Peanut Butter Bars

Peanut Butter Bars

Today is my Aunt’s birthday – she would have been 63 years old today.  My family is full of bakers – in every generation.  Bonnie was not really known as a baker, although she will always go down in history for winning the brownie bake-off two years in a row.  Unfortunately I had already moved to the west coast at this point, and I wasn’t able to participate in the fun – but my family took this competition very seriously.  This was not an easy contest to win, and I remember talking to her after she won – I could see her beaming all the way on the other side of the country.

As if it was bad enough to lose Bonnie, now my Uncle is sick.  Fortunately he has a ravenous appetite, which in our family is a really good thing.  My mother went to visit him today with a pile of chocolate chip cookies – she said he ate a few, and then hid the rest from all his visitors.  I laughed – since at this point, I think that is completely appropriate.

I couldn’t go tomorrow empty handed, so I thought long and hard about what I wanted to make him.  I wanted to make brownies, but I thought that something a little different was in order – peanut butter.  Who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter?  I remembered this recipe that my friend Kirsty posted – and I thought they would be perfect.  I adapted the recipe slightly below – and the sample bite I had today was exactly what I was looking for.  A nice peanut butter flavor with a chocolate chip in every bite.  They might not be Bonnie’s winning recipe, but they were made with love.  Just like hers.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (milk chocolate or dark chocolate)

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9‐in x 13‐in baking dish and set aside. Beat the butter and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar; mix well. Next add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Finally mix in the vanilla. In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly incorporate the flour into the peanut butter mixture. Next stir in the chocolate chips. Then spread the batter into the greased baking dish. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or un􀆟l lightly browned. Cool, slice and serve.

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Dairy Free Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar

Bluberry Muffins 1

I cannot believe that summer is almost over, and I feel like I have hardly had time to smell the roses.  Between visitors, swim meets, and a ridiculous amount of work – it’s no wonder.  The girls on the other hand have had quite a different experience, they have had the summer of their life.  Enjoying every day of summer that they can.  So – today’s post is from my daughter – she decided to help me out…I am still smiling.

We spend most of our summer at the pool, one day when we were walking down, we saw that the pool was closed and wouldn’t be open until later in the afternoon. So we started trudging home having no idea what we were going to do. We got home and looked in the fridge and remembered that we had these giant blueberries that we got from the farmers market. We called to our mom and asked her if we could bake something and we both had the same idea of what to bake- blueberry muffins. We got this recipe from the Kitchen for Kids cookbook. The recipe called for milk but we substituted that for coconut milk that way our dad could have some. These muffins are light, airy, and almost cake like. We also added a pinch more cinnamon because who doesn’t love more cinnamon. I love these muffins because they are super easy and tasty. I hope you like these as much as I do!

So there you have it – if a 12 and 8 year old could make these all by themselves (no help AT ALL from mom, not even clean up!), there is no excuse for you.  Thanks to my wonderful daughters for helping with the blog, and providing us a lovely breakfast this morning – I got to have my cake, and eat it too (for breakfast!)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease 9 muffin tins, or use papers.

Mix the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Set aside.

In a small bowl or cup, mix the 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar and cinnamon.  Set Aside.

In another bowl, use a whisk to stir the egg, coconut milk, oil and lemon juice until smooth.  Switch to a baking spatula and scrape into the flour mixture.  Stir to form a stiff batter.  Don’t over-mix.  Stir in the blueberries.  (Be especially careful not to over-mix frozen blueberries because the juice will make the batter green.)

Green a teaspoon to scoop the stiff batter into 9 muffin tins (or use an ice cream scoop) to about half-full.  Use a clean teaspoon to sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top.

Bake about 20 minutes, or until the muffins are puffed and golden.  Cool slightly.  Eat while warm.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Dairy Free Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar

Italian Bietole Chard Tart

Italian Bietole Chard Tart

I am starting to think that I need to go back to school to learn about my greens.  I actually considered myself an expert when it came to food, until I realized how little I knew about the leafy green vegetable.  Just take kale for instance, I had no idea how many variations there were of just kale!  My new market basket has really humbled me…

So each week we get at least 4 or 5 different leafy green vegetables, and usually there is one or two recipes in the box on how to use them.  My problem is that I can’t even tell the difference between the greens to know which ones to use!  So – the other week I got a recipe card for the Italian Bietole Chard Tart.  It sounded amazing, and I thought it would be a great way for the girls to eat these nutrient rich vegetables.  My favorite part about this tart was there was no crust to make.  You basically make a crust out of the bread crumbs and the cheese.  Yum.

