From Cupcakes to Traditional Korean Food and Everything in Between

Homemade Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil

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I love coconut oil.  For me, it’s simply magical.  I’m constantly piping in with “coconut oil is great for that!”  On a daily basis, I use it for removing makeup, as a leave in conditioner, and to oil pull.  Greater still is the fact that as a domestic engineer {haha} I find so many uses for coconut oil that it’s probably easier for me to compile an inapplicable list.  When J’s had a long day, it works wonders as a massage oil, especially when spiked with a few drops of frankincense and/or lavender essential oils.  As a baker, I can appreciate it for the fact that it mimics butter so well that I can use it for my cookies, scones, cakes, etc.  As a cook, it’s just as impressive as its high smoke point lends itself well to stir fry dishes too.  Although once demonized, recent studies have shown that coconut oil is mainly comprised of medium chain fatty acids making it a healthier and more versatile choice due to its long lasting, heat stable qualities that are also unlikely to degrade into trans fats when cooked.

A quick peek into my video history will also echo my love for coconut oil.  I’ve created fun DIY’s for everyday items like lip balm and body butter or candles and soaps.  The best part of these recipes are that they only require 2 or 3 ingredients and one of them, you guessed it, is good ole wholesome coconut oil.

Here are some other amazing things coconut oil can do:

  • Emulsified into tea or coffee for a boost of energy. It’s also high in lauric acid and MCFA content to help boost metabolism
  • Used as a yummy tropical body scrub {I like it with raw sugar/honey, and lime}
  • Used as an spf 4-6 sunscreen, reinforced to a greater spf when combined with zinc oxide and raspberry oil
  • Can soothe sunburns {I love this one even more since we moved to the beach}, regular burns, scars and stretch marks {because hey!  I have those too}
  • Can season cast iron skillets
  • Creates a better chocolate “magic shell”
  • Used as a shaving butter
  • Turned into a simple toothpaste of coconut oil and baking soda that freshens your breath and whitens your teeth {I use this occasionally and oil pull regularly and it’s done a fabulous job of whitening my teeth}
  • Pat on hair to not only condition it and tame frizz it but some also swear by it for making their hair grow.  I’ve been using it on my lashes and can see a difference.  In any event, it makes a wonderful oil for scalp massages.
  • Used as a cutting board polish.  Coconut oil deeply penetrates the wood to prevent brittleness.  {Is said to also be a good leather polish}

There are so many more uses but these are ones I’ve personally tried and tested.  Cold processed virgin coconut oil has been a jack of all trades and a solid all purpose life saver in our household.  I hope you’ll give a few of these a try and enjoy my recipe for homemade coconut oil.  This is a cold pressed method that better maintains the integrity of the fruit and retains more of the vitamins and antioxidants.


5.0 from 2 reviews
Homemade Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: About ½ cup
Ingredients
  • 3 mature, brown coconuts
Tools
  • Cleaver/screwdriver/hammer
  • Food processor or blender
  • Unbleached cheesecloth/fine mesh strainer
Instructions
  1. Pop a hole into 2-3 of the eyes {depressed circles on one top of the coconut} and drain out the water. 1 of the eyes will be softer and easier to work with.
  2. Crack open the coconuts {as demonstrated in the video} and obtain all the meat. You can do this by either wedging something blunt in between the shell and meat and carefully wiggling it out or by directly scraping it out.
  3. In batches, blend the meat with clean water {using a 1:1 ratio}. You want to finely pulverize the meat.
  4. Pour into a large bowl and use your hands to squeeze the pulpy meat for 20-30 minutes. This step is just as important as the next strain through cheesecloth/strainer. As a bonus step, you can leave this mixture to sit for a few hours.
  5. Collect all the pulp {again in batches} in a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer and squeeze {with all your might!}. The goal is to leave behind bone dry flakes and extract all the liquid into a bowl. What you essentially have here is coconut milk.
  6. Cover this bowl and allow it to sit, undisturbed in a dark place for 1-2 days {1 if you're in a hot environment if it's too hot, it will become sour}. I kept mine in the microwave for 1.5 days.
  7. Afterwards, you can chill it to faster solidify the layers. The bottom will be murky water, the middle layer will be the coconut oil followed by a top layer of cream or curd.
  8. Skim off the top layer of curd/cream {this can be used for coconut cheese}.
  9. Spoon out the floating oil and at this point you can either filter the oil through a clean cheesecloth then allow extra moisture to evaporate by covering with a bit of plastic with a hole for air to escape or use right away.

