Recipes

Coconut Macaroons

This delicious recipe is a simple crowd pleaser. Even people who say, “Oh…I don’t like coconut…” fall for these! I should know, I was one of those people! And, if you’re a coconut lover you’ll be in heaven!


Ingredients:

4 egg whites

1 cup of granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup cake flour

4 cups coconut flakes (I buy sweetened)


Instructions:

1. Add about 2 cups of water to your double boiler. Heat the water on medium high. If you don’t have one, you can simply place a stainless steel bowl over a small pot. Do be careful as the bowl will get hot.

2. Add the egg whites to the bowl of the double boiler or the stainless steel bowl along with the sugar and the salt. Place it over the simmering water. Whisk the mixture until it is smooth and creamy. At the moment the egg and sugar mixture is creamy and smooth and just warm to the touch, remove it from the top of the boiler.

3. Add the vanilla, cake flour, and the coconut flakes and stir to combine well.

4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night or at least for 4 hours.

5. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using two large spoons, scoop about 1 Tbsp of the mixture with one spoon and with the other spoon slide it on to the parchment paper, forming a little ball as you go. You should be able to fit 12 mounds the cookie sheet. Do not crowd them; leave about 1-2 inches in between each one.

6. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the tops start turning golden. I like to start checking on them at around 10 minutes, watching closely so they don’t burn. Once done, remove them from the oven and transfer each macaroon onto a cooling rack. Repeat for the next batch if you don’t have an extra cookie sheet.

Finally, get creative! I’ve made these dipped in chocolate, added chopped almonds, and added lemon zest. Each alteration has been delicious!



Key Lime Pie

If you’re from Florida or have visited Florida, chances are you’ve had our key lime pie. I say “our” key lime pie because Floridians swear it originated here. The history is actually a bit of a controversy.  Floridians say it’s from Key West but some believe it originated in NYC at the Borden Condensed Milk Co.  According to an article from Southern Living, it was originally made with lemons, not key limes.  If you would like to read the article, follow this link: https://www.southernliving.com/news/key-lime-pie-history 

I’ve been having key lime pie as long as I can remember.  I have tried several recipes and always found that I preferred the crust of one and the filling of another, etc.  So, I decided to test mixing my favorites and the results did not disappoint.  I buy Nabisco Honey Graham Crackers brand specifically because they have “stay fresh” packs that hold 8 crackers each.  Plus the honey in the cracker means you don’t have to add too much sugar.  Also, the left overs in the box won’t go stale right away since they are individually packaged. The crust turns out crispy and thick, not too buttery but definitely toasty, with a deep golden color.  As for the filling, it is sweet but not too sweet that you can’t appreciate the tartness of the limes. This is a simple recipe with just a few ingredients and is also easy to make.

Rule #1 when making Key Lime Pie…USE FRESH.  Bottled juice is bitter and just won’t do. The best time to make this pie is summer (June-August) when the limes are at their peak. I like to buy the key limes that are just ripened, or I leave them on my kitchen counter a couple of days, until they’re just right. These little limes pack a ton of juice; however if they are too hard/green, you won’t have enough juice and your pie might be a bit bitter or the condensed milk will overpower the citrus.  Ideally, you’ll need a pound of limes, which is approximately 13 limes, turning out 1 full cup of key lime juice.  I always serve this pie with whipped cream.  I make my cream for this pie on the bland side, meaning, I barely add sugar.  The blandness of the less sweet whipped cream is a great compliment to the sweet/tart pie!  Give it try, you’ll love it!

Crust Ingredients:

  • 20 squares Nabisco Honey Graham Crackers
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pinches Kosher salt
  • 6 TBSP unsalted butter (melted)

Ingredients for filling:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups condensed milk from two  14 ounce cans of condensed milk (1 can and about 1/3 of the second can)
  • 1 cup key lime juice (use fresh; one pound is about 1 cup or 13 key limes).  Use limes that are just ripened.  If the limes are not too ripe, purchase a few extras so you’ll be sure to have enough to fill 1 cup. Thirteen juicy limes will weigh about 1 pound.

