20130726

PINA COLADA CUPCAKES RECIPE - A Vacay for your mouth!


PINEAPPLE COCONUT CUPCAKES
How to do an Edible Pina Colada!

I have been craving pineapple and coconut lately and got it in my head that I might try making some cupcakes with those flavors.  I didn't want to go to a lot of work - as I've said before, I'm basically lazy - and I happened to have a white cake mix on hand, some coconut, some cream cheese and a can of pineapple junks so I thought I could come up with a fair-to-middling little late night tropical dessert.

Feel free to make your cupcakes from scratch from a favorite recipe.

Coconut Cupcakes

Take one white cake mix and prepare according to the directions.  Fold in 1/2 Cup of shredded coconut that you've run through the food processor for a second or two. Bake as instructed. Allow to cool.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

8 Oz. Softened Cream Cheese
1/4 C. Butter at Room Temperature
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp. Cream of Coconut
1 C. Powdered Sugar (+/-)
(you can adjust this to suit your tastes, I don't like really sweet frosting.)
 
Pineapple Compote
 
1 C. Pineapple Chunks
1/3 C. Brown Sugar, Packed Firm
1 Tbsp. Butter
1/2 C. Pineapple Juice
(I used the juice from the pineapple chunks)
1/4 C. Dark Rum
 
Bring all the ingredients, except the rum, to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is reduced to a thick, syrup consistency.  Add the rum and cook for another few minutes to allow most of the alcohol to burn off.  Cool.
 
Construction of the
PINA COLADA CUPCAKES
 
Toast some coconut in the oven. Set aside.
 
If you want to infuse your cupcakes with a little booze, now is the time.  Take a bamboo skewer and poke about 10 - 12 holes in each cupcake but don't go all the way to the bottom.  Slowly spoon a tablespoon of coconut rum or spiced rum or even plain dark rum over the holes in each cupcake little by little allowing the alcohol to absorb into the cake.

Now pipe your cream cheese frosting onto your cupcakes leaving a little well in the center for the pineapple compote.

Sprinkle on some toasted coconut flakes (or just quickly dip the frosting in the coconut).

Gently spoon on some of the yummy caramelized Pineapple Compote.

ENJOY!
 

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20130719

CORAL ISLAND COOKIES - Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

 
CORAL ISLAND COOKIES
also known as Thumbprint Cookies
 
This is my second favorite cookie of all time, my favorite being my Mom's Gingersnap Cookies.  My Mom had this recipe handwritten in her recipe book since before I was born and I have no idea where she got the recipe from and really don't care!  Mom made these with mixed fruit jelly and I loved them but I usually use seedless blackberry or boysenberry jam.  They are rich, buttery and literally melt in your mouth and I crave these at least once a week.

I don't like, nor have the time, to bake that much but I have solved that problem simply by quadrupling the recipe and freezing the dough for later baking.  I usually go through to the step of rolling the dough into balls then freeze the individual balls on a cookie sheet.  Then I bag them up by 6 or 8 so I can just defrost a bag whenever I have a craving!
 
CHOCOLATE THUMBPRINT COOKIES: Yes! You can omit the jelly, bake the cookies and the moment you take the cookies out of the oven press a chocolate kiss into the cookie! Don't press the chocolate kiss in before baking - it burns the chocolate.

MOM'S CORAL ISLAND COOKIES

INGREDIENTS:
 
2/3 C. Butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1-1/3 C. Sifted Flour
Your Favorite Jelly or Jam
1 Egg Yolk (reserve the egg white)
1/3 C. Brown Sugar
Optional: Chopped Pecans or Other Nut

DIRECTIONS:
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Grease your cookie sheet(s) or line them with parchment. (I prefer parchment as it keeps the cookie bottom from getting too brown).
  • Cream together the butter, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla extract.
  • Add the flour a little at a time, blending completely.
  • Shape the dough into 1" diameter balls.
  • Place the balls about 3" apart on your cookie sheet(s).
  • Press your thumb into each cookie ball for a well for the jelly/jam.
  • Beat the reserved egg white until foamy and brush on top of the cookies.
  • Spoon in the jam or jelly.
  • Sprinkle on the optional chopped nuts.
  • Bake 12 - 15 minutes.
Enjoy and send a little "hello" up to my Mom while you enjoy them - I think she would like that!
 

