Tag Archives: food

Happy Healthy Huge Cookies

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I’m happy.

Do you want to know why? I’ll tell you.

My mother made guacamole. That’s not what you were expecting, huh. Well it’s true that as I am writing this I am sitting in my kitchen with the bowl she made it in and a spatula, spooning off the leftover guac as a late afternoon snack. Think that’s gross? I don’t care. I love guac almost as much as I love chocolate.

Almost.

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I’m also super thrilled about my newest creation, adapted from http://www.healthfulpursuit.com. It’s a cookie, but not my typical chocolate filled artery clogging cookie recipe. No, no. It’s a healthy cookie. YES. It has been done. I was actually tasting the batter and I was thinking “oh dear I don’t know if these will work out…” but they DID and they are AWESOME. As previously mentioned, I found the recipe for “Runner Repair Cookies” on Leanne Vogel’s healthy food blog, healthful pursuit. I decided to make them because I had almost all of the ingredients needed, and with school starting up soon, I usually get hungry around 10am-ish for a snack. These cookies literally taste like a pumpkin muffin, and I didn’t even use that much pumpkin! It’s the perfect balance of sweetness, with a light cakey texture with chunks of pepitas and cranberries. The protein powder, almond butter and chia seeds also bring a much-desired nutritional aspect to the the table (or rather, to the desk): protein! Then of course, being a coconut lover, I included some flaked coconut on top.

Let’s get to it!

Ingredients-

  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup nut butter
  • 1/2 protein powder
  • 2 tbs pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 oz pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs ground chia
  • 2 tbs no sugar maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • optional: flaked coconut for garnish

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Blend the banana, eggs, and dates in a food processor until dates are thoroughly chopped. Transfer to bowl.

Stir in everything else, except for the optional coconut.

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Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet. Scoop the cookies out onto the baking sheet, probably 6 or 7 per pan. Garnish with coconut. I did these dudes in two rounds because I only had one silicon baking mat and was too lazy to butter another pan. Stick them in the oven for 6-8 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of a cookie comes out with moist crumbs attached. Let cool on pan for a couple minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy! Nutrition facts are below ūüôā

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Here is Leanne’s original recipe for her version of these cookies as seen on her blog-

http://www.healthfulpursuit.com/2011/02/runners-repair-cookies/

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Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Cream-Cheese Filling

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Oh. My. Gosh.

Whoopie pies.

You don’t know what they are? Let me enlighten you. They are basically two cakey cookies, with a light, creamy frosting in between. There are many variations of whoopie pies; I even have a full recipe book of them. However, I just wanted some chocolate cream-cheese whoopie pies. Plain and simple. Yummy. Warms the soul. Ya know. I also figured doing something outlandishly crazy would probably not be the best idea when I’m not even eating the majority of the product. Indeed, these were not for me to merely munch on in my spare time. They were for my wonderful team in “celebration” of the end of rowing preseason. The sport is hard enough on the water, so when you give the coaches two weeks to torture us with land-training, it’s very…let’s just say I couldn’t quite feel my legs for the first couple of days! So as a last hoorah with school starting Tuesday and all (there goes my time for experimenting in the kitchen. It’s really bumming me out, actually) I decided to make whoopie pies for the team. It also worked out perfectly because it was a nice reward at the end of practice after a surprise test (think of a rowing test as a time trial, except much more monotonous and much more detailed in every single thing you do). So. Yay chocolate whoopie pies. Also shout-out to Georgia who let me take a picture of her whoopie pie, as seen above. ;D

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I found this recipe on Food Network.com. I actually used (and modified) one recipe for the pies then used another for the filling. I’ll post the original links and the end of the post. I modified the whoopie pies by first of all halving the recipe (the original recipe would have made 76 individual whoopie pies. Sorry, but I don’t have the time or budget to do that, nor do I have 76 people to whom I can give whoopie pies). If you go to the original recipe, you will also see that 1 1/2 tbs of baking soda are said to be needed. This is a typo. It should be 1 1/2 teaspoons (tsp) not tablespoons (tbs). So I also adjusted and halved that. To give the pies more of a kick, I also added some instant espresso and some chocolate chips for taste and texture.

