Coconut Cookies, Thin and Tasty

I was looking to make coconut cookies: had some sweetened flaked coconut leftover in the fridge and this baker confesses that homemade cookies are my personal crack!  Looking around the net I found several very similar versions of this recipe for regular flour and simply subbed in my favorite gf blend and added some xanthan gum. Worked great: I can now make gf coconut cookies.  The dough is easy to put together and I froze half for a couple weeks so I didn’t have too many cookies at one time. Half makes about 16 three inch wide cookies. If they are chilled they stay thicker and don’t spread much. They are okay like that but I prefer the thin spread out version.  Be sure to let them sit a few moments before moving to a cookie rack; the thinner they are the more fragile they are and that bit of cooling makes a big difference in their stability.  Enjoy!

Chewy GF Coconut Cookies

1/2 Cup butter, softened for creaming

1/2 Cup brown Sugar

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 Egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flaked sweetened coconut

1 cup GF flour

½ tsp. xanthan gum

1/2 tsp. baking Soda

1/2 tsp. baking Powder

Pinch of Salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  I used King Arthur’s basic gf blend. Guessing most major blends will work fine.

In a separate bowl, use a mixer (I did this with my stand mixer) to combine the butter, two sugars,  and once combined add the egg and vanilla. Once that is combined well, slowly add the flour mixture as it slowly is blending.

When the flour and egg batter are well mixed, add the flaked coconut.

Once that is combined, drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart (8 to a sheet) and bake for about 9-11 minutes or until browned.  I did some on my fancy non stick french made Silpat. Works okay but somehow I prefer the parchment for this cookie.

Let them cool 30-60 seconds on sheet and then move to a cooling rack and serve after five minutes when they are firmed up and holding together.  I froze half the dough and then made cookies weeks later. If the dough is cold it won’t spread so much; try to let it come to close to room temperature before scooping and baking.

They  kept several days in my cookie jar.  But the best texture is while they are freshly baked…

Camping Meals: Can be Done GF: Tasty and Easy

We were camping this past weekend. To some that means burgers or hotdogs. We did have beans and franks for lunch one day but I like to create and enjoy special meals and this is our tenth year together so I dry aged some shell steaks and froze them so they would thaw slowly in the icy cooler.  They were awesome cooked on the campfire grill and topped with mushroom slices that I sauted on the griddle of the camp stove. We baked a large Idaho potato to go with the steak and split it: I really can’t eat a whole big potato; too starchy.  camping PA Grand C 011 Baked a yam cut in half and wrapped in foil for a side the first night.  We had steamed snap peas both suppers as mine were ready to pick; just put in a ziplock and threw them in the cooler. I steamed them in a camping pan.  Simple. That first night we had boneless chicken thighs cooked on a double skewer; marinated first and brushed with Sweet Baby Ray Honey Barbeque Sauce.  So succulent and spicy good.

The steak was the second night and I made a rhubarb blueberry cobbler to top the meal off in style. I used my usual cobbler recipe and I refer you to it for the dry mix that will be enough for four cobblers.

I pre-measured all the dry ingredients and seal in labeled ziplock baggies. I generally write all the wet ingredients on the baggie so I don’t forget anything.




Rhubarb Blueberry Cobbler

Fruit Filling

4 cups sliced rhubarb

1 cup blueberries

½ cup sugar –add more or less depending on sweet tooth

2 tbsp. tapioca flour

1/4 tsp cinnamon


Pour the fruit in a oven safe sauce pan. Stir together the sugar, cinnamon and flour (I pack them at home by pouring into a baggie that I have pre-labeled with a sharpie marker) and mix into the fruit.  Cook on a not too hot camp stove or grill for 5-10 minutes, stir often, until it is thickened and hot.  Top with big blops of the cobbler topping.

Cobbler Topping

1 cup dry cobbler mix (in a pre-labeled ziplock baggie)

2 eggs

2 tbsp melted butter or canola oil

¼-1/3 cup milk/buttermilk

½ tsp. vanilla

Mix the wet ingredients in a medium mixing bowl with a whisk or big spoon. and then add the dry mix. Stir briefly: do not over-mix for best texture.  Use a big spoon to plop it right away on the hot fruit. If it is runny just pour it right over the hot fruit. Mine was runny this time but it tasted great although it took longer to bake.

Cover tightly and bake immediately on grill top for 25 minutes.  The top should be light brown and spring back when you poke it with your finger.  If it looks damp or squishy bake it 5 more minutes before checking. This time I double covered the pan with aluminum foil and put small hot coals on top to help the biscuit topping bake.

Let cool 5-7 minutes before serving as it will burn your mouth if you dig right in!

It was super good the next lunch eaten cold and I had the last of it that night when I was visiting my mom; we had some vanilla ice cream along side it warmed up; perfection!

Banana Custard Pie…in a Chocolate Crust…Luxury Made Easy

The ultimate perfect old school pie… so yummy and all you really need to make is some custard. I changed up my crust from a traditional flaky crust to a gf chocolate cookie crust that I bought at Wegmans. You can too and save the time you would have spent making a crust. No baking for me this time: no hot oven!

My mom used to make this pie when I was in my early adulthood; for some reason she never made it for us as little kids.  I used to cut up and set the banana rounds in the flaky baked pie shell for her.  She never used a chocolate crust so this is a slightly different take on this custard pie. The contrast of the rich custard, the crunchy chocolate crust and the fluffy cream with the delicate banana flavor is just so memorable.  And if you can make custard this pie is simple. I assume you could use a box pudding but I highly recommend this traditional stove top egg custard, straight out of Betty Crocker’s 1978 cookbook.