So, I looked over the greens in the box that week, but I had no idea which one was the chard – we even brought them over to our neighbors (who I really consider to be an expert), and even he wasn’t sure what they were.  So, after staring at them for about 30 minutes, I just closed my eyes and chose one.  I couldn’t let this go on any further – and seriously, what is the worst thing that can happen, that we eat a different green?  I take this cooking thing way too seriously.

Whatever green I ended up using – it was perfect in the tart.  I don’t actually think it was the chard because I didn’t have to cook it nearly as long as the recipe said, but it was perfect anyway.  The girls even liked it, score!  The next morning, I warmed it up for breakfast – what a treat – nutritious and delicious.  It doesn’t get any better than this – leafy greens roulette – I can’t wait to play again this week…

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Swiss chard, washed and dried
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350°. Bring 8 quarts water to a rolling boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Roughly chop the Swiss chard, discarding the rough stems. Add the Swiss chard to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly and set aside.

In a 12-inch saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over a medium flame until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and the parsley. Let cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Meanwhile, break the eggs into a small bowl. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Add 3 tablespoons of Parmigiano and, using a whisk, mix until the ingredients are well-blended. Add the egg mixture to the cooled Swiss chard and toss to combine.

Using the remaining olive oil to lightly grease a shallow 9-inch round or oval baking dish. Dust the bottom of the baking dish with 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Carefully place the Swiss chard and egg mixture into the pan. Dust with the remaining Parmigiano and then the remaining bread crumbs. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 1 hour. Serve hot or room temperature.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Italian Bietole Chard Tart

Pina Colada on a Stick

Pina Colada on a Stick

When my kids were little – I definitely had to do something that I know was wrong.  Use food as a motivator.  No, I didn’t bribe them with food – but if they had a “shout out” at night (when they would get out of bed and wake us up in the middle of the night, or come downstairs after it was bed time), we would take away dessert.  My girls were so obsessed with dessert – that they only seldom had “shout outs.”  Of course if there were multiple “shout outs” during the night, they would loose dessert for a progressively longer time.  I remember the worst was when I had to take away dessert for two weeks.  Those were a very miserable two weeks.  The begging was tough to watch, but I stayed strong and we got through it.

It definitely helped keep me motivated to make treats – because when there was something really worth eating, the likelihood of a “shout out” was slim to none.  Oh the games we play…  But hey, it worked, and we actually felt like we had trained them, we felt like geniuses.  I was always looking for healthy treats though – because my girls loved their fruit almost as much as they loved their baked goods.

Cooking Light printed this recipe for a fun twist on a pina colada.  The recipe in the magazine actually had alcohol in it, but I knew that my kids would go nuts for these – so I made these without alcohol.  This would have been the ideal dessert to make when they were younger and they were in that phase (minus the sharp sticks that is) – I am sure they would have slept well all week, just to get their hands on these.  The best part of course was the gelatin squares.  Boy were those refreshingly delicious.  Now if I could only figure out a way to motivate adults to behave well…then I would really be a genius.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 envelopes plus 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 whole pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 72 chunks
  • 18 strawberries, halved lengthwise

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spread coconut on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 7 minutes or until golden, stirring after 4 minutes. Combine coconut, coconut cream, coconut milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat (do not boil). Remove from heat; cover and let stand 20 minutes.

Place coconut water in a medium bowl; sprinkle gelatin over top. Let stand 5 minutes or until solid.

Strain coconut milk mixture through a sieve over a bowl, pressing to extract liquid. Discard coconut. Gradually add coconut milk mixture to gelatin mixture, stirring with a whisk. Return mixture to pan; heat over medium heat just until gelatin dissolves (do not boil). Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill 4 hours or up to overnight. (The layers should separate naturally.)

