Coconut Concoction

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Whenever I go to a get together or a dinner party at a friends house, I always ask “what can I bring?” There are the typical store bought dips, cookies, brownies; yawn. -__-

With a little help from the store, and a touch of homemade cooking these treats can be made easily and inexpensively. I called them Toasted Coconut-Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Cups…My inspiration? I have been obsessing over this toasted coconut vanilla yogurt lately and have grown to love everything coconut flavored.

Cheesecake Cup Filling

  • 1 8 oz. package “Greek” cream cheese, softened (this stuff is amazing!!)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 small box instant cheesecake pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk (you can use whole milk if need be, but NOT non-fat, it will not set as firmly)
  • 1/2 cup prepared vanilla bean whipped cream, recipe follows (no vanilla beans no problem, use extract!)
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut (I used flaked sweetened coconut)

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream (the colder the better, this will make whipping the cream much easier)
  • 1/8 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean pod scraped (can be omitted, as they are a bit pricey)

For the filling, prepare the cheesecake pudding as directed on box but only use the 1 1/2 cups of milk versus the two; set aside and chill for 20 minutes or until firmly set. (This allows for a thicker consistency)

Beat cream cheese with 1/4 cup white sugar until combined. Beat this mixture into the chilled cheesecake pudding just until combined. Fold in 1/2 the whipped cream until mixture is light, fluffy and consistent.

Whipped Cream

Combine cream, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until medium peaks are formed. Do not over work this or else you will wind up with butter.

To assemble:

I used phyllo dough and created cups in muffin tins easily. (by brushing melted butter in between the dough layers (about 4) and pressed into the muffin tins.)Don’t have the time to make your own? You can find these pre-made individual mini cups in most any grocery store. Feel free to also use a graham cracker crust base as well.

I garnished mine with more toasted coconut, graham cracker crumbs and some berries. Try them with pineapple! This is such a quick and easy take on cheesecake. All your guests will be asking for the recipe. :-)
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Pinterest Gem Unveiled: Bananas Foster Tres Leches Cake

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There are always those recipes you see on pinterest that just jump out at you. The kind of recipes you pin and NEVER go back to……well I have about 35 pins under my “do it!” board. Chances are I will not get to all of them, but one stuck out. The website www.howsweeteats.com posted a recipe for banana tres leches cake…..UMMM what?! Banana bread…check…love it. Tres leches cake…..ummm duhhh! The two together create this amazing cake to which I have added my own twists to.

As with all my recipes…feel free to make them your own! Use the basic cake recipe and add in your own flare.

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, browned and cooled slightly (brown butter adds a nutty flavor)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (this is my go to ingredient in baking, try replacing white sugar with it in your next baking venture!)
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 bananas, mashed (The riper the better!)
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum (I used the ever so classy Sailor Jerry; however, you can use whatever you have)
  • 1 ripe banana sliced or 1/2 cup dried banana chips (Garnish JUST before serving, or chips will get soggy and banana will change color)

I know, I know… it’s not the healthiest cake in the world… but it may be the tastiest!!!

You’ve been warned!

 

Step 1:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. I used a medium sized ceramic all clad. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Think of really stiff whipped cream. The egg whites will stand up when you remove the beaters.

Step 2:

Beat egg yolks and sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and bananas. With the mixer on low speed, add in cooled butter and mix until combined. Add in half of the dry ingredients, then add the 2/3 cups of milk. Finish by adding the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Be careful not to over mix. (This will create a tougher end result)

Step 3:

Fold the egg whites into the batter (Do not rush this process. Stirring the egg whites too fast into the batter will create a dense product!) Pour batter into the greased dish. The original recipe called to bake for 25-30 minutes, however, I say 30-35 but keep an eye on it! ¬†Cool the cake completely (tell ya why later). I suggest leaving the cake in the pan. (less of a mess) Once its cool… poke the crap out of it!!! I mean really… well without making it a mess… poke as many holes as you can in the cake… I used the end of a food thermometer.

In a large measuring cup, whisk together 1 tablespoon rum, whole milk, condensed milk and evaporated milk. Pour the milk mixture over the cake getting it into the holes. Refrigerate and let sit for at least 3 hours.

Step 4:

Whipped cream time! Using an electric mixer, beat the cream, second amount of cinnamon & vanilla and the remaining tablespoon of rum. Beat this mixture until similar consistency of the egg whites you whipped up earlier. Spread the finished whipped cream over the cake. Garnish the cake with sliced fresh banana or banana chips.

 

Feeling frisky? Brulee the banana slices on a plate first sprinkled lightly with some white sugar. Maybe skip the whipped cream and top the cake with meringue and brulee the top!…¬†wait... maybe I should have done that!

Enjoy :-)