Toasted Coconut Pound Cake

We all have recipes we make, and we end up liking them.

We use words to describe them like tasty, delicious, and yummy.

But once the dish/food is gone, we don’t think about them or make them ever again.

This is NOT one of those recipes…

I was so excited to get a quiet and mostly empty house this weekend (boys outside playing and the lady napping upstairs). Even luckier was the fact that the morning was cool enough to risk heating up the oven. So, I pulled up my trusty Pinterest Recipe board, checked my ingredients in the house, and went to work on a recipe all for me.

The Recipe:

Toasted Coconut Pound Cake, adapted very slightly from Little Bits of 

3/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature

2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

1 1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1 c sugar

1 t vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 c buttermilk

1 1/4 c sweetened flaked coconut, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down bowl. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with two 1/2-cup additions buttermilk, and beat until combined. With a rubber spatula, fold in 1 1/4 cups coconut.

Transfer batter to pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 60 minutes. Let cool in pan the remove cake from pan and let cool completely on rack.

Tips and Tricks:

(I’m adding this section when I think of something helpful for you novice cooks out there – as there are things that I didn’t know when I first started cooking that I wish someone would’ve explained to me. For all you experienced cooks, please feel free to skip this part.)

If you don’t have buttermilk: take a Tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and place in 1 cup measuring cup.  Add regular milk to the 1 cup mark and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Substitute exactly for buttermilk.

To toast coconut: Preheat oven to 350.  Spread coconut out on a cookie sheet.  Place in oven and let toast for about 10 minutes, flipping and stirring coconut as needed.  Remove when most coconut is a golden brown color.

The Results:

Oh. My. Goodness. This was an amazing pound cake. Seriously amazing.

(I’m not lying when I say I actually had a dream about it.)

(And ‘was’ is the operative word.  It did not last long.)

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The cake itself is buttery, soft, and moist. The coconut is crispy, fresh, and adds a perfect depth of flavor.  

I really did not want to share with the rest of the family, but figured it probably wouldn’t be too good for me to finish it up by myself. Hubs completely agreed, and all the kids kept asking for it as their dessert, snack, breakfast, or whatever they could have it for.

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This recipe will definitely be made again. And again.

(I’m trying to decide if adding chocolate chips will be too much, or if it’s perfect how it is. I’ll keep you posted.)

Pregnancy Craving #4: Chocolate {Death by Chocolate Cupcakes}

What?

I’ve already listed chocolate as a pregnancy craving?

Ooops.  Oh, well.

Not feeling too guilty about it, though, since it is by far the strongest craving I’m having.  Baby Girl really likes her chocolate.  (And I kinda do, too.)

I feel, though, that I truly need to officially warn you before you embark upon this recipe:

This recipe is not for the faint of heart or any chocolate novices.  You many want to consult your doctor before ingesting this amazing chocolate treat.  It is not sweet.  It is not creamy.  It is dark.  It is rich.  It cures any craving in one decadent bite.  Milk, ice cream, and/or coffee is highly recommended to pair with this dessert.

(You think I’m kidding… but I am totally serious.)

The Recipe:

Death by Chocolate Cupcakes, adapted from allrecipes.com

1 1/8 c flour

1/4 c unsweetened cocoa

1 1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1 large egg (which I did not have and substituted 1 T white vinegar and 1 t baking soda)

1/2 c firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 c sugar

1/2 c + 2 T whole milk

1/3 c strong brewed coffee

1/2 c unsalted butter, melted

1/4 c + dark chocolate chips, lightly tossed in flour

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1 c semi sweet chocolate chips

3/4 c heavy cream

3 T unsalted butter

extra dark chocolate chips for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 cupcake molds or muffin tins with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray.

To make the cupcakes, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, brown sugar, and white sugar.  Whisk in the milk, coffee, and melted butter.  Add the dry ingredients.  Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake molds, filling them about three-quarters full.  Drop dark chocolate chips into the batter – as many or as few as you would like.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Using a small spatula or knife, remove the cupcakes from the pan. Continue to cool on a wire rack to room temperature.

