Mango Coconut Smoothie

Mango Coconut Smoothie

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen” -John Steinbeck

After reading this quote in a cookbook earlier, it just stuck. I love the versatility of it in that it can apply to any realm that you are inquisitive about. Well, I’ll have to assume you’re at least passionate about food-related subjects if you’re reading my blog post. Whatever it is that you are craving and cooking now or even experimenting with, it takes a few tries to know the ins and outs of your dish before you are comfortable enough to help others with troubleshooting. If ideas really were like rabbits, then I’m sure many of us would be hoarders haha.

Anyways, for the past few weeks, I was on a smoothie roll. I kept it to the basics- frozen fruit, milk, honey- and it was satisfying for both breakfasts and study snacks. It got a little boring though and I figured I would change it up, while still keeping it simple. No one wants to make a 20 ingredient smoothie in the morning.

The mango in this smoothie is complimented by the creaminess of the coconut milk and the slight acidity of the lemon juice. It’s a guilt-free smoothie and perfect for those who are dairy free or vegans. Of course, you can adjust it to your like. If you like smoothies that are thicker, add more frozen mango chunks or if you like it on the watery side, you can reduce the amount of mango. This is a great base for any smoothie and if you want to highlight a distinct fruit then simply switch out the mangos for something like pomegranate or raspberries.

Mango Coconut Smoothie

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mango chunks
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar

Directions

  1. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Pour in a glass and enjoy.

Adapted from KitchenConfidante

 

 

 

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Samoa Cookies aka Caramel Delites

samoa cookies

Samoa Cookies: those famous Girl Scout ‘Caramel Delite’ cookies that most people scramble for whenever the Girl Scouts start selling cookies & then crave once the season is over. Why wait for one of these cookies when you can learn how to make them for whenever you please?

These have been on my Ultimate Food Bucket List for a long time and I’m very happy that I finally got to attempt them. Although the total time spent making these was around 3 hours, it was well worth it and I am planning to make them again soon. I have no doubt that you will love them as much as I did!

Samoa Girl Scout Cookies Adapted from JustaTaste 

Printable Recipe Here

Makes: 60 cookies

Cookie Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Coconut Topping Ingredients

  • 3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • 15 ounces store bought soft caramel (or homemade)
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate (can also substitute milk or semi-sweet)

Directions     

For the Cookies:

Preheat: 350 F

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy in a bowl with a mixer.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time to the creamed butter. Mix between each addition and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the milk and vanilla extract, blending until combined and the dough starts to form larger pieces.
  5. Divide the dough in half, pressing it together to compact it into two disks. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).
  6. Once the dough is chilled, roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick.
  7. Cut out as many cookies as you can using two different sized cookie cutters (or a doughnut shaped cookie cutter OR any circular shaped top).
  8. Place the cut-out cookies on a Silpat or parchment-paper lined cookie sheet.
  9. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the cookies are a light-golden color. Transfer to a wire-rack to cool.

For the Coconut Topping:

  1. Spread out the shredded coconut on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Bake for about 10 minutes in a 350 F oven until toasted, stirring frequently to ensure even browning and so they do not burn.
  3. Remove the toasted coconut from the oven and set aside.
  4. Melt the caramels, milk, and salt in a double boiler by placing them into a heat safe bowl or saucepan set over a larger saucepan of simmering water.
  5. Stir until the caramels are completely melted and remove from the heat.
  6. Mix in ¾ of the caramel with the toasted coconut in a bowl.
  7. Carefully spread the remaining ¼ cup of caramel on top of the cooled cookies. Press on some of the coconut mixture and let the cookies cool for about 30 minutes. (If the caramel cookie mixture cools or hardens, just put it back on top of the double boiler and warm it until it is spreadable)
  8. Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.
  9. Dip the bottoms of the cookies in the chocolate and place onto parchment or waxed paper.
  10. Use a piping bag to drizzle the tops of the cookies with chocolate. Set aside to cool and then enjoy!

Tips:

-If you do not have a piping bag to pipe the chocolate, you can also use a ziploc bag and snip off a tiny piece of the corner

-When toasting the sweetened coconut in the oven, be sure to stir them frequently as they burn easily and quickly!

