Good Taste: Coconut Tuile Cookies

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Growing up, my daughter loved nothing more than to mix together elaborate food experiments, that I then dutifully taste-tested with as straight a face (and iron stomach) as I could muster. To this day her passion for cooking continues, but luckily her mad scientist approach has morphed into real talent in the kitchen.

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Last week she decided to mix up a batch of Coconut Tuile Cookies from a recipe found on Simply Recipes (she adapted it with our favorite flour to make it gluten-free), and I am delighted to tell you that they were so scrumptious that I immediately asked her if she’d cook another batch with me so that I could eat the whole thing…err…I mean share the results with you here!

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Here’s a quick kitchen tip for you. If you have the patience of a gnat (like me) and can’t wait hours for butter to soften for a recipe, just grate the chilled stick down a cheese grater and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before use. Works like a charm!

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Tuiles are purportedly named for the curved French roof tiles that they commonly resemble. However, we didn’t bother shaping ours on the back of a rolling pin (as you’re supposed to), because we just couldn’t wait to pop them in our mouths! These coconutty morsels taste just as delicious flat as they do curved (in my humble opinion).

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TIP: if you really want to knock this one out of the park, try topping each cookie with a sprinkle of honey roasted almond slices (we bought ours from Trader Joe’s) mid-way through the baking process! It tastes like an Almond Joy (sans chocolate)!

Ready to get baking? Hop over to Simply Recipes for the Coconut Tuile Recipe. Enjoy!

Photos by Kaia Harrison (that’s my awesome daughter)

In Good Taste: Homemade Caramel Corn

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While growing up my little sister and I weren’t allowed to consume any sugar. Because of this, I have a lot of strong food related memories. One in particular, is a brilliantly clear memory of a sleepover at a friend’s house where her dad cooked up a batch of peanut butter popcorn. I think that their family was a reduced-sugar clan too…but they used “real” peanut butter (read: the kind with sugar in it) vs. the dry ground paste that we had at home. Thinking back on it, I’m doubtful that this popcorn was really all that amazing, but at that time, to my sweets-deprived taste buds it was pure nirvana. I might have licked the bowl, and I’m pretty sure that I ate more than my fair share (I was greedy like that). Afterward, I revered her father like some sort of god…and you can guarantee that I was keen to sleep over at that friend’s house as often as possible from that point on.

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This in part, is why I determined that when I became a parent one day, that I would be one of those moms who would wow their kids’ friends by busting out delicious snacks…such as an epic rendition of caramel corn. And this lovelies, now brings to me the sweet, salty, crunchy goodness that is attainable through the Homemade Cracker Jack Recipe by Brown Eyed Baker. OMG!

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I’ve made this caramel corn more times than I can count and it’s a winner every-single-time (minus the first time when I burnt it—a note on that below). It’s the perfect recipe to add to your kid/friend-wowing recipe arsenal. Head over to Brown Eyed Girl for the Caramel Corn Recipe.

Here are a few tips that I’ve learned during all my popcorn making:

  • Making caramel with a candy thermometer can be intimidating, but you can’t really mess up this recipe as long as you watch the temperature closely. You’ve got this!
  • I found that the oven cooking time needs to be drastically shortened. I only bake mine for 25-35 minutes (vs. the hour noted on the original recipe).
  • You cannot stir the baking popcorn too much. I recommend carefully doing so every 5-10 minutes. This will ensure a nicely distributed caramel coating on your corn.
  • The caramel coating on the popcorn will fully crisp up once it has cooled. Don’t worry if it’s a little bit sticky at the end of the baking time. If you feel that it needs more baking time you can always pop it back in the oven for a few more minutes…but once it’s burnt there is no going back. Don’t make that sad mistake.
  • If you can use Fleur de Sel in place of the sea salt in the recipe your caramel corn will taste even more mind-blowing.
  • Store the leftovers (Ha! As if there will be any!) in an airtight glass or plastic container. I found that using a plastic storage bag doesn’t work as well and gives the popcorn a yucky plastic-like taste.

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Photo props: Stamps from Besotted Brand | Wooden baskets from Michael’s Craft Store

Good Taste: Blackberry Nectarine Cobbler + Homemade Vanilla Blackberry Swirl Ice Cream

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Last weekend my daughter and I decided to put our blackberry harvest to good use with two delicious recipes. First we dusted off our ice cream maker and created Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Recipe with an added Blackberry Swirl from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook.

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I grew up eating (and loving) Häagen-Dazs, but once I tasted Jeni’s ice cream, that and all other ice creams were spoiled for me. While not quite as luxurious as one of her $10-$14 pints, the recipes in her book come pretty darn close to measuring up. I’ve personally never created ice cream with such fantastic texture and taste! I can’t wait to try out additional recipes soon! If you’re an ice cream fan I can’t recommend her book enough.

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Next up we followed the Blackberry Cobbler recipe that I shared in my Ultimate Blackberry Recipe Roundup, adding in some fresh nectarines for contrast. I loved how easy this one was to whip up. Tip: to make it gluten-free, simply replaced the flour with your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour (we use Carol’s brand), and be sure your vanilla is gluten-free too.

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Both the cobbler and ice cream were absolutely scrumptious…especially when served together! I had it for dessert (and breakfast…shhh…every day until it was gone)!

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What was the last tasty recipe you cooked up? I’m always looking for delicious new things to try.  xo Ez

Good Taste: The Ultimate Blackberry Recipe Roundup

The Ultimate Blackberry Recipe Roundup: 75 tasty recipesMy little blackberry celebration is still in full swing (did you catch yesterday’s free printable summer berry stationery set)! And while today I was initially hoping to give you just a wee craving for the sweet summer fruit with a few tasty looking recipes found around blogland, I got a bit carried away and ended up with a roundup of 75 Blackberry Recipes! Oh! My! Goodness!…do my cranky arthritic fingers ever ache from the excessive link-writing! Phew! Fortunately it’s nothing that an ice pack can’t cure, and is well worth it to have all these glorious recipes in one place for my easy reference (and hopefully yours too). If an afternoon of cooking is not in the cards for you just yet, be sure to bookmark for later…your gumbling tummy will thank you. Pinky promise! xo Ez

Ready, set, drool…

PIES / CAKES / TARTS / COBBLERS & CRISPS:

BARS & BROWNIES:

MUFFINS | SCONES | BISCUITS & BREADS:

FROZEN / CHILLED:

DRINKS:

OTHER:

Good Taste: PopCorners

popcorners3If you suffer from minimal willpower or an insatiable love of crunchy snacks, I urge you to skedaddle on your merry way and leave this post in the dust.

popcorners5Oh, you’re still here…hooray! Then let me tell you about the tastiest snack to cross my lips in long while. I give you PopCorners! I was first lured into trying these unusual little chips by a friend who appreciates my love for snack foods. For a while I was only able to find the Sea Salt flavor at our local Whole Foods (which was fine by me, because they are delicious), but then I discovered the Kettle flavor, seasoned to taste like kettle corn. Heaven help me! The chips are light and mildly popcorny in flavor with just the right amount of salt and sweetness (for the Kettle variety). I won’t even pretend that I haven’t consumed an entire bag in a day…more than once. Eek! They are just too good. I haven’t spotted them in stores since moving to California (surely I must have overlooked them), which just might be a good thing. At least my hips are happy for the absence!

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A side note…this review was not sponsored by PopCorners. I just love their chips and had to share with you. xo Ez