Skinny Apricot Granola

20190215_160551In order to succeed at anything in life, you need to make a plan. Staying fit and healthy is certainly no exception to this rule. I admit, it can seem overwhelming to achieve, but one way to keep yourself on track is by prepping clean, nutritious meals & snacks in advance. This ensures you’ll always have healthy food on hand. Sure, if you’re not used to meal-prepping, it’s easy to believe the process is too laborious and costly, but in reality it doesn’t have to be. I have saved so much money in the past year while simultaneously improving my health, and it’s all thanks to meal prep.

20190215_160926One of my favorite items to prep is this skinny apricot granola. Although it’s one of the first foods I ever prepped when I began my fitness journey, I still make it to this very day. Why??? Well it’s just that GOOD! Granola and I are clearly going to be BFF’s for life, because its super simple to prep and has countless options so I never get bored eating the same thing all week. Just by keeping this granola on hand, I’m always equipped with a quick and healthy snack, dessert, or even breakfast.

You may wonder why I find this so important. It’s just granola after all, but it really is a big deal for me because it has prevented one of the biggest issues I had in the past…skipping meals. Most people think if they eat less they will weigh less, but that wasn’t the case.  I skipped meals, I didn’t snack, and I was the heaviest I’d ever been. I either didn’t have the time or I was too fatigued to cook. This in turn led to years of obesity, as the metabolism slows when you chronically skip meals. Now that I prep items like this granola, I no longer feel sluggish all day because it prevents me from skipping breakfast on days I’m strapped for time. It prevents me from turning to unhealthy snacks and desserts when cravings strike.

20190215_160756If the old me sounds like you…if you tend to skip meals a lot or snack on unhealthy items, try making a batch of this delicious granola. Simply sprinkle on your favorite yogurt for a quick and easy snack, layer between yogurt and heaps of fresh fruit for a quick dessert parfait, or just enjoy it straight up with milk or a milk alternative for breakfast. The possibilities are endless. I hope you give them a chance or come up with variations of your own!

 

Skinny Apricot Granola

*Makes 10 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 2 cups Sliced Unsalted Almonds
  • ¼ cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 tbsp. Coconut Oil; melted
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • ½ tsp. Ground Allspice
  • ½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • ½ cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes; toasted
  • 2 cups Dried Apricots (unsweetened & sulfite-free); cut into ¼ in. cubes

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add oats, almonds, maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. Toss to coat well.
  3. Spread granola out on prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, toss well, and bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  4. Place cooked oat mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add coconut and apricots. Toss together until combined. Transfer to storage containers.

 

Nutrients Per Serving: About 1/3 cup Granola

Calories: 292 Calories, Protein: 8 g.,

Total Fat: 9 g., Sat. Fat: 3 g.,

Fiber: 7 g., Sodium: 7 mg.,

Sugars: 10 g., Carbs: 46 g.,

Cholesterol: 0 mg

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: A. SYMINGTON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019

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Easy Coconut Cardamom Macaroons

20171215_124810With the holidays comes a lot of shopping, a lot of baking, and a lot of rushing to get it all done. Although you envision a table full of different types of desserts, time may not always be on your side. If you need a easy cookie recipe to bulk up your offerings without wasting too much precious time than look no further than these coconut cardamom macaroons.

20171215_124340Flavored with vanilla and cardamom, these macaroons have an exotic sweet flavor that will surprise the taste buds of those expecting a traditional coconut macaroon. The coconut gives them their chewy, dense texture and the combination will be a surprisingly simple addition to your dessert table!

20171215_124430As a bonus to great ease and flavor, each cookie is only 3 grams of fat and 82 calories, making them a smart yet indulgent choice for the health conscious. This recipe will yield approximately 15 cookies. If you are baking the macaroons ahead of time, be sure to cool them completely on a wire rack then store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Easy Coconut Cardamom Macaroons

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large Egg Whites
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Cardamom
  • 1 ½ cups flaked Sweetened Coconut

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Place egg whites in a medium bowl and lightly beat with a whisk. Add sugar, vanilla, salt, and cardamom and stir well with a whisk until foamy. Add coconut and toss well to combine.
  3. Loosely pack coconut mixture into a 1 tablespoon size measuring spoon. Turn out coconut mixture onto the prepared baking sheet (about 15 cookies). Bake for 20-23 minutes or until evenly golden. Remove from oven and cool on the pan for 3 minutes. Remove cookies from pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy!