To make the frosting, melt the chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler, or in a heatproof bowl, over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.  (I just microwaved mine in a glass bowl on high for 3-4 sets of 30 seconds, stirring between sets.)  Heat the cream until hot.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate.  Transfer to a bowl and cool to just warm.  Whisk in the butter until smooth.  Let sit until it reaches a spreading consistency, about 1 hour.  Spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes.  Sprinkle them with chocolate chips.

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.

The Results:

These were pretty simple to make.  I’m not sure if it was my egg substitute or something else, but my cupcakes ended up being pretty flat on top, with a small collapsed indent in the middle.  Now, you would think this would be disappointing… but it just made more room for the topping.

My only issue with the topping was waiting for that whole hour for the ‘frosting’ to set.  I’m also going to clarify that this really didn’t make what I’d consider a true frosting – it’s more like a thick ganache – and I am NOT complaining.  It was heavenly.

The overall flavor knocks you off your feet with chocolate (refer to warning above).  For me, it was utter perfection and exactly what I was hoping for.  I’m pretty sure, though, it’s not for everyone…

IMG_1813The cupcakes are not as rich as the topping, but they are still amazing – and the addition of some chocolate chips thrown in the batter, adds to each bite, contrasting with the lighter texture of the cake.

So, to sum up, if you LOVE chocolate (dark chocolate, that is), this will be the recipe for you.  It will definitely take you to your happy place.

(I’ve may have gone there several times this weekend… please don’t judge.  🙂  )

Pregnancy Craving #3: Tart Fruit {French Apple Cake}

I see cooking two ways; I see it both as a science and as an art.

Usually, I take the science (aka the recipe) and tweak it here and there to my own preferences (the art).  My only exception is when I use recipes from America’s Test Kitchen… mostly because they have scienced the heck out of the recipe, and I trust their results.

I saw this recipe in Hubs’ monthly magazine and was super excited to give it a try.

The Recipe:

French Apple Cake, from America’s Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated

(I didn’t adapt it at all, so I thought I’d save myself the time of retyping.  🙂 Just click on the recipe title to find it.)

The Results:

Since this recipe used Granny Smith’s, I was looking forward to a tart and tasty dessert.  And after spending quite a while peeling, coring, and cutting apples, I knew I deserved it.

Everything else was pretty easy – and I liked trying new techniques that had been proven to be effective.

The only thing I wished I had done better was actually read the article about the cake… instead of just drooling over the picture.  Because, well, this did not turn out exactly as I’d expected.

For some reason, I was picturing a ‘coffee cake’ like texture with bits of tart apple thrown in.  Instead, the bottom layer is quite custard-y, which is a texture that wasn’t really that satisfying.  And all the apple bits were inlaid in the custard…

The top layer was very delicious, though, and the slightly crunchy crust made me very happy.

So, I think if I was prepared for the custard/cake mix, I probably would’ve really enjoyed it.  The flavor of the apples really showed through.  As it was, though, I was a little disappointed.

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I didn’t even take a fun, styled picture of a slice.  Sorry!

I do have to say, it did get eaten, so it really wasn’t bad at all, I promise.

Though, I think I just might be switching back to chocolate cravings…

Lemon Bundt Cake with Raspberry Filling

Sometimes, you just need to say, “Screw the diet.”

(Or maybe that’s just us.)

And if you are going to be bad… might as well be really, really, really bad.

(Yes, three ‘reallys’.)

I mean seriously, if I was going to cheat, I was going to do it right.  I would go the distance and fully commit to the dark side, in order to be completely and utterly satisfied with my bad choice.

And that’s where this cake came in.

