Mocha Coconut Fudge

When How Sweet It Is posted this recipe, I knew immediately that I would be trying it. I mean really, with her willingness to interrupt our busy plans with this recipe, how could I refuse? 🙂 The flavor combination was an instant win in my book – kind of an extra rich and sweet twist on a yummy frappucino I enjoy occasionally – ahem.

This recipe was super quick, super decadent, and totally yum. I think we may have a new fudge recipe to add to our annual favorites – peanut butter, chocolate, and butter pecan. We may like fudge – the vote is still out – you can send me more recipes to, you know…make sure!

Let me tell you a little secret about this recipe…I made it in the microwave. You can certainly use the double boiler as the recipe recommends but I noticed that she mentioned the microwave as an option and I was sold. You see, I was up to my eyeballs in cookie baking when I threw this recipe in to the mix between shuffling cookies into the oven. So, yes, it was easy. 🙂 You can go here for her original awesome recipe. I’m going to post my microwave version in case you are lazy like me.

Seriously, how pretty is this?! This would make aa really great gift! Oh and I forgot to mention – my mom thought this was wonderful.

Mocha Coconut Fudge
Adapted from How Sweet It Is
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12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used 2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips)
12 oz. white baking chocolate, chopped (I used 2 c. white chocolate chips)
1 can (15oz) sweetened condensed milk (mine was 14 oz which was no problem), divided
1 1/2 Tb. espresso powder or instant coffee (I used the latter – two packets of an instant because that’s what I had)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1 Tb. coconut oil, divided
1/2 c. flaked coconut, toasted (350 degrees for about 10 minutes but watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn!)

Line an 8×8 pan with buttered foil.

Add semisweet chocolate to microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave for 30 more seconds. Add in half of the sweetened condensed milk (I eyeballed it), the coffee powder and 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 tsp.) of coconut oil. Return to microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Continue 30 second increments until fully melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Spread evenly in the bottom of the pan. Mixture will be quitethick. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes (or less if your me and you want to hurry).

Add white chocolate to a micorwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Add in remaining condensed milk and coconut oil and return to microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave 30 more seconds if needed until mixture is completely melted. Add coconut extract and thoroughly combine. Remove fudge from freezer and add white chocolate on top, spreading evenly to coat. Top with toasted coconut, then chill in the refrigerator for 60-90 minutes.

When ready to cut, fill a large cup with hot water or run knife under the tap. Dip a sharp knife into the water, then blot on a towel. Use knife to cut fudge into your desired size of squares.

This is SO rich and SO good – I think you could easily cut this into 1 inch squares which would make for 64 pieces of fudge. 🙂 Enjoy and go thank How Sweet It Is for this deliciousness and check out her site! If you like chocolate, coffee, and coconut, you will LOVE this.


Weekend Fare: Lemon Coconut Bars

Okay, seriously, these are delicious! Citrus and coconut – how can you go wrong? The creamy, sweet, and tart were just the perfect balance. These would make a wonderful contribution for a pitch-in or for a light dessert.

(Bon Appetit Dessert Cookbook)
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1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted, cooled
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon (packed) finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

1/4 cup powdered sugar

For crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving overhang. Butter foil. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Add coconut and butter; process until mixture resembles fine meal and begins to clump together. Gather dough into ball. Press dough evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust until golden at edges, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare filling:
Combine 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, lemon juice, lemon peel, flour, baking powder, and salt in processor. Blend filling until smooth.

Remove crust from oven. Pour filling evenly over hot crust. Return to oven and bake until filling begins to brown at edges and is just set and springy to touch in center, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to rack; cool lemon bars completely.

Using foil as aid, transfer lemon bars to work surface. Flatten foil edges. Cut into 16 bars. Sift powdered sugar over. (Can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight in single layer in refrigerator.)

Weekend Fare: Coconut Lime Chicken

I’ve recently been experimenting with using coconut milk in cooking and baking and I’m excited with the results! (I am referring to the coconut milk in the can, such as Thai Kitchen brand.) In honor of my recent experience with this versatile ingredient, I wanted to share with you two recipes: Coconut Lime Chicken and Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream.

