Dark Chocolate Mug Cake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Talking Points: Dark Chocolate Mug Cake! The first thing I want to tell you about this recipe is coconut flour can make a cake drier than all-purpose flour. True, it does make it a gluten-free alternative AND an excuse to add a scoop of ice cream, which I did. I would call the texture very dense, but my husband was painfully honest and used the word “dry”. I believe adding an extra egg white might alleviate that problem, but who knows? Perhaps you’ll try it and get back to me. The gist of the story is, when you’re really craving something sweet and don’t want to put a lot of time into it, this is a “piece of cake”. Two minutes in the microwave and you’ve got it. Just add fresh strawberries, sliced almonds, and a wicked scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. You can blame me.

DARK CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 large egg, room temperature

Powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Fresh strawberries, for garnish

Sliced almonds, for garnish

Instructions:

Rub the inside of a microwave-safe coffee mug with butter. Set aside. In a bowl, combine coconut flour, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, almond extract, and a large egg. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared mug. Microwave on High for 1-2 minutes. Carefully remove the mug and let cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Add fresh strawberries and sliced almonds, for garnish.

Yogurt-Dipped Waffles

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Yogurt-Dipped Waffles! How many of you were told, as a child, not to play with your food? I know I was, especially when I was supposed to clean my plate of something I didn’t want to eat. But that’s a lot different than finger food. Now you are allowed to take slightly toasted waffles and dip them in flavored yogurt. Since my tastes change from day to day, I prefer to add flavors to Greek yogurt, but you may certainly purchase flavored yogurts to save time. In addition, I make extra waffles on the weekend to serve during the week. If you have toaster waffles on hand, you’re in good shape.

YOGURT-DIPPED WAFFLES

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon coconut syrup

2-3 prepared waffles, separated into wedges

Fresh strawberries, sliced

Fresh blueberries

Fresh black raspberries

Nutmeg, for sprinkling

Fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Powdered sugar, for garnish

Instructions:

Combine Greek yogurt and coconut syrup. Mix well. Set aside. Using a toaster on low setting, warm waffle wedges. Remove waffles to a plate. In a bowl, combine strawberries, blueberries, and black raspberries. Gently toss. To serve, dip waffle wedges into Greek yogurt. Spoon fresh fruit over yogurt. Sprinkle with nutmeg and powdered sugar. Garnish with mint leaves. Enjoy!

Yogurt Tropical Breeze

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Yogurt Tropical Breeze! Breakfast never tasted so good. Elevate an ordinary yogurt serving to something extraordinary by switching to tropical fruits like juicy ripe pineapple and buttery sweet papaya. Instead of granola, sprinkle on toasted coconut for a refreshing taste that will transport you like a summer breeze on a tropical island.

YOGURT TROPICAL BREEZE

Ingredients:

16 ounces Greek yogurt

15.25 ounce can tropical mixed fruit; pineapple, red and yellow papaya*

1 small seedless orange, separated into segments

3 strawberries, sliced

2-3 tablespoons toasted coconut

Fresh mint for garnish

Instructions:

Drain fruit, save reserve juice for later. Divide Greek yogurt into serving dishes. Add topical fruit, orange segments, and strawberry slices. Sprinkle with toasted coconut. Garnish with sprig of fresh mint.

*Kroger brand Tropical Mixed Fruit in fruit nectar, 15.25 oz can. I receive no recompense for recommending this product.

Macadamia Nut Pineapple French Toast

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Macadamia Nut Pineapple French Toast! Forget the maple syrup. Indulge instead in a tropical fruit explosion of flavor. Some compare this breakfast specialty to caramelized pineapple bliss. I suppose the taste could remind you of a tropical Pina Colada cocktail. It’s that good. For your next “Staycation”, why not treat yourself to paradise on a plate.

