Coconut Lime Scones

Scones are one of my very favorite breakfast/brunch treats. They’re not something I have the occasion to enjoy super often (breakfast is typically a something thrilling like greek yogurt or peanut butter toast, plus fruit), so I really like to dress my scones up when I DO have them (not that there is a damn thing wrong with a plain scone, because there most certainly is not). I was recently at a coffee shop with a friend, and I spied a blueberry lemon scone in the pastry case, so I ordered it to go with my hot chocolate (I don’t drink coffee – it’ll stunt my growth, and I plan to be 5’4″ by the time I’m 35)… and it SUCKED. Just straight up sucked. It wasn’t flaky and buttery and light. It was stale, dry, flavorless, and utterly disappointing.

It’s hard being a baked goods snob, you guys. My life ain’t easy.

Coconut Lime Scones

Anyways, a few weeks later I had the occasion to make some breakfast treats for a morning event, and I seized the opportunity to really do it up. No way a boring, flavorless scone is coming out of my kitchen! I’m not gonna lie, these bad boys were damn tasty. I would (and will) make them again in a heartbeat.

They’re relatively quick and easy to make, they’re pretty, and the bulk of the ingredients are things you might already have in your pantry! (Feel free to tell me I’m nuts if I think everyone has coconut cream in their pantry, I can take it.)

Coconut Lime Scones

Coconut Lime Scones

For the scones:
one stick (8T) butter, very cold
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1.5 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
zest of 2 limes
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup coconut cream*

For the glaze:
zest of one lime
juice of 1-2 limes
powdered sugar (about 1 cup)

Coconut Lime Scones

*I buy the coconut cream from Trader Joe’s, but you can find it in the Asian section of your grocery store, usually. It’s thicker and has more fat that coconut milk, but you can use coconut milk if that’s all you can find. Just DON’T use lite or low-fat coconut milk!

1.) Preheat your oven to 425°. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, shredded coconut, and lime zest.

2.) Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture, until the largest pieces of butter are the size of small peas.

3.) Pour the heavy cream and coconut cream into the flour and butter mixture, and use a rubber spatula to mix everything together (be careful not to overmix – you want all the ingredients to JUST come together).

4.) Lightly dust your countertop with flour, and turn the scone dough out onto it, including any dry bits of flour. Knead the dough together just a few times, until it holds together. Pat into a rectangle, and cut into about 12 even squares.

5.) Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat, and place the scones on it, about 2″ apart. Bake for 14-17 minutes, until the scones are nice and golden brown at the edges.

6.) Remove the scones from the oven, and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

7.) While the scones cool, you can mix up your glaze. You want about 3 tablespoons of lime juice; stir in the zest, and add powdered sugar as necessary until you get a nice, thick-but-drizzleable (yeah, it’s a word) consistency.

8.) When the scones are totally cool, drizzle them with the glaze – as much or as little as you like. They are definitely best the day they’re made, but will hold up well in a loosely covered dish overnight.

Coconut Lime Scones

Not that I would have personal experience with something like this, but I’m just SAYING… if, perhaps, you were to over-indulge on this upcoming holiday weekend, these scones would make a great morning-after breakfast with a side of your caffeine of choice. Feel free to pair them with a mimosa, if a little hair of the dog is more your speed. I’m certainly not judging.

You bring the bacon and mimosas, I’ll cover the baked goods,
Tina

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Whatchamacallit Rice Krispie Treats

If you’ve never experienced the wonder that is a Whatchamacallit candy bar, I am sorry to tell you that you are SERIOUSLY missing out. Sure, the Whatchamacallit doesn’t get the glory of a Snickers, or a Milky Way, or a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup… but there is a boatload of deliciousness to be had in this unassuming candy bar. (You guys, you can’t even find a bag of mini Whatchamacallits at Halloween… awfully RUDE, candy overlords!) It’s crunchy, it’s caramel-y, it’s subtly peanut butter-y – all without being overly sweet or overwhelmed by chocolate.