Samoa Cookies: Step by Step

samoa cookies

Cutting out the cookies using two different sized circle cookie cutters

samoa cookies

Cookies waiting to be covered in caramel!

samoa cookies

Caramel, milk, & sugar about to go onto the stove using the double boiler method (place pot over a larger pot of simmering water and also make sure that it does not touch the water)

samoa cookies

Samoa Cookies: Before (still delicious at this stage, be careful of who you allow to taste test haha)

samoa cookies

Samoa Cookies: After (definitely do not leave these out of your eyesight!)

samoa cookies

One Word: Yum!!!

 

Have you ever attempted to make any of the other Girl Scout cookies? Have you ever made samoa in a different baking style than cookies (such as cakes, ice-cream, etc)?

Happiness in A Cupcake

Spontaneous baking… Haha that’s what this was. That & it was the perfect opportunity to use those edible silver pearls I just bought! I really wanted to make something with bananas so I was about to make my 4-ingredient banana bread, but…… There was the fact that I couldn’t remember the last time I made cupcakes. Cupcakes it was :)

*Why do I say “Happiness in A Cupcake”?? Well, as it turns out- Bananas have been known to cheer people up. They are the only fruit that contain high levels of tryptophan that is later converted to serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical neurotransmitter that lowers depression. Sadly….. I discovered during my research that this is a myth -__- Yes, bananas contain serotonin. BUT there remains the fact that this serotonin is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier and so can’t get to where it needs to be. I still believe there is a lot of happiness to be found in bananas. Seriously, with almost no fat, low calories, and a plentiful of vitamins who could deny this bountiful fruit?

Banana Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or regular milk)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

Preheat: 350 F

  1. Get a large mixing bowl and beat the butter for a few minutes until creamy 
  2. Add the sugar and then the eggs & vanilla extract while beating at a low speed
  3. Add the 2 mashed bananas & coconut and continue to beat
  4. Mix in the flour and buttermilk in small intervals
  5. Fill the cupcake pan about 2/3 full each and bake for about 18 minutes

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Beat together the cream cheese and butter
  2. Add the powdered sugar in small intervals
  3. Pour in the vanilla extract and beat until fluffy for a couple minutes

 

Adapted from BlissfullyDelicious

Peppermint Shakes & Macarons = Pure Joy

College winter breaks are seriously the best!! Totally beats the measly two weeks we would get back in high school. One of many things that I was looking forward to making once I had finished with the busyness of all my exams was macarons!! This soft delicate cookie along with the slight crunch you taste when you first bite into it, is truly one of a kind. The hundreds of flavors that you can make it in, not to mention the crazy fillings you can come up with, only make it more desirable. In a previous post, I made chocolate macarons with 3 different kinds of fillings- chocolate espresso, chocolate chip cookie dough, and chocolate coconut. This post along with the recipe can be found here. Today though, I made a pink coconut flavored macaron and filled it with chocolate espresso. Needless to say, they disappeared within seconds. Can’t wait to make these again!

photo-5

The day before I made these macarons, I was really craving something sweet. Hmmmm, what to get?? I decided I must get a shake! Sadly though, there are no places near my house that are known for their shakes. I was quite disappointed with the ones from Sonic. They tasted more like ice cream and were so thick I had to use a spoon to eat it. The best shakes I have tried where at Chicago at a chain restaurant called Steak N Shake. I guess you can deduce from the name that they must be famous for their shakes! There is a Steak N Shake in fact near my area, but the fact that it has not opened yet is killing me!!! Oh well, the next best thing I guessed would be a homemade shake. Being it the winter season and all, I’ve been reading about all these peppermint desserts so I resolved that I would make a Peppermint Shake. A quick search on foodgawker and I had my recipe ready to go. It really is quite easy. All you need is vanilla icecream, white chocolate, milk, and peppermint candy canes. Blend it all together and top with crushed candy canes and whipped cream and you are good to go!

