Category Archives: coconut

Chocolate Macaroon Tart

Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}I had no intention of making a third (or fourth?) Easter dessert, but then I discovered macaroon crust on Pinterest and, well, here we are talking about a Chocolate Macaroon Tart.Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}So, what’s so special about a macaroon crust? For one, it’s basically a big chewy, crisp-edged coconut macaroon cookie that you can bake and fill with whatever no-bake filling you like.Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}There is no “for two.” It’s that simple.Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}Now, there are many ways to make a macaroon crust. Some have flour, some contain egg whites. I looked at a few options before realizing that it would probably work with just two ingredients: sweetened flaked coconut and sweetened condensed milk.

Oh, and salt. Can’t forget the salt.Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}I folded the ingredients together and pressed the mixture into a heavily-greased springform or tart pan.*

*I think the only piece of baking equipment that I don’t have is a tart pan, which is probably why there have not been many tarts on here. Feel free to use whatever you have.Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}Half an hour later, it was toasty at the edges and light-golden in the center.Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}I filled it with chocolate ganache and let it set up in the fridge before slicing.Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}(I also gave it a few swipes with the back of a hot spoon for some rustic glossiness and because I am a control freak.)Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}Who knew five Ingredients and no grains could make something this irresistible?! Silky chocolate ganache filling + toasty coconut crust 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}It’s like eating a chocolate-coconut candy bar…but classier because it’s a tart. We all know how much classiness matters when you’re sneaking cold wedges of Chocolate Macaroon Tart out of the fridge after your bedtime. Not that I’ve ever done that. Twice. On the same night.Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}Happy Easter to those celebrating! Chag sameach to those observing Passover! And if you’re not celebrating/observing anything, have a great weekend anyway.

Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}
makes one 9- or 10-inch tart, about 12 servings

Macaroon Crust:
1 14-ounce package sweetened flaked coconut
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Ganache Filling:
12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Heavily grease a 9- or 10- inch tart pan or springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again.

Make the crust. Combine sweetened flaked coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold together until combined. It will be thick.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Lightly grease your hands before pressing mixture onto the bottom and up the sides. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until edges are browned and center is turning pale golden. Remove to a rack and cool completely.

Make ganache filling. Place chopped chocolate in a large measuring cup or heatproof mixing bowl. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is steaming and bubbles are forming at the edge.

Pour warm cream over chopped chocolate. Do not stir. Cover bowl with a lid or aluminum foil for 5 minutes. Remove lid/foil. Use a fork to stir until chocolate and cream are combined and smooth. Pour into crust. Tap a few times to release air bubbles. Let tart sit at room temperature until filling is set (a couple of hours), or chill uncovered in the refrigerator. Remove tart from the fridge at least 15-20 minutes before running a thin, flexible knife around the edge and releasing from the pan.

Slice into thin wedges and serve. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator.Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}Chocolate Macaroon Tart {Five Ingredients, Grain-Free}

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Easter Basket Thumbprints

Easter Basket ThumbprintsIf you’re looking for something easy and adorable to contribute to this year’s Easter desserts spread, your search is over.Easter Basket ThumbprintsEaster Basket Thumbprints are just as festive as my Easter Egg Hunt Cake and only 1/4 of the work! Who can resist their pastel cuteness?! Not this lady.Easter Basket ThumbprintsThis recipe is simply an Eastered-up take on the Holiday Icing Thumbprints I posted last Christmas. They are meant to resemble little two-bite Easter baskets 🙂 Easter Basket ThumbprintsThey are simple to make, too. I don’t have children, but I definitely would have made these with my older kids back in my nanny days.Easter Basket ThumbprintsEaster Basket ThumbprintsEaster Basket ThumbprintsThe sugar cookie dough bases are rolled in pastel sparkling sugar for color and texture (crispy edges!) before baking.Easter Basket ThumbprintsThen, immediately after baking, a well is pressed into the center of each cookie. These are the “thumbprints,” even though they’re made with the back of a 1/2 teaspoon. They’re filled with green icing…Easter Basket ThumbprintsEaster Basket Thumbprintsand topped with some coconut “Easter grass.”Easter Basket ThumbprintsEaster Basket ThumbprintsDot on a little extra icing and finish your cookies with a couple of Easter egg candies. I went with these candy-coated malted milk balls. Let’s not discuss how many I ate during this little photoshoot.Easter Basket ThumbprintsOr how many of these cheerful Easter Basket Thumbprints I ate in the days that followed.Easter Basket ThumbprintsNo regrets.Easter Basket Thumbprints