Whatchamacallit Rice Krispie Treats

As an ardent lover of rice krispie treats (I can easily take down an entire pan on my own), I occasionally sit around and daydream about how I could make a standard rice krispie treat more delicious. Clearly, my life is more exciting than you can possibly comprehend. Anyways, one day I was hit with a stroke of genius – that I could make a rice krispie treat that would taste like a Whatchamacallit! It took me several months to actually decide to do it (let’s be honest, I don’t particularly need a gigantic pan of rice krispie treats staring me down all week)… but over the weekend, the urge struck, and I just decided to go with it. I had all the ingredients, I was in the mood for a kind of salty/sweet dessert… and now I’m doing that thing where I keep walking by the plate of treats, cutting off a sliver here or there, just eating a little bit at a time. I fully expect all of them to be gone by this evening.

Whatchamacallit Rice Krispie Treats

Whatchamacallit Rice Krispie Treats
makes one 9×13 pan of treats

5 T salted butter
8oz marshmallows
3 T peanut butter
generous 1/4 cup salted caramel sauce
approx. 7 cups rice krispies
2oz milk chocolate, chopped
1 tsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil)

Whatchamacallit Rice Krispie Treats

1.) Start by melting your butter in a large pot, over medium low heat. Once the butter is melted, add your peanut butter and caramel sauce and stir, so the warm butter starts to melt the peanut butter.

2.) Add in your marshmallows, and stir continuously so the sugars don’t burn, until everything is melted and smooth.

3.) Remove the pan from the heat, pour in your rice krispies, and use a rubber spatula to gently fold them into the marshmallow mixture. I like to start with maybe 6 cups of rice krispies, and add more as needed – you want to be sure they’re not too dry!

4.) Spray a 9×13 pan with baking spray, and press the rice krispie mixture into the pan (lightly wet your hands to keep everything from sticking).

5.) Add the chocolate and coconut oil into a small bowl, and microwave in 20 second increments until it melts and can be stirred until smooth.

Whatchamacallit Rice Krispie Treats

6.) Scoop the chocolate into a small sandwich bag, and snip off a tiny bit of one corner. Drizzle the chocolate over the treats in whatever pattern you like! Let the treats cool and the chocolate harden (you can stick them in the fridge for 20 minutes or so, if you’re impatient like me), and then cut into squares. Enjoy!

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YESSSSSSSSSS. These Whatchamacallit treats were EXACTLY what I had in mind. A little salty, a little sweet… nutty, buttery, and juuuust enough chocolate. And, because they consist primarily of puffed rice, they don’t taste heavy or too rich (all the better to eat 18 of them in one sitting). Keep in mind, you can mess with the proportion of caramel to peanut butter, too – I wanted the peanut butter to be present, but not overwhelming (as it is in a Whatchamacallit), but if you’re a peanut butter fanatic, feel free to use more PB. I am not sure why I’m admitting this, but I added my peanut butter and caramel sauce to the pan, and kept tweaking until the mixture smelled like a Whatchamacallit. Evidently, I am intimately familiar with the exact scent produced by the Whatchamacallit-specific ratio of peanut butter and caramel. Please feel free to be embarrassed on my behalf.

The nose knows,
Tina

Coconut Maple Pecan Granola

I’ve never really understood the appeal of granola. I don’t dislike it or anything, it’s just not something that’s ever gotten me real hot and bothered, you know? Not to mention, I think most granolas are about 1,000,000 calories per four tablespoon serving, and if I’m gonna be blowing a week’s worth of calories in one sitting, I’m gonna be consuming those calories in the form of a giant pizza, thankyouverymuch.

Yogurt  + Granola Breakfast Bowls with Coconut Maple Pecan Granola

Anyways, in recent years, I’ve become a big fan of greek yogurt. It’s delicious, packed full of protein, comes in tons of flavors, and is easily portable – but I prefer to eat it with something added to it for crunch. (I feel weird eating a big bowl of food that requires absolutely no chewing, for reasons I can’t explain.) I’ve found a few different varieties of granola that are quite serviceable, but nothing that’s life-changing (in fairness, perhaps I’m expecting too much out of my breakfast)… until recently. And wonder of wonders, it was a homemade granola, served up in a tiny little pie shop in the middle of Detroit, that made me understand the appeal of granola. The most spectacular yogurt + granola bowl, with a starring ingredient of… mint! Mind. Officially. BLOWN. Clearly, the only appropriate course of action was to go home and recreate the entire bowl, from top to bottom.

