Tag Archives: vanilla

Coconut Date Balls

After the success of the Food For the Gods recipe, I have been constantly looking for other recipes that involve dates. Honestly, I have never been much for dates in the past. Most of my experience with dates was in the form of them being a main ingredient in Fruit Cakes. Ugh, the scourge of all holiday gifts or celebrations. Many people say that a Fruit Cake is a never ending gift, as it constantly gets re-gifted.

I have seen a few recipes for coconut date balls, but the recipe sourced here looked very easy as far as ingredients, and amount of time involved in preparing the balls. These are also a no-bake dessert, so that makes things great for summertime when you are really not looking forward to heating up the kitchen with an oven going.

The final piece that makes this a great recipe is the fact that I found a huge vat of pitted dates at Costco. Pitting the dried fruits is one of the most annoying aspects of cooking or baking with dates. To find pitted dates was great, and the price was great for about 4 pounds of dates.

Recipe Adapted From: Clearly Delicious


* ½ cup butter (softened)
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1 cup dates (pitted)
* 2 cups Rice Krispies
* ½ cup nuts, chopped (i.e., Walnuts)
* ½ teaspoon vanilla
* dash of salt
* sugared shredded coconut, for rolling


Combine first four ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir every few seconds while cooking for 5 minutes. Transfer date mixture to a large bowl. Add cereal, nuts, vanilla and salt and stir to combine. Let combined mixture sit for 30-45 minutes until it is cool enough to handle with your hands.

Prepare two pans for balls. First pan line with aluminum foil (this will hold the completed balls). The second pan will hold the coconut used to roll the balls in.

Take a teaspoon and scoop out a small portion of the mixture and roll in your hands to form a ball. Roll the ball in the coconut and then place on the aluminum foil lined pan. Repeat for the remaining mixture. Place pan with balls in the refrigerator to cool.

Makes between 18-24 balls.


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Baby Blue Shower Cupcakes

So, one of my friends in the ER at Queen of the Valley recently poked me to bring goodies to them. It turns out that when I said I was bringing homemade donuts to the ER, they assumed it was for them at QVC. But, the donuts were destined to go to ICC where I was supporting a go-live for the providers there.

So, I started bringing baked goods to the staff in the ER, and one of the nurses there has a sister who used to work at QVC. This is the quote from her: “If my sister is in the QvC ED, can i have a slice? Haha Not fair that im not a CVHP employee anymore and i find out you’re an amazing baker!!” Hi EJ!

Well, she was planning on hosting a baby shower later in July and she inquired about ordering some cupcakes for the shower. I told her I would be happy to make some for her.

I searched a few recipes online for some recipes. The only request from her was that the baby was a boy, and to try to do something with the cupcakes in blue. Well, blue cupcakes are more challenging in my opinion, as the color may alter while it bakes in the oven. So, I decided to go with a white cupcake with a blue frosting.

The cupcake is a White Velvet Cupcake and the recipe is adapted from Paula Dean’s Red Velvet cupcake recipe. The frosting is adapted from this Food Network recipe.


2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer.

Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled.

Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

I used a piping bag with a small star tip to apply the frosting. In the future, I will probably look to use a larger star tip to apply more frosting to each cupcake.

Packaged for Baby Shower

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Momofuku Crack Pie

While watching The Cooking Channel recently, I saw an episode of Unique Sweets. This show is the best show to watch for inspiration of items to make and also of places to go when you visit places around the U.S.A.

This particular episode focused on pies, and I like eating pie but not really making them. Mostly this is due to the need to prepare a crust, and I am not all the great at making things like crusts. One particular bakery in this episode was Momofuku in New York City. This bakery had many different items which looked good to make and even better to eat. The item that really peaked my interest was Crack Pie. The name does not sound all that tempting, but when you hear about the pie, see how it is prepared, and taste it, you totally get where it’s name comes from.

The only item on the list of ingredients that I did not have in my pantry was powdered milk. But, that is not a big obstacle, as it can easily be bought at any local grocery store.

These pies came out great, and I look forward to sharing them with friends and co-workers.

Recipe Source – L.A. Times

Cookie for crust

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (3 ounces) flour
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) softened butter
1/3 cup (2 ½ ounces) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons (1 ¼ ounces) sugar
1 egg
Scant 1 cup (3 ½ ounces) rolled oats

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy.

4. Whisk the egg into the butter mixture until fully incorporated.

5. With the mixer running, beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time, until fully combined. Stir in the oats until incorporated.

6. Spread the mixture onto a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking sheet and bake until golden brown and set, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to the touch on a rack. Crumble the cooled cookie to use in the crust.


Crumbled cookie for crust
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 ½ tablespoons (3/4 ounce) brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Combine the crumbled cookie, butter, brown sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until evenly combined and blended (a little of the mixture clumped between your fingers should hold together). Divide the crust between 2 (10-inch) pie tins. Press the crust into each shell to form a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides of the tins. Set the prepared crusts aside while you prepare the filling.


1 ½ cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar
3/4 cup plus a scant 3 tablespoons (7 ounces) light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon (3/4 ounce) milk powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
3/4 cup plus a scant 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 egg yolks
2 prepared crusts
Powdered sugar, garnish

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, salt and milk powder. Whisk in the melted butter, then whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla.

3. Gently whisk in the egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air.

4. Divide the filling evenly between the 2 prepared pie shells.

5. Bake the pies, one at a time, for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown (similar to a pecan pie), about 10 minutes. Remove the pies and cool on a rack.

