pina colada cupcakes

at work this past week, we had a luau party.  it was so so much fun!  we decorated our conference room and everyone brought in food to share and we even had some games for everyone to play.  it was so nice to just take a break and enjoy ourselves after a super busy year.  so to stay in the tropical theme, i thought it would be appropriate to whip up some pina colada cupcakes.

i’ve seen many different recipes online and i found one that looked good.  it was a pineapple cupcake with coconut frosting.  sounds good right?

  

  

it was going fine until i took them out of the oven and saw that they weren’t quite cooked.  so i baked them for 15 additional minutes.  but they were caved in and didn’t really look quite right.

then when i looked inside the cupcake, it was mushy.  yuck!  i couldn’t serve these to my coworkers.  no way jose!

after being annoyed for quite a bit, i realized what i did wrong.  first i added too much pineapple because i bought a bigger can of crushed pineapple than was called for in the recipe.  but then i also remembered that acid affects the leavening in cake batter and since pineapple juice is pretty acidic it probably kept the cupcake from rising properly too.  well since those cupcakes didn’t work out, i had to start all over again.  😦

this time around, i decided to make a white cupcake, filled with a fresh pineapple filling, topped with a coconut swiss meringue buttercream.  finally, it’s decorated with a slice of pineapple, a maraschino cherry, and just a sprinkling of toasted coconut.

i definitely preferred this version much better than my first attempt at the pineapple cupcakes.  there was still lots of pineapple flavor from the pineapple filling and it paired perfectly with the coconut buttercream.  although it didn’t taste exactly like a pina colada, they were still tasty and looked kind of like a pina colada cocktail.  perfect for our luau!

first bake up some white cupcakes.  you could also make some coconut cupcakes to up the coconut flavor.  then make the pineapple filling.  just combine some chopped fresh pineapple, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch.

cook it until it’s nice and thick and then cool it completely.

  

once the cupcakes are cooled, fill each cupcake with the pineapple filling using the cone method.

next make the coconut swiss meringue buttercream.  i just used a regular swiss meringue buttercream base and then added some coconut milk.  once the buttercream is ready, frost each cupcake.  i used a large closed star tip.

now it’s time to decorate the cupcakes!  add a slice of fresh pineapple and a maraschino cherry.

finally, sprinkle a little bit of toasted sweetened, shredded coconut onto each cupcake.

yay!  the pina colada cupcakes are ready!  they are the perfect treat for a summer party.  aloha!!!!!!!!!

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coconut mochi

last weekend chris and i had some of our friends over for a pool and grilling party.  we just grilled some hot dogs, chicken, corn, and i also made this coconut mochi for dessert.  what is mochi you ask?  well, it’s a sticky, kind of chewy japanese dessert or snack made from sticky rice.  traditional mochi is just rice that’s steamed and then pounded until it’s a paste.

  

then it’s shaped into nice little snack sized patties.

these pictures are actually from an annual new years celebration that one of our good family friends put on in hawaii.  i try to go every year, but missed last years so these are from a few years ago.  although you can enjoy mochi year around, it’s traditionally made for new years for good luck.  check out wikipedia for more info on traditional mochi.

but the mochi i made is obviously not the same as the traditional mochi made above.  instead this one is made from rice flour, it’s baked, and it’s flavored with coconut milk.   it’s also easier to make which is definite plus in my book.

the coconut mochi starts with butter, eggs, and sugar mixed together.  then add a can each of evaporated milk and coconut milk.

next add the mochiko or rice flour as well as the baking powder, salt, and water.  mochiko can sometimes be found in the asian aisle of your grocery store or you can find it at an asian food specialty store.

  

mix it all together and then last but not least, add the vanilla.

pour it into a parchment lined 9 x 13 baking pan.

bake the coconut mochi at350 degrees f for 1 hour.

allow it to cool completely before cutting into squares to serve.

finally it’s time to savor this buttery and kind of chewy and sticky, lightly coconuty baked coconut mochi.  yum!