Easter Basket Thumbprints
makes about 3.5 dozen cookies

Cookie Dough:
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 oz (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)

For Sugar Coating:
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1-2 drops each pink, blue, and yellow food colorings (liquid or gel)

Coconut:
1 cup flaked coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
3-5 drops green food coloring (preferably liquid)

Icing & Garnish:
1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar, divided
2-3 tablespoons (6-9 teaspoons) milk
2-3 drops green food coloring (liquid or gel)
1 package Easter egg candies (I like Whoppers Mini Robin Eggs)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cream in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg, vanilla, and peppermint extract. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Make the sugar coating. Place 1/4 cup granulated sugar in each of 3 small bowls. Add 1 drop food coloring to each bowl (I used pink, blue, and yellow) and use a fork to stir in the color. If you use gel coloring, you may need a drop of water to ease the color onto the sugar. Add another drop of food coloring, if needed to reach desired color.

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll each into a ball. Roll balls in colored sugar before placing at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Use the back of a very small spoon (like a 1/2 teaspoon) to slowly press a well into each dough ball. They may crack a bit—this is okay.

Bake cookies 12-13 minutes. Cookies are done when puffed and no longer raw-looking. When you remove the cookies from the oven, press the back of the small spoon into the centers again. Let cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes before carefully removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, coating, and baking process with all remaining dough, letting the cookie sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Dye the coconut. Place flaked coconut in a small bowl and add 3 drops green food coloring. Use a fork (or your fingers) to distribute the dye evenly. Add another drop or 2 of coloring, as needed to achieve desired color.

Make the icing. Place confectioners sugar in a small bowl. Stir 2 tablespoons (6 teaspoons) of milk into each bowl. Add 2-3 drops green food coloring and whisk with a fork until combined. Add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon until icing is very thick, but pourable.

Transfer icing to a piping bag (or ziptop sandwich bag), twist it tight and snip off a very small corner. Fill wells in cookies as desired. Sprinkle/press on coconut.

Add a drop of icing to each cookie to adhere Easter egg candies.

Icing will set over time. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. Place wax paper between layers for easiest storage.Easter Basket Thumbprints Easter Basket Thumbprints

Coconut Cluster Brownies

Coconut Cluster BrowniesWhen I moved in with my roommate, I thought it would be a short-term deal. We were friendly, but didn’t know each other particularly well, and I honestly didn’t think we’d get along in close quarters—the original plan was that I’d live here for six months or so while I recovered from the end of a relationship.Coconut Cluster BrowniesFlash forward three years and I’m still here, living with the same guy. Turns out that an obsessive baker who mostly wears pajamas and a neat freak can, in fact, live in peace. And make each other laugh really hard.Coconut Cluster BrowniesBefore I get to the point and why this is relevant to Coconut Cluster Brownies, I have to say that this is not some sort of romantic announcement. Hahahahahaha absolutely not.Coconut Cluster BrowniesBut let me confuse you further by telling you that he got me a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t a romantic gesture. We get each other things all the time—I sometimes make Super Sprinkle Sugar Cookies just because I know he likes them and I regularly find new jars of peanut butter on my baking bench because he sees them on sale and knows I’ll put them to use. In the case of the Valentine’s candy, we both happen to have a thing for cheap drugstore chocolate. High brow, we are not.Coconut Cluster BrowniesThe small Whitman’s Sampler that I received only had a few pieces in it, and I immediately determined the order in which I would eat them, one at a time, over the next few days. The caramel went first, followed by the buttercream and the ganache. The last one, the candy that I was the least excited about, was the Coconut Cluster. It was shaped like a peanut butter cup, but instead of being a filling enrobed in chocolate, it was a block of milk chocolate speckled with bits of coconut. As I went to eat it so I could toss the heart-shaped box, I didn’t expect much, but then I popped it into my mouth and suddenly became obsessed with putting this rich, simple chocolate-coconut combination on a brownie. And so, a month later, I did.Coconut Cluster BrowniesCoconut Cluster BrowniesCoconut Cluster BrowniesThese Coconut Cluster Brownies are nothing more than my favorite Cocoa Brownies topped with a layer of milk chocolate coconut candy. The brownie layer is rich and chewy with a touch of salt, while the candy layer is chocolaty, coconutty and slightly soft from the addition of a few tablespoons of butter. They’re great at room temperature, but if you chill the brownies, the candy gets a little on the snappy side. This is heaven for a texture freak like me.Coconut Cluster BrowniesIf you love chocolate, coconut, and brownies like I do, you will want to hoard all of these for yourself…Coconut Cluster Brownies…but maybe set one or two or four aside for your friend who puts up with your late night baking and knows you well enough to know how you feel about sale-priced peanut butter and cheap chocolate. That’s a good sort of person to have around.Coconut Cluster Brownies