The chicken is incredibly tender (although the photo shows a whole piece of chicken make sure to cube it because the result is much more tender!) and the almond butter dipping sauce adds a delicious twist. The ice cream is amazing and so simple! It’s unbelievably creamy. I adapted it slightly from a recipe I found online and promptly forgot where I found it. 🙂

Both of these recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free.

(from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook)
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2 large boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
coconut oil, for sauteing

2 Tablespoons coconut milk
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons wheat-free tamari (or soy sauce)

Almond Lime Dipping Sauce:
6 Tablespoons almond butter
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup coconut milk
1-2 Tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
1 Tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

Place the chicken breast pieces into a bowl and cover with the ingredients for the marinade. Stir together to coat evenly. Let chicken marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat a 10-inch skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add about one Tablespoon of coconut oil. Then add chicken pieces. Saute, stirring frequently, for about 3-5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Place the dipping sauce ingredients into a bowl and whisk together until mixture is thickened and well combines. Alternatively, sauce can also be warmed on the stove in a small pot over low heat.

To serve, divide dipping sauce into four small bowls and serve alongside chicken. (Brown rice and stir-fried veggies make a great side!) Serves 4.

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1-14 ounce can coconut milk (not light)
1/3 cup sugar or agave nectar (I used coconut sugar)
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pour into the bowl of an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serves 2.

Baker’s Delight: Coconut Macaroons

When we first went gluten-free around our house, coconut macaroons were the first cookie I experimented with and successfully adapted. They are a quick go-to cookie for me and are perfect for a holiday party, but taste good any time of the year.

This particular recipe was given to me by a co-worker a few years ago. She brought them in a couple of times and I loved them. I honestly don’t know what cookbook they come from; I just have a xeroxed page.

One reason I love the recipe is that it calls for whole eggs. Most coconut macaroon recipes call just for egg whites. Also, I usually decrease the sugar by at least 1/4 cup because I tend to like my baked goods a little less sweet.

(from Amy B.)
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2 large eggs
1 c. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 c. all-purpose flour (for gf use all-purpose gf mix)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 c. (9 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut

Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease an insulated baking sheet (or use two baking sheets, stacked on top of one another).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, flour, and vanilla extract until well blended. Stir in the coconut.

Drop the dough by 1-Tbsp mounds on the prepared sheet, spacing them at least 2-inches apart. Bake for 14-16 minutes, until they are golden brown around the edges and a few strands of coconut on the tops of the cookies start to turn golden. Cool completely on the baking sheet on a wire rack. Makes about 36 cookies.

Note: These are best eaten the day they are made, but will keep up to 2 days in an airtight container.

Holidays: Easter Dessert

I just love that cupcakes are so popular these days. The delicious, sweet, mini cakes make a beautiful presentation and are perfect for holidays, birthdays, company, dessert buffets, and more. Today I’m sharing two recipes for homemade cupcakes.

These key lime cupcakes are amazing. If you only make one of these recipes, make these. They are fabulous! I think they are probably my most favorite cupcake ever.

(adapted slightly from
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3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 heaping tsp. grated key lime zest
2 Tb. key lime juice (I used  freshly squeezed)
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 1/3 c. loosely packed sweetened coconut flakes

White Chocolate Lime Frosting:
5 oz. white chocolate (I used Baker’s)
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
3 1/2 – 4 c. powdered sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tb. key lime juice (I used freshly squeezed)
1/4 c. sour cream
Finely grated key lime zest, for garnish
Shredded, sweetened coconut, for garnish
White chocolate, grated, for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin pans with cupcake liners.

Using an mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract, key lime zest and juice and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 5 parts total, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold the coconut into the cupcake batter.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners and fill each liner 3/4 full. A spring loaded 1/4 cup ice cream scoop works great for this and ensures the cupcakes are all the same size. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops begin to brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer cupcakes to a baking rack to cool completely. Makes 14 cupcakes.

While the cupcakes are cooling you can make the frosting. In a small heat proof bowl, melt the white chocolate in the microwave. Let cool until just slightly warm. Meanwhile, using a hand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar until well combined. Add the salt, vanilla extract, key lime juice, and sour cream and mix until very smooth. Add the melted white chocolate and mix just until incorporated. Pipe icing on to the cupcakes and garnish with sweetened, shredded coconut, shaved white chocolate, and grated lime zest.