The Recipe:

Lemon Bundt Cake with Raspberry Filling (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)

Filling (from GroupRecipes.com)

2 – 12 oz packages of frozen raspberries (not packed in syrup)

1 1/3 c water

1 1/2-2 c sugar (to your taste)

2 T of lemon juice

5-6 T of cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 c of water

In a saucepan combine the raspberries, water, sugar, and lemon juice.  Bring to boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the raspberries have broken down.  Remove the mixture from the heat and strain with a fine mesh sieve. Return the strained mixture to the heat.

Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/2 cup of water.  Whisk the slurry into the raspberry mixture.  Bring the mixture back to a boil and simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and cool completely, stirring every once in a while.

It will take awhile to set up. It will thicken like a jelly. May stir it for easier spreading on cake.

Cake

3 lemons, zest grated and saved, then juiced for 3 T juice (save the remaining for glaze)

3 c all-purpose flour

1 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1 t salt

3/4 c lowfat buttermilk

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 large egg yolk, room temperature

18 T unsalted butter, room temperature

2 c sugar

Take out eggs and butter about an hour before baking, so they can come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray and flour 12 cup Bundt cake pan.

Mince lemon zest into a fine paste (about 2 T).  Combine zest and juice in a bowl; set aside to soften, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk dry ingredients in a large bow.  In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice mixture, vanilla, and buttermilk.  In small bowl, gently which eggs and yolk to combine.  In standing mixer fitted with a flat beater, cream butter and sugar at medium high speed until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Reduce to medium speed and add 1/2 of eggs, mixing until incorporated.  Repeat with remaining eggs and scrape down sides.  Reduce to low speed; add about 1/3 of dry mixture and 1/2 of buttermilk mixture – mixing until just incorporated.  Repeat with another 1/3 of dry and the rest of the wet ingredients.  Scrape bowl and add the final 1/3 of the flour mixture.  Mix until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds.  Remove bowl from mixer and stir a few times to make sure everything is incorporated well.

Spoon 1/3 to 1/2 of batter into Bundt pan.  Use a large spoon to scoop out a well in the middle of the batter.  Fill the well with the raspberry filling – it’s okay to overflow a little.  Add the remaining batter, thoroughly covering the filling.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes back clean except for filling.

Cool cake in pan on wire rack set over baking sheet for 10 minutes.  Invert cake directly onto rack.

Glaze

2-3 T lemon juice

1 T buttermilk

2 c powdered sugar

Whisk 2 T lemon juice and remaining ingredients until smooth, adding more lemon juice until glaze is thick but still pourable.

Pour half of glaze over warm cake and let cool for 1 hour.  Pour remaining glaze evenly over top and continue to cool until room temperature, at least 2 hours.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

So, this was a joint effort – Hubs and me, banding together for the wrongness that was to be.  He was in charge of the filling and glaze, and I took over the cake.

(Yes, I wanted to be in charge of the part that included 18 – yes 18, tablespoons of butter.  Oh, it was so wrong!)

Hubs made the filling several hours beforehand, to make sure it set up pretty firm – and he even chilled it in the fridge for a bit.  When we used it, it was about the consistency of thick jam.

This is only the beginning of the raspberry goodness. I went around one more time with more on top.

It was actually quite fun doing this with Hubs (for the most part).  It could’ve been because we were working well together… or it could’ve been because we were giddy with excitement, thinking of our upcoming treat.

And when it came out of the oven, looking all golden and delicious, smelling like a lemon dream; I’m pretty sure we were drooling.  It was very hard to wait the several hours for it to cool completely.

But when we finally got to eat… holy smokes was it good.

The lemon cake was very light and just full of lemon flavor.  And, as we all know, lemon and raspberry are always a fantastic combination, so the filling was a perfect complimentary taste.  It wasn’t too sweet, which I was worried about.  The tang of the lemon and tart of the raspberry balanced out all that sugar.

Between sharing with the neighbors and serving our boys, we actually kept our cake consumption fairly moderate.

But, boy oh boy, did we enjoy every bite.

(And went right back to our healthy eating plan – no damage done.)

It was so worth it.

Cheesecake (Take Two), 200 Posts, and a Giveaway

This is not how I’d expected this post (recipe) to go.

