Tag Archives: Coconut

Healthy-ish Salted Almond Joy Bars

all dipped 2While these home-made almond joy bars aren’t exactly healthy, they are healthy-ish. It’s all a matter of degree. Consider the ingredients in a store bought Almond Joy:

Corn Syrup, Milk Chocolate (Milk Chocolate, Contains Sugar, Coca Butter, Chocolate, Milk, Lactose, Milk Fat, Nonfat Milk, Soy Lecithin, An Emulsifier), Coconut, Sugar, Almonds, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oils, Whey, Cocoa, Salt, Vanilla, Chocolate, Egg Whites, Soya Lecithin, and Sodium Metabisulfite, to Preserve Color.ingredientsThese simply contain unsweetened almond butter, unsweetened coconut, honey, coconut oil, vanilla bean paste and salt. They are finished with a thick coating of bittersweet chocolate and topped with whole toasted almonds and sea salt. This recipe is from the genius mind of Anna Jones. I am loving her new book, A Modern Way to Cookmix in a bowlspreading in panChill the mixture for about 45 minutes in the freezer before cutting into bars. Get your dipping station all set up. I was excited to use my chocolate dipping fork. I bought it over 30 years ago and it still thrills me every chance I get to use it. it makes me feel like a professional chocolatier. A regular fork works just as well for dipping. ready for dipping

 

all dippedThese satisfy your sugar craving without being cloyingly sweet. The hard shell of bittersweet chocolate yields to a chewy almond coconut filling.

Click here to print recipe for Healthy-ish Salted Almond Joy Bars.

on a bed of coconut

Blondies

lined-up-in-trayAs the aroma of butter and sugar filled the kitchen, my husband magically appeared to find out what was going on. When I revealed that I was baking blondies he looked puzzled. He had no idea what a blondie was. I explained that a blondie is essentially a brownie without the chocolate. His response was “what’s the point of that?”

His response was understandable. There are times when only a deep dark fudgy brownie will satisfy you. But have you considered the fact that without the distraction of chocolate, butter and brown sugar get to be the star? Once the blondies hit the oven, the brown sugar takes on an undertone of butterscotch, with rich caramel notes. The flavours of a blondie are subtle and complex.cut-up-blondiesThe golden top, slightly crispy, gives way to a chewy interior. Studded with white chocolate, macadamia nuts, toffee bits and coconut, these blondies are chock-full of goodness.what-youll-needThese blondies are adapted from Daphna Rabinovitch’s blondie recipe in her comprehensive new cookbook, “The Baker in Me.” It is from Daphna that I first learned about the freakishly delicious combination of white chocolate and macadamia nuts. She was the pastry chef at the take-out food shop I worked in many years ago. I would have happily accepted her white chocolate macadamia nut cookies or skor bar cookies in lieu of a paycheque.spreading-out-batter-in-pancutting-blondies

Click here to print recipe for Blondies.

piled-up-in-glass-stand

Raspberry Coconut Cornmeal Shortcake

put on the lid 2It’s tough to improve on a classic strawberry shortcake when done well. Crafted from skilled hands, shortcake biscuits are perfectly light and tender, thanks to buttermilk and baking powder, while rich and flaky at the same time, owing to lots of butter.

But when messing with the classics involves the addition of coconut, I sit up and pay attention. I first heard about coconut shortcake from Chef Vivian Howard, on her PBS series, “A Chef’s Life.” She baked the shortcake in small cast iron pans and flavoured the whipped cream with basil, to pair with strawberries. I tried this variation a few weeks ago, at the height of strawberry season, but they disappeared before I could take a picture. Some of my guests loved the basil, others felt like they were eating pesto flavoured whipped cream.

