Tag Archives: coconut

Week Ten: Grand Finale!

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For the grand finale, I decided to remake the best recipe I’d made this summer, which happened to be Loaded Mashed Potato Bombs, which I’ve listed the recipe for in a previous post. I also baked kielbasa, because I’m super Polish and wanted something small and quick to go with the bombs. We get our kielbasa from a local place called Filipek’s which I highly recommend! And then of course I steamed some random broccoli, even though I’m not a big fan, because we had some fresh stalks available.

My mother regrets that we did not document all the disasters of the night, as there were quite a few.  After mixing the dry ingredients together, I tripped and needless to say, flour went everywhere. Then because the dark chocolate hardened after I’d already melted it, in trying to remelt it, the chocolate burned and our microwave was disgustingly smoky. In prepping the cake mixture, I accidentally used dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar.  I’m not really knowledgable about the nature of brown sugar and what that meant for my dessert.  But let’s just say the end result was very decadent and needed vanilla ice cream to compensate for this fact.

The recipe also calls for dulce de leche as one of the main ingredients.  I just thought it looked delicious in the picture on Pinterest, but truly had no notion of where to find this delicacy.  While looking for icing sugar and the aforementioned topping, someone in the baking aisle told me there was a process to making these kinds of things.  With a swift search google search, I was able to pick up ingredients I needed. Dulce de leche was basically just sweetened condensed milk. The icing sugar just required processing normal sugar and then adding in corn starch and grinding the two together.  In one article, it seemed as though it would take 3 or so hours to make dulce de leche, so, I wanted to take caution and make it at the same time as other items. This ended up being not such a great idea, because the dulce de leche hardened and didn’t really have the desired result. It was also a bit difficult to have to convert measurements all the time, but I tried!

Chocolate and Coconut Cake with Dulce De Leche and Cashews 

230g dark chocolate

411g dulce de leche (1 ½ tins)
170g unsalted butter, softened 
350g light brown sugar 
3 eggs, separated
375g plain flour 
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
500ml buttermilk 
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g sweetened shredded coconut, plus extra for sprinkling on top

Icing

200g dark chocolate

225g unsalted butter, softened

250g icing sugar
1 tpsp buttermilk 

170g dark chocolate
100g cashew nuts

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Note: This recipe actually yields 4 cake layers, even though I only made two which didn’t stay together.  Whatever you do, do not put the widest cake layer at the top because the chocolate will drip all over the place, not all seductively over each layer as it should. 

Make the cakes. Preheat oven to 170 Celsius and line two 7” or 8″ cake pans with baking paper, or 4 sandwich tins. Every time a recipe has suggested baking paper, I used spray instead.  This is the first time that’s proved problematic.  When I own my own house, I’ll probably have my own baking paper.  Melt 230g chocolate over double boiler and set aside. I couldn’t find bars of dark chocolate, so I just microwaved dark chocolate chips.  Beat butter and sugar until pale. Add the yolks one by one followed by the melted chocolate. In a jug, pour vanilla into buttermilk and stir. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and fluff up with a fork. Add the flour and buttermilk to the chocolate mixture in thirds, alternating between the two.  Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, fold them into the chocolate mixture and divide the batter among the pans.  In my tiredness, I forgot to beat the egg whites before folding them.  I don’t know if this had an effect on anything.  Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean, bake for 25 minutes if using sandwich tins. Cool cakes. 

Make the icing. Melt 200g chocolate over double boiler. Beat butter, buttermilk and icing sugar in a freestanding mixture on high speed until light and fluffy (3 minutes). Pour the melted chocolate in whilst the mixer is still running and mix until fully incorporated. 

Melt the rest of the chocolate (170g) over a double boiler. 

Assemble the cake. Split the cakes horizontally using a serrated knife and brush away the crumbs (there will be a lot!). Place the first layer on a cake plate and spread a quarter of the chocolate icing on top, then spread a quarter of the dulce de leche.  Because of the hardened state of mine, it was really difficult to spread.  Place the second layer on top and repeat – same with the third. Place the last cake on top and spread with the melted chocolate, letting it drip to the sides. Sprinkle with cashews and leftover coconut. Lasts for 3 days if kept covered. 

Attempted side view

Attempted side view

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Week Four: Crab Rangoons, General Tso’s Chicken & Pineapple Coconut Snowballs

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Now, at Smith, I had the most delicious crab rangoon and had been craving it every since. But in trying to make this meal, I think I ended up with one of the worst I made this summer. It was not melt-in-your-mouth amazing. The crab and cream cheese did not mesh together as well as I had hoped. If I were to attempt this recipe again, I would recommend filling the wontons excessively, put more than you think necessary in the middle, because mine definitely needed more.

Crab Rangoons:
Ingredients:
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 8-oz package cream cheese
6 oz of crab meat (I found a 12-oz package and used half)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
48 wonton wrappers
2 eggs, beaten

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine garlic powder, cream cheese, crab, green onions, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce in a bowl. Place 1 teaspoon of filling onto the center of each wonton skin. Brush the edges with beaten eggs and fold the wonton skin diagonally to form a triangle, pressing edges to seal. This part was a lot of fun; I felt very artistic! Create a crown by pulling both bottom corners together and sealing. Arrange the rangoons on the baking sheet and lightly spray with cooking spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes, just until golden brown.

Crab rangoons!

Crab rangoons!

This is my brother’s favorite Chinese treat, so I thought it would be good to try out. They’ve also been growing on me, but I believe this particular recipe was too spicy for me. Then again I did just eyeball some of the additions and was doubling the recipe to feed my family of five. So, something might have gone wrong there.

Homemade General Tso’s Chicken Recipe:
(Makes 4 servings)

Ingredients:
Chicken:
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cornstarch
Vegetable or peanut oil

Sauce:
1 Tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
10 dried chili pods
4 teaspoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
4 Tablespoons rice wine
6 Tablespoons sugar
6 Tablespoons soy sauce

General Tsao's Chicken

General Tso’s Chicken

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine cornstarch and eggs.  Add the chicken to the bowl and toss to coat.  Heat 1-2 inches of vegetable or peanut oil in a large wok or pot over medium-high heat.  Add coated chicken to the hot oil and fry until golden brown on the outside and cooked through.  Remove cooked chicken from the oil and place on a plate with a paper towel over it and set aside.   In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine cornstarch, rice vinegar, rice wine, sugar and soy sauce.  Heat a skillet over medium heat and add oil.  Once oil is heated, add chili pods to the oil and stir-fry briefly just until you can smell them but they aren’t burned.  Add the mixing bowl with the rest of the sauce ingredients and heat until the sauce caramelizes into a glaze (2-3 minutes).  Add cooked chicken back to the sauce and toss until coated.  Serve over cooked rice. I didn’t do this, but it would’ve been a nice touch.

Whole meal, with some steamed vegetables.

Whole meal, with some steamed vegetables.

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + chilling (at least six hours)
MAKES: 24 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 2-1/2 cups flaked coconut

Nutritional Facts

1 piece (prepared with fat-free cream cheese) equals 67 calories, 5 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 55 gm sodium, 4 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 fat, 1/2 fruit.

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and pineapple until combined. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll into 1-in. balls; roll in coconut. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. Yield: about 2 dozen.

Dessert!

Dessert!