MACADAMIA NUT PINEAPPLE FRENCH TOAST

Ingredients for Sauce:

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup cream

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon coconut syrup

1 teaspoon almond extract

8-ounce can pineapple chunks, drained

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1 smidgen nutmeg

2 tablespoons shredded coconut

Instructions:

Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Do not scorch. Add brown sugar. Stir. Gradually bring to a boil. Add cream, stirring constantly. Cook until thick, about 4 minutes. Turn heat to lowest setting. Add maple syrup, coconut syrup, and almond extract. Stir until smooth. Add pineapple chunks, cinnamon, nutmeg, and shredded coconut. Cook until tender.

Ingredients for French Toast:

4 slices Hawaiian sweet bread, sliced thick

3 whole eggs, beaten

1/2 cup light cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons butter

Macadamia nuts, chopped

Fresh strawberries

Instructions:

Whisk together eggs, light cream, and vanilla extract. In a shallow dish, place 4 slices of Hawaiian bread, single layer. Pour custard egg mixture over bread; turn to coat both sides completely. Let moistened bread rest to soak up liquid. In an iron skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter on medium-low heat. Transfer the soaked bread to the skillet. Cook until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes per side. Add butter as needed. If cooking in batches, transfer browned French toast to a wire rack on a baking sheet and kept warm in a 200° oven. To serve, place one piece of French toast on a plate. Cover with pineapple sauce. Top with second slice of French toast. Add more pineapple sauce. Garnish with sliced strawberries and macadamia nut pieces. Dust with powdered sugar.

German Chocolate Brownies

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food for Sharing: German Chocolate Brownies! Take a journey to the Land of Chocolate. It’s a place where milkshakes are thick and creamy and go down easy. You can nibble on chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, candy bars for lunch, and dark chocolate cake as a bedtime snack. No calories exist because chocolate is good for you! Wouldn’t that be lovely? It would be Paradise, in my opinion. Today’s recipe requires a little more self-control than that. You can do this!

GERMAN CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

Ingredients for Crust:

1 box devil’s food chocolate cake mix

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 egg

Ingredients for Filling:

14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9″x13″ pan with foil. Lightly spray with nonstick oil. Mix together chocolate cake mix, melted butter, and egg. Press into the bottom of the pan. Bake 7 minutes. Remove from oven. For the filling, combine sweetened condensed milk, almond extract, egg, pecans, and coconut. Mix well. Pour over chocolate crust, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. Bake 25 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven; cool. Cut into brownie squares.

Zabaglione Parfait

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Timeless Classics: Zabaglione Parfait! That’s Italian. In English it translates to a decadent light custard, bordering on mousse, whipped into a parfait of romance-in-a-glass. Add fruit, toasted coconut, and a smidgen of nutmeg for a dessert that will have everyone exclaiming, “That’s Amoré!”

ZABAGLIONE PARFAIT

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream, whipped 3-5 minutes

3 egg yolks, beaten

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon lemon citrus peel, granulated

1 pinch nutmeg

2 drops almond extract

1/4 cup sweet vermouth, or almond liqueur

1/4 cup raspberry preserves

Fresh raspberries

French Vanilla Wafer Rolls

Toasted coconut

Instructions:

In a chilled bowl, beat heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use. In the bottom of a double boiler, bring water to a simmer and reduce heat to low. In the top of the double boiler, place eggs and sugar. Add granulated lemon citrus peel, nutmeg, and almond extract. Pour in sweet vermouth or amaretto liqueur. Whisk the custard mixture to create a light, fluffy consistency. Do not allow the water to boil. Continue whisking for 10 minutes, until the custard triples in volume. It will turn pale and frothy. The custard will be slightly thickened when ready. Set aside for 15 minutes. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cooled custard, reserving a portion for a garnish. The texture will appear like mousse. Place a dollop of raspberry preserves into the bottom of each parfait glass. Next, divide the custard equally between the parfait glasses. Top with fresh raspberries. Sprinkle on toasted coconut. Finish with a dab of whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Dish up with a French vanilla wafer roll for nibbling.

