Tag Archives: coconut

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

coconut macaron tastefood

~ Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons ~

The bane of my childhood candy experience was a Mounds Bar. I just didn’t get it. I would bite into the chocolate nugget, which would immediately give way to a grainy, chewy, grassy interior, that in my opinion had no rightful place in a candy bar. I was mystified by my friends who bought supersized packages of Almond Joys to scarf down when we were at the movies. Every halloween when my brothers and I would pile our loot in the middle of the kitchen table, gloating, eyeing and sizing trade-ups, my chocolate covered coconut bars were the first to go with no regrets. Unfortunately, my brothers were not so keen on coconut either, so the negotiating could get ugly.

It baffles me that my children love coconut. As a result, I have slowly, with time, age and parental compromise, learned to like coconut. I’ve come to terms with its flaky texture and appreciate its nuttiness in a sea of sweetness. I eat it now, unforced, and prefer it paired with dark or bitter chocolate. Sometimes I make macaroons, a jumble of coconut bound together with egg white and, ahem, condensed milk. Yes, the milk is icky-sweet, but it seems to yield the best  juicy soft interior, which is what distinguishes a great macaroon – and alleviates its propensity to dryness. I’ve followed a recipe from Ina Garten from time to time, but switch out some of the sweetened coconut with unsweetened. It helps to tamp down excessive cloyiness. And I always dunk them in dark chocolate, which has a magnificent grounding effect on, well, everything.

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons
Makes about 24

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
8 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
6 ounces unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6 ounces dark (70-72%) chocolate, melted

Heat oven to 350° F (180° C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour milk, coconut and vanilla in a large bowl and stir to combine. Beat egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks from. Fold into the coconut.

Drop tablespoon-sized mounds of coconut on baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool on rack. Dip half of the macaroons in melted chocolate. Transfer to a plate lined with parchment. Refrigerate until set.

Home Baking: White Chocolate and Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

~ White Chocolate and Coconut Oatmeal Cookies ~

Wherever we move, there is a kitchen ritual to settling in. A new home is exciting and unsettling. There are new smells, a different light and the need to relearn a dance in our daily routine. Things are lost, then found and lost again.  We hurry to get our groove, a new groove, which will eventually transform into normal, while the urge is never stronger to wrap ourselves in the comfort of the familiar. So one of the first things I do is bake cookies. As the cookies bake, their fragrance wafts through the house marking its territory and reminding us of our family life. The smell coaxes us from our various rooms, technologies and activities, and we sit together, again, at our kitchen table, sharing a plate of home baked cookies with milk and tea.

White Chocolate and Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen; Deb at Smitten Kitchen has a way with sea salt, and this recipe immediately caught my attention. I’ve adapted it slightly and added a shower of coconut to the dough.

Makes approximately 30 2-inch cookies

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus extra for sprinkling
6 ounces high quality white chocolate, chopped, about 1 cup
Sea salt flakes, such as Maldon or Fleur de Sel, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 F. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl; set aside. Beat butter and sugars together in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add flour and mix to thoroughly combine. Add oats, coconut and chocolate and mix to blend. Shape in 1 1/2 inch balls and place on baking sheet lined with parchment. Flatten slightly. Sprinkle with a pinch of coconut and a few grains of sea salt, gently pressing into the dough. Bake in oven until light golden, about 14 minutes.

Low Sodium Love: Coconut Shrimp Curry

Coconut Shrimp Curry – who needs salt?

A year ago, I participated in a food blog event hosted by Jessica, the author of the wonderful blog Sodium Girl. The challenge was to make a favorite recipe and reduce the salt as much as possible. As a salt lover, I confess that this terrified me. What if the lack of sodium  led to bland and dull results? How would I put a positive spin on unsaltiness? Well, as you can see from that post, I couldn’t have been more surprised and pleased when my doctored chicken wing recipe resulted in finger-licking deliciousness.

So, this year when Jessica asked if I would participate in a repeat of the challenge, I had less trepidation. I decided to adapt one of the most viewed recipes on TasteFood – Coconut Shrimp Curry – and exorcise it of any added sodium without compromising on flavor. After all, if it’s such a popular recipe, why not make it available to anyone who is watching their sodium intake? In this contest, natural salt found in whole ingredients is acceptable, but no added or processed salt is allowed. Shrimp have a natural saltiness which would be a boost to the flavor. And, as I learned last year, a great way to compensate for reduced sodium is to ramp up the aromatics and spices, which I did with generous amounts of garlic, fresh ginger, chiles and curry powder – all the good stuff, if you ask me. A spoonful of sugar rounded out the stew and a squeeze of fresh lime juice added sharpness and acidity.

And gosh darn it, it happened again. Once again the results thoroughly impressed me. The curry was rich, bright and brimming with flavor. The extra squeeze of lime provided an extra kick and, dare I say, tricked me into thinking there was plenty of salt in the curry. I even cheated and added a pinch of salt to a small bowlful for comparison. And, guess what? I found the results a little too, well, salty. Go figure.

Thank you, Jessica, for inviting me to participate again this year. For more inspiring low sodium recipes that are heart healthy and delicious with a big spoonful of valuable information,  you can read Jessica’s blog here and find all of the recipe links for this Low Sodium Rally here.

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Feel free to add additional vegetables, such as carrots or cauliflower, to the stew. Depending on the heat of the chiles, adjust amounts to your taste. Serves 4 to 6.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped, about 1 1/2 cups
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 green jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
1 red jalapeño or serrano pepper, stemmed and seeded, minced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise, each quarter sliced in 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 – 26 ounce package Pomi chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 pound frozen large shrimp, defrosted, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup cilantro/coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
1 lime, cut in wedges

Heat oil in deep skillet or soup pot. Add onion and sauté until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeños and ginger. Sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Add zucchini and curry powder; sauté 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, coconut milk and sugar. Simmer 10 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until they turn pink and are just cooked through. Add cilantro. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately in bowls with basmati rice and lime wedges for squeezing over the curry.

