Bird’s Nest Cupcakes

Easter is right around the corner.  For some reason unknown to me, Easter = eggs.  I’m sure there’s a reason, but I don’t quite get it.  I’ll go with it anyway.

I’m generally a pie girl, but sometimes the occasion calls for cupcakes, and I can think of two good occasions to make a cupcake.  These cupcakes really:

Easter and a Baby Shower.

I made these for a bird’s nest themed baby shower, but now that I was looking at the photos I realized they’d be perfect for Easter as well.

Although I’ll be honest, they’re so tasty that they’re really appropriate at any time of the year.

Egg Nest Cupcakes

1 recipe for your favorite chocolate cupcakes (I like Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake)
1 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
Few cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups shredded coconut
1 package Cadbury Mini Eggs

Bake cupcakes and allow to cool completely.  Make frosting by blending together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar gradually until you get the consistency and sweetness you like (I added about 2 cups).   Using the oven or a toaster oven, toast coconut by placing it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Stir every few minutes and keep a close eye on it, it burns easily.  Allow to cool completely.

Frost cupcakes, press toasted coconut onto top of cupcakes, place a few mini eggs in the center.  Ta da!  That’s it!  Super cute and easy!

They were adorable for the bird’s nest themed shower, I promise they’re so tasty that anyone will love them.

I mean really who doesn’t love cupcakes AND those little chocolate eggs?

What Easter treat are you looking forward to?

200 Cookies and Some Tips

Want to know what 200 cookies looks like?

That’s what.

Tip #1: When you’re baking for a crowd, don’t experiment.  Use tried and true recipes.  Like these…

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tip #2:  It’s okay to make small changes to recipes.  But only if they’re idiot-proof.  Example: those Peanut Butter cookies.  I used the same recipe for Almond Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, replaced almond butter with peanut butter and voila! Whole new cookie!  No brainer, can’t really mess that up.

Regular Chocolate Chip and Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

*
*
(Oh hey, imagine pretty cookies here because I totally forgot to take pictures of these)
*
*

Tip #3: Don’t over-mix your cookie dough.  It yields flat cookies.  True story.

Tip #4: Cookies keep well for a long time (or at least a few days).  Store them in air tight containers or zip loc bags.

It’s cookie season.  So get baking!

Coconut Curry Stew and My New Love

Since moving, I had to start from scratch.

I bought furniture.  So now I have 1 bed, 1 nightstand, 1 table and 1 dresser.

I have 1 large plate, 1 small plate, 4 bowls, 2 cups, 1 mug, 1 old frying pan and this:

This is my new love.  It’s amazing.  Cast iron is every overly-domestic girl’s dream.

So when you have someone over for dinner and you only really have one plate (though luckily a few bowls) and one pot, start from scratch with fresh ingredients.  It’s easier than it sounds, I promise.

Wondering what to make?

Coconut Curry Stew, naturally.

It might wow your guest.  Who knows?  He might just be polite.  But either way, make this stew.  It’s easy, delicious, healthy, and requires minimal utensils without sacrificing flavor.

Coconut Curry Stew

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp curry powder (or more or less depending on how you like it)
1 can light coconut milk
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat oil in a pot.  Add onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, bell pepper and jalapeno.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent.  Add garlic, cook for an additional minute, then add tomatoes.  Add broth and curry and simmer for about 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes soften.  Add coconut milk, garbanzo beans, salt and pepper.  Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.  Stir in cilantro and serve.

I served it with some sauteed kale.  I thought it was pretty tasty and super easy to make.

You can store left overs in a jar.  That’s how I roll.

Just keeping it real… or maybe I have no other storage containers…

Coconut Cream Pie but Better

I’m not completely sure what the difference is between a pie and a tart, other than the shape of the pan.  For all intents and purposes, what follows is a pie disguised as a tart.

Thus, it is a much fancier (almost French seeming, hey, it’s Bastille Day!) version of coconut cream pie.

Okay, let’s be honest.  I’ve never eaten coconut cream pie.  I don’t think I’ve ever even seen one in person.  That was until I made my version of what I think coconut cream pie should be like.

I have no idea if this is what coconut cream pie should taste like, but here’s my creation.  Karla’s new and improved version with rich chocolate whipped cream for topping.

I’m going to go ahead and call it a winner.

Coconut Cream Pie with Chocolate Whipped Cream

1 package of graham crackers
6 tbsp butter
3 cup finely shredded coconut
1 1/2 cup milk
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 cup corn starch
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 + 2 tbsp cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder

For the crust:

Crush graham crackers and combine with 1 cup of coconut.  Melt butter and pour over graham cracker mixture, toss to combine.  Press into a pie or tart pan.  Refrigerate.

For Custard Filling:

In a saucepan, combine the milk, sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, vanilla and salt.  Heat, stirring constantly, until nearly boiling.  Take some of the warm milk mixture and combine in a small bowl with the corn starch, stir until smooth.  Pour in the corn starch mixture and the 2 cups of coconut.  Continue to stir until thick (not too thick though!).  Put in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap.  Lay the plastic wrap directly on the custard.  Refrigerate until completely cooled, like so:

Once your custard is cool, fill the tart crust with the creamy filling.

Then make your whipped topping.

For the topping, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  Using a mixer start to whip cream, gradually add in cocoa powder and sugar.  Whip until the cream holds firm peaks.

Lay it on there, or nicely use a piping bag.

Either way, it doesn’t really matter.  Even the worst spreading will be covered up with some divine toasted coconut.  Lay your coconut on a baking sheet or on a piece of foil and stick it in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes.  Turn it every so often and watch out because it can easily burn.  Allow the toasted coconut to completely cool and sprinkle as much or as little as you’d like onto your beautiful tart!

Serve, enjoy and feel fancy while you eat it.

Samoas Bars

You have my permission to drool.



Go ahead. It’s totally expected. Samoas will do that to you, even more so in bar form.

I followed this recipe pretty much exactly.

Samoas Bars

from Crepes of Wrath

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened

1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

3 cups shredded coconut
12-oz  chewy caramels

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons milk

20 oz. chocolate chips

Make cookie base. Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream together butter and sugar.  Next beat in eggs and vanilla.  Mix in flour and salt until just combined.  The mixture will be pretty crumble.  That’s okay!  Press it into a baking dish (I used a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper and pressed it into about half the pan, but you can probably just use a 9×13).  Bake about 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.  Allow to cool.

Next make the topping.  Start by toasting your coconut.  Turn the oven on to 300F and lay coconut on a baking sheet.  Turning occasionally toast about 10 minutes, once golden, remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Next melt the caramels in the microwave.  First unwrap the caramels and put them in a large bowl with the milk and 1/4 tsp salt, microwave about 3-4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until evenly melted.  Add the coconut to the melted caramel and stir to combine.  Once combined, spread coconut/caramel topping onto shortbread base.  This is easier if you spray your spatula with pam or grease it.  Allow to cool completely (I refrigerated it a bit).

Remove bars from pan (this is easy to do if you used parchment paper).  On a cutting board, using a large chef knife, carefully cut the bars into the desired shape. Melt chocolate in the microwave (remember to stir every 30 seconds).  Dip cookie base into chocolate (or spread on with a spoon if your bottom is too crumbly), place on fresh wax/parchment paper.

Put the remaining melted chocolate in a ziploc bag and cut off a tip so you get a tiny piping bag.  Pipe lines of chocolate on each one.  Refrigerate a little bit so chocolate hardens then serve!

I suggest you do the same. Then feel free to give them away to a bunch of dentists, like I did. …or just keep them for yourself. Whichever works best.