I was going to come out, all my culinary guns a’blazing, showing off my growth with an awesome cheesecake to celebrate 200 posts.

But, alas, that was not to be.

Instead, things did not quite go right…

So, Wednesday was my husband’s birthday – and I had the whole day (foodwise) mapped out.  Breakfast in bed, lunch out, tasty dinner, and a lovely cheesecake (his favorite) since last year’s did not go according to plan.  I was going for gorgeous looking and delicious this year.

The morning was a whirl – as I cooked breakfast, made the cheesecake, and set up dinner in the crockpot.

The cheese cake was a recipe I’d found on foodnetwork.com and had almost 500 reviews with a culminating score of five stars.  I was confident it was going to be a snap.  And it seemed as if it were.  The only thing that threw me off was that the recipe said to take the cheesecake out after baking for 45 minutes and that it should be jiggly.  It even stated ‘do not overcook.’  So, I left it in about 5 minutes longer and then forced myself to remove it, jiggly, as the recipe said.

After that it needed to cool and then be placed in the fridge for 4 hours to firm up.  No problem.

And when I finally took it out and released the springform mold, it looked gorgeous!

No cracks and a perfect crust! I was so proud…

It wasn’t until I began to slice, that things started to go wrong.

Apparently, it had not set.

I was so thankful at this point that we did not have guests.

(Did I mention that I wasn’t feeling well, so our friends cancelled?)

(Oh, and the dinner I made was not eaten – I’ll share that story next post.)

All in all, it was not turning into great day for him (or me).

Isn’t this just what you’d want on your special day??

(And yes, I also made a delectable strawberry coulis that was totally wasted – for those interested, mix strawberries, honey, and a little lemon juice to taste in a blender until smooth.  Delish!)

I was so sad.  I really felt like I’d let Hubs down on his special day.  But, of course, he found the silver lining of throwing away the rest of the cake, “At least we won’t eat all those extra calories, right?”

Sure, I guess.

But I was so looking forward to all those calories.  (And I felt that I’d let him down.)

Anyways, after a little introspection, I’m feeling that this recipe was a lesson for my 200th post.  It was the Cooking Gods letting me know that I still have so much to learn – so they gave me a little humbling experience to drive in the point.  They wanted me to renew my desire to continue to grow as a cook; to take chances and gain from the successes and the failures.

So, that’s what I’m going to do.

(And, as the Cooking Gods are my witness, I will make a perfect cheesecake before post number 300!)

(Oh, and I’m going to spoil Hubs rotten on Father’s Day to make up for it.  So don’t feel too bad for him.)

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Anyways, on to the really fun part of this post… the giveaway!

In celebration of 200 posts, I am giving away a $20 gift card to Williams-Sonoma to one of my lucky, lucky readers.  They have a ton of amazing culinary toys that are sure to please everyone.

To enter, leave a comment for the following:

First Entry:  Share your favorite recipe (and a link if you have one).  (I’m really looking forward to seeing these – always looking for new things to try. :) )

Second Entry:  Like Misadventures in Cooking on Facebook.  (If you already do, just leave a comment telling me you do.)  Or subscribe to receive emails in the box on the right.

Third+ Entries: Share this giveaway on your blog, on FB, on Twitter, or any other social media.  One extra entry for every time you share.

(Make sure that each of these is in a separate comment.  Enter your email in the comment form, so I can contact you if you win.  I will be choosing a comment using Random.org next Friday, June 22nd at noon, Pacific Time.)

Thank you all, once again, readers, for keeping me positive and encouraged – you certainly help me keep going after days like Wednesday!

Good luck!

Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

I know, I know, I know… two cakes in a row.

I have no self-control.  (Especially when I see something that looks so good.  And necessary.  Like right now.)

Though my right now got pushed off a day when I realized it needed an hour and forty minute baking time (and we had t-ball) – I am very glad I read through all the directions before I made this one.

This recipe is pretty simple, but the results are out of this world.

