Not Your Average Cup of Joe

Coffee Macadamia Nut Biscotti

Coffee Macadamia Nut Biscotti

In Ka’u, the historic district of the Big Island of Hawaii, coffee and  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are the two big things.  The area is home to about 50 coffee plantations that ship beans around the world.  Four years ago, the community created an annual weeklong K’au Coffee Festival, that included a recipe contest.  It has since become one of its most popular events.  Last year’s winner created this recipe that was the grand-prize winner.  Oddly enough, this talented baker doesn’t drink coffee, but nevertheless she was able to come up with this winning recipe.


These coffee-spiked biscotti include other Ka’u ingredients like local honey, macadamia nuts and toasted coconut.  Even if you’ve never been to Hawaii, you can get a taste of the local flavor by making these award-winning biscotti.  They are really good with a cup of hot coffee or iced coffee.


Yield:  Makes 30 – 35 cookiesIMG_4531


  • 2  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup ground coffee
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 12-oz. bag white chocolate chips
  • 1  1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Whisk the flour, coffee, cocoa powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Combine the sugar, butter, honey, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed.   Reduce the mixer speed to low, beat in the flour mixture until just combined.  Stir in the macadamia nuts with a wooden spoon.

3.  Form the dough into two  8 – 10 inch logs on the prepared baking sheet, about 3 inches apart.  Bake until browned about 25 minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices using a serrated knife.

4.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325*F.  Arrange the slices cut-side down on the baking sheet; return to the oven and bake 20 more minutes, flipping the cookies over halfway through.  Let cool 10 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

5.  Melt the white chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water  (do not let the bowl touch the water), stirring until smooth.  Dip the biscotti partway into the melted chocolate, then roll in the toasted coconut.

This is how I stand them up to dry.

This is how I stand them up to dry.

Place on a baking sheet lined with fresh parchment; refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.


I spread chocolate on only one side of some of them, and sprinkled with coconut.

I spread chocolate on only one side of some of them, and sprinkled with coconut.

SOURCE:   Food Network Magazine


Coconut Mango Ice Pops

Today I want to share with you another way that I have been trying to beat the heat.    I’m on a binge of making Ice Pops.   And eating them too, of course. 😀


With a new toy to play with (my popsicle mold), I’ve been dreaming up all kinds of flavors and while most of them have been pretty good, this one, I think, is outstanding. Pureed mango and coconut milk with a little shredded coconut thrown in just to really taste the flavor.  I can’t even begin to tell you how delicious they are.  Sweet pureed mango and silky, smooth coconut are a match made for each other.  Sort of like a Piña Colada.  Want to know what else is great about them?  They are only 68 calories each.  Whoo-Hoo!


Yield:   Makes 10


Coconut Mango ice Pops

Coconut Mango ice Pops

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage (dairy case)
  • 1 3/4 cups diced ripe mango
  • 1 cup canned light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 tsp. coconut flavoring, optional


1.  Puree mango in the blender with 1/4 cup of the coconut milk beverage and sugar and blend until smooth.  Pour out into a small bowl and set aside.

2.  In the blender container, combine the remaining coconut milk beverage, canned coconut milk, honey, shredded coconut and coconut flavoring, if using.  Blend briefly to thoroughly mix and chop the coconut.

3.  Pour, or spoon, about  2 Tablespoons of mango puree into each popsicle mold then pour in coconut milk mixture, until all the molds are filled. Cover the molds, insert sticks, and  place the molds in the freezer and freeze until solid, about 5 to 6 hours.

Fill the molds, then freeze.

Fill the molds, cover, insert sticks, then freeze.

Cool and yummy!

Cool and yummy!


SOURCE:   POPS,  Icy Treats for Everyone,   Krystina Castella

Baked Coconut French Toast with Tropical Fruit Compote

Baked Coconut French Toast with Fruit Compote

Baked Coconut French Toast with Fruit Compote

We are now officially into summer.   The weather is sunny, hot and beautiful; and I’m cooking up something special for our breakfast.  Something with a tropical vibe to it.

