Category Archives: Splurge

Caramel and Toasted Coconut Holiday Cookies

Caramel & Toasted Coconut Holiday Cookies

This past week I had a meeting with some coworkers and my urge to bake something led me to bringing a batch of cookies to the meeting. I put these guys out on the table and they were demolished in minutes with people asking me for the recipe. So, I figured I would have to share them with you all, especially since they were requested to be at our next meeting.

I have to admit, they were a little time consuming to make. I’m talking a few hours total. And they didn’t come without some frustration. One cookie may or may not have been thrown across the kitchen. But, I think I have knocked out a few sources of frustration in this revised version. 🙂

Ingredients:

For the Cookies:
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Sugar 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups All Purpose Flour 2 Tablespoons Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Vanille Extract

 

For the Topping:
3 Cups Sweetened, Shredded Coconut 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
15 Ounces Soft Caramels 8 Ounces Dark Chocolate
3 Tablespoons Milk

Directions:

1. In a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Then, in increments of 3, add the flour mixture into the butter mix. Once well mixed, add in the vanilla extract and milk.

Coconut Cookies Step 1

 

2. Once mixed, divide the dough into halves, form each shape into a disk and wrap in seran wrap. Refrigerate the dough for an hour.

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3. When the dough has chilled, roll one of the disks out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into stars and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue until all of the dough is complete.

Coconut Cookies, Step 3

 

4. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. The cookies should come out only slightly browned but cooked through. You do not want to cook these cookies too long or else they will break apart when you are putting the caramel topping on them.

 

The Topping

1. Spread the coconut flakes out on a tin foil lined cookie sheet and bake them for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Be sure to stir them frequently to avoid them burning. Coconut does burn easily. Once they are cooked, remove them from the oven and set them aside.

Coconut Cookies, Topping

 

2. In a double broiler, melt the caramel along with the milk and salt. Stir it frequently until all of the caramel has completely melted. Then add 3/4 of the caramel to the toasted coconut. Stir until well mixed.

Coconut Topping, Step 2

 

3. Carefully spread the coconut mixture onto the cooled cookies. I found using a fork worked best. If the caramel becomes hard to work with, try placing it over the heat and melting the caramel a bit more. Patience is key at this step.

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4. The hard part is done. With the remaining caramel, put a dab on the top of each cookie and place a bit of fresh coconut on top. Then melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and drizzle it on top. You should then let the cookies sit out for a bit in order for the caramel and the chocolate to harden. And whelah!

Coconut Cookie Complete

 

I have to say, they really did come out delicious. Fortunately, I will be making these again. I have a meeting this Friday to bring them along to and then of course, our next company meeting after the holidays. But I’m definitely going to come up with some other fun options to bring along. Holiday cookies are one of my favorite things to make.

 

Do you have a recipe that takes a lot of effort but is worth it in the end??

Blueberry Chocolate Cake with Blueberry Buttercream Frosting

Sunday night was also my Dad’s birthday and birthdays are kind of a big deal in our family. There are a few unique things that I think make a birthday in this house a bit different than what you might see elsewhere.

  • There are usually 7 of us, and now with Brent there are 8. So, it’s loud. Picture the stereotypical Italian family getting together and multiply that by 6 girls. Seriously loud.
  • Dinner is all out. The birthday person gets to pick what they what for dinner and that is what is whipped up. This time was a seafood pasta.
  • When singing Happy Birthday, sing as loud and as out of key as possible. Ear splitting high notes, piercing notes and anything else you can make your voice do. This is usually when the dogs run away in terror. If we have company, they think it’s weird at first then they join in with something we’ve never heard before. We all think it’s hilarious.
  • When picking out a card, it NEEDS to pop up. If it doesn’t pop up, put it down and find another. If you can find one that sings AND pops up, you probably have a winner. There is a competition for the best card and strangely enough, we have never shown up with the same card. Only every once in a while from year to year. Those immediately lose. Sorry.
  • Have fun. Obviously.

For my Dad’s birthday, I decided that I would make the cake and his favorite thing in the world is blueberry. So I decided to make a blueberry cake. Originally it was going to be a Blueberry Lemon Cake, but he didn’t really like that idea. He wanted chocolate. Chocolate it is.

Chocolate Blueberry Cake

 

 

Ingredients:

1 Cup Flour 1 Cup Sugar
6 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Water 1/2 Cup Blueberries, melted
1 Egg

 

Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Butter, softened 4 1/2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla 3 Tablepsoon Milk
1/2 Cup Frozen Blueberries, thawed and drained

 

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, stir the dry ingredients. Then, with a blender, blend the blueberries, egg and water.

