Toad's Kitchen

(mostly) healthy recipes for the family

Archive for the category “Dessert”

“I Miss Hawaii” Cookies

We recently returned from a wonderful trip to Hawaii…first, a great week in Maui, followed by a fantastic week in Oahu where we attended our son’s wedding! What a fabulous time 🙂

Now we are back at home on our own (admittedly cooler) island in the Pacific. It is currently raining, nothing unusual for June.  I have been wishing for summer and remembering the endless sun and turquoise water in Hawaii….what better way of spending a rainy day than baking cookies? Wanting to add a bit of tropical yumminess, I came up with the (incredibly original!) idea of adding toasted coconut and macadamia nuts to the carob chip cookie dough, and I must say the results are divine 🙂

This makes lots, you can halve the recipe…

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup coconut oil
2-1/4 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
4 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla
I cup toasted unsweetened coconut (toast at 350 degrees for 5 minutes), cooled
1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped and toasted with the coconut, cooled
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 cups carob chips
Pinch salt

Beat fats together. Add sugar and beat until blended. Add eggs, beating in one at a time. Add vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together in separate bowl and stir into butter/sugar mixture. Drop 2″ apart onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.


Caramel Pecan Croissant Pudding…a decadent way to use up those leftover croissants

I love croissants, as do most people I know, but we all know they are less than stellar when not fresh and crispy. That being said, you can refresh them in the oven for a few minutes to make them like new, but when you buy a massive box of croissants at Costco, you may be doing that for a few days…but don’t lose faith! Here is something you can do with leftover croissants that is spectacularly yummy and delicious.

This is an adaptation of Nigella Lawson’s recipe in her book “Nigella Express” – I have changed the quantities and ingredients slightly and added some notes. This is an easy recipe with few ingredients, but it does require your undivided attention for a few minutes when making the caramel syrup.

4 stale croissants

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1 cup cream (heavy or coffee, whichever you have available)

1 cup milk (not low-fat or skim)

1/4 cup whisky or 1 tbsp vanilla

4 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 and butter a gratin dish which will hold a litre or so.

Rip croissants up and put into dish. Distribute pecans over top.

Put sugar and water into deep, heavy saucepan and swirl to dissolve sugar a bit. Heat over medium-high heat *without stirring*, but watching closely. Let it boil until it turns a deep amber colour. This process can take up to ten minutes. You need to watch the mixture closely, because once it starts to turn colour the change will happen quite quickly. If you burn the mixture you will have to discard it and start again…ain’t nobody got time for that!

Once the sugar has caramelized, remove from heat, and whisk in cream, then milk, then vanilla or whisky. When you add these the caramel will splutter and may bubble up. Just keep whisking! The sugar may “lump together” but return to *low* heat and keep whisking, and it will dissolve in the cream and milk. Once mixture has dissolved any lumpy caramel, temper the eggs with a bit of the hot liquid, then slowly whisk eggs into mixture in pot.

Pour custard mixture over croissants and stir to combine. If croissants are stale, let mixture sit for a few minutes.

Bake for 20 minutes or so and – as Nigella says – “prepare to swoon”. Couldn’t say it better myself 🙂




Coca-Cola Cake – sounds bizarre but very yummy

Every month or so I attend a pot luck lunch at the Comox Air Force Museum, and always try to bring something new and different for the table. I am always interested in Nigella’s concoctions and when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. It was a solid success, with a lot of people complimenting me on it (thank you again, Nigella!).

The addition of Coca-Cola to the batter and icing lends a bit of caramelly mellowness to the cake. Chocolate cake is normally not my choice, but this has a delicious rich texture and taste. I used to love Coke but now do not, and there is half a small bottle left in my fridge, in case anyone wants it 🙂 You don’t need much for this recipe, as you will see.

This recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s “How to Be a Domestic Goddess”

For the cake
200 g (7 oz) (1 3/4 cups) plain flour
250 g (1/2 lb) (1 1/4 cups) golden caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
125 ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125 g (4 oz) (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
175 ml (3/4 cup) Coca-Cola

22-23 cm (9″) Springform, lined with foil to prevent the batter leaking, then greased

*note – Do not use anything bigger than a 9″ pan otherwise your cake will be very thin, I think an 8″ might even be better (adjust cooking time). Also, I just greased my pan, I did not line it and had no problems.

For the icing
225 g (7 oz) ( 2 14 cups) icing sugar
2 tablespoons (30g) butter
3 tablespoons (45ml) Coca-Cola
1 tablespoon (15 mL) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 180?/gas mark 4/ 350 F and put in a baking sheet at the same time.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, bicarb and salt. In a measuring jug, beat the egg, buttermilk and vanilla.

3. In a heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter, cocoa and Coca-Cola, heating it gently. Pour into the dry ingredients, stir well with a wooden spoon, and then add the liquid ingredients from the jug, beating until it is well blended.

4. Pour into the prepared tin and bake on the warm sheet for 40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

5. Leave to stand for 15 minutes in the tin before unmoulding. Then unclip, unwrap and turn out on a wire rack, making sure you’ve got a sheet of newspaper or something underneath the rack to catch any icing that drips through.

6. Sieve the icing sugar and set aside for the moment. In a heavy-based saucepan, combine the butter, Coca-Cola and cocoa and stir over a low heat until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla, and spoon in the sieved icing sugar, beating as you do so, until you’ve got a good, spreadable, but still runny, icing.

7. Pour this icing over the cake, while the cake is still warm, spread gently and leave till cool before transferring to the plate on which you’re serving it.

I surrounded it with whole strawberries to add colour, and that was a popular addition 🙂

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