Chocolate Coconut Squares

This is one of our favourite desserts to make for the holiday season. We like to serve these on Christmas Eve but they are a welcome addition to any occasion!

2013 will bring a new healthy lunch feature to the blog to balance out all the desserts we’ve been posting! Hope you enjoy the holidays!

coconut squares

1 and 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup butter, room temperature
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup 2 % milk
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 cup unsweetened fine coconut

coconut squares 2

1. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until creamy. Gradually add butter, milk and vanilla, and mix well.
2. In a separate bowl, sift flour and stir in baking powder. Add to the egg mixture and fold in with a spoon until well blended.
3. Pour into a greased and floured 9×13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes. Let it cool for at least 20 minutes and then cut into squares.
4. Meanwhile, bring milk and sugar to a boil. Lower the heat to medium low, and gradually add the chocolate, stirring constantly until it’s melted. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until the butter is melted.
5. Set up the ingredients to form a sort of assembly line on your countertop. Place the pan of squares and the chocolate mixture next to each other. Evenly spread the unsweetened coconut on a plate and place it last. Take a square from the pan, gently dip each square into chocolate mixture and then roll in coconut. Make sure each square is completely covered with chocolate before rolling in coconut. Arrange squares on a big platter or in a plastic container. Put either foil or wax paper between the rows.

Cool squares in the fridge for 12 hours, or in the freezer for 4 hours before serving.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s the holiday season and we’re in the mood to bake! These peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies are soft, rich and gooey. I even managed to sneak a carrot into these cookies!

If your’e allergic to peanuts try almond butter. Or chocolate almond butter. Mmmm.

oatmeal chocolate chip cookie

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 large carrot, shredded
3/4 cup real maple syrup or agave nectar
1/2 cup nut butter
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

oatmeal chocolate chip cookie 2

1. Preheat oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with lightly greased aluminium foil.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, rolled oats, baking powder and salt. Add the shredded carrot and mix together.
3. In a separate bowl use a whisk to combine the maple syrup and nut butter. Add this to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Drop about a tablespoon at a time onto baking sheet. Leave at least an inch between each cookie. Bake in the top 1/3 of the oven for 8 – 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden on top and bottom. For a softer cookie you’ll want to bake it for about 8-10 minutes.

Makes 12 cookies.

My recipe originally published on The Calgary Journal food blog.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

So you may have noticed we’ve been on a pumpkin baking kick lately, ie. pumpkin mini muffins and pumpkin bread with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. We tried to balance out all the baked goods with a healthy pumpkin soup, but it was a DISASTER. We tried to make it savoury, then realized it tasted better sweet. We tried to correct our mistake…. but it was no good. It was a sad day for pumpkins everywhere. So this time around, we decided to continue baking with pumpkin because you can’t go wrong. Sugar has a way of making everything better, doesn’t it?

Serve these on Halloween! Fresh from the oven muffins would be wonderful after returning from trick-or-treating with the kids. Or on your own. Or from getting a blast of cold air every time you open the door to give out candy. That takes work too.


Pumpkin Spice Muffins

2 large free run eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon all spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with Halloween-themed muffin cups.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together flour, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, all spice, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and oil. Add pumpkin puree and stir until combined. Stir in flour mixture until combined.
4. Spoon the batter into muffin cups, and bake for 20 to 22 minutes in the center of the oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
5. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from pan. Let cool before serving.

These muffins are excellent on their own, but even better with orange cream cheese frosting!

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange zest

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add the orange juice and orange zest and mix until incorporated.
2. Spread the frosting and decorate muffins.

Makes 12 – 14 muffins.

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

We decided to add a fall touch to our banana bread recipe by adding pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices and smothering it in a delicious cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

Make this bread with our pumpkin puree!

Pumpkin Banana Bread

3 ripe bananas
1/2 cup melted organic coconut oil
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 free run egg, beaten or egg replacer equal to one egg
1.5 cups sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mash bananas in a large bowl. Add melted coconut oil and mix well with a wooden spoon.
3. Mix in the sugar, egg and pumpkin.
4. Combine flour, baking soda, baking soda and spices in a small bowl. Mix together and fold into the wet ingredients. Mix well and pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees F.
5. It’s done when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and then take the bread out of the pan. Cool completely before slicing.

Cinnamon cream cheese frosting

1 package cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add the spices and mix until incorporated.
2. Spread the frosting on the pumpkin loaves.

Makes two loaves.

Pumpkin Mini Muffins

Halloween means many things to me. It means watching The Nightmare Before Christmas with my father, making a costume I’ve been planning since August, looking for the scariest Halloween decorations because when I was little I hated “cutesy” decorations, gorging on chocolate intended for trick-or-treaters, imagining the streets coming alive at night, and baking with my mother. This is one of the Halloween recipes we like to make. Use our pumpkin puree from last week!

These pumpkin mini muffins are oil free, low in fat and 1/4 of the size of a regular muffin so it’s totally okay to have 12 of them. At least that’s what I tell myself. That’s the problem with mini muffins… how can you eat just one?? They’re so tiny!

Top these with strawberry jam and drink with a big glass of almond milk!

