Sunday, June 30, 2013

Coconut & Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I can't wait, one more week and me and the hubby will be off to the east coast for a much needed vacation.  I think its been about 2 years since we've been on a vacation.  Our last one was in 2011 after we came back from a 8 month deployment in Iraq.

In the military we earn 30 days of leave a year and when you dont use that leave up they just roll over to the next year. Basically we earn about 2.5 days of leave every month.  

Some people dont normally have issues with taking leave from their work centers. But then if you are one of those unlucky people who have jobs where its very hard to coordinate leave, you can end up not taking leave for several years and have about 70-80 in the books to use. But it doesn't help to save that much leave because you are only authorized to use 30 days at anyone given time, you can never go over 30 days without commander approval.  When I was a mechanic it was extremely hard to take leave beause of low manning and workload so I only took a vacation about every other year.  My new job as a paralegal is pretty much the same, only because we dont have many people in the office and we can get pretty busy with court-martials.  Im fortunate enough that I was able to coordinate some leave for about 3 weeks and now we are off to a family reunion in New York plus a Dave Matthews concert in Hersey PA! Plus I'm pretty excited to go back to the states and shop.

These cookies were a big hit at work the combination of chocolate and coconut combined within a oatmeal cookie seemed like the perfect match. Plus it helps when you just overload the batter with chocolate chips so every cookie and every bite took you got come chocolate chips and coconut. 

Coconut & Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from the Messy Baker

Yields: 25-30 cookies depending on size


1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups old fashinoned rolled oats
3/4 cup chocolate chips (your favorited kind)
3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk togehter the flour, baking soda, salt and oats, set aside.

3. In a electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy about 3 minutes, add in the eggs and vanilla extract until completely combined.

4. Switch the mixer to low speed and gradually add in the flour mixture until combined, making sure the scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorportate everything together.

5. Fold in the chocolate chips and coconut into the batter and depending on how big you want to make your cookies roll a 1 to 2 inch ball together slightly flatting it and place it on the parchment paper 2 inch apart from each other  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove cookies from oven and cool on a wire rack. Enjoy with a giant glass of milk!

*This cookie dough can be made ahead and kept in the fridge up to 5 days in an air tight container.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Green Tea Coconut Ice Cream

I love ice cream, you've probably heard this statement from multiply people, cuz come on who doesn't  love ice cream? But no seriously I..LOVE..ICE CREAM.  It's my go to dessert of choice, hell I could probably eat ice cream everyday for the rest of my life and never get tired of it.  If I had to be stranded on a deserted island and could only have 1 choice of food, it would be ice cream.  I told you I'm pretty serious about my ice cream. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Chocolate Chiffon Cupcakes w/Raspberry Buttercream

Military Life: EXERCISE EXERCISE EXERCISE.....I will hear this sentence at least 50 times in the course of an military exercise/drill that we do on base every few months.  It's expesically not fun when you're sleeping in the middle of the day and over the base intercom system you hear someone shouting the word exercise 3 times, along with a command, every hour or so.  Unfortunately I'm a light sleeper :/ but I love working night shift, and I'm prepared to never get any sleep since I live on base and hear every alarm, warning and the "big voice" come over the base intercom system.  Exercise's mean wearing chem gear and performing certain training injects for about an week.  It makes you appreciate your normal job you do in the military every day, after you've sweated through your chem gear for 12 hours a day for a week. If you want to know what it looks like to wear chem gear I have pics here the last time I made my portobello mushroom chili

During a break this weekend we had a baby shower for one of the captains and his wife, and there was a ton of delicious food there.  I always like to bring the dessert.  So for the baby shower I had asked the mommy to be what her favorite flavors were and she mentioned chocolate & raspberry or chocolate & peanut butter, I knew I liked her!  That right there is like the perfect combo for any baker, who doesnt like chocolate & peanut butter or chocolate & raspberry together....if  you dont, well then you must be crazy.  I found the worlds fluffiest cake recipe, I've heard of chiffon cake before but never gave it a shot till today.  This recipe turned out to be one of the truly fluffiest and lightest chocolate cakes I've ever had and paired with a raspberry buttercream topped with ganche drizzle, how can you say no to this tasty creation.  Sadly I made a peanut butter version with this same chiffon cake because I had so much batter leftover, but I didn't have anytime to take pictures before we had to leave for the party, expect for this pic taken with my ipod which clearly shows that the cake vanished fast...
the 8 inch Chocolate Chiffon Cake w/ Peanut Butter Frosting & ganache
oh well...looks like i'll have to make it again :)  FYI this is a lot of batter so if you have a big party or a lot of mouths to feed this is perfect.

Chocolate Chiffon Cake
Adapted from Natasha's Kitchen 

Yields: 24 cupcakes and 1 (8 inch 2/12 inch tall cake pan) or over 48 cupcakes or 1 cake using a 10" springform pan


1/2 cup unsweetned cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
7 egg yolk at room temp, keep the egg whites! you will use them later

1 3/4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

7 egg whites at room temp
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar


- Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside, if making a cake too  in a 8inch cake pan line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl combine the cocoa powder and boiling water together and stir until smooth, add in the oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract and egg yolks and whisk until combined and smooth.
- In a separate large bowl combined your flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar together and whisk until the ingredients are blended together breaking up any large pieces of brown sugar lumps.
- Now combine your wet mixture into the large bowl with your dry mixture and mix until the ingredients are wet, be careful to not over mix.
- In a electric mixer add your egg whites and mix on medium speed for 2 min. till frothy, add in the cream of tartar and beat for another 2 minutes on medium-high speed till whites start forming small peaks, Turn the mixer to high and slowly add in the sugar, continue mixing on high speed for 2 more minutes till stiff peaks form.
Soft peaks

Stiff peaks
- Using a spatula fold in the whites into your chocolate batter 1/3 of the whites at a time until all is completely incorporated.

- Using a ice cream scoop fill your paper-lines up 3/4 full and bake for about 10-13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  For the 8 inch cake bake for about 45 minutes.
- Cool the cupcakes on a wire rack, once cool decorate with your buttercream
*Note: when the cupcakes come out they will shrink a little so dont be alarmed.

Raspberry Buttercream
Adapted from Grandbaby Cakes 


1 cup butter at room temp
3/4 cup raspberry jam
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whipping cream or milk


- In a electric mixer beat or butter on medium-high speed till light and fluffy about 3 minutes, add in the jam and continue beating on medium high until fluffy about 3 more minutes.
- Gradually add in your powdered sugar, using the milk or cream to help thin it out. Mix until all is combined and smooth about another 2-3 minutes. Pipe your buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes

Chocolate Ganche
Adapted from Grandbaby Cakes 


8 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla


- Place your chocolate chips into a medium bowl and set aside
- In a small saucepan heat your whipping cream on medium heat on the stove until just boiling
- Pour the hot cream on top of your chocolate chips and let sit for 2 minutes.
- Add in the corn syrup and vanilla and whisk till smooth.
- Place your frosted cupcakes into the freezer for or refrigerated for 30 minutes and then dip into the cooled ganche, place back in the fridge or freezer (if your short on time) to set the ganche.

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