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 350º.  Melt butter over medium/high heat and set aside.  Place the graham crackers, almonds, sugar, cinnamon and salt in the food processor and pulse to make fine crumbs. With the food processor running on low, slowly pour the melted butter into the bowl through the opening of the lid and pulse until the crumbs are saturated with the melted butter.
  2. Transfer the mixture to 9 1/2″ Pyrex pie dish (or another pie dish that can go from the oven to the freezer).  Using a cylinder shaped, flat bottomed glass or your hands, firmly press the crust into the bottom of the pie dish and up the sides.  Bake for 10-13 minutes on 350; the longer you bake it the crispier it will be. Remove the pie crust from the oven and place it in the freezer while you prepare your filling. Lower the oven temperature to 325º.
  3. For the filling: Use a hand mixer and whip the egg yolks and the sugar until light and creamy. Make sure that the sugar crystals are dissolved into the egg yolks.  This is what will achieve a creamy texture.  Squeeze the limes into a bowl. Pour the juice though a strainer into a measuring cup, you do not want pulp or seeds in your pie; fill to 1 cup level.  If you have extra juice you can save it for another use.  Add the juice and condensed milk to the egg yolks and sugar mixture. Mix until combined and creamy.   
  4. Add the filling to the cooled pie crust and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack until it is room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.  I like to set the plastic wrap directly on the filling to avoid condensation dripping onto the pie. 

For whipped cream topping: Using a stand or hand mixer, whisk  2 cups heavy whipping cream, add sugar a little at at time.  You can add 1 teaspoon to 2 Tbsp (depending on how sweet you want your whipped cream).  Sugar can also be omitted.  Whip until soft peaks form.  I prefer to add whipped cream to individual slices.



 

Perfect Popovers

Who doesn’t love bread? I love bread…but I can’t say that I’m a world class bread baker, however, the nice thing about popovers is that they are easy to make and foolproof.  These can be enjoyed with your favorite jam for breakfast or butter whipped up with strawberries, or even with some whipped cream cheese and a drizzle of honey.  Serve for breakfast with coffee, with tea in the afternoon or with your favorite soup for lunch!  This is a very versatile bread!

Makes 6-8 popovers

Ingredients (for this recipe I used organic ingredients):

  • 6 Pete and Gerry’s organic eggs
  • 6 Tbsp Horizon organic unsalted butter, melted
  • room temperature butter for greasing the molds
  • 2 cups King Arthur’s organic all purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 cups Horizon organic 2% low fat milk
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt

Instructions:

  1. You will need a popover mold or a cupcake mold that is very deep.  Heat oven to 375º.
  2. Using a pastry brush, generously grease the popover mold with unsalted butter (room temperature).  Set it aside.
  3. Add the eggs to a medium bowl and whisk gently.  Add the milk and salt and whisk again.  Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.  Pour the melted butter into the jar of a blender.  While the blender is running on low, slowly pour the egg mixture into the jar of the blender through the center opening in the lid.  Blend gently, just enough to mix the ingredients, being careful not to over mix (just a few seconds should be enough). Heat the greased popover mold in the heated oven for 3 minutes being careful to not burn the butter.  Remove the heated mold carefully and place on a baking sheet to catch any overflow.  Fill the cups by holding a small strainer over each cup filling with the batter so that they are almost full.  Keep the popover mold over the baking sheet while baking, again to catch any batter that may overflow.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes.  Do not open the oven door while baking.  After 40 minutes, open the door and insert a sharp knife into the center each popover, making a slit to allow steam to escape.  At this point if they are golden brown, turn the oven off but keep them in the warm oven for 7-10 more minutes, watching so they do not over cook.  If they look like they can still use some baking, continue to cook at 375 for an additional 7-10 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  5. Remove them from the oven and allow them to sit for 2 minutes.  Gently run a table knife around the edge of each popover to separate and gently remove them for the cups.  Serve warm  with butter, honey or fruit jam and enjoy!

 

Peach Cobbler with Bourbon

With summer just around the corner and peach season just starting, what a better way to celebrate Memorial Day than with a peach cobbler.  Cobbler and pie just make me think…America!  It’s also such a nice dessert for summer because even though it’s served warm, you can top it with some cold ice cream or refreshing whipped cream.  I put my own twist and taste into an old recipe that I had actually thought of as mediocre; now it’s fantastic!  You won’t be disappointed, and guess what?  It’s super easy! Prep time: about 20-30 minutes; cooking time: 45-50 minutes.dsc_0348


Ingredients:

  • 4 cups ripe peaches (about 8 medium), peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar (minus 2 Tbsp), divided
  • 1 Tbsp bourbon
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar (divided)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon plus a pinch
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup melted butter (salted is fine)
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used 2% low fat)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.  Wash, peel and cut the peaches in to slices or wedges. If they are very ripe, you might get chunks…that’s okay.  Add them to a bowl along with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar with 2 Tbsp removed, 1 Tbsp bourbon, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp almond extract, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon; toss with a wooden spoon so the fruit is coated evenly and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter along with 1 Tbsp brown sugar, pour into a 2 quart baking pan (glass is preferable).
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and the salt.  Stir with a whisk then add the milk.  Mix together gently until smooth, but do not over mix.  Pour the batter over the melted butter as evenly as possible and do not mix it together.
  4. Top with the fruit mixture.  Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg over the top and bake for about 45-50 minutes, until the edges are golden.  Start watching it at about 45 minutes since all ovens vary.  In my oven it cooked in just under 50 minutes.