Pumpkin mini muffins

3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1/4 cup apple sauce
2 tbsp chia seeds with 1/2 cup water
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease paper liners.
2. Mix chia seeds with 1/2 cup water until smooth. The chia gel acts as a binder and the superfood adds protein, fiber and omega 3 to the muffins. In a bowl, mix the chia seeds with cane sugar and apple sauce. Add pumpkin and 1/4 cup water.
3. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.
4. Add the wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.
5. Grease muffin cups with oil. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
6. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes at 350 F. Take care not to burn the muffins.

Makes 36 mini muffins.

For regular-sized muffins, bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Check to see if they’re done with a toothpick.


My recipe originally appeared on The Calgary Journal food blog.

– Silvia

Lemon Raspberry Muffins

We have a raspberry bush in our backyard. We have to watch the plant carefully and make sure we pick the berries immediately at the slightest hint of ripeness, or squirrels plan their attack and make off like bandits. Or maybe it’s the one squirrel; the guy who is always wobbling around in our backyard, stuffed with the tiny strawberries and other fruit we managed to grow.

As much as we love eating fruit on its own, sometimes it’s best in a fluffy muffin. These also make a delightful breakfast.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large lemon, zested
2 large eggs
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees C. Spray 12 muffin cups with a non-stick cooking spray.
2. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking sod, and lemon zest. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, vegetable oil and vanilla.
4. Stir in the flour mixture.
5. Coat raspberries in flour, and fold in very carefully. Spoon the mixture into 12 muffin cups.
6. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Jam-Filled Croatian Crepes

This is one of our favourite desserts. It’s simple, sweet and easy to make. Enjoy the crepes with a glass of milk and some fresh fruit.

2 eggs
3 cups milk
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and the milk. Gradually add in flour, stir until well blended and no lumps remain. Add the oil, vanilla, sugar and salt, and stir until combined.
2. Heat a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Scoop the batter into the pan, using approximately 1/3 cup for one crepe. Tilt the pan in a circular motion so that the batter evenly coats the surface.
3. Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, or until the edges are light brown. Flip the crepe, or loosen with a spatula, turn over and cook for another 2 minutes.
4. Fill each crepe with a teaspoon of jam, or a filling of your choice like Nutella.

Makes 14 crepes.

Canada Day Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s Canada Day! Our favourite way to celebrate anything is to eat, so DJ whipped up these mouthwatering red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting in honour of the Constitution Act of 1867. There will be fireworks, food and more food. Then dessert will follow, which will be followed by more dessert.

2 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted margarine
1 1/2 cup cane sugar
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt or vanilla soy yogurt
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Frosting:
2 packages cream cheese or non-dairy cream cheese spread, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted margarine
2 cups icing sugar

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with 16 paper baking cups.
3. Beat the margarine and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
4. Mix in eggs, yogurt, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar.
5. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder) and stir into the batter until combined.
6. Spoon into muffin cups and bake for 18 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, margarine and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Arrange the cupcakes on the serving platter and pipe the frosting on with a big star tip.

Nutty Carrot-Orange Layer Cake

We made this cake for Silvia’s birthday this weekend. The icing is incredible; it’s impossible to have just one slice of this cake.

Cake

4 eggs or egg replacer equivalent to 4 eggs
1 1/2 cup cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup apple sauce
4 cups (1 pound) grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Frosting

2 packages cream cheese or non-dairy cream cheese spread, room temperature
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup unsalted margarine, softened
1/4 cup orange juice, or more if needed

Cake

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a small bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine eggs and cane sugar and mix until creamy. Add vanilla extract, apple sauce, grated carrots, raisins, walnuts and orange peel and stir until well combined. Note: Grate only the colored part of the orange, and not the bitter white skin underneath. The oils in the peel are what give it such an aromatic flavor.
4. Gradually stir in thee flour mixture into the egg mixture.
5. Grease one large round cake pan and transfer cake mixture into the pan.
6. Bake for 1 hour and 10 to 15 min or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
7. Cool the cake completely and then cut into 2 even layers. Start by tracing a line around the middle of the cake with a long serrated knife. Then slowly rotate the cake while following that line with the knife and cut through the cake toward the center. After a few rotations you will have sliced the cake in two.
8. Place one cake layer on platter and spread with frosting. Carefully place the second cake layer on top of that frosting. Spread with remaining frosting on top and the sides of the cake until it is completely covered.

Frosting

1. At high speed beat cream cheese and margarine until creamy. Gradually add icing sugar and orange juice and beat until fluffy.
2. Refrigerate finished cake at least 2 hours before serving.

– DJ

BANANAS for Banana Bread!

I always get excited when there’s a few bananas in the fruit bowl that are starting to brown. That means it’s time for BANANA BREAD!!! This banana bread is sooooo good. It’s hard to eat just one slice, so take two. Or three.

BANANAS for Banana Bread!

4 very ripe large bananas
1/3 cup melted organic coconut oil
1 cup cane sugar
1 free run egg, beaten or egg replacer equal to one egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mash bananas in a large bowl. Add melted coconut oil and mix well with a wooden spoon.
3. Mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla, walnuts and chocolate chips.
4. Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl, mix and add to the large bowl. Mix well and pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees F.
5. It’s done when a toothpick inserted in the middle of banana bread comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and then take the bread out of the pan. Cool completely before slicing.

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