What started me down this path was a recent purchase  of a large bag of unsweetened, flaked coconut, (read, large flakes),  by Bob’s Red Mill.  Don’t ask why I bought this when I already have two bags of the standard, sweetened flaked coconut on hand.  In addition, I’m not one to use a lot of coconut, even though we like it, because of my concern for the oil content.  Well, not everything I do always makes perfect sense, so now I must devise ways to use coconut.  Expect to see more recipes featuring coconut popping up in the near future. 😀


Baked French Toast, a somewhat “showy” breakfast, is really easy for me to serve on a weekend morning.  I assemble it all the evening before, put it in the fridge overnight, and just take it out and bake it in the morning.  While the toast is baking, I put together a fruit mixture, that I’ll loosely call a Tropical Fruit Compote, so you’ll think I really spent a lot of time planning for how this was all going to go together.   😀

The French Toast and fruit mixture complemented each other nicely  and provided a “summery” feeling to a breakfast that we enjoyed eating out on the deck.IMG_4379


Yield:   Serves 4

For the Toast:

  • 8 slices ( 1/2- inch thick ) diagonally cut Italian bread
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk ( or almond milk)
  • 4 large eggs, or 1 1/4 cups egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract ( to increase coconut flavor, use coconut extract)
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut

1.  Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.   Arrange the bread slices snugly in the dish.

2.  Combine the milk, eggs or egg substitute, sugar and vanilla, stirring with a whisk.  Pour evenly over the bread.  Turn the bread slices over to coat evenly.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

3.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  Remove bread mixture from refrigerator, uncover, and turn bread slices over.  Sprinkle evenly with coconut.  Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle on coconut before baking.

Sprinkle on coconut before baking.

4.  Bake, uncovered, at 375*F for 30 minutes or until coconut is golden.  Serve warm with fruit compote.

Just out of the oven--smells wonderful!

Just out of the oven–smells wonderful!

For the compote:

Colorful fruits go into the compote.

Colorful fruits go into the compote.

  • 1 mango, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 dark purple plum, pitted and sliced
  • 1 large kiwi, peeled, and sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice

Combine all ingredients.  Cover and chill over night,  or prepare while toast is baking.  Serve alongside the French Toast.

A Tropical Breakfast

A Tropical Breakfast

SOURCE:   Taste of Home

Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins

Just the name of these muffins puts you in a good mood doesn’t it?  Somehow it feels like you’re going to have a good day.    I like to call them “glorious morning muffins”, and they are one of my favorites.  They can turn the dreariest morning into a glorious one.  : )


These carrot-flecked whole-grain muffins can be made ahead so you can hit the floor running on a busy morning.  Add a non-fat latte and your day will be off to a healthy start.


YIELD:  12 muffins

Assemble the ingredients and they go together quickly.

Assemble the ingredients and they go together quickly.


  • 1 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, or coconut oil, melted if necessary
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts,  optional

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners

2.  Whisk whole-wheat flour, 1/2 cup oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and allspice in a medium bowl.

3.  Whisk eggs, applesauce, honey and vanilla in a large bowl.  Whisk in oil.  Gently stir in the flour mixture just until moistened.  Fold in carrots, 1/2 cup coconut, raisins and nuts, if using.

4.  Divide the batter among the muffin cups.  Mix together the remaining oats, and coconut.  Sprinkle on muffin tops.


5.  Bake at 350* until they spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only moist crumbs attached,  30 – 35 minutes.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


Delicious as they are when first made and eaten warm, they also seem to improve over night and taste even better the next day, when flavors have had time to blend.


Baked Coconut French Toast

Baked Coconut French Toast

Weekday mornings are so rushed with getting ready for work, breakfast is usually something quick like a scone or granola bar with coffee.  But on the weekend I like to make more complete breakfasts, to be enjoyed more leisurely.  This weekend I made this recipe for a baked French Toast that was fantastic!

The recipe was one that I had clipped out of a magazine some time ago and tucked into one of my (many) recipe books and forgot about.  While I was looking for another recipe this one fell out onto my lap.  When this kind of thing happens I take it as a sign that now is the right time to make it, and so I did.

Oh, what we’ve been missing all this time!…a little rich, a little high in fat and carbs, but we can fix that.  I’m printing the recipe as it was written, and then including my modifications for cutting back on fat, and sugar.  Here we go—-


YIELD:  8 servings, 2 slices of French Toast


  • 1 French bread baguette, (10 ounce size), sliced diagonally, 1-inch thick
  • Diagonally sliced French baguette

  •  cooking spray

  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk  ( I used light coconut milk–less saturated fat)
  • 4 large eggs ( substitute with 1 1/4 cups egg substitute, or 2 eggs and 1/2 cup egg substitute)
  • 1/2 cup sugar  (you can reduce to 1/4 cup, especially if using syrup on your toast)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut

1.  Arrange the slices of bread in a single layer in a 13″ x 9″ bake pan,  or 12″ x 8″ pan coated with cooking spray.

Arrange Bread slices in baking pan.