Cut coconut mixture into 72 cubes. Thread 2 pineapple chunks, 2 gelée pieces, and 1 strawberry half alternately onto each of 36 skewers.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Pina Colada on a Stick

Sauteed Radishes with Peas and Mint

 

Sauteed Radishes with Peas and Mint

I love it when I find a new way to cook an old favorite.  I have been seeing radishes in my market basket almost weekly for the past couple of months.  For the most part I just pop them in my mouth and eat them as a snack – although sometimes when I am really in the mood for something special, I thinly slice them and place them on some French bread with butter - then I sprinkle some sea salt on top.  Yum.  It really doesn’t get any better than that.  That was before I realized that you could actually cook them…

When I saw the recipe in my market basket for the first time, I must admit I was skeptical.  I couldn’t imagine that they would taste good cooked – boy was I wrong.  Cooking radishes takes the bite out of them.  They are left with a wonderful flavor and an even better texture.  You can still taste the water inside of them, as they burst in your mouth.  This recipe really took them to another level though.  The mint really brought out the deep flavor of the radishes, and because I had some fresh peas to use, and peas are amazing with mint – I thought they would go well.  Oh did they ever.  I quickly ran outside to photograph since I didn’t want to miss this opportunity.  And hey, not only were they delicious, the colors were beautiful.  Bonus.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound radishes, trimmed and cut into wedges
  • 1 cup fresh shelled peas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons mint, chopped
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:

Heat oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Let butter melt and then cook a bit longer, until it’s a deep golden and beginning to take on a nutty smell, about 2 minutes total.

Add radishes and peas to pan and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes, tossing frequently, until radishes are tender and tinged with caramelization in places. Let cool slightly and sprinkle with mint and additional salt to taste.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Sauteed Radishes with Peas and Mint

Sauteed Radishes

Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Stick a fork in me.  I am done.  I am so tired I can hardly see straight – but it has been too long since my last post, and I have a lot of good stuff piling up.  I haven’t been doing as much cooking and baking lately – although it did finally cool down in our part of the world.  Today we had our first real day of rain in over a month.  It was actually satisfying to me, as I hunkered down in my office to try and get through my piles of work.  It doesn’t help that I was so excited for the kids to be done with school, thinking that my life outside of work would relax a little, but then swim team squeezed it’s way into our lives, and our evenings have been even busier.  I keep thinking that things will change, but what I have realized is that this is the new normal.  I liked the old normal…

The other weekend I was at the farmer’s market, and they had the most beautiful looking rhubarb.  I am not a huge rhubarb fan, except for this.  Last year when I made my annual batch, I just couldn’t get the temperature high enough, and I finally ended up canning the jelly before it was completely ready.  I just lost patience.  The jelly still tasted delicious, but it was a little more syrupy than I would have liked.  I decided to try making a drink for the girls out of it – I mixed some of that very soft jelly with some club soda, and it tasted delicious.  The only problem was that there was still pectin in that jelly, which made the drink just slightly thick.  I knew there had to be a better way – and I realized if I just left the pectin out, that basically I would be making a rhubarb simple syrup.

Well, that’s exactly what I did – and what a treat.  It was the perfect remedy for a hot day.  I poured some of that simple syrup over ice, then topped it off with some club soda (or sparking water), and you have a rhubarb flavored sparkling drink that would make anyone feel like they were on vacation.  At this point, I will take what I can get…

Ingredients

  • 4 cups
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar

Preparation

Combine the rhubarb, sugar, and water in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.

Set a fine-meshed strainer (or a coarse strainer lined with cheesecloth)over a large bowl. Pour the rhubarb through the strainer until most of the liquid is in the bowl. Press the solids a little with the back of a spoon to extract more syrup.

Carefully pour the syrup into a clean bottle, cover or cork the bottle and refrigerate. It should keep for quite some time in the fridge.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Rhubarb Simple Syrup

Layered Strawberry-Coconut Panna Cotta

Layered Strawberry-Coconut Panna Cotta

It is not often that I am banned from the kitchen – ok, maybe not banned, but it sure feels that way – when I can’t use the stove or the oven, I might as well be banned.  Not only is it hot in Seattle right now, it is humid as well – and without air conditioning, we go to drastic measures to ensure the house stays as cool as we can possibly make it.  For the most part we play the “shade game” – for those of you who have not had the luxury of playing that game – it is awesome.  You basically figure out which windows need to be closed with the shades drawn and which need to be open, at all times of the day, based upon where the sun is.  Fortunately today at the end of the day the clouds came in, and I quickly ran around the house opening every shade and every window I could.  When that hot breeze comes through the window ever so slightly – you actually feel like you have accomplished something.  That’s when you get a point.  What a fun game…too bad I have to go to the office tomorrow.

I saw this dessert in Cooking Light, and it almost passed the test to make today.  Fortunately I had made it last weekend though, so there was no temptation for me.  Seriously, I made a fancy lemonade for the girls today, as that was all my creativity could come up with.  Yes, can you tell I am preoccupied with other things?  So back to this dessert.  Strawberry season is just wrapping up here, so I knew I didn’t have a lot of time to put this one off.  Unfortunately I missed out on getting the real fresh strawberries from the stand, but I still found some at the market – and this dessert is so good, any strawberries will do.

