)


Coconut Macarons
Piped shells “aging” for 45 minutes. I only had almond meal that had almonds ground with their skins in tact—thus the pretty speckled pattern.


Coconut Macarons
Les pieds des Macarons!!!! Oh YES– the feet :)

I have to admit that I did exhale a sigh a relief after making these little treats. Thank goodness that it wasn’t just beginner’s luck last time! But on the next try, I think I’m going Caramel flavored.

So until my next kitchen adventure Mes Amis, a tout le heure!


Coconut Macarons with White Chocolate-Mango Ganache

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Coconut Macarons with White Chocolate-Mango Ganache

Ingredients:

Macarons Shells:
110 Grams Almond Meal
180 Grams Confectioners’ Sugar
25 Grams Ground Desiccated Coconut
100 Grams Egg Whites, aged at room temperature for 24 hours
50 Grams Granulated Sugar

White Chocolate-Mango Ganache
8 Ounces White Chocolate, finely chopped
4 Ounces Heavy Cream
1 Teaspoon Pure Mango Extract
1-2 Drops Yellow Food Coloring (optional)

Grind almond meal, desiccated coconuts, and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor to remove any lumps. Sift mixture into another bowl and set aside.

In a mixing stand, whisk egg whites until frothy. Slowly add granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks are formed. Carefully begin incorporating dry mixture into the meringue—gently folding until all items have been integrated.

Using a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, pipe small rounds of the mixture onto Silpat lined baking sheets. Rounds should be about 1½ inches in diameter. Once baking sheets are filled, tap the sheet carefully but firmly on the counter to remove any possible air pockets. Let baking sheets sit on the counter for 45 minutes to harden the outer shell before baking.

Bake at 300 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Transfer the pans to cooling rack and cool completely before removing shells.

In a saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat and strain the hot cream through a fine-meshed sieve directly into the bowl of the chopped chocolate. Let the mixture sit 1 to 2 minutes without stirring, and then gently whisk until the chocolate is entirely melted. Stir in the mango extract and food coloring. Cover with plastic wrap and chill about 20 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Transfer ganache to a piping bag and fill the macaron shells.

 

Coconut Macarons with White Chocolate-Mango Ganache

Toasted Coconut Gelato

Second Coconut recipe in one week?! Yes, I admit it…..I have a Coconut addiction.

In an attempt to keep up my goal of utilizing my ice cream maker throughout summer, I dabbled with a recipe to bring one of my favorite flavors into gelato form. Loosely basing it off my Mint Chip Gelato adventure, I took toasted coconut, coconut milk, and coconut extract to make this easy and delish gelato. And because of the three forms of coconut that I employed, the end result was truly packed full of coconut flavor.

For a little experiment, I took half of the gelato from the ice cream maker and swirled it with caramel and left the other half as is. I had hoped that the caramel would provide a luscious surprise in each bite but unfortunately the flavor was not able to hold its own. My sister later told me that Ben & Jerry’s had said on an episode of Unwrapped that Caramel Ice Cream was challenging because if you don’t make the caramel thick enough, it blends too much into the rest of the ice cream. Not going to lie—that made me feel better :)

Even though the caramel spin wasn’t as successful, the Toasted Coconut Gelato by itself was delicious and I’ll definitely make it again. Perhaps next time with the addition of fresh young coconut strips? Delish!

Until next time Friends, “Coconut Addict” signing off!

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Toasted Coconut Gelato

Ingredients:

2 Cups plus 3 Tablespoons Whole Milk
1¾ Cups Coconut Milk (I prefer this brand)
1 Cup loosely packed Toasted Unsweetened Coconut Flakes, plus additional for garnish
½ Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Coconut Extract
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Tablespoons Cornstarch
Pinch salt

In a heavy sauce pot, add 2 cups of milk, coconut milk, sugar, and salt. Bring to a low boil on medium low heat. Be careful not to scorch. With the remaining milk, add corn starch to make a slurry. When milk and coconut milk come to a boil, add the slurry and extracts. Cook on low and whisk often so that clumps do not form. The mixture is cooked when you can run a line on the back of a spoon without the mixture coming back together.  Cool the mixture to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 12 hours.

Add the mixture to your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions. When half the time has elapsed, slowly add the toasted coconut allowing it to be thoroughly incorporated in the mixture.

Transfer to a storage container and freeze until desired firmness. Before serving, allow the gelato to sit on your counter for a few minutes for a better texture and because its easier to scoop. Serve with a sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes.

ENJOY!