Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dark Chocolate Pretzel Sticks

Thought I'd make something easy.

Stacey's Dark Chocolate Pretzel Sticks Ingredients:
60% El Rey Dark Chocolate couverture
Organic Turbinado Sugar crystals
Honey Wheat Pretzel sticks from Trader Joe's

I tempered the dark chocolate and dipped the pretzels into it.  Then I sprinkled them with the turbinado sugar. Ta-dah!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Coconut Cake

It was my boyfriend's birthday today so I thought I'd make something a little bit different.  Figured I'd try out some sort of coconut cake. 

Stacey's Coconut Cake Ingredients:

1 1/2c unbleached white flour, organic
1/2c brown rice flour, organic
2 tbs cornstarch
1 1/2c sugar, organic
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
3/4c coconut flakes

1 1/2c lite coconut milk
1/4c coconut oil
1/4c canola oil
2 eggs

First I preheated the oven to 350F.  Then, I mixed the dry ingredients together. I melted the coconut oil, then added it to the canola, coconut milk, and eggs and whisked everything together with a fork.  I poured the wet ingredients into the dry and mixed everything up.  I didn't want too much cake for home, since it was just my boyfriend and I eating it, so I poured about 1.5-2" of batter into a 7x7" cake pan lined with parchment paper.  I poured the rest into another pan.  You can probably pour all of it into an 8x8" or a 9x9" cake pan.  I baked mine for about 30 minutes, rotating once. 

I wanted to make some sort of frosting or buttercream, but he didn't want any.  The cake is pretty nice all by itself.  Boyfriend said it tasted like pudding. :)  I ate my piece with a little bit of banana, which was really good.  I bet this cake would taste really good with a coconut cream frosting and some sliced bananas.  All in all, chewy, coconutty, and delightful.  A tad on the heavy side - definitely not a light and airy cake.  Dense, almost creamy, and flavorful.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Elegant Coconut Haystacks

Typically when I'm dipping things in chocolate, I have a little bit of chocolate left over which I save for random projects.  This is one of those.

I love coconut haystacks, but I often think they are too sweet and kind of ugly.  In this version, I was going for something more light and flaky... elegant, if you will. ;)

These are guestimates since I was using ingredients that I just had around.

4-6oz chocolate couverture (mix of milk, dark)
1 to 1 1/2c coconut chips, unsweetened, organic ('s version is my favorite)

First I toasted the coconut - you have to watch it in the toaster and be really careful when you do this.  Coconut is like tissue paper and burns REALLY fast. What you want is for it to be a nice golden brown and crunchy.  I usually put my toaster oven on 300F and do 5 minute increments, stirring it in between so that it browns evenly.  Somewhere around 10 minutes mine is done, but it might take longer depending on your tray size, etc.  Just watch it and make sure it doesn't burn.  :)

Let the coconut cool to at least 85F - but you can temper the chocolate in the meantime.  Once you have your tempered chocolate and your cooled coconut chips, you can put the coconut chips in the chocolate.  You are aiming for a really thin layer of chocolate so that it barely coats the coconut.

I like to have extra coconut around, just in case there is too much chocolate.  Today I was living dangerously though, and I just dumped in everything.  Turned out it was just the right amount of chocolate and coconut and I wished I'd measured.  

Everyone who loves coconut and chocolate loves these at my work.  Be careful though, they're so light and crunchy, it's easy to eat too many really quick. :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you love coconut and chocolate, you'll love these moist, chewy cookies.  I used to work with Jeff Ma at Protrade and Citizen Sports and one day he asked me to make something with coconut in it, so he likes to say that he helped me come up with the recipe. :D  It was always his favorite cookie in my arsenal.  I also used to make these when I had my farmer's market stand in Millbrae.

Stacey's Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Ingredients: 

1c+2tbs sugar, organic
1 1/4c brown sugar, organic
1c butter, salted, organic (2 sticks)
1/2c coconut milk, organic (regular, aka not low-fat, is best)
2 eggs, organic
2 tsp vanilla bean paste

2c unbleached white flour, organic
1 1/2c whole wheat flour, organic (I always throw some whole wheat in to get some whole grains in, but you can use all unbleached white if you prefer)
2tbs cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1c shredded coconut, organic
2 1/2c Guittard semi-sweet chocolate chips

More shredded coconut for rolling

Wilton Cookie Sheets

Preheat oven to 350F.  Soften butter in the microwave and then put it in a standing mixer with the batter attachment (or you can use a big bowl and a hand mixer) with the coconut milk and sugars.  Blend.  Add the eggs and vanilla bean paste and blend until fluffy.  

Some people say you should mix all the dry ingredients together first and then add it, but I'm lazy.  I just dump all the dry ingredients on top (including the chips) and put the dough attachment on my standing mixer using the stir (lowest) setting to get it all mixed.  It helps to use a spatula to push down what crops up on the sides.  If you are using a hand mixer, this might be difficult without flinging flour everywhere (or if you're adding the dry mixture a little at a time, you might overmix), so you might just opt for mixing with a big wooden spoon. 

Once the dough is all combined, refrigerate for a few hours to harden it up.  Then you can roll it more easily into balls, which are then rolled in more shredded coconut. Place them on a cookie sheet, about 2" apart.

Put them in the oven for about 10 minutes, rotating once after 5 minutes so that they cook evenly.  I prefer to check them with my temperature gun to make sure they are about 200F on the surface.  That is the perfect cookie for me, but you might prefer crunchier.  I personally think crunchy drop cookies are a waste of calories. :)  

After they come out of the oven, let them sit on the cookie sheets for an additional 10 minutes.  The residual heat cooks them the rest of the way so they are still soft and moist in the middle.

Mmmm... coconutty...