Search Results for: Almond

Cherry Almond Clafoutis


Ahhh cherry clafoutis…..  Sigh.  Why have I not made you before?  This post is somewhat embarrassing to write.  I’ve been wanting to make a cherry clafoutis for years. Literally.  I’d seen them time and time again on foodie sites like Food Gawker and Taste Spotting, and always thought they looked so good.  I don’t know what on earth took me so long to make one, but it probably had a lot to do with the fact that I’d have to pit a gazillion cherries.  Plus, I was under the impression they were extremely time consuming and difficult to make.  My bad.  They’re super easy.  In fact, it’s probably one of the easiest things I’ve made in ages.  I think I’ll make this my default dessert for when company comes around.   

Like I mentioned before, part of what was really holding me back from making a cherry clafoutis was pitting all those cherries.  I’d been buying cherries all summer for Jayden and I to eat.  I was pitting them in a couple of different ways – by scoring an “x” on the top and bottom with a knife, and then pushing out the pit with a straw or chopstick, or by simply cutting them in half and picking the pits out with my fingers which was horribly messy and forced me to get my hands dirty.  I hate getting my hands dirty.   

Just when I thought I was going to have to resort to trying out another DIY cherry pitter method (there’s a bunch of suggestions here on my Pinterest board), I was contacted by the folks over at OXO Good Grips to see if I’d like to try out their new version.  So thank goodness for my new OXO Cherry pitter which made the whole pitting process quick and easy.


The cherry pitter made doing the job so much easier!  And I was really impressed with how well it was designed – there’s a little switch at the back that locks the pitter into a closed position so that the spikey bit doesn’t get caught on everything in my gadget drawer.  It’s also got a splash guard on it, which I think should be essential on every cherry pitter no matter what brand it is.  The splash guard was amazing and confined all the splatter and mess  which meant that my Julia Child recipe book I had sitting near by was spared from any straying cherry juice.  And rather than taking 20 minutes to pit all the cherries, it only took about 2 minutes. 

Splat!

Even though I’d been wanting to make a cherry clafoutis for ages, I’d never really settled on a recipe.  Sure all the clafoutis photos on Food Gawker and Taste Spotting looked delicious and I’d probably “favourited” about 50 different pictures, but I couldn’t decide on which recipe I should try.  So, I went back to basics and decided to go with Julia.  You really can’t go wrong with a Julia Child recipe can you?  


I had done a tiny bit of research on cherry clafoutis before I made mine, and the one thing that stood out was that the really authentic French recipes told you NOT to pit your cherries.  Why?  Because supposedly once baked, the cherry pits release a subtle almond flavour that gives the clafoutis a really nice flavour.  I opted to pit my cherries, and then add a bit of almond extract to compensate.  The result was absolutely delicious.  The almond flavouring really complemented the sweet juicy cherries and syrupy clafoutis.  I was amazed.  Why on earth had I not made this before?  It’s seriously easy to make.  Pit your cherries, throw the rest of the ingredients a blender for a couple minutes, pour and bake.  That’s pretty much it.


Cherry Almond Clafoutis
(Slightly adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking)

Ingredients:

1 1/4 Cups (295ml) milk 
2/3 Cup (150g) Sugar, divided 
3 eggs 
1Tbsp Vanilla Extract 
1/4 tsp Almond Extract
1/8 tsp salt 
2/3 Cup (83) Flour 
Butter for greasing 
3 Cups Pitted Cherries
Powdered sugar for sprinkling

Instructions:

1.  Preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC), and lightly butter a 7- to 8-cup baking dish or pie plate. Wash and pit your cherries.  Set aside.

2. Place milk, 1/3 cup (75g) sugar, eggs, vanilla, almond extract, salt, and flour in a blender and blend at high speed for 1 minute.  Pour a 1/4-inch layer of batter into the greased baking dish. Place the dish in the hot oven for about 7-10 minutes until a film of batter has set in the bottom of the dish. Remove from heat.  

3.  Place the cherries evenly over the batter and sprinkle the remaining sugar over top. Slowly pour the rest of the batter over the cherries and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon if needed.  Place the dish in the middle of the oven and bake for about 45 – 60 minutes until done. The clafouti is done when it has puffed with a golden brown top, and when a toothpick or knife is inserted into its center and comes out clean.