2.  Combine the coconut milk, eggs or egg substitute, sugar and vanilla, stirring with a whisk, and pour evenly over the bread slices.  Turn the bread over to coat both sides.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Pour egg and milk mixture over bread slices.

3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4.  Remove bread from refrigerator, and uncover.  Turn bread slices over, and sprinkle evenly with  flaked coconut.  Let it stand at room temperature 15 minutes.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30 minutes or until coconut is golden.

Turn bread over and sprinkle with coconut before baking.

Serve warm with a fresh fruit compote to complete a very enjoyable breakfast or brunch.

Serve with fresh fruit compote.

SOURCE:   Unknown

Pina-Mango Coladas

Just in time for what is promising to be a very warm weekend, I have just the cool, refreshing drink you may be looking for.  Lately I have been experimenting with putting together various combinations of fruits plus an alcoholic ingredient of some sort to make a cocktail that we can enjoy in the late afternoon out on our deck. Some have been very Yummy, others only Eeh……  This one, I think, is one of the successful ones.  Try it, and see if you agree.

It contains pineapple, mango, and orange juice, plus dark rum.  I freeze the pineapple in chunks, also the mango, and make orange juice ice cubes.  When it is all blended together you get a thick, cold, frosty beverage that pretty much stays that way all the way to the bottom of the glass.  Then you will want to pour yourself another one!  🙂     The riper the pineapple is, the more pronounced it’s flavor will be.

My advice:  If you do not have the ingredients on hand there is still time to go to the market and get them.  Cut up and freeze the fruits, so when a hot day arrives in your neck of the woods, you will be able to zip up this drink in a jiffy.


Servings:  about 8 @ 2/3 cups each

  • 1 (13.5 0z.) can Lite Coconut Milk
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into small chunks
  • 1 fresh mango, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, frozen into cubes
  • 1/4 cup orange juice-not frozen
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons light agave nectar
  • 3/4 cup gold rum ( such as Bacardi Gold)
  • 8 fresh pineapple slices

1.  Arrange pineapple and mango pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet;  freeze at least an hour or overnight.  Freeze the orange juice in an ice cube tray.

2.  Combine pineapple, mango, orange juice cubes,  ice cubes, agave nectar and rum in a blender;  Process mixture until smooth.  Add coconut milk slowly thru top “feed opening” while blending.  Process just to incorporate.

3.  Serve with a pineapple slice to garnish.

Some further thoughts:  You may choose to omit the rum, and this would still be a cool, delicious drink.  I chose to use “lite” coconut milk to avoid the saturated fat in the heavy, sugary cream of coconut.  This also cuts the calories way down.  I used a darker variety of rum because it’s what I had on hand.   With its underlying hints of molasses and caramel it  compliments the coconut and pineapple but you could use any kind of rum.

Blueberry-Coconut-Macadamia Muffins

The month of July has been declared National July Belongs to Blueberries Month, and July 11 is National Blueberry Muffin Day.  So if you guessed that I made blueberry muffins today you’d be right.   Now I know you readers are getting and reading this post the next day, but that’s OK since the whole month is devoted to blueberries, and any day you have one of these little gems will be a good day.

Whenever I eat one of these muffins I feel like I’ve gone on vacation.  They remind me of the Caribbean with their hint of coconut, and I think of palm trees swaying and Hawaiian music when I taste the macadamia nuts.  I think you get the picture.   I’ve made them many times in the past and I keep coming back to them because they are so good.  They taste as good as a cupcake with less sugar, fat and calories and they fit right into my week devoted to berry recipes.   Let’s get started making them.


Servings:  12 muffins

  • 1/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 2 Tablespoons plus 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons plus 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour, or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk ( no buttermilk?  Put 1 Tablespoon lemon juice in a 1-cup measure, add milk to make 3/4 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut or vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Coat a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray, or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine coconut, 2 Tablespoons flour, 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 Tablespoons macadamia nuts in a small bowl.  Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon canola oil and stir with a fork to combine.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl put 3/4 cup flour, the whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Whisk to combine.
  4. In another bowl put the 1/2 cup brown sugar, the remaining 1 Tablespoon canola oil, egg and egg white, buttermilk, melted butter, and coconut or vanilla extract.  Whisk these together until well combined.
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients, stir just to moisten.  Stir in the blueberries and remaining nuts.
  6. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups.  Sprinkle with the reserved coconut topping and gently press into the batter.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

These muffins are wonderful served warm, but can be easily rewarmed in the microwave by wrapping in a paper towel and microwaving on High for 30-40 seconds.  They also freeze well.