 

Spectacular Simple Salad

This salad is easy to prepare and packed with flavor. It makes a great single serving using ingredients that you may have had left over from dinner.  You don’t have to worry to add a whole lot of dressing because the flavor combinations blend so well together that all I add is a drizzle of olive oil and about a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, a little salt and pepper and it’s done!


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I usually plan on making this salad for lunch the day after I’ve roasted chicken and there is just one serving left over.  If I have made a chickpea soup and have left over chickpeas, I use those, but I always keep a package of precooked garbanzo beans in my pantry just in case I want them in salad.  I usually buy organic packaged beans from The Fig Food Company.  It’s available at most grocery stores, but you can use which ever you have available.  I make the quinoa just before preparing my salad because I love the warm quinoa mixed in with the cool greens, but you can make it ahead to save some time.


 

Ingredients: (for one serving)

  • 2 handfuls of fresh arugula (Organic Girl)
  • 2-3 Tbsp cooked chickpeas (rinsed)
  • 2/3 cup roasted chicken, cut in cubes (or substitute for a poached egg)
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds (you can substitute for any other nut or seed you prefer)
  • 1/2 a haas avocado (cubed)
  • 1 Roma tomato (diced)
  • 2 Tbsp cooked red, organic-gluten free quinoa
  • shaved fresh Parmesan cheese, about 1 Tbsp
  • olive oil
  • white wine vinegar
  • salt & fresh ground pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cook the quinoa according to the package directions.  Prepare before hand and store in the refrigerator, or make it just before preparing you salad.
  2. Layer the salad beginning with the arugula, then add chicken, chick peas, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, place the avocado on one side and place the quinoa on the opposite side.  Add the shaved Parmesan over the top.  If substituting the chicken with a poached egg, add the poached egg on top.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and fresh pepper.  Drizzle with about 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar, and olive oil.

I roast chicken in several ways.  You will find some recipes here on my blog, however this chicken is a simple roasted chicken.  See ingredients and instructions below:

  • 4 bone in chicken breast (with skin still on)
  • olive oil
  • salt & fresh ground pepper
  • garlic powder
  • ground cloves
  • dried thyme leaves
  • dried parsley
  • juice of two lemons
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  1. Drizzle a olive oil in your roasting pan.  Add the chicken breast side down.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the next 5 ingredients.  Turn the breasts over and do the same to the other side.  You will be roasting the chicken with the meat side up and the rib side down.
  2. Place in a preheated oven (convection roast–if you’re oven has that feature) at 400º.  roast for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, lower the temperature of the oven to 325º, remove the chicken from the oven and drizzle the juice of two lemons over the tops allowing it to run down into the pan and add the white wine.
  4. Return the pan to the oven and roast for another 30 minutes.  Allow it to sit for 5 minutes before removing the bone or serving.  Reserve any drippings to drizzle over the meat.


Coconut Macaroons

I’ve been making this recipe for years, and at this point I can’t even remember where I got it, but it’s delicious.  What I love best about it is the two main ingredients are egg whites and coconut flakes, so go ahead and enjoy this little treat!  These macaroons are a perfect addition to your Easter Brunch table.  Pile them in a pyramid on a lovely cake plate!

Sometimes I dip them in chocolate…just to be fancy, and also…we love chocolate!  Or, if you love lemon, add the zest of one lemon to the batter. And be sure to add the full 3 cups of coconut. When I first started making these, I skimped on the coconut because even though I love coconut flavor, the texture of the flakes is something I’ve grown to love.  The flakes add substance and make a nice rounded cookie, also gives them that amazing coconut flavor they deserve. Without sufficient coconut flakes, you’ll end up with a disc like, rubbery cookie instead of a nice round, amazing, moist cookie and the outer flakes become crispy and golden; just perfect!