Let the clafoutis cool slightly (about 5-10 minutes) before sprinkling top with powdered sugar just before serving.  


The clafoutis is best served warm, but I’ll admit to eating a left over slice straight out of the fridge and it being equally delicious as it was warm.

I realise that cherry season is nearing an end, but if you can get your hands on some I would definitely suggest making this dessert.  I plan on making it once more before all the cherries have completely disappeared from my local supermarket.  But if you’re too late you can also substitute the cherries for pretty much any other fruit such as pears, plums, apples etc and make a different version of clafoutis.

With thanks to OXO Good Grips for the cherry pitter, which will now double as an olive pitter during the winter months!

Breakfast Club May Roundup

Last month marked the re-launch of Breakfast Club – the monthly linkup event originally started by Helen of Fuss Free Flavours which I now co-host with Sarah from Maison Cupcake. The great thing about Breakfast Club is that there’s no monthly theme to stick to, so you won’t be forced to blog about a full English, if you’re really craving eggs benny.

We had some fabulous entries in May which had me wishing there were more weekends in a month so I could try to make them all myself. Check them all out below if you need some inspiration for this month’s Breakfast Club, hosted by Sarah from Maison Cupcake.

May Breakfast Club Entries

May1_1

1.  Rhubarb Curd by Claire at Foodie Quine
2.  Sugar Free Almond & Sultana Breakfast Oatmeal by Margot at Coffee and Vanilla
3.  Shakshuka with Chickpeas by Sus at Rough Measures
4.  Drop Scones (Scotch Pancakes) by Coriander Queen

May2

5.  Vegan Berry Smoothie by Cotton Cloth Eco
6.  Gluten Free Belgian Waffles by Sarah at Maison Cupcake

May3

7.  Huevos Rancheros by Megan at Got To Be Gourmet
8.  Belvita Breakfast Yoghurt Parfaits by In The Playroom
9.  Chocolate Covered Alpin Swiss Muesli Bars by Elizabeth at Elizabeth’s Kitchen
10. Sugar Free & Gluten Free Lemon Poppyseed Waffles by Andrea at Made With Pink

The June edition of Breakfast Club is currently being hosted by Sarah over at Maison Cupcake. We’d love to see your breakfast recipes from this month!

 

Macaron Successes, Failures and a Giveaway!

It was about 2.5 years ago (shortly after moving to the UK)  that I was flipping through a magazine when something caught my eye.  Something magnificent that I’d never seen before.  No, it wasn’t a pair of designer shoes or a pretty dress.  It was a cookie!  But not just any cookie.  These cookies were colourful fancy little things with pretty ruffled edges.  I scoured the page to find out what they were called and where I could get them.  Macarons. I’d never heard of them before – except for the American coconut haystack kind (aka macaroons).  I immediately googled macarons to see how I could make them.  At that time only a few websites & blogs popped up that actually featured recipes for macarons, each of them explaining how finicky they were to make.  Age your egg whites, fold the batter until it flows like magma – (no more than 50 strokes), don’t make them on a humid day, let the piped macarons rest on the counter for 45 mins,  leave the oven door propped open with a wooden spoon, and only listen to smooth jazz while making them – ok, that last one is a lie, but you get the picture.  It seemed as if the odds to make these pretty little cookies were stacked against me.  Never the less a few days later I decided to bake my very first batch of macarons.  I did all of those things I mentioned above (except for the jazz), and you know what?  My macarons actually turned out pretty darn good for my first try!  They had the frilly little feet and everything!  I was thrilled with them, and gloated to myself that they really weren’t that hard to make!  Well, fast forward 2.5 years, and I’ve made dozens of batches of macarons, but sadly only about 50% of them have actually turned out well enough to even be called a macaron.  I didn’t know what I was doing wrong.  My beginners luck had run out shortly after I made my first batch, and it seemed like each batch I made was completely hit or miss – even if I used the exact same recipe as the time before.  Macarons started getting increasingly popular on the blogging and baking scene, and I was constantly reading new blog posts and trying new recipes out.  I got pretty discouraged after a while, and to be honest I probably went a good year without baking another batch of macarons – until now.  Recently I came across a blog post by Brave Tart where she described her exact recipe and method of macaron making.  What made Brave Tart’s recipe and method so different from all the others I’d come across what that none of those crazy “rules” that I mentioned above applied!  It didn’t matter if the egg whites were aged, room temperature or cold, humid days were no problem at all.  And I believed her!  Why?  Because she confirmed my thoughts all along.  You see, Brave Tart is a restaurant pastry chef who makes batches upon batches of macarons each day, and if she had to adhere to all those crazy rules ALL the time, she may only be able to produce and sell her macarons 3 days a week!  So, this past weekend I gave Brave Tart’s recipe a try.  Three trys to be exact.  Each time I managed to get at least one tray of perfect looking macarons.  Sometimes I aged the egg whites, and sometimes I used fresh cold ones. They worked each time.  I did however have a few issues, but I don’t believe they’re the fault of the recipe. 