Banana Coconut Bread

~ Banana Coconut Bread ~

In the mood for a pre-packaged healthy snack? Or how about a slice of quick bread to accompany a cup of tea? Look no further than the ubiquitous banana. All zipped up in its own skin (which doubles as a nifty handle) the banana is transportable as a nutritious snack on the go – naturally sweet and rich in potassium, magnesium, B and C vitamins. As bananas ripen, they soften and their sugar content and starch increases. At this point, blend the fruit  into a wholesome sweet bread or cake – or pop them un-peeled into the freezer to save for the proverbial rainy day when baking is requisite.

I prefer to eat bananas just under-ripe, while they are still firm and not overwhelmingly sweet. When they reach the mushy tipping point I toss them into a banana bread. While the ratios for my banana bread remain the same, I sometimes fiddle with the ingredients. This is a heartier recipe with a blend of whole wheat, all-purpose flour and a dusting of wheat germ. Coconut flakes add texture and a tropical brightness. If I were feeling naughtier, I would have added chocolate chunks, but somehow I managed to behave myself. How do you prefer your bananas?

Banana Coconut Bread

Makes one loaf.

3 large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, plus extra for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Mix bananas and sugar in a bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs and mix well. Mix in oil, vanilla and cinnamon until well combined. Whisk flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl. Stir into the bananas and mix to incorporate. Stir in coconut (and 1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, if you’re naughty.) Pour into oiled pan. Sprinkle additional coconut on top. Bake until knife inserted in center comes clean, about 55 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan and cool completely.

Banana Chip Bars

Banana Chips, Coconut, Dark Chocolate

This time I blame the banana chips. Due to a last minute panic-induced purchase for a school event, I had a bucket of them sitting in my refrigerator. You might understand the situation which led to this:  Worried that (heaven forbid) not enough dessert would be provided for a tropical-based menu for a lunch at my daughter’s school,  I threw a few, er, many packages of banana chips into my shopping basket on the way to the lunch – just in case the mob inhaled all 47 other dishes represented in the school-wide buffet and were up in arms about not enough sugar to complete their smorgasbord. (As if banana chips would be sufficient to stave off an angry sugar-deprived crowd – what was I thinking?)  As it turned out, any testy unrest was avoided, since we (naturally) had too much food in the first place.  And so the banana chips came home with me and have been patiently waiting in my refrigerator to be put to use – until today.

It was a baking kind of day today, and I decided to throw together a simple bar cookie. Normally I include coconut and chocolate chips in my bars, and figured the banana chips would make a nice addition. I chopped a bunch up in my food processor (you may want ear plugs for this) and folded the chips into the batter. They added a wonderful chewy texture with a mild buttery flavor to the bars, without an overpowering banana flavor or excess sweetness. Toothsome and chewy, they almost made the bars feel…healthy? Ok, that may be pushing it.


Banana Chip Bars
Makes 24 – 2 inch bars

1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened coconut, plus extra for the topping
1 cup coarsely chopped banana chips
1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter the parchment. Whisk sugars and butter together in a large bowl. Add egg and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Combine flour, wheat germ, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Add to the sugar and butter and mix well. Stir in coconut, banana chips and chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle evenly with additional coconut. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan.

Easy Weekend Baking: Coconut Blondies

Coco blondies tf

Coconut Blondies are the perfect antidote for a rainy weekend day. They are simple to make, kid-friendly and sinfully delicious. Filled with chocolate chips and flecked with coconut, these buttery rich squares will make you want to stay inside and bake. Make a batch on your own or with the kids, curl up on the sofa with a cup of tea and enjoy the sound of the rain outdoors. Bliss.

Coconut Blondies

Coconut adds a bright crunch to these chewy bars. Makes 48 (1 1/2 inch) squares.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut, divided
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Butter a rectangular (13 x 9 inch) baking pan. Line bottom with parchment and butter parchment. Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl and whisk together; set aside. Whisk sugar and eggs together in a medium sized bowl. Add butter and vanilla and whisk to combine. Stir in flour until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut and chocolate chips. Spread batter in pan. Sprinkle 1/4 cup coconut evenly over top. Bake until golden brown on top, 30 minutes.

Easy Weekend Baking: Chocolate Coconut Cookie Bars

It’s a foggy day today. The weather is gray, and everyone in our house is moving slowly. Perhaps it’s because we just finished the first week back at school and work following the holidays, but by the time we made it to Friday, we were all ready for another vacation.

So, today has been lazy and a perfect baking day.  This recipe is sweet and easy, something you can easily make with children.  The only taxing requirement is waiting until the bars have cooled before eating – and trying not to eat too many at once.

Coconut Chocolate Bar Cookies


Chocolate Coconut Cookie Bars

These are rich and sweet, so cut in small squares. Makes 30.

1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.)
Butter an 8″ x 8″ baking pan. Line with parchment.  Butter parchment.
Combine 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 cup flour, salt and butter in a bowl.  Mix well to combine. Press batter into pan, smoothing to even out.  Bake in oven 10 minutes.

Combine remaining sugar and flour, 1 1/4 cups coconut, chocolate chips, eggs, vanilla and salt in bowl. Mix well to combine. Pour evenly over the baked cookie base.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup coconut. Bake in oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Remove and cool completely in pan on rack. Cut in squares and serve.