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lime and coconut ice cream

after making margarita cupcakes not too long ago, i had a few limes left over.  i wasn’t quite sure what to use them for until i remember that i had pinned a recipe from an absolutely amazing blog, two peas and their pod.  lime and coconut flavors go together wonderfully so i knew they would make the perfect combination in ice cream.

i made a few changes to the recipe though.  first i added the shredded coconut back to the ice cream base for some nice texture in the ice cream.  though chris said he would have preferred a nice and smooth ice cream.  so i guess just go with what you would like best.  also the original recipe called for coconut extract which i don’t love – it just doesn’t really taste like real coconut.  instead i used some coconut milk and that worked great.  oh and with the original recipe you actually make your own “coconut milk” by steeping some shredded coconut in milk.  instead, you could probably just use coconut milk from the can.  i think that’s what i’ll do next time i make a batch of this ice cream.

with these changes, this ice cream was super refreshing.  the lime flavor was definitely at the forefront but don’t worry you could still taste the coconut.  i think this would be a great treat for the summer and the lime and coconut combo has given me some ideas for a cupcake or even cookie flavor.  yum!

the lime and coconut ice cream starts with some coconut milk.  you can make your own coconut flavored milk by steeping some sweetened shredded coconut milk in some whole milk mixed with sugar and just a pinch of salt.  but i would suggest just using some coconut milk from the can (you can usually find this in the asian foods section of your local grocery store) to save yourself some time.

  

if you make your own coconut flavored milk, drain the milk into a measuring cup and return it to the saucepan.  if you want to include the shredded coconut in your ice cream, reserve it otherwise you can just throw it away.

warm the milk back up and then slowly whisk the milk into the egg yolks.  this allows the egg yolks to temper rather than scramble.  return the mixture back to the saucepan and cook until thickened.

meanwhile mix the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest together in a large bowl.

  

once the custard is nice and thick, strain the custard into the lime and milk mixture.

then add the coconut milk (or extract) and reserved shredded coconut.  mix and it’s ready to chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.

  

finally, it’s time to churn the ice cream!  just follow your ice cream maker instructions and freeze until it’s solid.

yay lime and coconut ice cream!

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macaroon kisses cookies

so remember those peanut butter blossoms i made not too long ago.  well these macaroon kisses cookies are just like those but with coconut instead of peanut butter.  i stumbled across this recipe when i found the one for the peanut butter blossoms and made sure to bookmark it.  i’m glad i did because they were a perfect way to use up the extra bag of kisses i bought.

the cookie part of these macaroon kisses is chewy and full of coconut and almond flavor (it includes some almond extract) and together with the milk chocolate kiss it actually reminds me a lot of almond joy candies.  oh btw – check out the almond joy lollipops i made for holiday treats last year.  anyway – if you’re in the mood for some coconuty, chocolatey deliciousness i would suggest whipping up a batch of these cookies.

the dough comes together quickly and then just let it chill in the refrigerator for an hour.

roll the dough into 1 inch balls and then into more coconut.

place the dough balls on a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet…

and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees F.  p.s. doesn’t all that toasty coconut look good!

right after you take the cookies out of the oven top each with an unwrapped herseys kiss.

allow them to cool on the baking sheet for just a minute and then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.  all pau!

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lime cheesecake cupcakes

chris’ coworkers requested these lime cheesecake cupcakes – well actually they asked for the key lime pie cupcakes i made a while ago but with cream cheese frosting instead of the lime buttercream.  i love how they mixed and matched recipes to make up a brand new cupcake recipe!

this is actually the logic behind a new page i created called cupcake breakdown.  it’s an index of different cake, frosting, filling, and topping recipes that i’ve used before.  it makes it easier to find recipes (for example, if you’re just looking for a good chocolate cupcake recipe rather than a recipe for s’mores cupcakes) and it allows you to come up with all kinds of different combinations to develop new super fun recipes.  check it out!

these lime cheesecake cupcakes are very similar to other cheesecake cupcakes i’ve made before – strawberry and caramel apple.  it is a white cupcake with a coconut graham crust, filled with lime curd and topped with cream cheese frosting and a slice of lime.

these cupcakes turned out really yummy!  they have a lovely lime flavor that combines perfectly with the cream cheese frosting.  super nice and refreshing – a great spring time treat!

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