 

 

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: ANN TAYLOR PITTMAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Coconut Cream Pie

20170418_110650When I think of no-bake pies, coconut cream is hands down my favorite (lemon being a close second). I have fond memories of the sprawling collection of pies my grandparents would serve at every holiday. Whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter we would always have a banana cream, pumpkin, chocolate ambrosia, mincemeat, and coconut cream pie. The pies would always be ordered from a local buffet called Bishop’s. Unfortunately, Bishop’s has long been closed and I have not had a coconut cream pie quite the same since. When the craving would call there is always a variety in the supermarket freezer section but they are never the same as freshly made.

20170418_110205I recall when I was a pre-teen (about 17 years ago), I attempted to make a coconut cream pie from scratch. I remember the taste being off and I never attempted to make it again since I could always count on the holidays to quench my craving. Since moving away from my hometown and the closure of Bishop’s I decided to make another attempt as an adult and serve this pie for Easter.

20170418_110216I believe my mistake all those years ago was from using coconut extract to flavor the filling. This time I decided to steep coconut in a blend of half-and-half and milk as my base for the filling. I strained out the raw coconut with cheesecloth, resulting in a smooth, flavorful custard that harbors a bit fewer calories and saturated fat. Add a homemade whipped cream topping and you have a dreamy mile-high coconut cream pie worth every second spent in the kitchen!

Coconut Cream Pie

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen (9 inch) Deep-Dish Pie Crust
  • 2 cups 1% Low-Fat Milk
  • 1 cup Half-and-Half
  • 1 ½ cups flaked Sweetened Coconut
  • 1 tsp. pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 4 large Egg Yolks
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter

Whipped Cream Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cup flaked Sweetened Coconut; toasted

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven according to package directions of the pie crust. Bake the pie crust according to the package directions for a chilled/no-bake pie. Cool crust completely on a wire rack.
  2. Meanwhile, combine milk and half-and-half in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add 1 ½ cups coconut and vanilla extract. Bring milk mixture to a simmer then immediately remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze over the bowl to release any extra moisture. Discard the coconut solids.
  3. Whisk together the 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks in a large bowl. Gradually add the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add the butter. Stir until smooth. Place the pan in a large bowl filled with ice for 6 minutes, stirring to cool. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour to set.
  4. While the pie chills prepare the whipped topping. Chill a large bowl and the beaters of a hand mixer in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Whip the cream in the chilled bowl with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Be sure you do not over mix! Chill until the pie filling is set.
  5. To assemble the pie, spread the whipped cream over the set custard filling. Top with the toasted coconut just before serving. Enjoy!

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: KATHY KITCHENS DOWNIE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Skinny Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_20160627_113132Chocolate chip cookies are a simple, traditional treat that almost guarantees to please every sweet tooth. Although chocolate chip cookies are wonderful as is, they also make a great base for additions that can lure in the adventurous or be made to cater any specific taste. Toasted coconut is one of these many options that is quite hard to beat. There is just something about the combination of chocolate and coconut that tastes divine together (hence my love of Mounds candy bars). In fact, if a Mounds candy bar were turned into a cookie, this would be it.

20160627_154819Given that these cookies feature two ingredients (coconut & dark chocolate) that are not as bad for your health as once thought, they make the perfect guiltless treat. Sure, as with any treat that lacks essential nutrients, they are in fact deemed a treat. However, not all treats are created equal and these certainly will not set you back as bad as many others without sacrificing taste. By toasting the coconut before adding it to the batter, the cookies take on a unique texture of both crisp and chewy. When you are not getting hit with bursts of intense dark chocolate flavor, the cookie has a hint of nuttiness lent from the toasted coconut. So if you want a spin on a classic, try this cookie and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Note:

  • This recipe yields approximately 20-25 cookies, providing you use a level tablespoon to measure. You can make the cookies bigger or smaller, however keep in mind there will be changes to texture, baking time, and nutritional information.