A last few notes to mention: as a by-product, you can drink the milky coconut water fresh from the cracked coconut and you can grind dried coconut flakes to make homemade coconut flour or use as nourishing compost.  I’ve also used the pulp with coconut oil and sea salt to make a delicious body scrub.  The uses for the humble coconut are endless and magical.  Just one humble coconut can produce coconut milk, water, flakes, oil, coconut cream {homemade coconut whipped cream is to die for}, flour, or vinegar {coconut nectar, sugar, and amino come from the plant itself} plus so much more, so enjoy!

Love,

Your Squishy Monster

Homemade Starbucks S’mores Frappuccino

I first began venturing into making my own blended coffee drinks at home about 2 years ago with my mocha, cotton candy, and pumpkin spice frappuccinos.  I have to say, they’re just way too easy to not give a try.  Not to mention, it’s a sure fire way to save money and ensure you’re using the best of ingredients.  A DIY frappuccino only requires a handful of ingredients with the aid of a blender but even my ancient one accommodated my craving for a homemade frappuccino.  For my recipe, I used a bold fair trade coffee and unsweetened coconut milk, sans carrageenan but since you’re making this at home, you could use anything from regular dairy to hemp milk.  It’s completely up to you.

So let’s break down the anatomy of the s’mores frappuccino.  It’s quite an extravagant layered affair.  First, on the bottom is a gooey marshmallow fluff that’s fun to slurp up through your straw.  As it gets sucked through your straw, it also picks up sweet and silky chocolate sauce which is then followed by a creamy, milky blended coffee, topped off by a crowning glory of fluffy whipped cream dressed up with cookie crumbs and more chocolate sauce.  If you’re not a fan of coffee, you can simply omit it and produce what starbucks calls a blended creme….a la fancy pants milk shake.

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This homemade Starbucks s’mores frappuccino tastes like cool and rich s’mores in a cup, capturing all the elements of a classic s’more but without all the waiting.  Until it melts from this inevitable heat {and it’s not even officially summer, you say?!} you get the sticky sweetness from the marshmallow goop on the bottom to the crispy cookie crumbles on top, making this creamy blended treat both a flavor and texture explosion!

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.0 from 4 reviews
Homemade Starbucks S'mores Frappuccino
 
Author:
Serves: 1 Serving
Ingredients
Blended Coffee
  • 1 c strong brewed bold coffee or 1 espresso shot
  • ½ c whole milk
  • 1-2 tb sugar
Chocolate Sauce
  • Store-bought OR
  • ⅔ c whole milk
  • ½ c sugar
  • ½ c unsweetened natural cocoa
  • Pinch of salt and instant espresso
  • 1 ts pure vanilla extract
Whipped cream
  • Store-bought OR
  • ¼ c cold heavy cream
  • 2-3 tb sifted powdered sugar
  • ½ ts pure vanilla extract
Marshmallow Fluff
  • ¼ c store-bought marshmallow fluff OR
  • 2 tb homemade melted marshmallows + 2 tb homemade whipped cream
Toppings
  • Crushed graham crackers and more chocolate sauce
Instructions
  1. Freeze half the coffee and milk. Pour the rest together and set aside. Freezing half the liquid prevents you from having to use ice cubes but if you're in a rush, you can just use ½ c ice instead.
  2. If using homemade chocolate sauce, make it second since it needs to cool down. Whisk everything together and cook in a saucepan over the stovetop or heat in the microwave in a large heat proof vessel. It's ready when it's thick and glossy. It will also slightly thicken further as it cools down. Cover and chill until ready to use.
  3. For homemade whipped cream, whip the cold heavy cream until it gets frothy. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract until it becomes soft, pillowy and fluffy. Take care not to whip too much or it will turn into butter.
  4. For homemade marshmallow fluff, melt the marshmallows just until it gets soft, cool for 1-2 minutes then fold in the whipped cream.
  5. For the coffee base, blend the frozen coffee, milk, {or ice cubes} and the rest of the coffee and milk with the sugar.
  6. To assemble, spoon in the marshmallow fluff on the bottom of your cup.
  7. Follow with a liberal drizzle of chocolate sauce.
  8. Pour in the blended coffee.
  9. Top with whipped cream, cookie crumbs, and more chocolate sauce.