Makes 22-24 macaroons


Ingredients:

  • Egg whites from 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 3 cups (or a little more) sweetened coconut flakes
  • 6 oz. (1 1/2 bars) Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet baking chocolate bar


Instructions:

  1. In a double boiler or in a metal bowl placed over a 2 quart sauce pan (do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water), warm the egg whites, sugar and salt whisking until it is nice a creamy and warm to the touch but not hot.
  2. Remove from the heat and using a wooden spoon stir in the vanilla, flour and coconut flakes.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until firm.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350º.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place small mounds (1 heaping tablespoon) of the batter on the lined sheets, spaced several inches apart.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges and top starts to turn golden.  Remove from the oven, allow them to sit for 5 minutes and then place them on a cooling rack.
  6. If you will be enjoying these without the dipping them in chocolate, they are delicious when still a little warm!  If you would like to dip them in chocolate you can melt the Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet baking chocolate in the double boiler.  Have a sheet pan prepared with wax paper.  Once the chocolate is melted and the macaroons are completely cooled, dip one half into the chocolate leaving one half without chocolate and place them on the wax paper.  Refrigerate for about 20 minutes so the chocolate hardens and then enjoy! When I’m in a bit of a rush, I use Dolci Frutta Hard Chocolate shell and I just follow the instructions on the label.

 


 


 

Carol’s Coconut Cake

I first tried this recipe at my friend, Carol’s house.  She used a recipe from Our State Magazine. A North Carolina favorite!It is a moist and delicious cake with just the right amount of coconut flavor.  So many times people I know say, “I don’t like coconut…it’s not the flavor but the texture.”

Well, the texture of this cake is just like any other, but it’s very moist and delicious.  As far as the coconut flakes go, that’s something that you can control.  If you don’t like the texture of the coconut flakes, you can just add a little less.  What I do is I mix some coconut flakes with chocolate sprinkles or shaved chocolate and chopped up almonds.  I use that mixture as a topping on the frosting.  Even people who say they don’t like coconut, love this recipe; I was one of those, so I know!

This time, I used the recipe to make cupcakes.  I followed the same method, omitting the filling and coconut syrup. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!


Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups plus 2 Tbsp sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 cup coconut water

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325º.  Grease and flour two or three 9-inch cake pans.
  2. Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until the butter melts. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool at room temperature.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Using a hand or stand mixer set to medium-high, beat the eggs and 3 cups of sugar for about 3 minutes until it is thick and pale yellow, scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, gently stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture just until combined (one thing I’ve learned about baking almost anything that takes flour is that the more or more vigorously you stir, the tougher your baked goods will be, so be gently!).  Add the cooled milk mixture and the vanilla and almond extracts and again stir gently until smooth.
  6. Divide the batter evenly in the prepared cake pans.  Bake for about 30 minutes.  If you would like to make a three layer cake, use three pans and bake for about 25 minutes.  If making cupcakes, you can get 24 out of this recipe and you should bake them for about 15-18 minutes.  Insert a wooden tooth pick or knife in the center; if it comes up dry, your cake is done, if not bake for a few more minutes and then check again.  Place the pans on a cooling rack and allow them  to reach room temperature before removing the cakes from the pans and before frosting.

To make a butter cream/coconut frosting and filling:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut flavoring
  • 6 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 3 – 5 Tbsp (or more) well-stirred cream of coconut
  • 3 cups coconut flakes (use as much or as little as you desire).  I personally like the flakes as a topping so I do not add this until the end.  I mix in chocolate shavings or sprinkles and finely chopped almonds.
  1. Beat the butter, vanilla and coconut flavoring in a large bowl using an electric mixer set on medium speed until it is smooth.  Add 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar along with 1 Tbsp of the cream of coconut and beat in between each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go along.  Do not add all the powdered sugar at once you’ll you will end up with a cloud of sugar!  When you have incorporated all the powdered sugar and cream of coconut, set aside 1 cup of the buttercream frosting to use as filling.
  2. To make the filling: If adding coconut flakes to the filling, add 1 1/2 cups of coconut flakes to the reserved cup of buttercream.  It should be spreadable, so add some cream of coconut as needed to achieve a spreadable mixture.
  3. Make coconut syrup by simmering the coconut water and the remaining 2 Tbsp granulated sugar in a small sauce pan over med/low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from the heat.
  4. For assembly: Place one of the cooled cake layers on a cake plate or stand, this will be the base.  Tuck pieces of parchment or wax paper under the edges all around to keep the cake plate clean as you frost.  Brush or drizzle about 2 1/2 Tbsp of the coconut syrup and then spread the filling.  Top with the next layer, repeating this step if making a three layer cake.
  5. Brush or drizzle the remaining coconut syrup over the last layer (top) and frost the entire cake with the buttercream.  You can frost it smoothly using a spatula or place the frosting in a piping bag using the tip of your choice to decorate.  You can also top with a mixture of sprinkles, coconut flakes and chopped almonds.  Gently remove the wax paper from around the bottom edges of the cake.