This recipe makes about 36 whole whoopie pies that are about the size of a baseball.

Adapted from Moody’s Diner featured on Foodnation with Bobby Flay and Food Network Magazine.

Ingredients:

For pies:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup veggie oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

For filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temp
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped

Possible add-ons if you’re feeling adventurous:

  • Crushed vanilla wafer cookies
  • Crushed graham crackers
  • Crushed Oreos
  • Chopped nuts (pecans would probably be best)
  • Toasted coconut
  • Sprinkles of any sort
  • Mini chocolate chips

No, you do not need all of these toppings. I actually just used the vanilla wafer cookies. Use however many or however little you want.

Let us begin.

First, the cakes-

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, or preheat a convection oven to 315 degrees F.

In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder).

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter until creamy and fluffy. And eggs and beat until well combined. Add the oil and vanilla and beat again. (I feel like singing Michael Jackson’s “Beat it” because of the number of times I said “beat” in the past sentences)

.Add half of the dry mixture to the egg mixture and beat or stir to blend. Add 3/4 cup milk and beat again. Add the remaining dry mixture and beat until incorporated. Add the remaining 3/4 cup milk and beat until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips

With a spoon, scoop out the batter onto baking sheets. I did about a tablespoon per pie, maybe a little more. With these sized whoopie pies, I was able to get 12 pies on an 11ishx16ish baking sheet. So unless you have a super huge oven and a gazillion baking sheets, you will need to do multiple rotations for baking them. But it’s worth it. Bake for about 6:30-7 minutes, or until a knife stuck in the middle of a pie comes out with moist crumbs attached or clean. Really be careful with the baking time; they go from nice and moist to overbaked and dry in the matter of a minute.

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Once out of the oven, let cool slightly on the baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool COMPLETELY before filling

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Speaking of filling….

Procedure for vanilla cream-cheese filling

Beat the cream cheese and butter with a mixer until smooth. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla seeds. Sandwich a tablespoonful of filling between 2 cookies; repeat with the remaining cookies and filling. Roll edges in add-ons. Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving.

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Enjoy!

pie: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/foodnation-with-bobby-flay/whoopie-pies-recipe/index.html

filling: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/red-velvet-whoopie-pies-recipe/index.html?ic1=obinsite

Alton Brown’s Frozen Blueberry Pie

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I went blueberry picking!

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…I picked a lot of blueberries.

12 lbs to be exact. It was extremely fun (even though my mom told me to wear a black shirt so I wouldn’t get stained by blueberries. Bad idea. We were in the sun the whole time) AND extremely rewarding. Blueberries are awesome because you can eat them fresh or frozen, in a muffin, in a pie, in a coffee-cake, in pancakes, in waffles, as a jam….you get the picture. So I made a pie with my grandma’s versatile pie crust recipe and Alton Brown’s frozen pie recipe. The reason it is frozen is because you make it let’s say the night before an occasion, then you pour the filling into a pie mold then you let it freeze for 6-8 hours or over night THEN you pop it out and bake it! It’s awesome because it’s easy and it’s able to be made in advance.

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And it. Was. Amazing. The filling didn’t do any unnecessary oozing when cut; it’s actually easy to cut a slice! And beside a scoop of vanilla ice cream…

You must try this. And no, you don’t need to go blueberry picking and get 12 lbs of blueberries to do it. Without further ado:

Ingredients-

For Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup Crisco, cubed
  • 2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 tbs ice water

For Filling

  • ¬†4 cups of blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tbs of tapioca flour/starch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 teaspoon water

How to:

For the filling-

Wash the berries and pat dry. Mash up half of the blueberries in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt and tapioca flour/starch. Add the mashed blueberries, orange juice and orange zest and stir to combine. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes. Fold in the whole berries.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with aluminum foil. Place the blueberry mixture into the foil and place in the freezer until solid, approximately 6 to 8 hours.

Once the filling is frozen, remove from the aluminum foil and wrap in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.