Ole Smoky Cherry Drops

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Ole Smoky Cherry Drops! For those who think this is a strange name for something sweet, allow me to explain. The Great Smoky Mountains form one of the most beautiful mountain ranges along the Tennessee-North Carolina border. Nestled in “The Holler” is a distillery made famous by its 100-year-old recipe base for signature flavors of moonshine. Can you see where this is going? Stick with me. From the fermenting grains of the moonshine stills come the most extraordinary combinations you can ever imagine. Bottled in quart jars are what appear to be a dozen or more moonshine variations that go by names like Apple Pie, Hunch Punch, Blue Flame, Lemon Drop, Dill Pickles, and Moonshine Cherries. Since I found a jar in my pantry, I thought going into the holidays, this might present an interesting dessert opportunity. It definitely passed the “flame test” in my house.

OLE SMOKY CHERRY DROPS

Ingredients:

1 quart jar Ole Smoky Moonshine Cherries*

12-ounce bag white chocolate chips

4.6-ounce jar rainbow sprinkles

5.2-ounce jar sanding sugar

14-ounce bag sweetened coconut flakes

Party Picks

Instructions:

Several steps are necessary to prepare your workspace. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove maraschino cherries from jar. Reserve moonshine for another use. Gently pat dry each cherry and set aside. This is important before coating them in white chocolate. Place each topping (rainbow sprinkles, sanding sugar, and coconut flakes) in a separate dish. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Set aside. To melt white chocolate, place half a bag of chips in a microwave-proof bowl. Warm at 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval. Repeat until the white chocolate is smooth and no lumps remain. Working quickly, pierce a cherry with a cake tester. Coat it halfway in the white chocolate, then dip it in one of the toppings. Place decorated cherry on the waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all cherries are decorated. Chill to set. Two things: As the white chocolate cools, gently warm and stir. When it becomes necessary to use the remaining white chocolate chips, begin with a clean bowl. This will eliminate waste. Cherry Drops should be stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve with party picks.

*I receive no recompense for mentioning Ole Smoky Moonshine Cherries.

Iced Coconut Milk Banana Smoothie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Be Our Guest: Iced Coconut Milk Banana Smoothie! Try something new today. Rev up your morning routine with a nutritious alternative to steel-cut oats. Delight your senses with a sweet-tasting banana infused smoothie. The hint of dark chocolate bathed in tropical coconut creaminess makes it go down with a smile. What better way to include a serving of fresh fruit on a daily basis.

ICED COCONUT MILK BANANA SMOOTHIE

Ingredients:

1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon dark chocolate syrup

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon natural honey

4-5 ice cubes

Nutmeg for garnish

Mini chocolate chips for garnish

Instructions:

In a blender, combine banana slices, chocolate syrup, coconut milk, vanilla extract, Greek yogurt, and honey. Pulse to chop bananas. Add ice cubes. Increase speed to liquefy smoothie. Pour into a glass. Sprinkle with nutmeg and mini chocolate chips. Serve immediately.

Xenial Chunky Monkey Banana Muffins

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Xenial Chunky Monkey Banana Muffins! Nix the flour for old-fashioned oats for a healthier version of an old classic. Did you know oats can lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar control? It’s a fact we’re all getting older and from time to time need to make minor adjustments in our food consumption. I’m all for small plates. Portion sizes have become insane! When did it happen? As a collector of vintage dishes, modern day dinner plates are now the size of grandma’s meat platter. Did you know “in Europe, the average plate measures 9 inches while some American restaurants use plates that are around 13 inches in diameter. Research has shown that by switching to a 10-inch plate from a 12-inch plate you eat 22% less.”* Snack healthier.

XENIAL CHUNKY MONKEY BANANA MUFFINS

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shredded coconut

3 ripe bananas, mashed

3 cup old-fashioned oats

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups milk

2 eggs, whisked

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick oil. Spread shredded coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 2-3 minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine bananas, old-fashioned oats, cinnamon, milk, eggs, brown sugar, vegetable oil, baking powder, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Mix well. Fold in chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, and toasted coconut. Scoop mixture into 12 muffin cups, filling to the top. Bake 30-35 minutes, until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from muffin tin. Serve warm.

*How Big Are Your Dinner Plates And Why It Matters, by Penny Klatell, PhD, RN, May 2012. Eatouteatwell.com