Cheryl’s Cuisine: April 2017

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

Easter is fast approaching.  My thoughts turn to preparations for my basket filled with traditional Russian Easter foods, which I have blessed on Holy Saturday.  Historically, dessert for the holiday is comprised of nut, poppy seed, and other varieties of kolachi. We can’t forget the solid milk chocolate Easter egg candies.  

But what if you’re having a large crowd?  The item that screams “Easter” to me is coconut.  Bakeries make bunny and egg cakes with fluffy vanilla frosting topped with coconut.  It’s sweet, light, and can be toasted.

On doing some research, I found that coconut is a “seed” and  can also be considered a fruit or a nut.  Either way, it adds a different taste and texture to your cooking.   So this month, I thought I’d share some favorite coconut dessert recipes with you from my recipe box.   Wishing everyone a Happy, Blessed Easter!

Coconut Ice Cream Cake:

coconut60 Ritz crackers
1 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 cup milk
2 pkgs. instant coconut cream pudding
1/2 gallon of vanilla or French vanilla ice cream
1 large Cool Whip
Coconut

Crush the crackers and pour in melted butter.  Press into 13x9x2″ pan. Do NOT bake. Soften ice cream. Beat milk with pudding mix. Blend into ice cream. Put into crust and top with Cool Whip and additional coconut, if desired. Freeze for at least a few hours or overnight, covered. Let sit in refrigerator a few hours before serving. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

***

Italian Cake:

12801Cream:
2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1-1 oz. bottle anise extract (optional)
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. orange extract

Beat above mixture with beater and add the following:

3 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice

Beat all until creamy.

Fold in:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries, drained

Butter and flour a 10″ tube pan.  Bake 50 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven.  Cool 10 minutes and take out of pan and serve.  Note:  Can serve with whipped cream on  the side.

***

Hawaiian Delight Cake: 

Pineapple3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 cups oil
2 cups mashed bananas
1-8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained (save liquid)
3 eggs
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1  pkg. coconut
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries

Sift dry ingredients together.  Add rest of ingredients.  Mix until blended.  Do not beat with beaters.  Add fruit and nuts last.  Pour into greased and floured tube pan.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour.  Cool on rack 15 minutes before removing from pan.  Glaze with the following:
1/4 cup milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup pineapple juice from the crushed pineapple

 Combine above.  Pour over cake.  When icing has dried, sprinkle with coconut.

***

Chocolate Raspberry Coconut Squares:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.    For this base combine flour and brown sugar.  With pastry blender, cut in butter until crumbs form.  Press into greased 9″ square baking pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.

6826994-raspberriesFor topping:
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1-6 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 1/3 cup coconut, divided
1/2 cup chopped nuts

In large bowl combine sweetened condensed milk, flour, baking powder, salt and eggs. Mix well.  Stir in semi-sweet chocolate morsels, 1 cup of coconut and nuts.  Pour over cookie base and bake for 25 minutes longer.  Remove from oven and spread 1/2 cup of raspberry preserves on top.

Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup coconut on top.  Let cool completely and cut into 1 1/2″ squares.  Makes 36 squares.

***

Creamy Coconut Pie:

1-3 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 1/3 cup coconut
1-8 oz. Cool Whip
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1-8″ graham cracker crust, prepared

Combine cream cheese, sugar, milk and coconut in blender.  Cover and blend for 30 seconds.  Fold into whipped topping and add extract.  Spoon into crust and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.  Sprinkle with additional toasted coconut, if desired.  Keep at room temperature 5 minutes before cutting for creamier texture.  Store leftover pie in freezer.

***

fac7540543ab9748b06e2ec25d5d0341Quick, Easy Macaroons:

2-7 oz. bags flaked coconut
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk 2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In large bowl combine coconut, condensed milk and extracts.  Mix well.  Drop by rounded teaspoons onto parchment paper or generously greased baking sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.  

IMMEDIATELY remove from baking sheets.  (They will stick if allowed to cool on sheets). Store in loosely covered container.  Makes about 4 dozen.

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