White Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Here in San Francisco there is an Asian bakery chain called Sheng Kee that bakes all kinds of amazing and yummy treats including bread, cakes, Asian pastries, and several types of cookies.  One of the cookies they make are these tiny little coconut macaroons. They are a one bite/pop in your mouth sensation. They are so addicting it is hard to eat just one. My son calls them coconut bombs. They have the perfect chewiness and coconut flavor without being too sweet. Whenever we walk past this bakery my son Seth cannot help but stop and buy a bag. “Oh Mommy, let’s get some coconut bombs”!  he’ll say. One of their bakeries is smack right next to Home Depot; oh so conveniently located while The Husband shops for drill bits. This recipe reminds me of that cookie. I took it one step further and dipped them in white chocolate.

Coconut Macaroons Dipped in White Chocolate

Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine

(yield 4 dozen cookies)

3/4 Cup egg whites

1  1/2 Cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar

12 oz. unsweetened finely shredded coconut

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

12 oz. finely chopped Ghiradelli white chocolate

1. Position oven racks in the center and upper portions of the oven and heat the oven to 350°. Line two heavy baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.

2. In a large bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy and add sugar, and vanilla bean paste until combined. Stir in the coconut until combined.

3. Scoop the mixture using a one tablespoon scoop (1/2 oz. scoop) onto the pans leaving 1 1/2 inch spaced in between cookies. Bake until the cookies are an even golden color and they appear dry; not at all sticky or wet looking; about 25 minutes. Halfway through baking, switch the pans from top to bottom and rotate them from back to front also for even baking.

4. Let the cookies cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Place the chopped white chocolate in a micro wave safe bowl and at 50 % power melt the chocolate slowly by using 15 second intervals stirring in between until the chocolate is melted. Dip the cookies into the melted chocolate and place onto a wax paper. Let cookies set up until chocolate sets.

My beautiful Son and official cookie taster Seth

{Printable Recipe}:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fADab3nGyh30f9rTG7U6wZHz75-HzFfd7KlcABT4d04/edit


Candy Cane White Hot Chocolate

People always ask me if I miss the snow since I have lived here in California. It only takes me a second to respond; I don’t even have to think about it. My answer is always no. I do not miss the snow. I do not miss the cold. I do not miss the 20 minutes of scraping ice off a windshield in bone chilling cold. The picturesque scenes of winter white when everything is covered in snow? okay, maybe I miss that. I used to love waking up and looking out side to see several inches of new fallen snow blanket every tree on the street. I do have very fond memories of growing up in Michigan as a child. We used to strap our skates on and ice skate down our road when the roads would get icy. The beautiful scenes of Winter is my inspiration for a winter white palate of sweetness this week. The snow? you can have it…

Candy Cane White Hot Chocolate

{Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s White Hot Chocolate}

(yields 8 cups)

  • 12 oz. Ghiradelli white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Peppermint sticks, for garnish
  • Peppermint schnapps; one splash per glass (optional)
  • Whipped cream, for garnish

Directions

Place white chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl; set aside. Place milk and cream in a medium saucepan set over medium heat until bubbles begin to form around edges of pan, about 4 minutes. Immediately pour mixture over white chocolate. When chocolate begins to melt, stir to combine. Whisk in vanilla. Continue whisking until a light foam forms.

Serve hot garnished with whipped cream and a candy cane. My son likes to drop his candy cane down in the hot chocolate; it imparts a wonderful peppermint flavor; a good alternative for a non alcoholic version.