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Larger Version of My Strawberry Chocolate Bundt Cake

Let me just warn you. If don’t own a bundt cake pan and go out to buy one now, you will not be able to stop making bundt cakes! Trust me, there are plenty of flavors out there for you to try. Oh and plenty of toppings as well. The options are pretty much endless. Whenever I have too much free time on my hands I like to bake something. It takes forever though to choose the perfect recipe from foodgawker.com, so due to my laziness I decided to use my classic chocolate Hershey’s cake recipe. Yup, and I just had to use that bundt cake pan! After the cake was done, another dilemma came up. What frosting to use?! For some reason, I am a fail at frostings and have yet to find the perfect healthy one. My original one I’d use is basically butter and powdered sugar but I’ve been trying to experiment with different recipes to find something different. If you are lazy, the easiest frosting is just to melt baking chocolate squares and pour that allll over the cake, as I did :) My only mistake that I realized later was that after you refrigerate it, that the chocolate will harden and make it even tougher to cut the cake. Not too big of a deal, certainly didn’t stop me from eating it haha. For the end, I topped it off with sweetened coconut and my favorite- the glazed strawberries.

P.S. and yes, those mini strawberry chocolate bundt cakes I made in an earlier post helped inspire this! I just had to make the big version :)

OMG almost forgot, but this recipe was not just any chocolate cake, it was a TRES LECHES CHOCOLATE CAKE! Really Easy. Just mix a combination of evaporated milk (1 12oz can), sweetened condensed milk (1 14 oz can) , and heavy cream (1 1/2 cups) and pour it over the cake. Let it soak for a couple hours. And by the way, the measurements for the milk mixture to soak it in do not have to be exact. There are many variations as to how much you put of each type of milk, but I chose these.

The Formidable Fried Ice Cream

Fried Icecream?!?! How is that even possible you may ask. Won’t the icecream melt when you fry it?? I always had this in the back of my mind to try, but when one of my friends made it recently I decided to give it a shot. It’s a very easy and simple recipe by the way and tastes just amazing!

Oh and no, the ice cream does not melt because it will be at a really low temperature after you have kept it in the freezer for about 3 hours or more.

Fried Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart ice cream
  • 3 cups corn flakes
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • Optional- strawberries, honey, chocolate sauce (decor)

Directions:

  1. Make 5 scoops of ice-cream and put them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. I also made 8 mini ice cream scoops as well for mini desserts. Freeze for an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, put the corn flakes in a plastic bag and crush them.
  3. Add the coconut and cinnamon and shake the ingredients to combine. Set aside.
  4. Take a shallow bowl and whisk together the two eggs with the milk.
  5. Now remove your ice cream from the freezer. Roll it in the corn flakes mix and then coat it with the eggs. After that, coat it with the corn flakes mix again. (You can shape them with your hands to make them more of a ball shape)
  6. Put your ice-cream scoops back in the freezer for about 3 hours or overnight.
  7. Heat oil until it is medium-hot so about 365 degrees. You can drop one corn flake into the oil and see if it gets brown on the edges within 20 seconds to test if it is ready or not.
  8. Remove the ice cream balls from the freezer and fry them for only 20-25 seconds. Place on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb the oil.
  9. Serve immediately!

 

Some Step By Step Pictures

The Corn Flakes Ready To Be Crushed

Crushed Cornflakes

The Corn Flake Mixture Including the Cinnamon and Unsweetened Coconut

The Coated Mini Ice Cream Balls Ready To Be Frozen!

‘Mazin Macaronz

Yes, I have finally made the epic macaron! And no, not that coconut macaroon that many people got confused with when I told them about these lol. Pictures of this vivid flawless cookie have always inspired me due to  the allure of the simplicity of it. I have to admit, my first try at making macarons was an epic FAIL. Although macarons are just a cookie, the steps in making them are exact and there are many opportunities for one to make a minor but fatal mistake. In my case, I think that I overmixed the mixture and as a result the cookies turned out sticky and small at the end.