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20130712

Italian Sausage Meatball Bruschetta - Mama Mia!

ITALIAN SAUSAGE MEATBALL BRUSCHETTA

BRUSCHETTA INGREDIENTS


10 Slices of a hearty white bread.
Italian Meatballs (recipe below)
Marinara Sauce (recipe below)
15 - 20 Slices of Smoked Provolone Cheese
Shredded or Grated Parmesan Cheese
Few Fresh Basil Leaves for Garnish

TOOLS

Cookie Cutter in a fun shape
Cheese Grater
Medium Sauce Pan
Medium Mixing Bowl
Baking Sheet

MARINARA SAUCE


1 - 12 Oz. Jar of Tomato Sauce
1/2 C. Diced Green Bell Pepper
1/2 Med. Onion Diced Small
4 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
1 Tsp. Dried Oregano
1 Tsp. Dried Basil
1/2 Tsp. Marjoram
1/4 Tsp. Rosemary
Salt and Pepper to Taste
2 Tbsp. Red Wine
Olive Oil
  • In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium.
  • Add the onions, green pepper and garlic and saute until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the tomato sauce, spices and wine.
  • Simmer until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

ITALIAN SAUSAGE MEATBALLS
Makes approximately 20 - 24 meatballs


1 Pound Bulk Sweet Italian Sausage
1/2 C. Plain Bread Crumbs
1/3 C. Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 Med. Onion, Diced Small
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Onion Powder
1/2 Tsp. Fennel Salt Mixture
1/4 Tsp. Pepper
!/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1 Large Egg
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Combine all the ingredients together in your medium bowl until completely mixed together. I just use my hands to mix it up.
  • Scoop out mixture by 1" ball into your palm and roll into balls.
  • Place on a cookie greased cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

ASSEMBLING THE BRUSCHETTA
  • Cut out 20 pieces of cheese with the cookie cutter and set aside.
  • Cut out 20 pieces of bread with the cookie cutter.
  • Paint on the melted garlic butter then lightly toast under the broiler.
  • While the bread toasts, cut 10 meatballs in half and coat with the marinara sauce by adding them in the sauce and rolling around until they are completely covered.
  • When bread is toasted, top with a cut out slice of the provolone and then half a marinara coated meatball.
  • Arrange several on a small cocktail plate, sprinkle the tops with some Parmesan cheese and add the fresh basil garnish. (If you prefer you can chiffonade the basil and sprinkle it on top of the meatball bruschettas after the Parmesan cheese.)
Serve this mini meatball sandwiches up with this Basil Cucumber Martini or another of my 400+ Designer Martinis and enjoy!

MANGA!


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20130711

PEANUT BUTTER MARSHMALLOW CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BARS


PEANUT BUTTER MARSHMALLOW
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BARS
.....Whew!

Prep: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit while you mix up your favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies.

1. Press your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough 1/2" thick into a greased 9x12 baking dish.

2. Cover cookie dough with peanut butter. Feel free to add something crunchy on top of the peanut butter - like toasted nuts or seeds, toffee bits or even coconut.

3. Sprinkle on a layer of mini marshmallows.

4. Sprinkle on a few extra chocolate chips and a few of those nuts if you like.

5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 - 55 minutes.

6. Cool, slice and enjoy.

Don't blame me if your butt grows by a few inches. I'm just the messenger.

Toodles!
 