{Printable Recipe}:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DSjg84X4RREuFwHMq6O8_8Q_8psukcl33etnq2FCFwo/edit


Tangerine Popovers

My Seth is not a breakfast eater. I have come to terms with this a long time ago. I doesn’t stop me from trying though. It is my quest to get something in that little tummy if it kills me. He never was one for 3 square meals- he is a grazer. He will nibble and eat little bits all day long. There are about 4 things on my breakfast roster that he will go for; one of them is waffles. You kind of have to be in the mood to make waffles and quite often I am not in the mood, and he does not fancy the ones out of the box. Mind you, he is not a picky eater; he just does not like to eat breakfast. Popovers to the rescue! You can add many things to a standard popover recipe to change it up. I like to add tangerine zest to make these tasty breakfast treats. I have made many versions of popovers in my day. If you have a window on your oven it is fun for your kids to watch as they start to pop and rise. First I have to get Seth out of bed, but that’s another story…

(He’s gonna hate me for this, but I could not resist this cute sweet face!)

Tangerine Popovers

(yield: 6 popovers)

1 Cup All purpose flour

pinch of salt

3 large eggs

1 Cup whole milk

2 tangerines; zested

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon butter, melted

2 Tablespoons butter;divided into 6 equal pieces; kept cold

1. Preheat the oven to 425° degrees. Spray a popover pan with non stick spray.

2.  Blend flour, salt, eggs, milk, tangerine zest, sugar and melted butter. Whisk to combine; about 1 minute. Pour batter into a 2 Cup glass measuring cup. Set aside.

3. Place the popover pan in the oven and heat the pan for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes open the oven and drop a cold piece of butter into each well of the popover pan. Close the oven door and let the butter melt for about 1 minute.

4. Open the oven door and carefully pour batter into each well to 1/2 full. Bake the popovers at 425° for 20 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR!

5. After 20 minutes, reduced the of the oven to 350° and continue baking for an additional 20-25 minutes. After 20 minutes check the popovers; insert a bamboo skewer and the popovers are done when the skewer comes out clean; if not done continue baking for a few additional minutes. Once they are done; insert a skewer into each popover to release the steam (this will ensure they keep their shape) and let the popovers cool in the pan on a wire rack until cool enough to touch.

6. Serve warm plain, with butter or a drizzle of honey.

{Printable Recipe}

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sipcUl045A38Y94EYfbWSEydEPZdIoQCqNdq72BG2tw/edit


Mini Pecan Pie Bites and Standard Size Bourbon Pecan Pie

My Mom used to make these pecan pie bites during the Holidays. Some of you may know them as pecan tassies. They are 3 bites of pecan pie nirvana. If you’ve been asked to bring dessert as part of your contribution to Thanksgiving potluck or a Holiday party this is a nice alternative.  Carting a whole pecan pie in your car while driving with one hand maneuvering the streets and hills of San Francisco can be a little hairy.

I’m just sayin’….

Pecan pie bites are the perfect alternative when you want a little bit of pecan pie but don’t want to make an entire pie. Having a whole pie sitting around in the house can be a little too tempting. I have just one piece of advice. Get them out of the house! bring them to a friend or relative. Last week at Weight Watchers we had to sit down and figure out the points on every typical thing you eat on Thanksgiving. A slice of pecan pie came in at 14 points. Yikes; that’s like half my day of points right there. I have included a recipe for a standard size 9 inch pecan pie as well for my folks who need to make a regular pie.

Mini Pecan Pie Bites

(yields 24 mini bites)

Crust 

1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter, room temp

1 Cup all-purpose flour

3 oz. cream cheese, room temp

You will need 2 nonstick mini muffin tins or one (24 well) mini muffin tin to equal 24 mini muffin cups. Cut butter and cream cheese into small pieces and place in a bowl. Add the flour and mix together with a fork until all ingredients are incorporated together and resemble pie crust. Divide dough into 2 equal parts.  Form dough into 24 balls, about 3/4 inch in diameter. Place one ball in the well of a non stick mini-muffin tin(s); with your fingers flatten the dough around each muffin cup to form a crust.

Pecan Filling

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 Tablespoon melted butter

pinch of salt

1/2 Cup chopped pecans

3/4 Cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. bourbon

Mix the filling together in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Divide the filling among the muffin tins, using a teaspoon. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° degrees and bake for 10 minutes longer.