My latest macaron baking sessions allowed me to come to the conclusion that my oven is – well basically a piece of crap.  Why?  Well, to be honest I’ve never really been a fan of my tiny UK oven – especially after discovering that some of my North American pans are too big to fit inside. But the size isn’t what annoyed me this week.  It’s the fact that my oven only has a top element – not a bottom and a top element like most of the ovens I’m used to.  This results in a lot of my baking browning on the top in order for it to become fully cooked throughout.  In fact, I’ll often have to cover whatever I’m baking with a sheet of aluminum foil to prevent it from browning as it continues to cook.  This was reflected in the 3 batches of macarons I baked over the weekend, and led me to believe that my oven may likely be the main reason why my macarons have been so hit and miss over the past couple of years.  I tinted the first batch bright pink, and I was really pleased with the way they were looking in the oven until I noticed that they were starting to brown slightly around the edges, making the colour a little uneven.  The other thing I noticed when I took them out of the oven after the recommended baking time was that the bottoms weren’t nice smooth (and lets face it – we all want nice smooth bottoms don’t we!)  Instead my macarons had slightly moist and sticky bottoms – a result of there being no direct heat underneath my macarons.  I came to this conclusion after reading this article from Syrup and Tang that explains the differences between the 4 main types of ovens & their heating elements.  The article stated “If you have a crappy electric oven with an element just at the top (type D), abandon much hope of easy macaron making without a serious oven stone of some sort to store heat in the lower part of the oven.”  That explains a lot!  As I mentioned before, my oven is fan assisted with the only heating element located at the top.  I’ve tested the temperature regulation of my oven before using a thermometer, and although it does reach the exact temperature I set the oven to, the temperature will vary by about 10ºC-15ºC throughout the duration of the baking time. Not good!  Basically thanks to the Syrup and Tang article I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll need to create a heat source at the bottom of my oven using my pizza stone.  I haven’t had a chance to try that yet, but I definitely will sometime soon!

Anyways, lets get back to my macarons! Although all 3 batches of my macarons turned out, I was most pleased with the look of my final batch.  In order to avoid my macarons from noticeably discolouring I opted to leave them au-natural.  I made a plain vanilla flavoured macaron and filled them with Speculoos (a subtle gingerbread flavoured spread similar to peanut butter).  I also had a few extra Speculoos cookies laying around which I crumbled and sprinkled on top of the macaron shells before baking them.  These were so so good!  And thanks to Brave Tart’s recipe they were also so so easy to bake!  For this particular batch I opted not to age my egg whites or bring them to room temperature.  I just used cold ones straight from the fridge.  Although I did get those pretty little feet around the edges of all my macarons, I do think that the best feet were achieved in my first batch (the ones that discoloured & that I ate before taking any real photos) when I used egg whites that were aged for 2 days at room temperature. 