Coconut Cluster Brownies
brownie recipe adapted from Alice Medrich
makes about 16 brownies

Cocoa Brownies:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
2 large eggs, cold
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Topping:
6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 325F. Butter the inside of an 8- or 9-inch square pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on all sides, and butter again. Set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan or the microwave. Stir butter, sugars, and cocoa together in a large mixing bowl. Let mixture cool for a couple of minutes. Add the eggs one-by-one, mixing until they are completely incorporated. Stir in vanilla extract. Fold in flour and salt just until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap the full pan on the counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a rack.

In a double boiler (or in 30-second increments in the microwave), melt chocolate and butter together. Fold in coconut. Mixture will be thick and heavily textured. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to spread mixture over brownies. Score chocolate with a knife for easier slicing. Top with additional coconut, if desired. Chill full pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Use parchment overhang to remove brownies to a cutting board and slice along score-lines. Serve, or refrigerate in an airtight container, layering brownies with wax paper to prevent sticking. Brownies will keep well for 4-5 days.Coconut Cluster BrowniesCoconut Cluster Brownies

Coconut Custard Pie

Coconut Custard PieIf you’re keeping count, this is my third pie in a row. What can I say? It’s November! And making pie is fun! #sorrynotsorry
Coconut Custard PieToday’s recipe is a new favorite of mine: Coconut Custard Pie! It’s basically exactly what it sounds like—shredded coconut suspended in a soft vanilla custard, all wrapped up in golden brown crust! If you love coconut, this is the pie for you!*

*Also, this one.Coconut Custard PieI won’t lie to you—this pie is a little bit of a diva. For one, the crust has to be partially blind-baked (aka baked without filling). It’s not a difficult process, but it’s fussy.Coconut Custard PieCoconut Custard PieTo put it briefly: roll the dough, put it in a pie plate, crimp it, freeze it, dock it with a fork, line it with foil (2 sheets!), fill it with pie weights/dried beans/rice/seeds/a combination, freeze again, bake just until set (but not anywhere near done), remove pie weights, fill, bake again. WHEW.Coconut Custard PieCoconut Custard PieCoconut Custard Pie
Coconut Custard PieAgain, not difficult, just fussy. Don’t be tempted to skip this step though, unless you are into soft, undercooked bottom crust. I promise that I wouldn’t insist on par-baking if it were not absolutely necessary for stellar Coconut Custard Pie.Coconut Custard PieCoconut Custard PieAnd make no mistake, this pie is stellar. The filling is an easy whisk-and-pour situation, and once it’s baked and cooled, it becomes soft, rich, toasty coconut magic.Coconut Custard PieAdd a little whipped cream, and you’ve got the perfect way to end your Thanksgiving dinner.Coconut Custard Pie
Looking for more pie? Check out my Maple Pecan, Cranberry Crumb, and Silky Smooth Sweet Potato Pies!

Coconut Custard Pie
makes 1 9-inch pie

1/2 recipe Cream Cheese Pie Dough or other good crust
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup milk (preferably whole)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

For serving (optional):
whipped cream

On a floured surface, roll out pie dough to a 12″ diameter. Fit into a deep 9-inch pie plate and trim the overhang to 1/2-inch. Crimp the edges and freeze for 15 minutes.