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For pie crust and baking-
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

For the pie crust-

Combine the flour, salt, crisco, and butter in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the water and process just until a ball forms. Remove from processor and wrap dough in saran wrap and put in the fridge for at least 15 minutes, or until workable. When ready, make sure you have a lot of wax paper and a lot of flour. Rip two big pieces of wax paper and put them on top of each other so that you have a square surface. Lightly flour. Get the dough out of the fridge and unwrap. Cut a third of it off and place back in the fridge. Pound down the remaining dough with a rolling pin until its a bit flatter to work with. Lightly flour the surface and rip another piece of wax paper and place on top. Roll out the dough in a circular fashion until it is about 3/16 of an inch thick. Or until you know that when you invert it into the pie pan, the dough reaches the lip of the pie pan. Which brings me to the next task: Place a 9 inch pie pan face down on the dough. Slide one hand under the dough to the center of the pie pan. Invert the dough into the pie pan. Once flipped, make sure dough is pressed down against pan in all places. Trip excess of crust and throw in the fridge with the remaining dough. Now, this is the important part: stab all of the dough with a fork. Seriously. My Grandma says she NEVER uses pie weights; just stab it to death with a fork.

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With the remaining dough, roll it out in the same fashion, but more lengthwise so you can cut 6 equal strips of dough to form the basket-like structure. Remove the frozen pie filling from the freezer and place into the prepared dough in the pan. Lightly brush the edge of the crust with the egg yolk. Lay 4 strips of dough across the top of the filling horizontally, leaving an even amount of space in between each strip. Fold back 2 alternating strips and lay down another strip in the middle of the pie, perpendicular to the other strips. Return the strips that are laid back to their original position. Next, fold back the other 2 strips and lay down a strip to the left of the center perpendicular strip. Return the strips that are laid back to their original position and repeat on the other side of the perpendicular strip, folding back the same 2 strips as you did on the other side. Once you have a lattice, brush all the strips of dough with the egg yolk, trim excess dough and pinch strips and edge of crust in order to seal. Place on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes. The pie should be bubbling lightly around the edges. If the lattice is not browned enough in the center, place under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes.

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Place the pie on a rack and allow to cool to room temperature before serving, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

 

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Place the pie on a rack and allow to cool to room temperature before serving, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Devour with vanilla ice cream.

Here’s Alton Brown’s original recipe!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/frozen-blueberry-pie-recipe/index.html

 

Traditional Pesto

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Italy.

I miss it. I miss the language. Sometimes while doing summer work I’ll find myself writing bits and pieces of a sentence in Italian. Ha, if my teachers check my notes, they’ll be so confused. I miss the people; they posses endless hospitality and affection. I miss my cousin Emilia who is legitimately the spunkiest woman I’ve ever met. I miss the amazing landscape, whether it be the rolling hills and gardens in Grottaferrata, or the sharp cliffs of the Amalfi. And of course, of COURSE, I miss the food. It’s interesting, I never had true Italian pesto while in Italy. But the other night, I needed a taste of something full of summer but also full of culture.

=Pesto.

Pesto is amazing because it can go on anything (marinade, topping, my friend even uses it as a salad dressing), and it has a long freezer-life. So this recipe I came up with makes a lot of pesto, but since you freeze it, you can just get it out and thaw it whenever you want a bite of Italy! Plus, it’s supper easy. All you need is a food processor.

Ingredienti-

  • 8 cups basil
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (depends on the size of the cloves and how garlicky you like it. I used 4 smallish ones but then needed some more garlic salt)
  • 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 2/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 1/3 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup-1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese, depending on how cheesy you like your pesto.

Procedure:

Throw the basil, garlic, and pine nuts into the food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Add olive oil and lemon zest and blend until smooth. Taste to see how much salt and pepper you want. If freezing, transfer to airtight container and throw in the freezer. If using immediately, transfer to bowl and stir in cheese.

Enjoy the basil while you can, fall is coming!

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Parmesan Bread Pudding with Spinach and Prosciutto

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So this recipe was originally “Parmesan Bread Pudding with Broccoli Rabe and Pancetta” from Epicurious. But, as it turned out, I like spinach more than broccoli rabe, and my grandma accidentally got prosciutto. So it turned into this lovely savory bread pudding. It’s a complete dinner; it has your protein (eggs and prosciutto) veggies (spinach) and carbs (bread)! Ha. You can use it as a side dish as well; my family had it with a night full of BBQ. And last but not least, this is the PERFECT breakfast. Eggs. Cheese. Meat. Spinach. It’s like an omelet. But it’s not. The bread soaks up the eggs, giving it a really fluffy texture as the cheese oozes out. Then the spinach really compliments the whole thing because it’s a change of texture but it’s not out of place with crazy crunch or a weird slickness. It’s just perfect. Alright. Recipe. Right.