The Recipe:

Cream Cheese Pound Bundt Cake, adapted from Elizabeth’s Edible Experiences

1 c butter, softened at room temp

1/2 c shortening

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened at room temp

3 c sugar

6 large eggs

3 c flour

1/8 t salt

1 T vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Lightly grease and flour a 10 inch bundt cake pan.

Beat butter, shortening, and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy (do not over beat); add sugar gradually beating well until fully incorporated.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating at low-speed until mixed in.  Gradually beat in flour and salt, also at low-speed until just blended.  Add vanilla.

Pour/scoop into bundt pan.  Smooth top with a spatula.  Bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle.

Let cool on wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

I think I stated pretty much everything you need to know at the very beginning: easy and out of this world.

What caught my eye originally (on Pinterest, once again) was how beautiful a color this cake is.  And I love me a bundt cake – a perfect and pretty shape without any of the work.

This cake is buttery, cream cheese-y, and sweet.  I’m not going to lie and tell you it’s light, but it’s denseness isn’t overpowering at all – and it is as moist as can be.

The bottom (which was the top when cooking) gets almost crispy and caramel-y, which is a fun bonus texture.  This cake is amazing as a stand alone, but I just had to try it with a little strawberry topping.

And this is where we moved to out of this world… seriously amazing.

Cake win number two for the week; I’m on a roll, folks.

Happy Thursday!

Midnight Mint Dark Chocolate Layer Cake

If you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of a ‘go big or go home’ baker.

I’m usually not in the least intimidated to try a baking recipe.  In fact, I love the challenge and the possibility it might actually turn out exactly as I’d hoped.  (Which means at about 90% of what the original recipe is and about 80% of what the pictures look like.)

So, when I was planning a dessert to take to my mom for Mother’s Day, I really wanted to try something big.  And this recipe I found on Pinterest certainly fit the bill.

The Recipe:

Midnight Mint Cake, adapted from Rock Recipes

Cake:

2 c sugar

1 c cake flour

1 c all-purpose flour

3/4 c dutch process cocoa

2 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

2 eggs

1 c buttermilk

1 c black coffee

1/2 c vegetable oil

1 t vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes.

Pour into 2 greased and floured 8 or 9 inch cake pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out  clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

When completely cooled, split the two layers horizontally with a serrated bread knife to make 4 layers

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Frosting:

4 c powdered sugar

1/2 c vegetable shortening

1 c butter

1 t mint extract

3-4 T milk, depending on your preferred frosting consistency

Using an electric mixer on low, mix the butter and icing sugar together until the butter and shortening break up and get evenly dispersed throughout the sugar in small pieces.  The mixture will still appear dry at this point.  This stage ensures even distribution and prevents butter or shortening lumps in your frosting.

Add mint extract and milk.  When the icing reaches the desired consistently continue to beat it on high-speed for 5 minutes to incorporate more air into the frosting to make it lighter and fluffier.  Frost the middle and sides evenly with the frosting and chill the cake for several hours before adding the chocolate ganache glaze. 

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Glaze:

1 c dark chocolate chips

1/4 c whipping cream

1 t mint extract

In a double boiler melt together all ingredients.  Stir this mix constantly and get it off the heat as soon as the chocolate is melted.  You do not want this mixture hot but just luke warm; as close to the melting point as possible.  Let it cool down if it gets too hot.
Working as quickly as you can, ( a lazy susan is a big help if you have one) pour the ganache directly in the center of the cake, and then using an icing spatula spread it evenly over the top of the cake, letting it drip off the sides.

Store the cake in the refrigerator but take it out at least an hour before serving to let the frosting warm up to room temperature.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

I’m going to admit, right of the bat, that I was a little worried about making this cake.  Mostly because the last time I made a layered cake, it did not go well at all.  But that was many, many months ago – and I feel like I’ve learned a ton since then.

The cake part was a snap – until I went to cut my rounds in half.  I asked Hubs for any advice, and his snarky reply was to make sure I cut them horizontally.  (Ha, ha, so not funny, Hubs.)  I tried my best to cut them evenly and level-y, but let’s just say that did not quite happen.  It wasn’t horrible, just not very equal.

