Tag Archives: Coconut

Besos de Coco~ Snowball Kisses

Why is it that as we get a certain age we become nostalgic for our childhood favorites? I think that no matter how old we are, those things that we loved as a child transport us to simpler times, happy times… As a child growing up in family of ten, some of my favorite things seem to always revolve around different foods and aromas. The aroma of tamales steaming, chiles roasting on the comal and the sweet aromas when you walk into the Mexican bakeries, La Panaderia. Those are things that stay with you forever. I remember following close behind my Mom or Dad as they placed the fresh baked pan dulce onto the tray. It was always in my best interest to make that trip with them, to ensure I got to pick out my favorite Mexican sweet bread. Two of my favorite’s were and still are were called “besos” (kisses) and “ojo de buey”(eye of the ox), ha, ha, ha! Sometimes the literal translations just don’t translate well, but you getthe idea. Besos are a puffed up sandwich soft cookie with assorted fruit fillings, brushed with melted butter and dusted in fine sugar. The ojo de buey is similar in shape with a raspberry filling, brushed with more raspberry filling and coated with fluffly shredded coconut. So for me this version is the best of both of those. This recipe was adapted from a recipe I found called Scottish Snowballs. I would love to find the authentic recipe for the Mexican version, but that is not always an easy task. And most times if you do find something, it is written for commercial bakeries and is almost impossible to convert to a homecook’s version. So, with my added touches to the scottish recipe, I am very happy with how this recipe turned out. It may not be the original, but it sure did transport me back to la panaderia. 

 

Besos de Coco ~ Snowball Kisses

Besos de Coco-Snowbal Kisses

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon coconut extract
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cups, plus 2 tablepoons flour, sifted
Pinch of salt
Your favorite jam, preserves or dulce de leche

For Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)

Besos de Coco-Snowbal Kisses

 

Fill with your favorite jam, preserves or dulce de leche caramel
Fill with your favorite jam, preserves or dulce de leche caramel

 

Besos de Coco-Snowball Kisses

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and eggs. Whisk for 8 to 10 minutes. Mix in the coconut extract and lemon zest

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking shetes with parchment paper. Fold in the flour and salt t just until incorporated. Onto each

baking sheet, drop 12 cookies (about 2 tablespoons of batter). Try to make them as round as possible. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes.

3. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before removing them from baking sheets. Transfer to a wire rack to cool the rest of the way.

4. Take 12 of the cookies and fill the flat side with about 1 tablespoon of filling. Spread out evenly. Top with another plain cookie, flat side onto filling. In a bowl, add the powdered sugar. Mix in the hot water, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth. Dip one half into glaze and then press into coconut until evenly coated. Repeat with the other half of cookie. Place back onto wire rack until cookies set and dry. Yields 12 sandwich cookies.

Besos de Coco-Snowball Kisses

Besos de Coco-Snowball Kisses

Besos de Coco-Snowball Kisses

 

 

Cooking and Baking with Coconut Oil~ Empanadas, Tortillas and More

 

Pineapple Mango Empanadas prepared with coconut oil. Coconut oil is all the rage on the food scene right now. Said to be a healthier alternative than most oils, I have incorporated it into several recipes to test it out.  This morning I was preparing a batch of empanadas for a friend and I remembered the coconut oil in my pantry. This was not the usual white version, but a bright orange/yellow coconut oil that is great for popcorn on the stove top! There really is no difference between the white and the yellow. The yellow coconut oil is colored with natural colorings according to the list of ingredients on the jar. I am always up for an experiment in my own kitchen. Again, I must give a shout out to my friend Kim who owns the local bulk food store for stocking quality ingredients like the coconut oil and the chipped unsweetened coconut that I love so much. In the next couple of weeks I will add the links to a few of the other recipes I have tried with coconut oil, like flour tortillas and various other baked goods. A coffee break and the other half of my empanada is waiting for me. Enjoy!

Pineapple Mango Empanadas with Toasted Coconut Baked into the Dough
Pineapple Mango Empanadas with Toasted Coconut Baked into the Dough

Dough Recipe Yields 12 to 14 empanadas

For the Filling

2 cups fresh pineapple, diced

1 cup fresh mango, diced

1 cup pure cane sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

Fresh pineapple, mango and lemon juice...simple ingredients fot the best homemade filling!
Fresh pineapple, mango and lemon juice…simple ingredients fot the best homemade filling!
Cooking the filling low and slow until the liquids evaporate. A little cornstarch to thicken and this is how is should look when you run your spoon down the center.
Cooking the filling low and slow until the liquids evaporate. A little cornstarch to thicken and this is how is should look when you run your spoon down the center.

For Dough

2 ¼ cups all purpose flour

¼ cup pure cane sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

½ cup unsweetened toasted coconut

¾ cup coconut oil (with natural yellow coloring)

¼ cup lukewarm water

1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract

*extra pure cane sugar for dredging

Notes: The filling is enough for two batches of empanadas. You could freeze the extra in an airtight container or prepare a double batch of dough.