My video/recipe for homemade marshmallows is here.

Love,

Your Squishy Monster

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

The story of my “love me more” pie.

No Bake Pie

I have a couple confessions to make.  First, I used to dislike pie {I know, right?} Second, I’m not really all that into chick flicks.  The latter changed the moment I watched The Waitress which is about a small town girl who feels trapped by her life, finding solace in baking, specifically pies.  Keri Russell captures the unhappy heart of her character, Jenna so well and I found myself mesmerized by her pouring the filling or slathering the toppings onto her pies as if they were a manifestation of the beauty she longed to release but could never find a way to express except through her pies.  She assigns an appropriate name for each of her creations, tied to how she feels when she’s baking them whether they be savory creations {“bad baby pie,” a quiche with egg and brie cheese with a smoked ham center} or sweet, {“Earl murders me because I’m having an affair” pie with smashed blackberries and raspberries in a chocolate crust}.  This movie is primarily what seduced me into pie-lusting.  I’d always had a fondness for whipping up batter to bake into cakes and such but never did I realize the classic versatility of pie making.  Since then, I’ve even incorporated them into my videos like my apple pie baked apples with my favorite, perfect crust.

Today, I made you chocolate peanut butter pie.  Not only does it taste like chocolate truffles swirled with peanut butter cheesecake, it only takes 20 minutes to whip up from start to finish and is completely no-bake.  If I had to name this pie, I think I’d name him “love me more pie” as peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven and I do believe that J fell a little bit more in love with me the moment he bit into his first forkful.  Precisely speaking, his eyes lit up and he leaned over and planted a fat, messy chocolate peanut butter smooch on me.  I’d say mission accomplished.

 

 

5.0 from 6 reviews
No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 8" Pie
Ingredients
  • 1 chocolate cookie crust
Chocolate Ganache Layer
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • ¼ c heavy cream
  • ¼ ts fine salt
  • ¼ ts instant espresso powder
Peanut Butter Layer
  • ½ c natural peanut butter
  • 2 oz room temperature cream cheese
  • ¼ c raw honey
  • ¼ c whipped cream
Topping
  • Whipped cream and chocolate
Instructions
  1. In a double boiler or microwave, slowly melt the chocolate, cream, salt, and espresso on low. Allow the residual heat to continue melting the chocolate to prevent it from scorching. Stir until smooth and pour into the prepared crust. Cool and allow to harden {in the fridge this takes 5-10 minutes}.
  2. For the second layer, cream everything together except the whipped cream. Blend until creamy then fold in the whipped cream.
  3. Spread the peanut butter mixture onto the top of the set chocolate layer.
  4. Top with whipped cream and chocolate, if desired. {Or sprinkles/candy/cocoa}

If you liked this recipe, you’ll love my no-bake chocolate peanut butter cups too!

p.s, I will be traveling next week and will return with a new episode on June 17th.

Love,

Your Squishy Monster

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!