Angie’s Banana Cream Pie

 A chocolate ready-made crust



½ to 2/3 cup sugar (I went with ½ cup and it was plenty sweet)

1/4 cup corn starch

½ tsp sea salt

3 cups whole milk or 2 percent, no lower fat than that

4 egg yolks beaten lightly

3 tbsp. butter cut into small cubes. (optional- skipped it this time)

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 large bananas

Topping: 1 cup whipping cream, ¼ cup powdered sugar and ½ tsp. vanilla

Directions: Mix the dry ingredients in a 1 ½ qt sauce pan, Add the milk and stir constantly as it heats.  Once it reaches a boil time it for one minute. My secret trick is that if I don’t feel it was fully boiling when I started my minute; I add another minute to the process to be sure it is going to turn out thick. Stirring as it boils is mandatory; not the time to walk away from this process.  Then add 1/3 of the hot custard to the egg yolks as you stir, stir some more and return all to the pan, bring back to boil and time for one minute, yeap: stirring constantly.  Add the butter and stir as it melts, then the vanilla, stir.  Pour into a mixing bowl, cool five minutes and then put a film of plastic wrap on the top; press it down onto the custard. let cool a while more; maybe 30 minutes Chill in refrigerator at least an hour before using.

banana custard pie

banana custard pie 002

These slices were served a day after I made it.  Still yummy.  Forgive the paper plates and the poor quality picture. My mom’s room is not the best place for taking pix!


Cut peeled bananas into 1/2 inch rounds and cover the bottom of the pie crust with them close together.  Pour the custard over the sliced fruit and smooth the top.

Chill pie 1- 2 hours before slicing and serving cold topped with a big dollop of real whipped cream.

Whipped cream: Beat 1 cup cold whipping cream with an electric mixer until it holds soft peaks; add a quarter cup powdered sugar and ½ tsp. vanilla.  Do not beat any more, just stir in.

I think it is best served the same day you make it, or no more then 12 hours after assembly for optimal flavor.  The crust will get soggy if too much time passes. Mine was still very good the next day; just not as great a crust as when really fresh.  I like to top my slices of pie with extra rounds of banana to up the nanner flavor.  I liked the chocolate crust but I think I might go back to a homemade crust; either a flaky one or maybe one made with gf gingersnaps. Now that sounds like a winner!

Note: I froze my egg whites for later use in a cake. No wasting them, that’s for sure.


Pie filling from Betty Crocker Cook Book, 1978 Edition.


Outshine Fruit Ice Bars

Hot day in June here in eastern  Pennsylvania and much of the USA is feeling like the inside of my oven after I bake banana muffins. I should know as I made a batch last night.  Dang it was hot in my kitchen! Anyway, sometimes a chilly treat is in exactly what you need to conquer the heat.  I found these fruit pops in my grocery store; made by Outshine. I was looking for those fruit and veggie juice pops I enjoyed last year, no such luck but these are quite similar. Not a lot to them, mostly fruit puree or juice reconstituted from concentrate, some sugar, not all that much else.  Flavors are Strawberry, Tangerine medley and raspberry. They have 25 calories and no sodium.  The ingredients vary a little but the box says one gram sugar and no protein or cholesterol.  2 percent carbohydrates. The nice thing is they have some vitamin C; about 25% of your daily requirement of C; no guilt!

outshine fruit bars

I find them refreshing, light, and vastly better than a sugary fruit pop that often contains minimal fruit juice.  They are not too sweet but not sour either. Guilt free in my book.  You get twelve fruity bars to a box for about $4 which is a pretty decent deal to my way of thinking.  Cooling and tasty too! Perfect for forgetting the heat today, if only for a few blissful minutes.

Chocolate Egg Cream – Thirst Quencher

Sometimes I want something chocolaty but I don’t want a brownie, chocolate pudding or ice cream or even a chocolate bar.  I am simply thirsty.  Hot days like today make a cool tall drink a life saver.  Those are the times I reach for my bottle of U-bet Chocolate Syrup.  Lickity split I can make an old school drink that is low sugar, low fat and thirst quenching; the venerable chocolate egg cream.  Funny thing is, there is no egg in it and often no cream.  I sometimes do use half and half but you can make this with any sort of milk you like, even one or two percent.  I do discourage the use of skim or non fat milk, at least a little richness is required. My favorite is whole milk.

The chocolate egg cream is allegedly from Brooklyn, NYC.  The New York Egg Cream is a variation of the milkshake popular back from the 1880s which had an egg beaten in it.  This version I have replicated became popular partially because it was cheaper for soda fountains to make because it had no egg.  I am not a big fan of raw eggs in my drinks so I am happy indeed that this “modern” version is sans egg!

I have been making it for years, one of my sisters taught me how.

This is such a simple recipe; get a tall glass, pour in ½ inch depth of some sort of milk, your choice of richness squirt about 1-2 tsp. of chocolate syrup on top, I used to use Hershey’s until I discovered U-Bet syrup which I think has a superior flavor.

 ubet syrupI never measure; just enough to flavor the milk, maybe two tsp.?  Stir them together well with an ice tea spoon, Add 3-6 ice cubes and fill the glass with well chilled seltzer water. Stir it again. I favor flavored seltzer, the raspberry or cranberry are particularly good for this drink as they add quite a bit of flavor and complexity to this simple little thirst quencher! Recently I tried watermelon seltzer and today, some mango seltzer.  A fresh bottle makes the foamiest egg cream so I recommend you splurge and start with a new bottle for your drink preparation. choco egg cream

Be sure to use a tall glass, it just won’t taste the same in a stubby little one!

So, next time you are longing for a light refreshing soft drink but one with a touch of chocolate, make a chocolate egg cream and smile because it is delicious, has no added sugar and if you use u-bet syrup and one percent milk it is pretty darn low fat!