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 ūüôā

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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
  • ¬ĺ cup Dark Brown Sugar; packed
  • ¬Ĺ cup Pecans
  • ¬ľ tsp. Salt
  • 10 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; cut into pieces & chilled

Topping Ingredients:

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

Formula:

  1. Heat oven to 350¬į. 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 ‚Äď PHOTOGRAPHY ¬†& STAGING

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM MARIA DEL MAR SACASA

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

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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¬†¬ľ sticks)
  • 2¬†¬ĺ oz. Sugar ( about 1/3 cup)
  • ¬ľ tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 7¬†¬Ĺ oz. Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (about 1 ¬Ĺ 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¬†¬ĺ 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¬į. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice dough into¬†¬ľ 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 ‚Äď PHOTOGRAPHY ¬†

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM YVONNE RUPERTI

 

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

Cranberry Coconut Bars

dsc_0081Happy New Year everyone!!! Hope you all had a safe and fun time ringing in 2013. I myself had a rather mellow New Years, which to many would probably be considered boring but considering I am almost due to give birth any day now I certainly can’t be doing any drinking not to mention anything in the party nature. So instead I stuck to my foodie roots and baked the day away, then made some fish for dinner, and closed off the evening with fireworks and a stroll around my calm, slightly brisk Florida neighborhood with the boyfriend. Since many of you out there have already or are currently conjuring up New Year’s resolutions, today’s post is just in time for those deciding to give up guilty pleasures of the sweet variety in order to keep fitness and weight loss resolutions. Sure, it is already the new year but one last splurge won’t hurt right ūüėČ

dsc_0071Now most of you may have a hangover or are extremely tired and lacking any sort of an extensive attention span like myself so I will make sure to keep the notes on this formula brief. To promote optimum texture in these bars, be sure to keep the butter cold by leaving it in the refrigerator until you are just ready to use it. This allows the butter to hold it’s shape while being cut into the flour by the food processor. By using a whipping food processor blade and the cold temperature, the butter is quickly chopped into small bits without overheating and melting, which would result in a less desirable texture for the finished bar crust. These bars can keep in an airtight container at room temperature for approximately three days.

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Cranberry Coconut Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 5 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, cut into 5 pieces, kept chilled
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • ¬ĺ¬†tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¬Ĺ tsp. Almond Extract
  • ¬Ĺ tsp. Salt
  • ¬Ĺ cup Walnuts, toasted & chopped
  • 1 cup Dried Cranberries
  • ¬ĺ cup Shredded Coconut, sweetened

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 375¬į. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil. Allow excess foil to hang over the edges for easy removal later. Grease foil with nonstick cooking spray. Process 1 cup flour and 2 tbsp. sugar in a food processor until combined. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and pulse until only pea-size bits remain. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until crust is light golden, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.
  2. While crust cools, whisk the egg, syrup, extracts, salt, remaining flour, and remaining sugar in a large bowl. Fold in the walnuts, cranberries, and coconut. Spread the mixture evenly over the cooled crust. Bake until the topping is golden brown and begins to separate from the sides of the pan, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely. Once cool, use the foil overhang to lift the bars out of the pan. Cut into squares and serve.

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SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS ‚Äď PHOTOGRAPHY ¬†

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM MIKE HENDRICKS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

Dessert Plating: Non-Traditional Napoleons

Happy Monday everyone! This past week has been very busy for me. I just began my final class at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Orlando. This class is Dessert Plating and it is a very demanding course to say the least. Not only is it crucial to understand all of the elements which are important to plating a high end dessert but also we have to create our own flavors and they must be creative and a bit risky. It has been difficult because in all of the previous courses students are held on a tight leash when it comes to what we would make in class. We had to follow the recipe in our textbooks or whatever Chef declared we must follow and we couldn’t deviate much from that in the ways of presentation or flavor options. With this class they basically throw you to the wolves and chef gets to sit back and watch with a grin.

¬†In week one of Dessert Plating, our simple instruction was to create a a¬†few dessert sauces with our own flavor choices which would compliment our¬†finished¬†plates of¬†non-traditional Napoleons¬†due on friday. The first order of operations was to choose my two flavor stars for each plate. My first star I chose was Pumpkin. The second was Peach. Let’s start with my first plating: The¬†Pumpkin¬†Praline¬†Napoleon. For the first¬†Napoleon, I was instructed to¬†use¬†sheets of Phyllo¬†dough and enhance them in any way I chose. To do this I first melted some butter and added a praline¬†flavor¬†compound by Amoretti to enhance the butter with flavor. I¬†delicately soaked my first layer of phyllo¬†with the enhanced butter¬†and spread a¬†Praline¬†mixture¬†I created¬†over the buttered phyllo¬†sheet.¬†My Praline¬†mixture¬†consisted¬†of¬†pecans, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla. I continued¬†the¬†layering process¬†until I had about five sheets of¬†Praline¬†enhanced¬†phyllo¬†melded together. Before baking, I cut the phyllo¬†layers with¬†a metal fluted cutter to create the non-traditional circle shape. Once¬†strategically placed on the baking sheet, it was¬†to the¬†oven for the phyllo. About 7 minutes later, caramel crisp goodness emerged and wafted in my direction.