Cool tins on a rack. When cool, remove carefully from tins, using a sharp knife if necessary to slip out. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar before serving. A drizzle with melted chocolate would also be divine.

Printable Recipe:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MlncNwxscCaguogn9r3rX017zsbivCM9Ts_qbGejx5k/edit

Bourbon Pecan Pie

{Make one 9-inch pie}

Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1 stick butter, cubed and kept cold until ready to use

3-4 tablespoons ice water

Make crust: In large bowl, whisk flour, salt, and sugar together. Add butter and using fingers or pastry blender, blend until coarse meal forms. Sprinkle ice water onto mixture and continue blending until dough comes together. Form into round, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least one hour.
Filling:

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1/2 cup dark corn syrup  (I don’t like my filling too dark; but you can go with all dark syrup if you like and increase the amount to 3/4 cup total and erase the light corn syrup)

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 Tablespoon vanilla

3 Tablespoons bourbon

1  1/2 Cups toasted pecans; coarsely chopped

3 Tbsp. whole pecans (for top of pie)
Prepare Crust: Roll out dough to 12- to 13-inch round, then transfer to an 9 inch pie plate and crimp edges as desired. Chill empty pie shell 15 minutes. Using fork, poke holes on bottom and sides of pie crust. Line dish with parchment paper, then fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 400 degrees F until golden brown, 20 minutes. Transfer to rack and let cool to room  temperature. Lower oven temperature to 375°

Make Filling:

In medium saucepan over moderate heat, heat butter, brown  sugar, and salt, stirring, until sugar is melted and butter is absorbed, about 2  minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in eggs, one at a time, then whisk in the light and dark corn syrup, vanilla, and bourbon. Return pan to moderate heat and cook, stirring  constantly, until mixture appears glossy and is warm to the touch, about 4 minutes.
Pour toasted pecan pieces into pie shell, then pour filling  over pecans. Place the whole pecans on top of the filling; distribute them evenly over the top. Bake for 50 minutes at 375 degrees until the center of the filling is slightly soft. Transfer to rack and let cool 3 to 4 hours.

Happy Holidays

Suzie

{Bourbon Pecan Pie Printable Recipe}:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OGXLL1XK3rQgydOiEDJF3V3Eqn4HGUQK_bdm1zC3Kxo/edit3


Company Chai Latte

There is no way of getting around it. The Holidays involve a lot of eating and a lot of drinking. Most parties or holiday gatherings will certainly have alcohol and non alcoholic beverages but it’s nice to have something special for guests that is not the expected norm. Chai is a nice alternative to have waiting on the stove permeating the house with wonderful smells. This recipe is self-proclaimed as “Decadent Chai latte” as it has heavy cream in the original recipe. I love home-made chai. The first time I had “real chai” not from a mix was 12 years ago when I first moved to San Francisco. I was at a holiday party and the host had a large pot of warm chai on the stove. I was in heaven at the first sip. You could taste the difference with the fresh spices and it was so sublime compared to the mix version of chai you normally get at coffee houses. The real star of a good chai is of course the fresh spices and the tea so if you want to replace the heavy cream with a lighter milk it will still be tasty. I’ve posted the original “decadent” recipe here which is from the November issue of Southern Living. Swap out the heavy cream and replace with regular milk or 1- 2 % milk if you don’t want the chai to be so rich. Your choice.

Decadent Chai Latte

(recipe from 2011 November issue Southern Living)

(serves 7-8)

4 Cups milk

1 Cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 inch piece fresh ginger, sliced

6 cardamom pods

1 star anise (suzie tip: buy this at an asian grocery store- much cheaper!)

1/4 tsp. whole cloves

1/4 tsp. black peppercorns

4 regular-size black tea bags (I used 6 bags for a bit stronger chai)

Dark Chocolate Chai Latte Version (see below)*

1. Bring the first 8 ingredients and 2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add tea bags; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes.