Next, it was time to make the frosting.  The original recipe called for 8 cups of powdered sugar, which I was pretty sure would not fit in my mixer.  So, I halved everything – and also reduced the amount of mint extract.  (I was looking for a hint of mint flavor, rather than an overwhelming taste.)  And the half recipe made just the right amount of frosting (in my opinion).

(Oh, and I still ended up exploding powdered sugar all over the place.  It’s just inevitable.)

When I went to frost the layers, I came across another problem…my frosting was really sticky, and kept pulling up parts of the cake.  I added a touch more milk and remixed, but it was still sticky.  Again, I added milk, still sticky.  At that point, I just decided to spread away.  (So you will notice little flecks of cake in the frosting – I say it just gives it character, right?)

I didn’t worry about covering everything perfectly, since I knew the ganache would hide any open spots.

After letting the cake and frosting cool, I made my ganache.  Again, I lowered the amount of mint extract (this time I only used half the amount called for in the original recipe).  It never got really smooth, but I was worried about it getting too hot…so I just spread it on the top.

Now, my cake was not nearly as pretty as the cake I was hoping for…but everything came out (mostly) great, and it stayed assembled together.  So I consider this a big win.

And the flavor was really, really good, too.  It was still rather minty – which makes me wonder what it would’ve tasted like had I used all the called-for mint.  The chocolate cake was dark and rich (though I think it got a smidge dried out in the refrigerator).  Now, the ganache – the ganache was simply fantastic!  Though not pretty, it was a perfect balance of the chocolate and mint – and just took the cake over the top.

I loved how impressive it looked when cut, too.  Don’t you just want a big bite?

I got rave reviews from the whole family, including my mom – with the ganache getting the most comments.

So I went big – and it worked!

(Next time I’ve got to try one of these gorgeous layer cakes featured on Sweet Samsations…but maybe not for another couple of months.)

Hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Samoas Cheesecake

Or I could alternatively call it, ‘the one where Courtney does everything wrong’ – and it still turns out.

I’ll elaborate in a moment.

But first off, I have to explain why I keep using Girl Scout Cookies in recipes.  (Besides the fact that they can’t do anything but make a dessert better.)  As a family (well, Hubs and I) are trying to cut back a tad on the sweets.

(I know, I know, making a cheesecake is the opposite of cutting back… but I have sound reasoning.)

Since there are now two bakers in the house – occasionally trying to outdo one another – we have gone down a dark path to having goodies constantly in the house.  Which is not good for our health and waistlines, apparently.

Anyhow, we already have the cookies.  We have no self-control and will eat the cookies – sooner or later.  I also will continue to bake.  Soooo, my reasoning is, if I use the cookies in what I bake, we will eat less sweets since I’ll have used them up in my recipes.  So we’re only eating one bad thing (what I make) instead of two (what I make plus the cookies on the side).  Make sense?  Or am I just rationalizing my need to bake crazy delicious desserts??

I’m going to go with the greater good reason.  It makes me feel better.

Back to the recipe.  I kind of messed up pretty much everything in this and therefore, had to hodge-podge a bunch of recipes together.  So some parts have links to the original and others do not.

The Recipe:

Samoas Cheesecake, hodge-podged completely wrong by me

2 c Samoas cookies (or 1 1/2 c and 1/2 c graham crackers)

1/2 c butter, melted

24 oz (4 packages) cream cheese, softened

1 c sugar

3 eggs

2 T vanilla extract

8 oz sour cream

Preheat  oven to 325 degrees.

Crush Samoas (and/or graham crackers) in food processor until smallish and grainy.  Add melted butter and press into bottom of lightly greased spring-form pan.

Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the sugar until blended.  Add the eggs one at a  time.  Stir in sour cream and vanilla extract.  Pour batter into crust.