I adapted the recipe so that it was completely dairy-free, and it was amazing.  First of all, it is definitely impressive to look at – but the taste – it was like summer in a glass.  Be patient with the layers, it took them a lot longer to set up than the recipe said – but they eventually solidified.  My favorite layer was the coconut – but that strawberry layer on the bottom was incredible as well – real strawberry jello, now when do you ever make that?  Ok, and the thyme on top – don’t skip that step, it really added a unique flavor.

Maybe there should be a bonus round for my shade game.  If you can create a dessert that doesn’t use the oven or the stove, you get an extra 100 points.  Well, actually – even better – you get dessert!

Ingredients

Strawberry gelatin:

  • 1 teaspoon gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3/4 cup sliced strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup coconut water

Panna cotta:

  • 3/4 teaspoon gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Strawberries:

  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Preparation

To prepare strawberry gelatin, sprinkle 1 teaspoon gelatin over 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Combine 3/4 cup strawberries, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon juice in a small saucepan; let stand 5 minutes. Mash mixture with a fork or potato masher. Place pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer; cook 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add coconut water; return to a simmer. Remove pan from heat. Add gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin dissolves. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a measuring cup, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids. Divide strawberry mixture evenly among 4 wineglasses. Chill 1 hour or until set.

To prepare panna cotta, sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon gelatin over 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Combine coconut milks, 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon juice in a saucepan; bring to a simmer. Remove pan from heat. Add gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin dissolves. Cool to room temperature. Carefully pour one-fourth of coconut milk mixture on top of each strawberry gelatin. Chill 1 hour or until set.

To prepare strawberries, combine remaining ingredients in a bowl; toss gently. Let stand 5 minutes. Divide strawberry mixture evenly among glasses.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Layered Strawberry-Coconut Panna Cotta

Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

 

Vegan Mint Chip

We didn’t have much of a Junuary this year, and I am not complaining.  Summer eased in nicely from Spring, and it has been just spectacular.  We have that dark blue sky, and Mt. Rainer looks like a vanilla ice cream come, with little flecks of chocolate chips.  At least that’s what my husband and I both think – and whenever we look at it, we start craving ice cream.

Aside from cooking on the Egg, my husband doesn’t spend a ton of time researching recipes.  In fact, I am not sure I have ever seen him show much interest in doing that until the egg came along, and it has been so nice to see that we have just one more thing in common.  I am not worried at all about what we will do with our time someday when we retire…the problem will be that we will want to do too much.

So imagine my surprise when he came into the kitchen with a recipe he had found for dairy-free ice cream.  One of our local shops has a vegan flavor at all times, and my husband has developed quite an addiction.  He decided instead of spending $4 on a scoop, that maybe he should just make some himself.  He found this recipe on a blog called The Nourishing Gourmet, and I must say, I was extremely impressed.  Of course I couldn’t let him make it though – I wanted to be the one!  I got super excited to try out this coconut milk ice cream, it looked and sounded delicious.

We ended up making this in a two step process – I wanted to taste it without the mint flavoring first – to really taste that coconut flavor.  Now it was good, but once we added that mint, it took it to a different level.  You would never have known that it was dairy-free.  Now of course, you need to let this thaw slightly on the counter after it has been in the freezer for a while, because it really becomes solid in the freezer – but if you do that, you will not be disappointed.  So now the big question – is Mt. Rainer really Mint Rainer??  Wouldn’t that be something…

Ingredients

  • 2 14 ounce cans of full fat coconut milk
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extracts, optional
  • 2 teaspoon organic peppermint extract
  • 3 ounces of dark chocolate

Preparation

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, honey, and extracts. Freeze in ice cream maker according to instructions. Meanwhile, finely chop the dark chocolate and add to the ice cream maker the last 30 seconds or so. Freeze to “ripen” or eat right away, soft serve style. If you leave in the freezer for more than a few hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes to soften before serving. Enjoy!

Spring Salad with Avocado Dressing

Spring Salad with Avocado Dressing

My girls are pretty funny about salad, and particularly salad dressing.  I have one that use to only use salad as a means to eating the dressing, while the other one just likes plain lettuce.  I am more of a dressing gal myself – although I certainly don’t eat salad just to consume the dressing.  Everything in moderation…pretty much my goal in life.  Of course, usually what really happens in my life is the following:  If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.