These vanilla cupcakes were moist and delicious! I used a simple vanilla buttercream to frost them and topped them with a white chocolate covered strawberry. My kids decorated their cupcakes with spring colored sprinkles.

(adapted from
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1 3/4 c. cake flour
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1 Tb. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, cut into cubes
4 eggs
1 c. whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.

Combine in a bowl both flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until combined for about 3 minutes. Add in cubed butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

Add eggs 1 at a time until combined. Slowly add milk and vanilla to batter until completely mixed scraping down the bowl as you mix.

Scoop batter into baking cups filling about 2/3-3/4  full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Frost with your favorite icing. I made buttercream.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1/2 c. butter, melted
4-5 c. powdered sugar
dash of salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
milk – to reach desired consistency

Combine all with a hand mixer. Add food coloring if desired. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Weekend Fare: Smoothies

Smoothies are perfect for the weekends or any day of the week. They often feature yogurt and/or milk but there are dairy-free recipes as well. You can boost their nutrients by adding protein powder, ground flax seed, or whatever other additives you prefer. Here are two that our family enjoy.

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1 c. vanilla yogurt
2 Tb. shredded coconut
8-10 oz. crushed pineapple w/juice
1/2 banana
1/2 c. milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
8 ice cubes

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. The coconut will still have some texture, so if you don’t prefer that, you can make a pineapple-banana smoothie and omit the coconut or substitute coconut milk for the milk and shredded coconut! Serves 3-4.

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1 c. vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 c. frozen strawberries
1/2 banana
1/2 c. fruit juice (I used a berry blend)

Combine all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Serves 2-3.

Gluten-free Goodness: Holiday Treats

There are some really great options for gluten-free desserts that don’t compromise flavor at all! I made this macaroon cheesecake and it got rave reviews from everyone. It’s creamy and delicious – the flavor profile is wonderful!

(Taste of Home)

1 c. flaked coconut, toasted
1/2 c. ground pecans
2 Tb. butter, melted

3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract

1 egg white
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. flaked coconut, toasted

In a small bowl, combine the coconut and pecans; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9-in. springform pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat in extracts just until blended. Pour over crust. Place pan on a baking sheet.

Bake at 350° for 35 minutes. In a small bowl, beat egg white and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff peaks form. Fold in coconut. Carefully spread over top of cheesecake.

Bake 20-25 minutes longer or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 12 servings.

We called theses peppermint chocolate meringues “Martian Eggs” when we were kids and they were an annual tradition – especially at our family gathering. The green-tinted egg like cookies are crispy on the outside and a little softer on the inside with delicious chocolate chips.


2 egg whites
dash salt
2/3 c. sugar
green or red food coloring (opt.)
6 oz. mint chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat egg whites and salt until frothy. Slowly add sugar and beat until stiff. Add food coloring if desired. Fold in mint chocolate chips.

Drop on ungreased cookie sheet. Turn off oven and put cookie sheet in oven and leave in oven for 2-6 hours or until crisp on outside and chewy on inside. (Mine took 2 hours 15 minutes but it depends on the humidity.) Makes about 3 dozen.

(adapted from Christmas Cookies, by: Lisa Zwirn)

2 c. almond meal
1 1/4 c. sugar
3 lg. egg whites
1/2 tsp. almond extract
6 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (opt. – but you really should…)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 1 or 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Combine almond meal, sugar, egg white, and extract in lg. bowl. Beat with mixer until thoroughly combined and dough is a thick, sticky paste.

Drop the dough by level tablespoonfuls, arranging about 2 inches apart on the prepared sheets. Using a pastry brush lightly moistened with water, brush the tops and sides of the macaroons, gently pressing down on them to form smooth rounds about 1/2 in. thick and 1 3/4 in. in diameter.

Bake 15-18 minutes or until the macaroons are lightly golden. They should feel crisp on the outside but soft inside.  (Rotate cookie sheets halfway through if using two).  Cool for 5 minute, then use a thin metal spatula to remove the macaroons from the paper. Place on rack to cool completely.

CHOCOLATE: Melt chocolate and dip, drizzle or ice the cooled macaroons.

Store layered between wax paper for up to 5 days. Without chocolate, the macaroons can be frozen up to two months.  Makes about 32 cookies.