No Worries! I was pretty determined and for the next try invited some friends over and we attempted another go at these delicate beauties. Do not let fear discourage you from making these cookies. From what I realized, all it takes is patience and preciseness and you will be good to go. It’s really just like any other recipe if you think about it, just follow directions. As you can see from the pictures, our second try was a SUCCESS :)

Chocolate Macarons featuring :

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Espresso, and Chocolate Coconut Fillings

We used a scale to measure all our ingredients because the recipe is in grams and you do have to be precise. For the almond flour, which is shown in this picture, we blended sliced almonds in a food processor to make it.

Mixing the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filling!

The circles are not shown but we drew about 12 on each cookie sheet and used a juice cap as a template. Each cookie should be 2 inches apart from each other and the circles were roughly around 1 inch in diameter but that can vary due to your choice. We let the batter rest on the cookie sheets for about 45 minutes before putting it in the oven.

The cookies rose this time!! It was also exciting to see those little “feet” that are so notorious of the macaron. They are very delicate by the way, so be extremely careful when lifting them off the cookie sheets.

Macarons Ready to Be Iced

Our Deeelish Macarons! The left row is the chocolate chip cookie dough filling, followed by the chocolate coconut filling, and finally the chocolate espresso filling.

Chocolate Macarons

Ingredients:

  • 110 grams Almond Flour
  • 200 grams minus 2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
  • 50 grams Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Powdered Cocoa
  • 100 grams of Egg Whites (3-3 1/2 eggs; various opinions about aging them but I didn’t and they turned fine)

Directions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and draw the circles using a template such as a juice cap and space them 2 inches apart.
  2. If you don’t have the almond meal bought, then take almonds and pulse them in the food processor until fine.
  3. Measure all your ingredients that you will need using the scale and set aside for combining them later.
  4. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder to the food processor and pulse until well incorporated.
  5. Take the egg whites and beat them with an electric mixer in a large bowl for a few minutes until they are foamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar to the egg whites mixture and beat until stiff peaks form.
  6. Fold in the dry ingredients into the egg whites with a rubber spatula, about 50-60 strokes (you will know it is ready when the mixture flows like lava and makes a thick ribbon when lifted that will sink slowly)
  7. Fit a round tip onto your piping bag, fill with the macaron mixture, and pipe onto the predrawn circles.
  8. Let the batter rest for about 45 minutes.
  9. Preheat your oven to 300 F.
  10. Bake for about 12 minutes and let the macarons cool before you ice them.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Icing recipe can be found here:

http://www.raspberricupcakes.com/2011/10/strawberry-milk-macarons-with-cookie.html

Chocolate Espresso and Chocolate Coconut Icings:

*this icing recipe can vary based on your tastes

-Simmer 1/2 cup of heavy cream and add it to about 2 oz of chocolate. Flavor it to your liking. We used espresso powder in one bowl and put sweetened coconut in the other. Simple amazing!!

Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Raspberries!!

When I first tried tapioca, it was store-bought and from a generic plastic container with a bland flavor of vanilla. Little did I know that these small pearls can make any dessert dish taste amazing and with whatever flavor you want whether it be pumpkin spice coconut or even raspberry mint. You’re probably also familiar with tapioca from bubble tea as well. I actually found this recipe on foodgawker, aka the most addicting food website everrrrr!

-Tapioca actually comes from a plant known as cassava or the yucca.

-Tapioca pearls are a form of starch that are made from the roots of these plants.

Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Raspberries
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 125 ml of coconut milk
  • 1 vanilla bean or tsp of vanilla extract
  • 115 g sugar + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 50 g tapioca
  • 150 g of raspberries
Directions:
  1. Combine the whole milk, coconut milk, vanilla extract, tapioca, and 115 g of sugar in a medium saucepan.
  2. Heat until the pearls become translucent (about 30 minutes)
  3. Remove from heat and pour into 4 dessert cups and let cool to room temp
  4. Cook the raspberries and 2 tbsp of sugar in a small saucepan, mashing them with a fork
  5. Add the raspberries on top of the pudding, cover with a film, and freeze for about 2 hours

End Result- Quite Phenomenal!

The sweet-sour taste of the thin layer of raspberries on top goes great with the smooth and creamy coconut flavored tapioca pudding on the bottom. Totally recommend everyone to make this!