Grab ‘N Go: Granola and Yogurt

Over the course of the last few years I’ve been moving away from buying ready made foods like cereals, soups, sauces, etc. and making more and more of these items myself.  My reasons are  threefold;  environmental:  less packaging to dispose of;  health:  I can eliminate all those unpronounceable ingredients, and have better control over what we are eating; and emotional:  I feel really good knowing I can make it as good or better than what’s in a package.  Granola is one of those packaged items that I have ceased buying and now make at home.

Granola is very versatile.  It can be added to foods, as in a crumbly topping on a fruit cobbler, put on foods to add crunch, like over fruits, or ice-cream, or eaten out-of-hand as a snack.  So with that said, I have been making homemade granola and  spreading it around  rather liberally.  My lunches consist, for the most part, of fruit smoothies, or yogurt with granola on top; and for my husband, I send him off to work with a nutritious salad for lunch, and a bag of granola for a mid-afternoon snack.  Each time I make it I vary the fruits and nuts I put in it, so it does not become boring.

For anyone who needs a quick “grab and go” breakfast, or who brings lunch to work, yogurt and granola is a delicious, good-for-you duo.  I like Greek style yogurt because it’s thicker than regular styles, and because it packs almost twice the protein, so you’re not as likely to get the mid-morning munchies.  You can also stretch your budget by purchasing the large size yogurt and putting it into smaller 8 0z. containers.  Likewise package your granola in baggies, so when you’re ready to leave the house, just grab one of each and  you will be on your way with a breakfast or lunch that is economical, delicious, and good for you.

Trail Mix Granola

Makes about 5 cups

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats

    Have all your ingredients ready before starting to assemble.

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups add-ins, like dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, figs, raisins; coconut, nuts such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts.

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Whisk together oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a glass measuring cup.  Heat briefly in microwave ( 1 minute at 50% power) to blend  and melt any sugar lumps.  Stir well,  then pour over oats in a  large bowl and toss to coat.

3.  Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes.

4.   Let cool slightly, then transfer back into large bowl and stir in add-ins.  Let cool completely before packaging, or store in air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

SOURCE:  Quick Vegetarian Pleasures

Mounds Brownie Bars

The recipe for these rich and chewy bar cookies came about as a result of a challenge given to me by a dear friend whose  favorite candy bar is a Mounds bar.  If I remember correctly it went like this:  “I wonder if you can make a bar cookie that tastes like a Mounds bar! ” Always up for a challenge,  I replied ” Oh, of course I can!”

The first thing I did was treat myself to a Mounds candy bar in order to examine how it is made, and savor the flavors that go into the total experience of eating one.  I must say this was really hard work, but I had to do it.  What I discovered was that it had a chocolate, chewy base, a coconut layer, chocolate covering and an almond underneath the chocolate.   This will be a piece of cake, I told myself.

And so I began the process of development, which included several attempts at getting the base just right.  Mr. D. was so good about eating my experiments;  he never complained about taste testing several kinds of brownies.  Finally I was satisfied that I had the right texture for the base.  The rest was the easy part:  the coconut layer with a hint of almond flavoring, and a chocolate frosting to cover.   I decided to top each bar with an almond, instead of placing them under the frosting, so each bar would have one,  and for folks allergic to nuts, it could be easily removed.

Here then, is my interpretation of  Mounds candy in cookie bar form.

Ingredients List

Brownie Layer:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 4 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Coconut Layer:

  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 14 0z. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond flavoring


  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • 20-24 whole almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.  In a saucepan, over low heat, melt butter and chocolate; cool slightly.  Add sugar.  Stir in eggs, flour and vanilla.
  2. Pour into a greased  pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Center will not be firm.  Remove from the oven.
  3. Meanwhile, combine coconut with condensed milk and almond flavoring.  Gently spoon and spread over partially baked base.  Return to oven and bake another 15 minutes, or until light golden brown.  Cool slightly.
  4. Blend frosting ingredients; beating 2 minutes until fluffy.  Spread over warm bars.  Top each bar with a whole almond.
  5. Taste tested and approved!  Oh, and by the way—-I successfully met the challenge.  My friend was duly impressed.   
SOURCE:  A Carolyn Original