Yep, that’s exactly what’s happened with the market basket that I signed up for.  This is no ordinary CSA basket, this is a basket on steroids – but the good kind of steroids, the ones that are organic and healthy.  Seriously, is there such a thing??  YES – it comes to my door everything Thursday!  I am overwhelmed by the bounty, and every week we are scrambling to come up with ways so that we are not wasting a single bit.

The lettuce parade gets us every week.  The problem is that’s my go-to lunch at work. When I have no time for anything else, I can at least grab a salad.  Plus, I must say – the salad bars are pretty extensive – you can basically find anything you have ever hoped for – which is not typical of my refrigerator, unless it comes from the basket.  So, trying to match the type of salad I get at work is pretty tough – but I have been working at it.  I found this recipe for an Avocado Salad Dressing in Cooking Light, and I realized that’s exactly what I need to get through the madness.  The dressing was much thicker than I imagined, but it was delicious and creamy.  I just love avocado in salads, and this made it even better – it coated every single piece of lettuce, instead of just getting some chunks here and there.

Before getting another basket today, I decided I would bring all the lettuce from last week to work for my lunch.  I was on a mission last night to find anything and everything in our refrigerator to make the best salad I could.  I found some leftover pork roast, smoked chicken, roasted beets, hard boiled eggs, roasted red peppers, carrots and leftover cauliflower.  I must say, it was a salad fit for a queen – but it was missing one key ingredient – that avocado dressing…

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup diced avocado
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 (5-ounce) package mixed baby greens

Preparation

Place avocado, cilantro leaves, lime juice, olive oil, salt, and hot sauce in a blender; blend until smooth. Combine radishes, carrots, and mixed greens; drizzle with dressing.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Spring Salad with Avocado Dressing

Chocolate-Coconut Pound Cake

 

Chocolate Coconut Pound Cake 2

I feel like I have been lacking a little in the baking department lately.  I have been very focused on jams, getting a healthy dinner on the table, and not as much focused on the baked goods.  My family has been very patient with me, but I can tell that they are anxious for me to get back into my baking routine.  Fortunately I have lots of great recipes to try, and as long as it doesn’t get to hot next weekend – I am definitely looking forward to the 3-day weekend to catch up.

A lot of my friends have been dropping their kids off at sleep away camp this year – of course out here, it is not nearly as popular as it is on the east coast – and fortunately for me, my older daughter was still not dying to sign up just yet – but I know the time is coming.  I loved sleep away camp – when I came home after the first year, I cried until my mother promised I could go again the next summer.

Months ago I found this recipe in Bon Appetit, and coconut is one of those ingredients that always makes me look twice.  I looked at the recipe, and I was seriously intrigued.  I have been eyeing the coconut oil in the super market for quite some time, and now I had an opportunity to buy it.  Unfortunately this was not one of those dairy-free recipes that makes me (but mostly my husband) so happy, but I decided to go for it anyway.  I wish I could say that I made this today, but this was made a about a month ago, and I have been patiently waiting  to post it.  As I am writing this, I am remembering this moist, delicious, flavorful – pretty much killer – pound cake.  I cannot say enough about this cake.  I had one piece, and it wasn’t enough – the kids went nuts for it also.  There was just a hint of chocolate, combined with a hint of coconut, but it just had this overwhelmingly comforting taste.

I would be kidding myself if I said that the kids needed some comfort food right now – even if they are homesick – I think it is the moms that are in real need of some comfort.  Instead of watching the time go by wanting to talk to your kids, how about trying this cake instead?  Eat half now, and freeze the rest for when your kids return.  If you can actually get half into the freezer before it is all gone…

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup virgin coconut oil, room temperature
  • cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325°. Butter an 8×4” loaf pan; line with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang on long sides. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat oil, ¼ cup butter, and 1½ cups sugar until pale and fluffy, 5–7 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions; beat until mixture is very light and doubled in volume, 5–8 minutes. Add vanilla.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients (do not overmix; it will cause cake to buckle and split). Scrape batter into prepared pan and run a spatula through the center, creating a canal. Sprinkle with coconut and remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar.

Bake cake, tenting with foil if coconut browns too much before cake is done (it should be very dark and toasted), until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 70–80 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool in pan 20 minutes before turning out.

DO AHEAD: Cake can be baked 5 days ahead. Keep tightly wrapped at room temperature.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Chocolate-Coconut Pound Cake