Vanilla & Speculoos French Macarons
Slightly adapted from Brave Tart

4 ounces (115g) Almond flour, or whatever nut you like
8 ounces (230g) Powdered sugar
5 ounces 
(144g) Egg whites , temperature and age not important!
2 1/2 ounces (72g) Sugar
The scrapings of 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
1/2 tsp (2g) Salt

1 Belgian Speculoos cookie – crushed up

Belgian Speculoos Spread (Peanut butter or Nutella would also go well)

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 300° and have ready a large (18”) pastry bag, fitted with a plain circle tip, along with two sheet pans lined with parchment paper.

2.  Process the almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor for a minute or two in order to get rid of any little almond chunks.   Set aside.

3.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar, vanilla bean (not the extract), and salt and turn the mixer to medium (4 on a Kitchen Aid). Whip for 3 minutes. They will not seem especially foamy at that point.  

Increase the speed to medium-high (7 on a Kitchen Aid) and whip another 3 minutes, then crank the speed to 8 for go another 3 minutes.  

At that point, turn the mixer off and add in any extracts/flavor/color and whip for a final minute on the highest speed, just to show it who’s boss (and to evenly distribute the color/flavor).  At the end of this minute, you should have a very stiff, dry meringue.

When you remove the whisk attachment, there will be a big clump of meringue in the center, just knock the whisk against the bowl to free it. If the meringue has not become stiff enough to clump inside the whisk, continue beating for another minute, or until it does so.

4.  Now dump in the dry ingredients all at once and fold them in with a rubber spatula. Use both a folding motion (to incorporate the dry ingredients) and a pressing motion, to deflate the meringue against the side of the bowl.

First timers: the dry ingredients/meringue will look hopelessly incompatible. After about 25 turns (or folds or however you want to call “a single stroke of mixing”) the mixture will still have a quite lumpy and stiff texture. Another 15 strokes will see you to “just about right.” Keep in mind that macaronage is about deflating the whites, so don’t feel like you have to treat them oh-so-carefully. You want to knock the air out of them.

Undermixed macaron batter: quite stiff. If you spoon some out and drop it back into the mix, it will just sit there and never incorporate. Do this test before bagging your batter and save yourself the trouble of baking of undermixed macarons!

Overmixed macaron batter: has a runny, pancake batter-like texture. It will ooze continuously, making it impossible to pipe into pretty circles. Um, try not to reach that point.

You can evaluate your batter one stroke at a time, no rush.  Essentially, the macaron batter needs enough thickness that it will mound up on itself, but enough fluidity that after 20 seconds, it will melt back down. I’ve heard people describe this consistency as lava-like, or molten, and that’s pretty apt.

5.  Transfer about half the batter to a piping bag. (When your bag is too full, the pressure causes the batter to rush out in a way that’s difficult to control, making for sloppy macarons.)  Pipe the batter into the pre-traced circles on the baking sheet. Stop piping just shy of the borders of the circle, as the batter will continue to spread just a bit.  After piping your macarons, take hold of the sheet pan and it hard against your counter. Rotate the pan ninety degrees and rap two more times. This will dislodge any large air bubbles that might cause your macarons to crack.  Sprinkle the tops with the crushed Speculoos cookies.  

Bake for about 18 minutes, or until you can cleanly peel the parchment paper away from a macaron. If, when you try to pick up a macaron, the top comes off in your hand, it’s not done.  Once the macarons have baked, cool thoroughly on the pans, before peeling the cooled macarons from the parchment. Use a metal spatula if necessary.

6.  To fill your macarons take a large dollop of  Speculoos and carefully smooth it on the bottom of a macaron before sandwiching another macaron of similar size and shape on top to create the finished macaron.  

Macarons, against all pastry traditions, actually get better with age. The shells soften and become more chewy, mingling with the flavor of the buttercream too. So, while of course you can eat them right away, don’t hesitate to store them refrigerated for up to a week. If at all possible, set them out at room temperature for a few hours before consuming, because cold buttercream is kinda gross.


I’m so excited that I found this recipe, and Brave Tart herself has been wonderful about getting back to my tweets and emails full of questions!  I can’t wait to make these again using different flavours, fillings and colours.  Next time I’ll use the pizza stone as a bottom heat source and will let you know whether or not its successful.