Place an oven rack in the lowest position, leaving a lot of headroom above. Preheat oven to 375F.

Lightly grease a sheet of foil. Remove pie crust from the freezer. Prick the bottom several times with the tines of a fork. Line frozen crust with greased foil (greased side down). Top it with another sheet of foil going in the opposite direction, so that all the crust is covered. Gently curl the foil down to loosely tent the crimp. Fill the center with pie weights (or dried beans, rice, seeds). Freeze 10 minutes.

Place the prepared pie crust on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until pie crust has “set,” but is far from done. Use foil to lift out pie weights. Let par-baked crust rest in its pan (and still on the baking sheet) on a rack while you prepare the filling.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is an even light yellow. Whisking continuously, add melted butter. Add dry ingredients one tablespoon at a time, whisking until combined. Whisk in milk and vanilla.

Scatter coconut over the bottom of the par-baked crust. Pour custard over the top. Use a long sheet of foil (~5 feet) to loosely wrap the pie.

Carefully move the pie (still on the baking sheet) to the oven. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350F and bake for another 25 minutes. Carefully remove foil wrap. Bake pie for another 15-25 minutes, or until the top is light golden, the edges are puffed, and the center is still a little jiggly (not soupy). Turn off oven and crack the door open. Let the pie sit in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove pie to a rack to cool completely.

Coconut Custard Pie may be served at room temperature or cold with whipped cream, if desired.

Leftover pie will keep covered at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.Coconut Custard PieCoconut Custard PieCoconut Custard Pie

Coconut Pineapple Cake

Coconut Pineapple CakeAbout two years ago, an acquaintance called and asked me to make a Coconut Pineapple Cake for his birthday party.Coconut Pineapple Cake
In retrospect, I should have asked more questions. In our brief phone call, there was no mention of whether it should be layered or in a bundt or flipped upside down, just that it should be full of tropical flavor and generally resemble a cake.Coconut Pineapple Cake
Instead of doing the logical thing and calling to clarify, I just tried to channel my grandmother and go with my gut.Coconut Pineapple CakeCoconut Pineapple Cake
My gut said to flavor my favorite vanilla cake with coconut, layer it with pineapple filling, coat it in coconut buttercream, and decorate the crap out of it with sweetened flaked coconut. And so I did.Coconut Pineapple Cake
To this day, I have no idea if this is what my acquaintance had in mind when he made his initial order. Not a clue.Coconut Pineapple Cake
What I do know, though, is that he loved it.Coconut Pineapple Cake
I can say that with confidence because he has consistently ordered a Coconut Pineapple Cake every two months since, just because he has a craving.Coconut Pineapple Cake
That may sound a little ridiculous—ordering a whole layer cake for yourself just to fulfill a craving—but if you try this cake, it might suddenly seem very logical.Coconut Pineapple Cake

Coconut Pineapple Cake
makes 1 9-inch round layer cake

Cake Batter:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons coconut extract
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

Pineapple Filling:
16 ounces canned crushed pineapple in juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Cake layers and pineapple filling may be made up to a day in advance.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla and coconut extracts. Add dry ingredients and buttermilk in two alternating installments, combining completely after each addition.

Divide batter among prepared pans. Tap pans on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake cakes 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cake layers cool in the pans for fifteen minutes before inverting onto a rack to cool completely.

Make pineapple filling. Combine crushed pineapple in juice, sugar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until juices are clear and mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Let cool to room temperature, or place in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Slice each cake layer in half equatorially (this is called torteing). Place one half-layer on a serving plate and top with about 2/3 cup of pineapple filling. Repeat layering until you have 4 thin layers of cake and 3 layers of pineapple filling. Tent cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Mix in confectioner’s sugar and salt, followed by vanilla and coconut extracts. Add heavy cream and beat frosting for one minute, or until fluffy. Use an offset knife to frost cake. Press sweetened flaked coconut onto the frosted surface of the cake.

Serve immediately. Leftover cake will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Coconut Pineapple Cake