Archive | March, 2012

Oatmeal Raisin and Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

29 Mar

Thank you Le Cordon Bleu for your awesome cookie recipes, they are so basic yet perfect every time. If you don’t already have a kitchen scale I highly recommend getting one. The Le Cordon Bleu baking recipes are always measured out by weight and I’m a firm believer that it makes all the difference. I made a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies they came out soft and chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside and loaded with plump juicy red and gold raisin (just how I like them :)).

They were so good I decided to make another batch but this time I changed it up a little.  Instead of raisins I added chocolate chips and shredded coconut! I know sounds amazing right? I have never had a cookie like this and they were beyond amazing. I would like to take credit for inventing this outstanding cookie as I just used leftover ingredients in my pantry to create them, however I looked them up online and to my surprise I wasn’t the first 😦 Oh well they were new to me and I love when new recipes come out great.

Note: (chocolate chip and coconut oatmeal cookies not pictured but trust me you will love them)

Ingredients

8 oz butter (room temp)

1lb brown sugar

1tsp salt

4 oz eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 oz milk

12 oz flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1& 1/2 tsp baking soda

10 oz rolled oats

8 oz raisins ( for the chocolate chip and coconut leave out the raisins and do 4 oz of each)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

2. In an electric mixer cream together butter, sugar and salt

3. Add the eggs, vanilla, and milk to the butter and mix on low-speed just until incorporated

4. Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda then add rolled outs and mix together

5. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the wet and mix then repeat until all is incorporated

6. Stir in the raisins by hand

7. Spray cookie sheets with non stick spray and bake 10-12 minutes, depending on size

Faux Flowers

27 Mar

Spring has finally arrived and there is an abundance of fresh flowers readily available!!! Nothing brightens a room or brings life to a house like fresh-cut flowers. I love coming home from the farmers market with organic produce and bright pink peonies but lets face it we don’t always have the time or money to do so. This is where fake flowers come in handy.  Lately I have been filling my home with vases of artificial flowers. I used to think they looked extremely fake and cheezy (like something that came out of a 75-year-old women’s house or the dining room of your local Bucca di Beppo) now a days you can get flowers that look virtually identical to the real deal. Here are a few of the faux flowers I have been enjoying!

{Tulips on the dining room table}

{Hydrangeas on the night stand! These are one of my favorite flowers}

{These bright pink flowers add a little color to my mirrored buffet}

{A cute little rose in a vintage glass bottle}

Coconut-Pecan Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

23 Mar

Thank you Martha Stewart for this delicious recipe!!! I have never really been a fan of coconut desserts, I love savory coconut dishes, coconut water and of course pina coladas but I just don’t usually go for coconut desserts.  Although every once in a while I get in the mood for an almond joy and these little cupcakes taste just like them with the addition of fluffy moist cake!!!!! The cupcakes are made with creamy coconut milk, sweet shredded coconut, pecans and then topped with warm gooey chocolate ganache and crispy toasted coconut shavings. If every coconut dessert tasted this good I would definitely be more inclined to choose that option!

{a couple of the key ingredients: shredded coconut and roasted pecans}

{crispy toasted coconut}

{cupcakes ready to be dipped in chocolate ganache}

{the topping station}

Ingredients (makes 36)

1 cup firmly packed sweetened shredded coconut

3/4 cup toasted and cooled pecans

2 cups sugar

2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup  unsalted butter (room temp)

1/4 cup creamed coconut (or 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp if you can’t find creamed coconut)

1 tablespoon pure coconut extract

4 large eggs (room temp)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk (9 ounces)

2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes (toasted in the oven)

chocolate ganache glaze (recipe follows)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a food processor, finely grind shredded coconut; transfer to a bowl. Clean out food processor. Process pecans with 2 tablespoons sugar until finely ground. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; stir in ground coconut and pecans.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter, creamed coconut (or more butter) and remaining sugar until pale and fluffy. Add extract and then eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of coconut milk, and beating until just combined after each.

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden 20-22 minutes (cupcakes will not be domed). Turn out cupcakes on wire racks and let cool completely.

4. To finish, dip tops of cupcakes in chocolate glaze, then turn over quickly and garnish with toasted coconut. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed.

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients

6 ounces semisweet chocolate

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Directions

1. Place chocolate in a medium heat proof bowl. Bring cream and corn syrup just to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; pour mixture over chocolate. Let stand, without stirring, until chocolate begins to melt.

2. Use a flexible spatula, gently stir chocolate and cream until totally combined (if any chocolate pieces remain, strain mixture through a fine sieve and discard solids.