Skinny Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup Flaked Sweetened Coconut
  • 4.5 oz. (1 cup) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • ¾ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 oz. Premium Dark Chocolate Baking Chips (such as Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange coconut in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Bake coconut for 5-7 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring once. Set aside to cool. Keep oven preheated to 350°.
  2. Meanwhile, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk until blended. Place sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Beat with stand or hand mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in the vanilla and egg. Turn the speed down to low and add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Gently stir in the toasted coconut and chocolate by hand.
  3. Coat baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray and drop dough by level tablespoons 2 inches apart. Bake cookies for 10 minutes or until edges just begin to brown, rotating pans halfway through baking. Let cookies rest on pan for 5 minutes then remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Cookie)

 

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Weight Watchers: 3 Smart Points, 2 Points Plus, or 2 Traditional Points

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JACKIE MILLS
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Triple Coconut Cupcakes

2016-05-15-15.42Spring is a time when the heartier flavor profiles of fall and winter (namely spices and chocolate) are replaced with lighter desserts more fitting of the season. The spring and summer months typically cause us to crave lighter flavor profiles such as citrus and berry based desserts. We also tend to crave colder items since the days are hotter and we do not want to be warmed up by our sweets in the same way we do during fall and winter. Many turn to ice cream to keep them cool and satisfy a sweet tooth. Despite the many flavor possibilities of ice cream, it can quickly become tiresome.

20160515_152257-1To keep things simple in the kitchen I try to make desserts that bake up quick, like cookies or cupcakes. Coconut always reminds me of warmer weather but many recipes fail to deliver on intense coconut flavor. The ones that do deliver are often more extensive in preparation than I care to take on this time of year. Therefore, I designed this simplistic recipe with the light flavors and textures of spring that can be whipped up quickly, leaving plenty of hours for some fun in the sun.

Triple Coconut Cupcakes

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 box White Cake Mix
  • 1 1/3 cups Coconut Milk
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • ½ cup Shredded Sweetened Coconut

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz.) container Frozen Whipped Topping (such as Cool Whip); thawed (or you can substitute an equal amount of homemade whipped cream)
  • 1 (3.4 oz.) package Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix (such as Jello Brand)
  • ¾ cup Milk
  • 1 tsp. Coconut Extract
  • ½ cup Shredded Sweetened Coconut; toasted

Preparation:

  1. To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Spray bottoms of two 12-count cupcake tins with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, coconut milk, water, and egg whites. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in the coconut by hand until just combined.
  3. Pour batter into prepared cupcake tins, filling each cup half full. Bake cupcakes until light golden brown, approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. For the frosting: In a medium bowl, combine the pudding mix, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Gently fold in the whipped topping/whipped cream until no streaks remain. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator while the cupcakes cool, at least one hour.
  5. Assembly: Once the cupcakes have cooled completely you can frost the cupcakes. Remove the frosting from the refrigerator and spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake. Sprinkle frosting with toasted coconut and serve. Cupcakes may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Dreamy Coconut Cookie Cups

20140128_162242Today was a rather dreary day and that made it perfect for staying in and baking. After a relatively busy day yesterday full of appointments revolving around my little one and grocery shopping, I was ready for a mellow day. After making breakfast for my little family I took on a recipe called Dream Bars. I decided to reinvent it into a more convenient, portable treat.

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Sure they may not seem like much but they sure do taste delicious. Surprisingly, despite how simplistic they may appear, these little guys can cause some problems. First off, most of the traditional Dream Bar recipes out there were just too sweet, even for my very forgiving sweet tooth. To overcome this, I wanted to overcome the sweetness with nuts. By toasting the nuts until crunchy, it cut through even the toughest of residual sweetness.

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Perhaps my favorite part of this treat is the coconut topping. Of course my favorite things always end up being the most problematic… go figure!!! Shredded coconut on its own would just dry out, burn, and become gross. To keep the shredded coconut moist and delicious I soaked it in cream of coconut, which not only kept it moist but added richness and the perfect concentration of sugar that results in a caramelized topping without being overly sweet.

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To further balance out the sweetness it is key to dial back the sugar in not only the topping but also the crust. By making the crust thicker and resemble a shortbread cookie instead of the typical thin, weak base, the nuttiness is more prevalent and keeps the sugary topping at bay. Speaking of sugar, I’m sure Domino Sugar would be hating on me for discouraging the over usage of its product since back in the day it was the bar version of this recipe that was used as a marketing tool to sell their sugar to housewives. Sorry Domino, please forgive me 🙂

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I will admit this isn’t my strongest post, but it was never meant to be. It was meant to be an experiment, a way to refresh a recipe created in the Great Depression into something modern for our crazy, hectic world we now reside. It is not glamorous or gourmet. It is homey, practical, and satisfying. Probably why it has stuck around for so many years and had so many back-of-the-box variations. If it made some of the harshest moments of American history a bit more dreamy, than it is okay in my book!!!