Coconut Maple Pecan Granola

Coconut Maple Pecan Granola
makes… a whole bunch. I did not measure.

2.5 cups oats
1.5 cups coarsely chopped raw pecans
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 oz roasted coconut*

Yogurt + Granola Breakfast Bowls
per individual serving

6 oz plain greek yogurt (2% or full fat)
honey to taste
1/4 cup Coconut Maple Pecan Granola
2 T dried cherries
3-4 mint leaves, minced or sliced into thin ribbons

*I love the roasted coconut chips from Trader Joe’s in this granola. If you don’t have a TJ’s near you, you can use flaked coconut of your choice – just be sure to toast it separate from the granola (either in a skillet or in the oven), as it will toast much faster than the rest of the ingredients, and you don’t want it to burn.

Yogurt  + Granola Breakfast Bowls with Coconut Maple Pecan Granola

1.) Preheat your oven to 300°F. While the oven preheats, whisk together the maple syrup, melted coconut oil, honey, kosher salt, and ground ginger. Pour the oats and raw pecans into the wet ingredients, and gently stir with a rubber spatula until everything is evenly coated.

2.) Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking sheet. Evenly spread the granola out on to the baking sheet, and place it in the oven.

3.) About every 10-15 minutes, remove the granola from the oven and give it a good stir before returning it. This will help ensure even browning.

4.) After about 35-40 minutes, the granola should have a nice, even, golden brown color. Stir it one last time, then put it back in the oven; turn the oven off and crack the oven door, and allow the granola to cool completely – about 45 minutes or so.

5.) Once the granola is totally cooled (you want to be sure there is NO warmth whatsoever – because that warmth will just translate to soggy granola once it’s stored), lightly crumble the coconut and add it to the granola. Transfer the granola to an airtight container. The granola will be good for several weeks, but I bet it won’t last that long!

Yogurt  + Granola Breakfast Bowls with Coconut Maple Pecan Granola

To assemble your yogurt and granola breakfast bowl, start with a base of yogurt; top with a drizzle of honey (as much or as little as you like). Add the granola, dried cherries, and mint. Enjoy!

I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me sooner that, if I was not pleased with the granola options available to me, I should just make my own – but I can be a little dense sometimes, so, there ya have it. Turns out, granola is really easy to make, and can be customized in several million different ways – though I think this particular combination of ingredients is pretty darn heavenly.

I have to tell you, the use of mint in the yogurt and granola bowl was a huge surprise to me. I was half-convinced I would hate it – but as it turns out, it MADE the dish! It added a brightness and a freshness that was absolutely fantastic.

Guess it’s time to plant some mint in the backyard,
Tina

S’mores Cupcakes (dairy-free, if you prefer!)

S'mores Cupcakes

I have been meaning to post about these cupcakes since last summer, and I keep putting it off… because every time I pull up photos of the damn things, I am overcome with the urge to bake (and subsequently EAT) a giant batch of them. And let’s be honest, now that I’m over 30, any sort of over-indulgence results in a stern talking-to from the waistband of my pants, so… I try not to torture myself by gazing at photos of baked goods, is what I’m saying. ENJOY YOUR METABOLISM WHILE YOU’RE YOUNG, KIDS!

S'mores Cupcakes

(That got off track quickly, didn’t it?)

My point is: these cupcakes are mighty delicious! I would like to say that they’re less messy than eating an actual s’more, but that would be a straight-up lie, and I won’t do that to you. So, pull your hair back, roll up your sleeves, and just get comfortable with the idea of having bits of marshmallow stuck to your face all day. They’re worth it.

S’mores Cupcakes*
adapted slightly from here and here
makes 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 cup salted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk

S'mores Cupcakes

For the ganache filling:
6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the frosting:
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)

Special equipment needed:
a kitchen torch**

S'mores Cupcakes

1.) Preheat your oven to 350°. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar until well-combined, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.