And now onto something really exciting!  Everyone knows that the key to making a good macaron is a good kitchen scale, so I was delighted when lovely folks over at Salter UK provided me with a beautiful new MyScale kitchen scale to test out.  I decided that making these macarons would be the perfect opportunity for me to try it out.  The scale is definitely the prettiest kitchen scale I’ve ever seen, and it’s also pretty cool because you can customise the pattern on it to whatever you like!



The Salter MyScale Personalised scale is customisable allowing you to change the display image to suit your tastes and kitchen decor.  It comes with 2 ready made designs – a pastel polka dot background and  a beautiful silvery grey damask pattern that I LOVE!  But if you don’t like either of those patterns then the really cool thing is that you can upload and print out your own design using a picture of your choice by visiting the MyScale website.



The digital display is back-lite which makes it easy to read, and the buttons are really sensitive to the touch, so there’s no need to push down hard on them in order to reset it or change the measuring units.  (I had to do this with my old scale and it was a pain!)  You can easily switch from grams to ounces and milliliters to fluid ounces at the touch of a button, so there’s no need for measuring cups.  The scale turns off automatically after a few minutes, but instead of the digital display turning completely blank, it reverts to a clock!  The scale is also wall mountable so that you can use it as a pretty piece of art and a clock when you’re done baking in order to save valuable counter top space!  See – told you it was pretty cool!




Now here’s the best part!  Salter UK has kindly provided me with a 2nd MyScale to giveaway to one of my readers!   To enter all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me what design you would choose to use on your MyScale.  Additional entries can be earned by doing the following:

  • Become a follower of Made With Pink using Google Friend Connect
  • Become a fan of Made With Pink on Facebook 
  • Follow Made With Pink on Twitter and tweet the following message:  I’ve just entered to win a customisable #Salter_MyScale from @Made_With_Pink and you can too! Visit http://tiny.cc/nehz9
Links to all of the above are in the right hand column.  Maximum of 4 entries per person.  The winning comment will be chosen at random
You can also follow Salter UK on Twitter here: @SalterUK and as well as on Facebook
Open to UK residents only.  Contest closes at 11:59pm Sunday May 29th.  Winner will be announced the week of May 30th.  

*** Just a reminder that you MUST leave a comment below in order to be entered into the prize draw, otherwise I have no way of keeping track of who tweeted, followed etc.  If you make a comment anonymously then please leave an email address so I can contact you if you win. You should leave a separate comment for each of the 3 things listed above if you want to be entered more than once.  I will be using random.org to choose a number from all of the comments listed below in order to determine the winner. *** 


Alternately if you can’t wait to find out if you’ve won the MyScale you can purchase it via Amazon here:   


Bubble Tea! Oh How I’ve Missed You!

Firstly, let me just start off by saying this will likely be one of the only non-baking related posts you’ll see on Made With Pink, but I just couldn’t resist posting about this!  Why?  Well, for the past 3 years I’ve been going through withdrawal – Bubble Tea withdrawal!  Bubble Tea you ask? Yes, Bubble Tea!  I’m obsessed with it!  And what exactly is Bubble Tea?  I guess the easy explanation would be that it’s sweetened tea, with some added flavouring (usually fruity), shaken with ice and served with dozens of little jellied chewy tapioca balls inside known as pearls.  Oh – and you get to use a crazy big straw so you can suck up the jelly tapioca pearls. 


Bubble Tea originated in Taiwan back in the 1980’s, and has slowly made it’s way around the world ever since.  It’s been available in Canada for at least 10 years, and maybe even longer thanks to cities such as Vancouver having a larger Asian population who brought this fabulous drink with them.  

I hadn’t had Bubble Tea since I moved to the UK, so when I found out that London was finally getting a Bubble Tea place of our own I was super excited!  I’d been missing Bubble Tea so much, I’d even resorted to making my own by mixing regular Iced Tea with tapioca pearls that I’d purchased from the Chinese Superstore Wing Yip.  Strangely Wing Yip sells the tapioca pearls in both the rainbow and black varieties (they both taste exactly the same), but they don’t sell the flavoured tea mixes, or the large straws to suck up the pearls with, so I have to resort to eating them with a spoon. 