Bake cheesecake  for 1 hour 30 minutes then partially open oven door and turn oven off.   Let the cheesecake cool for 30 minutes more in the oven.  Run a knife  around edges and let cheesecake cool on a wire rack for 8 hours in refrigerator.

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Sauce, adapted from Epicurious.com

1/2 c sugar

1 c heavy cream

4 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

1/4 t salt

1 T unsalted butter

Cook sugar in a dry 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar is melted into a deep golden caramel, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and carefully pour in cream (mixture will steam and bubble vigorously). Once bubbles begin to subside, return pan to moderate heat and cook, stirring constantly, until caramel is dissolved.

Remove from heat, then add chocolate and salt and stir until chocolate is melted. Add butter and stir until just melted.

Cool sauce slightly, then drizzle over cheesecake.

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Toasted Coconut

sweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place a layer of coconut on cookie sheet.  Put in oven for about 5 minutes or until barely golden brown.

Sprinkle on top of cheesecake.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

Let’s start with the cheesecake itself… well, I learned that one box of Samoas does not make enough crust for a cheesecake – and when you don’t have any more, graham crackers (the last two you have) will do in a pinch.

Then, as I was making the cake itself, I realized I had grabbed fat-free cream cheese.  (That’s what happens when you shop with two boisterous boys.)

I forgot to soften it before mixing.

I got lumps.

I completely forgot about another addition from the first recipe I was using.  Then I tried fixing it with ideas from another recipe.  And then ideas from a third.

And then I just gave up and put it in the oven.

It was about 20 minutes in when my oven began to smoke.  Apparently, butter from the crust can drip through the pan and land on the bottom of the oven – and that causes smoke.  Note to all: place a cookie sheet under your cheesecake, please.

After finally taking it out, it still cracked along the edges.  I placed it in the fridge to take a little break overnight.  It looked a little overdone, but I was still trying to be hopeful.  And I was glad to let it go for the evening.

Additionally, I sprayed the stove with cleaner so it could work overnight, thinking all would go well in the morning – when I went to toast the coconut.

But the coconut did not go well, either.

The next morning, I actually remembered to wipe out the cleaner.  I placed my cookie sheet of coconut in the oven, and about two minutes later it began to smell.  It was a combination smell of cleaner, burnt food, and coconut.  Not what I was going for.  As I finally removed the coconut, it smelled bad, too.  So I dumped it.

I cooled the oven, re-sprayed and wiped the inside.  I also wiped it several times with wet cloths to make sure there was no cleaner residue.  When I went to preheat again, it continued to smell.  So I decided to set the temperature for 500 degrees to burn up whatever was left.

While this was going on, Hubs called.  I explained what was happening, and he informed me that the bottom of the oven was a ‘false bottom’ and that probably some of the butter dripped under it onto the element.  I was so excited to have a new place to clean in the oven.  (Insert sarcasm here – I mean seriously, the coconut was supposed to be the easy part!)

Anyhow, after the oven cooled, I removed the bottom piece (which forced me to remove all shelves and side doo-hickeys) and cleaned below.  And after about five tries, I got the bottom piece returned.  I preheated and finally, all was well.

I placed in my second batch of coconut, proceeded to get distracted, and burnt it to a crisp.  Ooops.

The third batch, and the last of my coconut, finally worked.  Here it is in all it’s glory.

After all that work, you're getting a picture. 🙂

Finally, I was able to move on to the caramel sauce – which was actually the part I was the most scared about.  Fortunately things finally went my way, and I didn’t mess anything up.  Hallelujah!

I did learn, though, that you really need to keep a close eye on it – and it took the sauce quite a bit longer to come together than the recipe says.  Also, warm up your cream a bit before adding it to the caramel, and then it shouldn’t seize up as much as mine did.  (I literally had a caramel pancake that took forever to melt back into the cream.)

(Side note, I want to thank you, if you’ve made it this far through my lengthy post!  I promise, we’re coming to the good stuff soon.)