2.) In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt). Add 1/3 of the dry mixture to the butter, sugar, and eggs, and mix until just incorporated. Then add half the milk, another third of the dry ingredients, the remainder of the milk, and the remainder of the dry ingredients, being careful not to over-mix with each addition.

3.) Place cupcake liners into cupcake tins (or spray them with nonstick cooking spray), and fill each one about 2/3 full with batter (I like to use a 4T metal scoop so all my cupcakes are even – and err on the side of underfilling the cups). Bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

4.) While the cupcakes bake, make your ganache. Place the chocolate and heavy cream into a small glass bowl, and set the bowl over a small pan of simmering water, making a double boiler (keep in mind: you do not want the simmering water to touch the bowl, just the resulting steam. You only need a small amount of simmering water at the bottom of the pot, and the bowl should be a bit bigger than the pot, so it will rest nicely in the opening). As the chocolate and cream heat up, gently whisk the two together until they’re completely melted and cohesive. Carefully remove the bowl from the pot (it will be hot!) and set aside.

5.) When your cupcakes are completely cool, take a small paring knife and cut a small hole out of the middle of each one, a little larger than the size of a quarter. Eat the resulting cupcake bits as a reward for all your hard work.

S'mores Cupcakes

6.) When the ganache has totally cooled (you can toss it into the fridge for 15 minutes or so to speed the process up), it should be relatively firm. Use a small metal scoop (I like the 2t size) or two spoons to scoop a small amount of ganache into each cupcake.

7.) Time for the frosting. Set the metal bowl of your stand mixer over a pot of simmering water – again, making a double boiler. Add the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar (if using) to the bowl, and whisk to combine. Whisk the mixture constantly, until the sugar is totally dissolved, and the egg whites are warm to the touch (the sugar is dissolved when you dip your finger into the mixture and it no longer feels grainy – this should take 2-3 minutes).

Marshmallow Frosting

8.) Place the mixing bowl on to your mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, and set it on low. Gradually increase the speed on the mixer as the egg whites thicken, and beat until the egg whites are about tripled in volume, and very glossy, about 6-8 minutes.

Marshmallow Frosting

9.) Pile the marshmallow frosting into a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice (I prefer one of the star tips, so the resulting ridges will brown nicely). Pipe the frosting on to the cupcakes, and then go over the frosting with your mini kitchen torch to toast it lightly**.

S'mores Cupcakes

*These cupcakes are easy to make dairy-free, if that’s your thing. Substitute Earth Balance for the butter, and a dairy-free milk of choice for the whole milk (I went with Lactaid, but unsweetened almond milk would also be fine). The frosting is dairy-free on its own, and for the ganache, you can either use a combination of semi-sweet chocolate and coconut oil (about 2T for 6 ounces of chocolate), or totally skip the ganache filling, and instead just melt some semi-sweet chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the frosted, toasted cupcakes.

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**If you don’t have a kitchen torch, I understand you can pop these suckers under your broiler to toast the marshmallow frosting – I have never tried this, so your mileage may vary. Please report back if you give this method a shot. Also, for the love of all things holy, KEEP AN EYE ON THEM. You don’t want your beautiful cupcakes to go up in flames because you got distracted by yelling at the couple on House Hunters who insist that they can’t buy that house because the paint colors are ugly. FOCUS.

Man, these cupcakes are gooooood. The graham cracker cupcake is just slightly sweet, and the chocolate ganache is chocolate ganache, so you’ll find no argument there. Add a big pile of sweet, fluffy marshmallow with delightfully brown, toasty edges, and your guests will be putty in your hands. They’ll also probably leave sticky piles of marshmallow all over your house, but that’s why the nice people at Mr. Clean make Magic Erasers.

S'mores Cupcakes

As you’ll note in the photos in this post, these made an excellent addition to a Fourth of July celebration, but I also made them for a Christmas party, and they were well-received then, too. The allure of the s’more knows no season.

You’re welcome, and also, I’m sorry,
Tina