Once the phyllo layers were completed it was time to focus on filling options. I chose to flavor a basic pastry cream with Pumpkin and its complimentary warm spices of ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. To assemble the napoleon, I placed one layer of praline enhanced phyllo on the plate and used a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to pipe a round of pumpkin spice pastry cream in the center of the phyllo circle. To prevent any leaking pastry cream while waiting to present my plate, I lined the outer edges of the enhanced phyllo with fresh cut raspberries. This created a dam for any running pastry cream and also added complimentary flavor and texture. I repeated the process once more before placing my final round of praline enhanced phyllo on top.

With the napoleon constructed it was on to decorative sauce creation and adornments for the presentation. To compliment the raspberries I added to the napoleon, I created a Strawberry Rhubarb Rum Coulis. I placed four rounds on the plate all leading the eye toward the napolean. To add contrast to the red colored coulis and compliment the pumpkin spice pastry cream filling, I created a Maple Nut Creme Anglaise. I placed four rounds between the Coulis and drew a bamboo skewer through both sauces to add a finishing look to the plate. For the final adornment, I simply utilized leftover praline to prevent further waste. I shaped the praline mixture into a mound and topped it with a fresh blackberry. This added height, color contrast and it complimented flavors within the dish, which is of course important.

¬†Now that the first plate was complete it was on to¬†number two: The Spiced Peach Napoleon. For this napoleon¬†I had to utilize puff pastry and again enhance it. I laid out a sheet of puff pastry and cut it into rounds again using my fluted metal cutter. When melting the butter I enhanced it with a dash of cayenne pepper to add heat which would later compliment the sweetness and other spices. Once the butter was melted I brushed it over the sheet of puff pastry in order for my enhancement to stick…that being Toasted Cayenne Coconut. Once the puff pastry had fully baked and cooled, I proceeded to use a bench knife to cut each circle in half. This created another non-traditional shape, that being a¬†half moon. To fill the puff pastry layers I opted for a Peach Mousse. To assemble the napolean¬†I placed one puff pastry moon on the plate and again used a disposable pastry bag fitted with a star tip to pipe a small amount of peach mousse¬†onto the pastry. I then topped the mousse with a spiced poach peach, which I¬†will describe in a moment. I repeated the process once more but alternated the direction of the half moon. After placing the final layer of puff pastry, again alternating the direction for an even more noticable non-traditional shape, I piped a rosette of peach mousse and topped it with some of my remaining Toasted Cayenne Coconut.

As for the decorative elements to this plate, I made sure to incorporate sauce and fresh fruit for added textures, tastes, and colors. As mentioned previously, I created Spicy Poached Peaches not only for the napoleon but also decor. I poached the peaches in red wine with whole allspice, black peppercorns, and a cinnamon stick until tender. For plating I aligned three peaches to create an abstract basket to hold the fresh blackberries. This created additional color, shape and complimentary flavors for the rest of the plate. This all leads to the final element on the plate, the sauce. The sauce I chose to create was chocolate. This added a distinct color which popped off the white plate and also added contrast to the other colors. To make the chocolate flavor meld with the rest of the plate, I enhanced it with Tangelo and Orange Blossom extracts made by Amoretti. These are wonderful jewels to have in any pastry kitchen as they give great options for creating epic flavor profiles in any dish, whether culinary or pastisserie. I placed the chocolate sauce in three simple dots on each side to draw the eye back and forth between the bushel of peach and berries to the napoleon.

¬†After this first week of non-traditional Napoleons, I realize what is ahead of me for the weeks to come. This week I will be creating custards with my own flavor profiles. My options are Panna Cotta, Creme Caramel, Creme Brulee, and Bread Pudding which I will contruct¬†my own of each. I will also be required to create decorative adornments such as flavored pate a choux¬†filigree¬†and Florentine¬†or¬†Tuille cookies. It shall be interesting. I will be sure to post the finished products. Until then….have a good rest of your week. Enjoy the fall weather as I am from Florida ūüôā

 

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011