Now that I had all the pieces, I just needed to put it together – and hope against hope that all this work was worth it.  Take a look or two and tell me what you think…

Do you need another view?

I thought so.

This was simply decadence on a plate.

The cheesecake was really good – though I admit it would be even better with regular cream cheese.  It was pretty light in flavor and texture.  The crust was a tiny bit disappointing, as you really couldn’t taste the Samoa-goodness of it.  I might try a thicker crust if I made this again.  But overall, I was quite  impressed with myself.

And now, onto the sauce, oh the sauce.

It was to die for.  Amazing.  Mouth-wateringly tasty.

Salty, chocolately, caramel-y perfection.  It’s sweet and salty mix was so perfect with the tangy-ness of the cheesecake.  (Seriously, I think I could bathe in this stuff.)

And the topper with the toasted coconut – it added just a touch of sweet crunch that moved this dessert over-the-top.

Now, I know this was a lot of work and hassle and stress.  But I pretty much forgot all of it while sitting at the table enjoying my slice.

After reading this, you know then that it’s gotta be really, really good.

And it certainly was.

Coconut Pound Cake with Chocolate Glaze

I hate it when I have the best of intentions – and then my intentions fall through.

My plan had been to make this coconut pound cake for a special occasion this weekend, and I blew it.

See, every year for the last four years, we’ve gotten together with friends to celebrate (belated) Valentine’s Day with our kids by having a huge chocolate fondue blowout.  We try to add a couple new items to dip every year, and I was so looking forward to having this pound cake to share.

Unfortunately, life got in the way, and it just didn’t happen.

(Not that we really needed it – look at the spread:

And this was before the macaroons were done cooking.  Plus you can’t see the potato chips on the other side of the fondue pot.)

Anyhow, I was feeling really bad about my lack of contribution, so I decided to make the pound cake anyways – and add a chocolate glaze – so we could at least pretend it was dipped in the fondue.

The Recipes:

Coconut Pound Cake, from A Little Yumminess

2 sticks butter, softened

2 1/2 c sugar

1/2 c coconut milk

1/2 c whole milk

5 eggs

1 T vanilla extract

3 c flour

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t sea salt

1 c sweetened flake coconut

Preheat oven to 325 and grease two loaf pans.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the butter until light and fluffy.  Slowly add the sugar to the butter and whip on high until light in color and increased in volume.

Whisk together the milks, eggs, vanilla.  In separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

With the mixer on low, add the flour and liquid mixtures to the butter/sugar mixture, starting and ending with flour.  Fold the coconut into the batter.  Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans.

Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Chocolate Glaze, adapted slightly from Joy the Baker 

1 1/2 c powdered sugar

4 T unsweetened cocoa powder

3 T milk

2 t pure vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  Slowly stir in milk and vanilla extract.  Whisk until silky and smooth.  If you need a touch more milk, add a bit more.  Drizzle over cake.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

Everything was pretty straight forward…just be aware that you need to grease your pans really well – or you loaf bottoms will look like this:

Both ended up looking like this...

Also be aware that you really need to mix your glaze well – and that probably will include adding a little extra milk since it sets up so fast.  I was so worried about getting it on my cake before it hardened, that I didn’t notice that it wasn’t completely mixed until I took these pictures.

But both of these issues were just cosmetic, though.  The rest of it was just fine.

The cake itself had a light sweet coconut flavor with a dense yet light texture.  I think if I were to make this again, I might substitute on of the tablespoons of vanilla for coconut extract instead. But I love coconut – and in my opinion, food cannot be too coconutty.

As for the glaze – I used a doughnut glaze, so it would set firmly.  It was a little sweet for me, and didn’t quite give the chocolate punch I was hoping for.  It would be great on a doughnut, though.  Again, if I were to do it over, I would probably go with the coconut glaze suggested from the original cake recipe.

Overall, I think this would have been an amazing addition to our fondue repertoire –  so I’m definitely keeping it in mind for next year.

I will now leave you with this happy thought: an almost two-year old with a chocolate fondue soul patch.  🙂