Thank goodness I won’t have to resort to making my own every time I have a craving for bubble tea now.  That’s because London’s first Bubble Tea bar – cleverly named Bubbleology opens this Thursday April 21, 2011.  


The other night I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch event of Bubbleology where I was able to sample different flavours of their bubble teas (which were all amazing by the way!) as well as some of their delicious pastries.  


Bubbleology is run by owner Assad Khan who fell in love with bubble tea while living in New York.  He (like me) went through bubble tea withdrawal when he moved to London, so decided to do something about it and open up his own bubble tea bar. Assad has come up with a totally unique concept to make bubble tea fun and quirky.  Bubbleology is set up like a mad scientists workshop, with the staff all wearing white lab coats while they mix your drinks.




The teas come in 13 varieties and are either fruit or milk based. The fruit based teas are made with green or red tea,  and come in the following flavours:  

Lychee Green Tea 
Strawberry Green Tea 
Mango Green Tea (my favourite)
Kumquat Red Tea 
Passion Fruit Green Tea 
Green Apple Green Tea 
Ginger Red Tea  

The milk-teas, are similar to a watery fun milk-shake, and come in the following flavours:  

Taro  
Coconut 
Almond 
Cocoa 
Vanilla 
Honeydew  


In addition to bubble tea, Bubbleology is introducing something else new to the London scene that I’ve never seen before – the “Cruffin.”  I would describe the cruffin as a designer crumpet or English muffin.  It comes toasted with your choice of spread (peanut butter, chocolate spread, etc), and (gummy bears, nuts, M&M’s, etc).  These weren’t on offer the night I was there, but basically what I think Assad was going for when he thought of these was a snack that’s unique and English – think the English equivalent to a French crepe or a Dutch pancake.  

Bubbleology is a small little shop located at 49 Rupert Street in Soho, close to the Lyric Theatre.  They’re open from 8am – 12am so there’s plenty of time to get your bubble tea fix. 

Now here’s the best part!  If you’ve never tried bubble tea before and would like to try it, Bubbleology will be giving away FREE bubble tea between 1:00 – 3:00pm on the day of their launch – Thursday April 21, 2011.

But just in case you can’t make it to London for a bubble tea, you can always do what I did and try making your own.  You can purchase the tapioca pearls (see below) from Wing Yip locations or order them online.  


You’ll need to boil the pearls in water that’s been sweetened with sugar until they’re slightly soft & chewy.  Once your pearls are the right consistency (take one out of the boiling water & chew it to test them) you’ll need to drain them, put them in the bottom of a glass and pour some cold iced tea (such as Liptons) over them.  Add in a bit of ice to help cool the warm pearls down.  The only problem with this is that I haven’t been able to find bubble tea straws anywhere here, so I’m forced to eat them with a spoon while sipping on the actual iced tea.  That’s about as close as you’re going to get to making actual bubble tea at home, but trust me – nothing beats the real thing, so if you do get a chance to visit Bubbleology then I really recommend going!

Chocolate Coconut Cream Cheese Bars

So yesterday I wrote about my sightseeing trip to Washington DC where I visited Julia Child’s kitchen and tasted some of DC’s “best” cupcakes.  But you want to know what else I was really excited to see?  I’m warning you now, this is gonna sound really lame!……. Target!  Yes, that’s right – Target the discount store!  The highlight of any trip I make to the US is going to Target.  Told you it was lame!  I try and visit a Target at least once or twice every time I go the the States.  Why?  It’s simple – because of the selection & variety!  Growing up in North America I got used to the selection we had over there, but when I moved to the UK I suddenly realized how spoiled I was back home.  If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know I’ve mentioned this once or twice before.

In the US the baking aisles seem to go on for miles, while the baking aisle here in the UK is only about a meter or two (3 – 6 feet) wide.  While the US has literally over 20 different flavours of cake mix – not to mention dozens of different brands and variations of each flavour, the UK has about 3 different main stream brands of cake mix in pretty basic flavours – chocolate, vanilla & spice.  Even though we’ve got Betty Crocker here, they only make chocolate, chocolate vanilla swirl & spice cake mixes.  Not even a plain vanilla!  To be honest, as much as I hate the lack of selection here, I think it’s probably one of the main reasons I try so many different recipes.  I’m always trying to re-create something I’ve had back home, or something that I can’t make here because one of the typical ingredients isn’t available.  I’m not sure that would be the case if I still lived back in Canada.