Note: Formula yields 18 cookie cups. Cookie cups can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 5 days.

Dreamy Cookie Cups

Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ cup Dark Brown Sugar; packed
  • ½ cup Pecans
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 10 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; cut into pieces & chilled

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups Shredded Coconut
  • 1 cup Cream of Coconut
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¾ cup Dark Brown Sugar; packed
  • 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla-Nut Extract
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Pecans; toasted & chopped

Formula:

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To make the crust, process flour, sugar, pecans, and salt in a food processor until pecans are coarsely ground. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture firmly into the bottoms of each muffin tin. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the topping. Combine the shredded coconut and cream of coconut in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Stir in the pecans, then spread over the cooled crusts, dividing evenly among each cookie cup. Dollop heaping tablespoons of the coconut mixture over the filling and spread into as even a layer as possible.
  4. Bake the cookie cups until deep golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM MARIA DEL MAR SACASA

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

Toasted Coconut Sables

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Mondays are never good days for many as it marks another long work week with memories of the great weekend becoming a more distant memory, however yesterday was truly a more sorrowful day here in America. My thoughts and prayers are with all of the people in Boston and all those who were participating or spectating when the Marathon bombing occurred. It is very hard to move on after such tragedy but it is little things that will make it easier to cope with. For me, indulging in sweets is a way to soothe a sad heart and I’m sure it is for many others and so it is only fitting I post this simple but indulgent cookie formula on a day like today.

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On a lighter note, this past weekend my parents had to go to a function at one of Florida’s state parks and I was asked to help provide something for them to pass at the potluck. Being a little scrapped for cash lately I decided to pick something that would be unique and stand out enough but utilize ingredients I already had in the pantry. That is when I came across a French gem, the Sable cookie. Sable  is French for “sandy” and certainly fits the crispy crumble texture of this butter cookie. The typical American butter cookie is found around the holidays cut into shapes and covered in a sugary frosting, which I knew would not hold up well to the hot Florida elements and is not to mention a bit generic. So choosing the French base dough and giving it a tropical twist felt more befitting for the outdoor occasion.

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The preparation is a bit unorthodox. Instead of using a raw egg, the dough is actually made with a hard-boiled egg yolk but it is crucial not to skip this step as it promotes the sandy tender texture. If you were to use a raw egg or egg yolk, the dough would have too much moisture and not be true to it’s name. Besides the step of boiling an egg, this formula has simple ingredients and simple preparation, yet provides a striking European-style delicate confection.

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Toasted Coconut Sables

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Egg
  • 10 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, softened (1 ¼ sticks)
  • 2 ¾ oz. Sugar ( about 1/3 cup)
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 7 ½ oz. Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1/3 cup Sweetened Coconut, finely chopped, toasted
  • 1 Egg White, lightly beaten
  •  1/3 cup Sweetened Coconut, finely chopped, untoasted

 

Formula:

  1. Place egg in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile,  toast 1/3 cup of coconut in a small fry pan over low heat, stirring constantly. After the 10 minutes, transfer the egg with a slotted spoon into a bowl of ice water and let cool for 5 minutes. Roll the egg gently across a hard surface, such as the kitchen counter, pressing down gently to crack the shell. Peel away the shell and separate the cooked yolk from the white. Discard the white and press the yolk through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, salt, and cooked egg yolk on medium speed until light and fluffy. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl and beater with a rubber spatula as needed. Turn the mixer speed down to low, add vanilla, and mix until just incorporated. Stop the mixer. Add the flour and toasted coconut. Mix on low speed until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, press dough into a cohesive mass.
  3. Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a log about 6 inches long and 1 ¾ inches in diameter. Wrap each log tightly in parchment paper. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.
  4. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice dough into ¼ in. thick rounds. Place cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Using pastry brush, gently brush cookies with egg whites and sprinkle evenly with untoasted sweetened coconut.
  5. Bake cookies until the centers are a pale golden brown with edges slightly darker than the center and the coconut toasted, about 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through baking. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Formula yields about 40 cookies. Store the cooled cookies between sheets of parchment in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

 

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM YVONNE RUPERTI

 

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013