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2. Whisk the wet ingredients in with the dry. Be careful not to over mix the batter.

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3. Bake in a greased round 8 inch pan at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. I made two of them in order to stack them for the cake.

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For the Frosting:

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. Then gradually add in the confectioner’s sugar. Lastly, mix in the blueberries, and milk. Use the milk to get the consistency that you would like.

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Easy! When the cake is completely cooled, COMPLETELY cooled. You can start frosting it. Just know that it needs to be stored in a chilled area because the frosting is made of butter.

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I was struggling a little bit with the icing of it. But that’s a skill that I will pick up eventually 🙂

We all sat down for dinner and Maggie gave us a mini wine lesson on the two that she had picked out for dinner.

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We sat down and had some seafood pasta with a delicious red sauce.

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As we were sitting down, I grabbed one of the naked rigatoni still sitting in the strainer just to munch on. I was talking at the same time, and decided to goof around a little bit, so I blew through the rigatoni…IT WHISTLED! I felt like a five year old that just discovered the best thing ever! Why I never realized this when I was younger, I have no idea. I know I would have driven my mom nuts if I did figure it out earlier.

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So fun! You just have to pinch the sides of it a little bit to restrict the air flow and it will make this loud, high pitched whistling noise. 🙂

 

After dinner, the cake came out and I was honestly a bit nervous about how it was going to go over. I have never made one of a birthday cakes and this one was a bit different in itself. I don’t know if you noticed…it has NO OIL. There is no butter, no canola oil, no nothing. The icing obviously has butter but the cake itself. Nada. It’s a healthy chocolate cake. YUP.

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But it was delicious! The cake itself was really rich. The chocolate flavor really came through in it. The blueberries were also really apparent in the frosting. Big hit!

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It was even better the second day. The blueberry flavor came out a lot more the second day.

When cake was finished and we were starting to clean up, my dad brought over the wish bone that I had been waiting to dry out for a few days. Brent and I broke it and I guesssssss my wish won’t come true. MER.

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Happy Birthday!!

Do you have any weird traditions in your family??

 

Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

Yesterday afternoon finished up with some Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies. I was really in the mood to bake considering I hadn’t really been home for a long period of time and it was still snowing. The sugar cookie idea came from the desire for something simple…and that just developed into something a bit more festive.

Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies

 

Ingredients:

2 3/4 Flour 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder 2 Sticks Butter, Softened
1 1/2 Cups Sugar 1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Directions:

1. Blend the butter and sugar until smooth. Then add in the egg and vanilla.

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2. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Then gradually add it into the wet mixture.

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3. Roll the dough out flat and cut into the shape you want. I obviously chose hearts!

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4. I covered my cookies sheets with tin foil. Then, bake it at 350 degrees for approximately 8-10 minutes. Be sure to watch them closely because you do not want them to turn brown.

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Let them cool before you put the icing on them.

 

For the Icing:

Ingredients:

2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar 1 1/2 Tabelspoons Meringue Powder
3 Tablespoons Warm Water 1 Drop Red Food Dye

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Then whisk in the water until consistent throughout.

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Just spread it on the cookies when they are cool and top with any sprinkles you like! If you want a thinner icing, add a tiny bit more water.

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Originally, I was making these solo, then Mama C joined in the icing part of it. But after about 25 cookies, she wasn’t really interested in helping any longer. Brent had just walked in the door and I asked if he wanted to help with the sprinkles portion. Simple and easy.

I finished icing the first one, handed it to Brent and as I was topping off the second, I glanced over and saw this monstrosity:

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Easy on the Sprinkles Brentley!

He ended up munching that one pretty quickly.

For a quick and easy sugar cookie, these ended up being great to take up an hour or so in the afternoon. AND, I have cute cookies ready for V-Day!

 

Chocolate Oreo Pie

This weekend we celebrated our friend Jeff’s birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I was trying to think about a pie, cupcake, or cake that I could make for him when Brent suggested that I make something Oreo. I was steering towards making a chocolate cake with an Oreo mousse on the inside, but then I remembered this pie that my aunt had brought to christmas last year. It was absolutely unbelievable. You honestly couldn’t eat enough of it.

My aunt sent it to me a few weeks later and it’s been sitting on a shelf since then. It was about time that I gave this guy a try as well. The recipe is actually Emeril’s Chocolate Cream Pie. I can take no credit for this one. One day I hope to come up with something this scrumptious. So, I thought this would be a great way to get the work week going, a little mouth-watering chocolate cream pie.