2. Pour the mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a heatproof pitcher, discarding solids. Serve warm with a cinnamon stick.

Dark Chocolate Chai Latte Version: Stir in 4 oz. chopped dark chocolate and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon in with first 8 ingredients, stirring until chocolate is melted. Bring to boil and tea bags and proceed with the recipe as directed.

Printable Recipe:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sV9CDw5M5KUFWn4UUcuCYEktAalludzqmVanyuxu74Y/edit


Cranberry Orange Bread

I don’t know what it is lately. Maybe the weather turning a little colder. The rain maybe? Not sure exactly, but I’ve been day dreaming a lot about bread for some reason. Can’t get it out of my mind. The best thing to do when you are having bread baking dreams is to just make quick bread. It’s fast, easy and before you know it, your house smells amazing. Oscar gets excited whenever I turn on the stove. Really excited. He snuggles right up in front of the stove. Like NEXT to the stove. Like a little too scary close next to the stove. It doesn’t matter to him that I have to give him a polite nudge every now and then to check my bread; he is right back in his preferred spot as soon as the door closes. He just knows something good is emerging from that hot box soon. There is no food that dog will not beg for. Baking bread is good therapy when your mind is a little clogged and you are feeling a bit weary. I swear bread is like aromatherapy. The anticipation of hot bread lifts everyone’s spirit. Even the dog.

 

Cranberry Orange Bread

2 Cups all-purpose flour

1 Cup sugar

1  1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. cinnamon (preferably Saigon)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 Cup orange juice

zest of one orange

1 tsp. vanilla

1 large egg

2 Tbsp. melted butter

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. hot water

1  1/2 Cups fresh cranberries, divided

2 Tbsp. diced candied orange peel (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350° degrees. Prepare a loaf pan (9x5x3) or 2 mini loaf pans by spraying with non stick baking spray. [Alternatively the recipe will yield 2 mini loaves of bread also].

2. In a large mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients; whisk to combine.

3. In a measuring cup combine the orange juice, zest, vanilla, egg, melted butter, oil and water. Whisk gently with a fork to combine. Add to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon.

4. Divide the amount of cranberries in half and 1/2 of the portion cut in half; leaving the other portion of cranberries whole. Stir in all the cranberries and candied orange peel.

5. Pour the batter in the pan and sprinkle the top generously with granulated sugar.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, then decrease the heat to 325° and continue baking until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For mini loaves ~ 50 minutes. For one large loaf ~ 60 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Printable Recipe:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1g-K-9FJFoPiziwX_s5EnSXbJMpsAuxrwAx9d77CKaBQ/edit

Happy Baking,

Suzie


Sweet Spiced Almonds

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t…

I feel like a nut

Yes, I am a nut ;-)

I want a nut.

I want a sweet, spicy, salty crunchy nut.

This recipe rings all my nut bells. Sweet, spicy, super crunchy, and the best of all? super easy.

 

Sweet Spiced Almonds

(recipe from America’s test kitchen “All Time Best Holiday Recipes”)

1 large egg white

1 Tablespoon water

1 tsp. salt (I used 2 tsp. instead)

1 lb. raw unsalted almonds

1/2 Cup sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon (preferable saigon cinnamon)

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground coriander

1. Adjust oven racks to that you have one rack on each upper position and one at middle position. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with non-stick spray.

3. Whisk together egg white, water, and salt in a large bowl. Add the nuts and toss to coat. Let the nuts drain thoroughly in a colander for 4-5 minutes.

4. Mix sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and coriander in a large bowl. Add the drained nuts and toss to coat with the sugar/spice mixture. Spread the nuts evenly onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes on upper rack. After 20 minutes move the sheet to the middle rack and continue backing 20-25 minutes until the nuts are dry and crisp. Cool nuts completely.

Printable Recipe:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nm9BziTqG7piZpHse6lxjTyl_Y6IvnEI–vh8lbwsss/edit


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