Since we are thick in the middle of raspberry season, I decided to make them again. The coconut in this shortcake comes from 4 sources! Coconut milk, cream of coconut (the stuff they use in making pina coladas), large flakes of coconut and coconut extract. Coconut haters need not read any further. ready to bakeI decided to bake them in my mini Bundt pans because tiny treats are adorable. pouring batterWe let our guests assemble their own. Just slice the cakes and set out a big bowl of berries and some whipped cream.assembly FOpen faced.open facedOr with a lid.put on the lid 625 sqA dusting of icing sugar is always a good idea.let it snow 1let it snow 2These shortcakes are much denser than the traditional, but I loved that about them. Sturdy and bursting with coconut and cornmeal, they are perfect for soaking up all the berry juices and cream.

Click here to print recipe for Raspberry Coconut Cornbread Shortcake.

 

Lime Coconut Squares

with milkA really good lime square should have more than a whisper of citrus flavour. It needs a big shout-out of lip puckering sourness. The base is usually quite sweet, so the topping needs to be really tart. The key to achieving this balance is not as simple as adding more lime juice.  When baking, the juice and zest of citrus fruits react differently. The flavour compounds in the juice are suspended in water, so they evaporate during baking and you are left with only a mild citrus flavour.  Zest, on the other hand, contains essential oils that do not dissipate with the heat of the oven, so the pucker power remains strong.

Lime and coconut is a perfect pairing for summer, and these bars pack a serious pop of lime flavour. mise en placeCitrus squares typically have a shortbread-like base. I decided to mix things up a bit and added some oats to my base. The dough comes together quickly and can be patted into the pan with your hands, no rolling necessary.mixing basepressing base into panThe filling is mixed in one bowl. Fast and easy.pouring filling on crustspreading filling evenlyLet it snow!let it snowcut into perfect squaresWhile small in stature, these squares are mighty in flavour. The edges of the crust are crunchy but the center remains slightly chewy. The filling is loaded with tart lime and tropical coconut flavours. A dusting of icing sugar provides just the right sweet counterpart to all that pucker.

Click here to print recipe for Lime Coconut Squares.on green plate

Rhubarb Coconut Scones

with butter and jam 2f

on lace 625 sq 1Upon waking each morning, I peek through the drapes to see if any buds have appeared on the  bare limbs of the Norway maple tree outside my bedroom window. Seeing none, I am overcome with the urge to burrow right back into my hole (or under my covers). Mother nature has a perverse sense of humour this year. This long cruel “polar vortex” winter seems to have segued into a particularly nasty spring.

When I finally saw the first buds materialize, followed by a thatch of chives popping through through the earth, I knew that local rhubarb was not far behind. I’m not a rhubarb fanatic, but I do like to create with it at least once a year to celebrate the season. Last year it was this gorgeous tart. This year, I had had my heart set on rhubarb scones. I was inspired by Midge over at Food 52. When I told my husband about my plans, he frowned and grumbled, “What a way to ruin scones.” Clearly I am married to a Spring Grinch. Blueberry scones would make him purr, but those come in July. Get with the program honey.rhubarbMy favourite scone recipe is from the bible Baking Illustrated, created by the same geniuses over at Cook’s Illustrated. These scones use heavy cream which contributes to a rich and tender crumb that  buttermilk or whole milk would never achieve. They are not overly sweet, just 3 tablespoons of sugar are called for in the recipe. Knowing that rhubarb is super tart, I decided to add an additional few tablespoons of sugar to macerate with the sliced rhubarb, before adding it to the dough. adding sugarWhen I went to make them, I discovered that I didn’t have quite enough heavy cream. Feeling too lazy to run to the store, I topped up the measuring cup with a bit of coconut milk.  To ramp up the coconut flavour I added about 1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut. butter in food processorin bowlkneadingThe dough gets pressed into an 8 inch cake pan to give you a perfectly round circle for dividing into triangular scones. A bench scraper or sharp knife work well for cutting the scones.pat into round pancuttingA final brush of heavy cream before they hit the oven gives the finished scones a lovely glossy surface. brushing with creamThey were the height of scone perfection. Moist and flaky with a lightly crisped exterior. Even the Spring Grinch enjoyed one with butter and jam.sliced 1

Click here to print recipe for Rhubarb Coconut Scones.with butter and jam 1