6. Refrigerate the cooled pies until well chilled. The pies are meant to be served cold, and the filling will be gooey. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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Ube Macapuno Cupcakes

One of my favorite filipino desserts is Ube Macapuno Roll. This is a cake made with ube (filipino yam in a shredded or jam form) and also with macapuno (youn coconut which is generally shredded or cut into very small pieces). The cake is generally rolled with frosting in the middle. The frosting is made of butter, confectioner’s sugar and macapuno.

I have never really given much thought to making the roll version of the cake. However, I have seen a few recipes on different blogs in the past, so a cupcake variant seemed like a good way to go. The biggest challenge with these cakes is getting the shade of purple dark enough. The jam is a part of it, but another big part is the ube extract. In the future I might increase the extract slightly as that seems to have a larger effect on the shade of the batter.

Recipe adapted from –


ube cupcakes: makes 14 cupcakes
½ cup macapuno
½ cup ube jam
½ cup milk
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
½ tsp McCormick ube flavoring

macapuno frosting:
½ cup butter, softened
8oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup Macapuno strings, chopped (Macapuno is jarred coconut found in Asian markets)
16 oz powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift flour, baking powder and salt, set aside

2. Place ube jam in a large bowl. Mix together with 1/2 cup milk, vanilla and ube flavoring. Gradually blend until smooth, set aside.

3. In a seperate bowl mixed butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until combined.

4. Add a portion of flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, then add a portion of ube/milk mixture, continuing to alternate between the flour and the ube/milk until everything is combined. Stir in macapuno.

5. Place baking paper cups into muffin pans and spoon 1/4 cup batter into each cups.

6. Bake for 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes or until cake tester inserted into center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pans and let it cool on a wire rack.

7. While cupcakes are cooling on rack, prepare the frosting by beating the butter and cream cheese until creamy. Add the macapuno and mix to combine. Gradually add the powdered sugar and continue to mix until everything is combined.

7. Frost cupcakes with macapuno frosting.


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Triple Berry Chocolate Bread

One of the e-mails I receive each day is from a website called Foodbuzz.com. The interesting thing about this website is that it gathers blog posts each day from individual blogs where readers vote on the blogs and the top 9 vote getters are gathered into an e-mail which is distributed. I have looked at many of the recipes that show up on the e-mail, but I have not been tempted to make anything yet. That was until yesterday.

During the summer months, berries are all in season, and are in huge supply at all the close grocery stores. Especially Costco where you can buy enough berries for a small army at a very cheap price. We had recently gone to Costco and bought some fresh berries so this recipe was very easy to prepare as all the other ingredients are in the pantry.

This bread came out super moist, great in taste, and needs to be eaten in moderation. OMG

Recipe Source –


■ 2 ¼ cups flour
■ 2 cups sugar
■ 3/4 cup cocoa powder (NOT hot chocolate mix… real cocoa powder)
■ 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
■ ½ teaspoon salt
■ 1 ½ cups milk
■ 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
■ 3 eggs
■ 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
■ 2 cups mini semi sweet chocolate chips
■ 1 cup fresh raspberries
■ 1 cup fresh blackberries
■ 1 cup fresh blueberries


1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour or spray with cooking spray 2 9 inch loaf pans.

2.In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients (not the berries or chips).

3.Whisk in the wet ingredients (not the chips or berries yet). Do NOT overmix or kittens will cry pitifully. Plus, your bread will be tough. But it’s the kitten part that makes me sad.

4.Gently fold in the berries and chocolate chips.

5.Pour batter evenly into the prepared pans.

6.Cook at 325 for 60 to 75 minutes or until a skewer comes out with no loose crumbs on it. Let cool in pan for ten minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.

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I Want to Marry You Cookies

Ok, not the name I would have chosen for the cookies, but they are very good. Per my co-worker Junior, these cookies are good enough to have one per hour. For the 2 dozen that I brought into our office, they were nearly gone by the time the late afternoon got around.

I was slightly skeptical about the recipe, as I have never seen one that had you melt the butter and then combine with the sugar. However, after trying a few of these cookies, it was clear that they give it almost a chewy toffee consistency. Cooling the dough in the refrigerator prior to baking and the 325 degree oven lead to a cookie that does not really melt but forms a perfect circle that is about 1/3″ thick cookie.

I modified the original recipe by adding coconut to the recipe, and it was very good. I’ll add some nuts to the next batch. Macadamia nuts should be pretty good.

Recipe modified from Melissa Stadler


1 cup butter
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup shredded coconut


In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat until melted. Remove from the heat.

Add the dark brown sugar and granulated sugar and stir until sugars are incorporated and smooth. Chill the mixture for 10 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator and stir in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.

Add the flour, oats, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cinnamon and mix together.

Stir in the white chocolate chips and chocolate chips.

Roll by hand into 24 medium-size balls or use a scoop, and place on a light-colored cookie sheet.

Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and bake for 12 to 14 minutes.

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Outrageous Brownies

Since Monica and I have been spending time in Labor & Delivery lately working with the physician, I decided that it would be a good idea to bring a gift of thanks to the nursing staff. Especially, since they have been so helpful to us and assisting us while working with the physicians.

Since I had all the ingredients at home for the brownies, I decided to make these early Friday morning. It would have been best to make these on Thursday night, but I was way too tired.

Here is the recipe:


1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into 20 large squares.

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