I prefer to use unsweetened coconut for my recipes. My crepe pan worked perfect for toasting.
I prefer to use unsweetened coconut for my recipes. My crepe pan worked perfect for toasting.
Coconut oil with natural coloring replaced the shortening I would typically use for preparing empanada dough. Half cup of toasted coconut was mixed into the flour.
Coconut oil with natural coloring replaced the shortening I would typically use for preparing empanada dough. Half cup of toasted coconut was mixed into the flour. The dough will feel a bit more oily than the usual pie dough, but it works. The origianl recipe goes way back in my family.
Mu trusty tortilla press lined with plastic work great for this dough recipe everytime.
My trusty tortilla press lined with plastic work great for this dough recipe everytime. You could also use a flat bottom plate. Just make sure you use the plastic for the balls of dough on a flat surface.

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, combine all of the ingredients for the filling, minus the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water. Cook at medium/low heat for 25 to 30 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated and mixture reduces. Use a potato masher to break down any large pieces of fruit that remain. Whisk the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water together until smooth. Stir into fruit mixture and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

  2. For the dough: Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir together the wet ingredients and gradually mix them into the dry ingredients until dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 395 degrees F. Line to baking sheets with parchment paper. Line a tortilla press with a plastic storage bag cut down to fit. Roll 6, golf ball size, dough balls and set aside. One at a time, gently press the dough ball to about 4 inches in diameter. Fill each with 1 full tablespoons of filling down left/center. Fold over and use fork to seal edges. Transfer to baking sheet and bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. While they are still warm, gently dredge through 1 cup of pure cane sugar. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. 3 to 4 day shelf life.

  4. This coconut oil is sold near the popcorn is most country or bulk food stores. It has natural coloring and can be used to replace butter, oil or shortening in your recipes.
    This coconut oil is sold near the popcorn is most country or bulk food stores. It has natural coloring and can be used to replace butter, oil or shortening in your recipes.
    Pineapple Mango Empanadas with Toasted Coconut
    Pineapple Mango Empanadas with Toasted Coconut

 

Loca For Coconut Desserts~ Creamy Coconut Pie with Fresh Berries

Creamy Coconut Pie made with lite coconut milk and topped with fresh berries, hello 4th of July! Every year for as far back as I could remember, there was always a special dessert prepared on the 4th of July. Of course we were celebrating America’s Independence, but more importantly to me and my family, we were celebrating my Dad’s birthday. In our family we had a running joke that all of America was celebrating our wonderful Dad’s birthday.  Although my Dad was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico, he was very proud to be a  an American citizen and had great admiration for both countries. Even though I lost my Dad back in 2007, the tradition continues. We still prepare a special dessert showing our pride in the red, white and blue and our love for him. This recipe was inspired by a can of light coconut milk that I was using to prepare a curry recipe. I mean, how many of us take the time to read the recipes that are printed on the packaging? Not me anyway, lol!  It was a simple recipe using coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk and unflavored gelatin. I instantly knew I wanted to use it to make a pie. And the bonus? It’s creamy coconut! Feliz Cumpleaños Papa Querido. Te Seguimos Extrañando y Te Recordamos Siempre. #familia 

Every year for his birthday we loved giving him gifts showing his pride in the red, white and blue.
Every year for his birthday we loved giving him gifts showing his pride in the red, white and blue.
Creamy Coconut Pie with Fresh Berries. Fresh berries, a cool and creamy filling and a no bake crust. Great for a hot summer day.
Creamy Coconut Pie with Fresh Berries. Fresh berries, a cool and creamy filling and a no bake crust. Great for a hot summer day.



Ingredients 

For Crust
2 cups crushed Maria cookies or graham crackers
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar

For Filling
3 /4 cup water, plus 1/2 cup separate
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1 can light coconut milk (13.5 ounces)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

 

A few simple ingredients, lite coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, unflavored gelatin and freshly grated nutmeg...
A few simple ingredients, lite coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, unflavored gelatin and freshly grated nutmeg…

Topping
1 quart fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup fresh bluberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons sugar

*You will also need a 9 inch springform pan or a large pie plate

 

If you have never had a fresh picked berry from a local farm, you should really taste the difference, wow!
If you have never had a fresh picked berry from a local farm, you should really taste the difference, wow!
Creamy Coconut Pie with Fresh Berries
Creamy Coconut Pie with Fresh Berries

1. In a bowl, combine the crushed cookies, melted butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix well and transfer to pan, pushing down and slightly up the sides to form crust. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. In a small sauce pan, add 1/2 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of unflavored gelatin. Heat on medium/low just until gelatin is dissolved. Do not boil, set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the coconut milk, condensed milk, 3/4 cup of water, nutmeg and vanilla. Whisk in the gelatin mixture until well incorporated. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

4. Combine the strawberries, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 4 tablespoons of sugar. You could add the bluberries as well, but I like to add them separate. Cover and set aside while gelatin sets up.

5. After an hour, pour the gelatin mixture into the pan over crust. Using a slotted spoon top with strawberries and then bluberries. Cover and chill for another 2 hours or overnight. Release and remove sprinform pan before serving. Yields 6 servings.

Creamy Coconut Pie with Fresh Berries
Creamy Coconut Pie with Fresh Berries