This was originally from Epicurious, which got it from Bon Appetit’s April 2013 edition from¬†Mary-Frances Heck

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 cups of loosely packed baby spinach
  • 2 tsp kosher salt plus more
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper plus more
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 pound country-style white bread, cut into 1″ pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
  • Enough prosciutto to cover the top of your pudding; I’d say 5-6 slices

Preheat oven to 350¬įF. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir until garlic is softened, about 30 seconds. Add spinach and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until wilted, about 2 minutes; let cool slightly. Don’t want to curdle them eggs.

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In the mean time, whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend. Add spinach mixture, bread, and  Parmesan; toss to combine. Transfer to a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Top with Prosciutto.

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Bake pudding until puffed, browned in spots, and set in the center, 45-55 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Homemade Nut Butter

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I love peanut butter. It is yummy. And gooey. And delicious. And a GREAT thing to use in all types of baking projects. However, there is an issue with big-brand peanut butter companies. ¬†Look on the ingredient list. You’re looking at it? Good. On my jar of peanut butter, it says “Ingredients: Peanuts and sugar” but it ALSO contains some molasses and fully hydrogenated veggie oils.

But…but…I don’t want anything extra in my peanut butter. I just want it for the healthy fats and proteins! Not the sugars or oils!

What ever is the answer to this food dilemma?

As I was scrolling through Instagram one day, I came across the recipe for homemade nut butter from http://mindovermunch.com. Alyssia (The woman who runs the Instagram and website) does an awesome job posting healthy recipes every day, along with the nutrition info. I thought making her nut butter was an awesome idea because I was in Colorado at the time and I was having an urge to make food. So I asked my grandma if she wanted nut butter. And she said sure. So. My own interpretation of this recipe was created!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (16 oz) of salted or unsalted nuts. Any nut! I did a combo of them but you can use almonds, cashews, maybe macadamia nuts….
  • 1 tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbs of honey or 1 tbs of sweetener (I used truvia and it was fine, it depends if you want your butter sweeter or saltier. I like mine saltier, so I didn’t find much of a need to use a bunch of honey)
  • 1/2 cup (more or less) unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

Procedure:

Place nuts, cinnamon, and honey or sweetener in the food processor. Blend until the mixture resembles a big ball. Add some almond milk to break up the ball. The ball will probably start forming again. Add some more almond milk. Wait to see if it forms a ball again. If it does, add some more. Point is, gradually add the almond milk; don’t do it all at once. Eventually, after a lot of blending, the butter will settle from the ball to a creamy mixture. The great thing about this recipe is 1. it’s simplicity and 2. you can alter it to however you like your nut butter. Don’t like cinnamon? Don’t add it! Don’t like honey? Don’t add it! Like thick nut butter? Add less almond milk! Like thinner nut butter? Add more! It’s greatly versatile, which is why I love the recipe. I hope you try it out and love it as well!

Calories: It ranges from 160-200 ish per 2 tablespoons, because there are so many factors involved based off of personal preference. It’s a matter of what nut you use, how much honey you add, how much almond milk you add, etc.

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Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake

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Happy birthday to me. Kinda. My birthday isn’t until July 30th but I’ll be away then so we usually celebrate it beforehand with our greatest family friends. We went to an Italian restaurant in town where I had mozzarella on mozzarella on mozzarella. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had cheese? It’s been a very, very long time. It’s also been a very, very long time since I’ve made and/or had cake. Like, a good cake. We have cake sometimes at rowing for various peoples’ birthdays and they’re awesome (there was this one ice cream cake recently aghh omnomnom) buuuut they aren’t exactly homemade in MY kitchen. So. I made my own birthday cake. Yes. I make my own birthday cake. Yes. I realize it’s weird. No, I don’t care. Because baking is therapeutic and lovely and when you’re making a cake with chocolate, coconut, and pecans, the opportunity to snack is constant. Which is always awesome. This Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake from Gourmet Magazine’s (yes, Gourmet!) March 2000 issue takes a long time, but each bite you get three textures: 1. the moist chocolate cake 2. the crunchy praline-like filling and 3. the smooth, frosting-like glaze. I literally could not stop eating it. It’s addictive.