Filling Ingredients:

1 Cup, 2 Tablespoons Sugar 2 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
3/4 Cup Buttermilk 3 1/2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
Pinch Salt 4 Egg Yolks
4 Ounces Good Quality Chocolate 1 Tablespoon Butter
3/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract 3 Tablespoons Confectioner’s Sugar

Crust Ingredients:

2 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs 1 1/2 Cup Oreo crumbs, without Cream Filling
1/4 Cup Sugar 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, Melted

**I didn’t use graham crackers, but definitely recommend it.

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan (not on heat), combine sugar, 3/4 cup heavy cream, buttermilk, cornstarch and a pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Whisk constantly to prevent it from burning. The mix will thicken quite a bit. After about 5 minutes, reduce the heat and whisk and boil for an additional 5 minutes.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly. Pour 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the eggs and whisk well. Pour the egg yolk mix back into the sauce pan and whisk over heat until it is very thick and well combined, 1-2 minutes. Then, pour the mix into a mixing bowl and add the chocolate, butter and vanilla. Continue whisking until combined throughout. Cover the mix with plastic wrap directly on the surface and put it into the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. When the chocolate mix is ready to come out of the fridge, put 1 3/4 cups heavy cream in a chilled mixing bowl and add the confectioner’s sugar. Beat it until stiff peaks form. Gently fold 1/4 of the whipped cream into the cool chocolate pudding mix. Then spoon it into the pie crust and refrigerate it for 4 hours until it is firm. The remaining whipped cream is served on top of your pie!

For the Pie Crust:

1. In a food processor or a blender, process the graham crackers and the Oreo cookies to make cookie crumbs. Then, in a mixing bowl, mix the crumbs, sugar and butter with your hands. Press the mix into the pie pan. You can even cover the crust with plastic wrap and press another 9 inch pan into it to make sure it is even. (I didn’t do this and the crust was definitely packed enough). Bake it in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes. Let it cool completely before putting the filling in it.

Refrigerate the pie for at least 4 hours. It will make the pie cuttable without the pudding running. 

**Tips

  • I used a 9.5 inch pie plate for this and as you can see, the filling didn’t completely fill the pan. So, if you do use a larger pie plate, don’t fill the cookie crust to the brim, your filling won’t end up reaching it.
  • Make the pie crust first and then the filling. The pie crust needs to cool down for 30 minutes as well, and also need to be baked. So while the crust is baking you can be mixing the filling. Otherwise, it will take much much longer.
  • Definitely use the graham crackers in the crust (unlike I did) I found the crust to be almost too chocolatey. The graham crackers would help balance that out. Good thinking Emeril!

This is an absolutely yummy pie. We all loved it last christmas and I clearly remember it a year later. It had to be good then 🙂 Just don’t ever calculate the calories on this guy. It won’t be your friend.

Let me know what you guys think! And I hope everyone has a great week!

What’s your most memorable cake or pie?? What made it memorable? Was it a complete disaster or a great success??

Whole Wheat Surprise Me Oatmeal Cookies

After my workout, I mixed up a protein shake (muscle milk light) and gobbled it down while checking emails and doing some work on the computer.

I headed out on the road, and really didn’t feel much like packing anything. So I stopped at Subway and grabbed a Veggie 6-inch sub on Honey Oat Bread…it reminded me of the wheat bread that you get at the Cheesecake Factory. Yummm.

Now the one thing that I feel like I HAVE to share with you are the cookies that I have been hoovering all week. Whole Wheat Surprise Me Oatmeal Cookies.

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Butter 1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup White Sugar 1 Egg
1/4 Cup Water 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour 1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda 3 Cups Surprise Me!

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With a mixer, combine butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth.

2. One at a time, mix in the egg, water, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Then mix the two together.

3. Now! Stir in your surprise me! This is your oats, chocolate chips, raisins…anything you can think of. I chose:

1 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Craisins

4. Spread the cookies out on a greased baking sheet. Bake them for about 13 minutes, or until they are golden brown on top and have a slight brown rim around the bottom.

These were unbelievable! They take less than 20 minutes to put together and you can change them up every time. I literally had one of these after every meal this week. So I had to share. They are that good. Writing this is making me want to whip up another batch….

Well let me know if you try them! And you mix them up!

Tonight…Bacon has a bath in store for him…he’s been smelling up the room lately.

Doesn’t he look like he is enjoying it?? 🙂