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.

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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.

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.

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.