Makes: 12 servings ish, 1 3-layer cake

active time: 1.5 hrs

total time (if you do it all in one day): 4.25 hrs

Ingredients!

For the cake-

  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 plus 1 tbs unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used half Dutch and half Hershey’s unsweetened and it worked fine)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 6 tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup boiling-hot water

For Filling-

  • 7 oz sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbs vanilla

For Glaze-

  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 10 oz semisweet chocolate (I used nestle chocolate chips)
  • 3 tbs light corn syrup

Gettin’ it goin’

The Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 F and oil cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk together whole milk, butter, whole egg, egg yolk, and vanilla in another large bowl until just combined. This part of my mixture kind of got lumpy because the cold milk clumped up the melted butter, but it still turned out great so don’t worry if that happens to you too. Beat egg mixture into the flour mixture until combined. Add water and beat again until combined. The batter will be thin, don’t worry. Divide the batter among the cake pans (the layers will also be thin, so each cake pan doesn’t get too much batter) and bake in upper and lower thirds of the oven, rotating them 180 degrees and switching positions half-way through. The cakes are done when a toothpick/knife/whatever comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Cool layers in pans on racks for 15 minutes, run a thin knife around the edges if needed, and flip ’em onto racks. Carefully remove parchment paper and cool completely.

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The Filling:

Reduce the oven temp to 325 F. Spread the c0c0nut on a baking sheet and the pecans on another. Bake pecans in upper third of the oven. and the coconut in the lower third. Stir occasionally, until all nice and toasted (pecans will be golden brown ish and will release a nutty odor, coconut will be golden brown.) ***THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT AND I MAKE IT CLEAR IN ALL OF MY POSTS. Toasting coconut is awesome but when you go to stir it, BE CAUTIOUS. Coconut oil is released from the shredded coconut and the vapor is in the oven. When you open the oven, guess where the vapor goes? Your eyes. It hurts a lot. So when you go to stir the coconut, open the oven, wait like 10-15 seconds, then stir. Anyways, it should take about 12-18 minutes in total. Remove the pans from the oven.

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Increase the oven temp to 425  F. Pour condensed milk until at least a 9 inch deep-dish pie plate (I used an 8x11ish rectangular pan and that worked) and cover tightly with foil. Bake the milk in a water bath in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes. Refill baking pan with water (just pour more in) to reach halfway up the plate/pan and bake milk until thick and golden brown, about 45 minutes more. Remove pie plate from water bath. Stir in coconut, pecans, and vanilla and keep the mixture warm, covered with foil.

Make the Glaze while the milk is baking if you choose:

Melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate and corn syrup, whisking until chocolate is melted. Transfer 1 cup of glaze to a bowl, reserving remaining glaze at room temp in pan. Chill the glaze in a bowl, stirring occasionally, until thickened and spreadable, about 1 hour.

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Assemble the Cake:

Put 1 cake layer on a rack set over a baking pan, to catch the excess glaze. Drop half of coconut filling by spoonfuls evenly over layer and gently spread with wet spatula/back of spoon. What I found was that the filling was actually workable so I spooned it onto the cake but I was able to flatten it out with my fingers. Top with another cake layer and spread with remaining filling in the same manner. Top with remaining cake layer and spread chilled glaze evenly over top and side of cake. I realized that the chilled glaze doesn’t cover the cake completely, so just try to get a very thin layer over all of it. But don’t worry if there are some small patches without the chilled glaze. BECAUSE. You now spread the reserved glaze over the top and sides of the cake. This is where you make sure the whole cake is covered. Chill the cake until firm, about 1 hour. Transfer cake to a plate. Make sure to bring to room temp before serving.

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The order of which I did thing: I made the cake Tuesday night and froze them until Friday. I made the filling Thursday night and warmed it up Friday when I needed it. I made the glaze Friday and put it all together.