Baked, Occasionally – Coconut Sheet Cake

coconut cake wee eats

It’s the first Monday of the month, and you know what that means! Time for another #BakedOccasionally, when my good friend Shannon from A Periodic Table and I team up to make something delicious from the latest book from New York’s Baked bakery – Baked Occasions. Continue reading

blueberry-coconut coffee cake

blueberry buckle 1

I was recently burdened with an overabundance of blueberries. (What a hard life I have, I know)

As much as I love blueberries I was nearing the end of my week and still had more than I could eat sitting in the fridge taunting me, threatening me that they were going to turn at any minute. The worst thing about berries is that they turn from delicious to inedible in the blink of an eye.

What was I to do with these berries? How could I possibly relieve myself of this awful burden?

The same way I solve all of my other problems, apparently, with cake!

As though it was meant to be, I came across the Bon Appetit recipe for a blueberry buckle and the clouds parted and the angels sang and all was right in the world again….

blueberry buckle 2

And I thought I would kick up the summer appeal by adding a bit of tropical coconut… because coconut = summer, right? Something like that.

I’m not sure what exactly differentiates a buckle from a coffee cake or any other cake for that matter… then again, who does? According to this article, this thing isn’t even a buckle, anyway! I think this counts as “coffee cake” in my book, but if they want to call it a buckle, I’m down for that too.

“A cake by any other name still tastes as sweet…”

Right?

But this buckle/cake/coffee cake/sugar-flour-butter-baby was amazing.

This was one of the most tender cake/cake-like-items that I have ever put in my mouth. The fact that it was filled to the brim with tart-yet-sweet blueberries and topped with glorious cinnamony streusel just made it all that much better. This cake “buckle”  is just as suited to accompany your morning coffee as it is for you after-dinner scoop of ice cream.

blueberry coconut coffee cake

Prep Time: 14 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 1 9-inch cake

Ingredients

    For the streusel
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, chilled
  • For the buckle
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (or full-fat coconut milk)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces blueberries

Instructions

    Prepare for baking
  1. Prepare a 9-inch round spring-form pan with flour and butter (or use baking spray) and line with parchment. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Make the topping
  3. Whisk all streusel ingredients together except butter.
  4. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes and cut into the streusel mixture until evenly distributed.
  5. Make the buckle
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  7. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat butter with sugar on high until the butter is pale and fluffy, about five minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla until incorporated.
  8. Turn speed to low and add the flour mixture in two additions alternating with the coconut cream, just until incorporated.
  9. Gently fold in the blueberries into the batter and scrape the batter into the pan. The batter will be thick and chock-full of blueberries. Gently press the batter into the pan with your hands or a spatula until it covers the bottom of the pan.
  10. Top batter with streusel and bake 80 to 90 minutes until baked through. Cool at least 30 minutes on a wire rack still in the pan.

Notes

* You will want to use a spring-form pan here since you cannot turn out the cake (or you will lose all of the delicious streusel)

* Though blueberries are used here, feel free to use any fruit you like or no fruit at all. This cake is AMAZING.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Apetit, July 2014

http://wee-eats.com/2014/07/28/blueberry-coconut-coffee-cake/

samoa cookie bars

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Saturday morning a strange thing happened – someone knocked on the door.

This might not seem that strange to you, however, we live in a pretty quiet area and we know approximately zero people so we basically never get visitors. Like, ever.

And when we do, we follow a strict protocol involvng things like muting the TV and waiting for the person to leave.  This time, however, our front door was wide open and we were sitting in the living room (which is where the front door leads into) so I wasn’t confident that the whole “muting the TV” thing would work.

Unless we could also convince them that we were statues…

FH told me to “handle it” so I got up to assess the situation and there she was – standing no more than three feet tall, quite possibly the smallest Girl Scout I had ever seen.  Normally I am a firm believer of the “stranger danger” motto, but she was pretty small so I was pretty sure I could take her if things went south.

She mumbled something shyly about cookies and I assumed that in this case “handle it” meant to find any cash I had on hand and throw it at her in exchange for cookies, so I yelled for FH to get his wallet. If FH’s “handle it” meant for me to tell her to go away he was sadly mistaken, because who can say no to a little girl? No one.  Well maybe this guy could, but I don’t have any Knuckle Blasters so that’s not even an option.

Even if I could say “no” to a small child, I definitely couldn’t say no to cookies, especially since for the other 11 months out of the year I listen to FH go on and on about how much he loves samoas and how delicious they are. So I quickly purchased a box of Samoas from her and ran back inside, closing the door behind us to prevent any future incidents.

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FH hurried into the kitchen and ripped into them, took a bite, and… groaned?

It wasn’t the usual “these are so good” sound that you might hear when you eat your favorite cookie. It was a more whiny tone filled with dismay and dissatisfaction.

I asked him what was wrong, hoping for something cool like finding a finger or a dead bug or something like you hear about in those news stories. But, no. Nothing so exciting.

His “problem” was that just last week I made these samoa bars for him and apparently the flavor was still fresh in his mind and now he real samoa cookies, the ones that inspired the very bars that I made because he loved the cookies so much, are now “ruined” for him.

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Ruined.

His word, not mine.

I will admit that these bars are bit more “grown up” than their ancestors. Rather than just being a vessel to carry the caramel, this cookie layer is thicker than that of the original samoa with a bit more crunch and a more intense vanilla flavor. Meanwhile, the caramel layer is a bit more complex with a hint of saltiness, and the dark chocolate gives the perfect bit of bitter-sweet to compliment the sweet caramel and cookie.

Oh yes, and don’t let me forget the ground unicorns and cocaine, but those ingredients are optional.

So at the risk of ruining the legendary Girl Scout cookies for someone you love…

And at the risk of putting thousands of young girls out of business…

Give these bars a try.

photo

Ground unicorns and cocaine optional.

samoa bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: One 9-by-13 pan

Ingredients

    For the cookie layer
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • For the caramel layer
  • 3.5 cups shredded coconut
  • 2 11-oz packages caramel bits
  • 3 Tablespoons whole milk or cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the chocolate drizzle
  • 6 oz dark chocolate (I used the Ghiradelli melting wafers)

Instructions

    For the cookies:
  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and milk. Add flour and mix on low until just incorporated. It will be on the dry side.
  3. Pour out onto parchment paper and form into general rectangle shape. Roll close to 9 x 13” and transfer into 9 x 13 baking pan. Press into bottom of pan until it reaches the edges, leaving a slight lip on the edges.
  4. Poke holes in shortbread with a fork and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Cool completely in pan before topping.
  5. For the coconut/caramel layer:
  6. Toast the coconut by placing on a parchment-lined baking sheet and baking at 300F for about 15 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning. Coconut is done when it is a golden-brown color. Set aside to cool.
  7. Melt the caramel bits with the milk and salt per package directions, until smooth. Once metled, stir in the vanilla extract and the coconut.
  8. Pour onto the cookie layer, spreading into an even layer with a spatula and pressing down with your hands.
  9. For the chocolate layer:
  10. Melt chocolate at 50% power in the microwave starting for 1 minute, then continuing in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Drizzle over coconut layer and allow to cool completely. Once hardened, cut the cookies into bars and store at room temperature in an airtight container.
http://wee-eats.com/2014/02/09/samoa-cookie-bars/

[ shorbread adapted from here]

samoapin