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20130705

PEAR and BLUE CHEESE BRUSCHETTA


Thanks to a gift of a bag full of assorted pears, here is my recipe for

PEAR and BLUE CHEESE BRUSCHETTA

Ingredients:

1 Small Baguette, sliced 1/3" thick
1/2 C. Crumbled Blue Cheese
1 Firm, Ripe Pear of your Choice
Honey
Butter
*Optional:  Toasted Pecans

Directions:
  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Toast your pecans in a skillet until lightly browned, set aside.
  • Lightly toast your baguette slices, don't toast until hard!
  • Slice your pear lengthwise into 1/8" thickness while your baguette slices are toasting and
  • Saute the pear slices in some butter until nicely caramelized. (Keep an eye on those toasting baguette slices!)
  • Spread the blue cheese on the toasted baguettes, top each with a warm slice of pear and top off with your toasted pecans*
  • Drizzle with honey and serve. 
 I served this up with my Pear Champagne Martini (recipe at The Martini Diva Blog) which I made with my homemade Pear Sorbet!

I loved these so much that every time I get pears now I always buy extra so I can have bruschetta!
 
Buon Appetito


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20130704

PEAR HIBISCUS SORBET in Gingersnap Cups


This is a recipe I tried out when I got a bag of pears from a friend.  As a single person I can't eat a whole bag of pears before they go bad but I sure can use them up in some interesting recipes.

This is my first sorbet. Technically it's more of a granita since I don't have an ice cream maker but to heck with technicalities, this was not the texture of a granita. It was silky and creamy and delicious.  The gingersnap cups came into the mix when I decided to share some of my pear sorbet and serve it up as a dessert at a dinner party.

PEAR HIBISCUS SORBET
IN GINGERSNAP CUPS

PEAR SORBET:

Ingredients:

4 Pears
1 Tsp. Sugar
1/2 C. Water
3 Tbsp. Lemoncello*
1/4 Tsp. Hibiscus Elixir
1 Pear for Garnish
Hibiscus Flower for Garnish

Directions:
  • Peal, slice and core the pears. I used a combination of Red D'anjou, Barlett and Bosc.
  • Puree the pears, hibiscus syrup and sugar in a blender until smooth
  • Simmer this pear mixture in a saucepan about 3 - 4 minutes.
  • Add the hibiscus elixir and the Lemoncello and stir in completely. (The alcohol keeps your sorbet from freezing too hard.) I used my own homemade Lemoncello!
  • Refrigerate until completely cool.  Refrigerating prior to freezing keeps the ice crystals smaller and makes a smoother sorbet.
  • Freeze in a covered bowl in the freezer until solid or use your ice cream maker to freeze.

GINGERSNAP CUPS:

Ingredients

2 Gingersnap*** Crumbs, Ground Fine
3 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, Melted

Directions
  • Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  • Spray cupcake molds with cooking spray
  • Grind the baked gingersnaps in a blender or small food processor.
  • Slowly add the melted butter until a dough forms
  • Take a small handful (about 2 or 3 tablespoons) of the dough and press down and around the sides of your baking cups
  • Bake 7 minutes and allow to cool
  • Release the cups by tipping the cupcake pan over and gently patting the back of the cups.

ASSEMBLY & PLATING:

Ingredients:

Pear Sorbet in Gingerbread Cup
Hibiscus Syrup
3 - 5 Fresh Pear Slices
1 Wild Hibiscus Flower preserved in the syrup.
Some Interesting Cake Decorations*

Directions:

  • Squiggle a little of the hibiscus syrup onto the plate in a nice pattern.
  • Spoon the sorbet into the gingersnap cups.
  • Place your Pear Sorbet filled Gingersnap Cup onto the syrup a little off center.
  • Arrange your pear slices around the cup as a garnish then place the hibiscus flower on the pear sorbet.
  • Sprinkle on some of the cake decorations.

**Candied ginger makes a nice substitute for the cake decorations!


Tomorrow I'll post up the Pear & Blue Cheese Bruschetta I used some more of my pears in AND the Pear Champagne Martini that I used some of this Pear Sorbet in as well!
 

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