Just because I’m a geek, I took few pictures of one side of the baking aisle in an American Target store with my iPhone.

See – told you it was long!

Oh the variety! 


When I go to Target I usually stock up on a few cake mixes, a selection of different chocolate chips, and seasonal candy – all of which of pretty are hard to find here (from a variety point of view).

Chocolate Chips

Among the things I picked up this trip were Easter coloured peanut butter M&M’s, almond M&M’s, regular Easter coloured M&M’s, pretzel M&M’s & Coconut M&M’s (which are absolutely amazing btw!) I also picked up one of my favorite candy’s – the Coconut Cream Hershey Kiss!  Hershey Kisses are pretty frowned upon here in the UK – most people here would describe them of tasting like stinky feet.  I’m impartial to the flavour of the original ones, but the coconut cream ones – oh boy!  They are delicious!  

So when I got home from holiday and started going through my emails, one immediately jumped out at me.  A recipe from Martha Stewart for her Chocolate Coconut Cream Cheese Bars.  I mean – seriously!  Is there any better combination? I had to make them!  They’re just like the coconut cream hershey kiss, only in bar form!


The base of these bars is very similar to the base of a Nanaimo bar, while the top has a nice cheesecakey taste.  Overall I’d say this is a pretty solid recipe, but I’ve added a few comments of my own in grey. *Just a note – these bars do take a while to make, and require refrigeration overnight, but they’re well worth it!

Chocolate Coconut Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Martha Stewart



Ingredients:

2 Cups (205g) Graham Crackers, finely ground (from 15 rectangles)
3 Cups (10oz/ 410g) shredded / desiccated Coconut
5oz (140g) Semisweet Chocolate, finely chopped
2oz (57g) Milk Chocolate, finely chopped
1 Cup + 3 Tbsp (260g) Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup (114g) Butter, plus more for pan
3 Eggs, plus 5 Egg Yolks
12oz (340g) Cream Cheese, room temperature
Coconut Cream Hershey Kisses (optional)

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF (189ºC). Butter a 9-inch square baking pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides, and grease the parchment.

2.  Stir together the graham cracker crumbs and 2 cups of coconut.

3.  Place the chocolate and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a heatproof bowl, and set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, and stir until melted.  Add the butter, and stir until melted and smooth. Remove the mixture from the heat, and let it cool slightly. Whisk in 1 egg.

4.  Stir the chocolate mixture into the coconut mixture.  Press it evenly into your prepared pan. Bake until set – approx 10 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack, and let cool in pan. *I don’t really think it’s necessary to pre-bake the base considering it will be baked again.  I baked mine for the recommended 10 mins, but I thought the base was a tad overcooked once they were baked again.  If you’re going to bake it, I’d recommend only doing so for 5 minutes.

5.  Using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat cream cheese and the remaining cup of sugar on high speed until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, and add egg yolks and remaining 2 eggs, 1 at a time, until well combined. Scrape the sides of bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until completely smooth, about 3 minutes.

6.  Pour the mixture over the cooled crust, and sprinkle the remaining cup of coconut evenly over the top.

7.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until top layer is just set and coconut is golden brown. Let the bars cool in the pan on a wire rack for about an hour, and then evenly place unwrapped Coconut Kisses across the top. (Try 1 Kiss first and wait about 5 minutes to make sure it’s not melting too much.  If it is, then wait another 10 – 20 minutes until the cheesecake cools a bit more before trying again). Refrigerate, overnight.


8.  Run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan, and use the parchment to lift out cheesecake. Cut the cheesecake into squares, wiping knife clean between cuts. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


Coconut and chocolate is such a wonderful combination, and I was so excited to see the recipe for these bars come through to my in-box.  Although they are a bit time consuming (if you pre-cook the base & let it cool), they’re definitely worth the time.  I brought these into the office and they received rave reviews.  Absolutely delicious!