Cookies

These chocolate chip cookies are soft, chewy and thick with a toffee like caramel flavor that blossoms throughout each bite and each of those bites are stuffed with the explosion of ooey-gooey chocolate.  Be still my heart!!  The browned butter lends a matured flavor profile to the dough while the melted aspect of it will yield an even chewier cookie.  Making them even chewier is the higher proportion of brown sugar to granulated sugar.  The salted tops balance out the sweetness while the soft hint of coffee compliments the chocolate and the cornstarch mixed in with the dry mixture allows the dough to stay even softer with the aid of baking soda which will help tenderize the dough too.  The extra yolk imparts a richness {and extra chewiness} that can’t be achieved any other way.  Basically, these are super star cookies that cover every angle for achieving the perfect anatomy for an exception chocolate chip cookie.

You’ll never bite into a softer or chewier cookie.  These are cookies that actually taste fresh and delicious days later.  I found this out during the half dozen trial runs in my kitchen testing this recipe, tweaking and perfecting it as I went.  You see, I’ve searched my entire life for the cookie.  Nothing seduces me more than a warm chocolate chip cookie.  Ooey-gooey love of my life!  This cookie is just exploding with chocolate and as they bake, what they leave behind are intense luxurious puddles of sinful melted chocolate.  I use almost an entire bag of chocolate for these.  It’s optional, but why wouldn’t you?  Stuff those suckers, you only live once!  If you never bake one thing in your life from scratch, please let homemade chocolate chip cookies be the one exception.  Particularly this one because I’m that deeply in love with them and I just know you will be too.

As they have lasting power after they’ve been baked, the same goes for how long they age in the fridge.  This alone will double the success of any ole plain cookie dough but when it’s applied here, it elevates it to a whole other level.  I beg you to chill your cookie dough.  If you’re in a huge rush, you could get away with a 24 hour period but as they sit and the flavors co-mingle, truly magical things happen as I mention to you in my how-to recipe video.  Speaking of, come and hang out with me and I’ll demonstrate each step and show you how I make these epic homemade chocolate chip cookies and how you can too.

 

 

 

 

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 Dozen
Ingredients
  • 2¼ c unbleached flour
  • 2 ts cornstarch
  • 1 ts baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted, browned butter
  • ⅔ c brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ c granulated sugar
  • 1 whole room temp. egg + 1 room temp. egg yolk
  • 2 ts pure vanilla extract
  • ½ ts instant espresso powder
  • ¼ ts fine salt
  • 10-12 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips/chunks
  • Flaked sea salt for topping {like Maldon...Fleur de Sel is nice}
Instructions
  1. In a sturdy pan, slowly melt the butter {go low and slow}, swirling every so often until it gets golden brown and smells nutty. Be watchful so it doesn't burn, which can happen very quickly.
  2. In your first bowl, cream the cooled brown butter with both sugars for 3-5 minutes. Blend in the egg yolk then egg.
  3. Add the espresso power, salt, and vanilla.
  4. To the second bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, and baking soda.
  5. In thirds, pour the second bowl into the first bowl, taking care not to over mix
  6. Finally, fold in almost all of the chocolate.
  7. Scoop and roll each dough ball and press extra chocolate chunks into the tops of each.
  8. Triple wrap and refrigerate for 2-5 days.
  9. When ready to bake, allow the cookies to sit out for 20-30 minutes before baking then preheat the oven to 325* and line a baking sheet with either silpat or parchment {never wax}.
  10. Lightly press flakes of salt onto the tops of each cookie and bake for 8-11 minutes. {This is how long it takes for 2 oz cookies} When in doubt, slightly undertake as the cookies will continue to heat on the baking sheet even after they've been pulled out.
  11. After baking, allow the cookies to set up on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes then carefully transfer onto a wire rack.
Notes
Prep time does not include inactive chilling time.

Tips for success:

  • Always cream cookie doughs for at least 3-5 minutes so that the sugars get suspended in the fat and get completely blended to impart a soft and tender texture.
  • Scrape the bowl as you go so you don’t end up with unmixed pockets.
  • Never over mix which leads to the over development of gluten making for a tough, bread-y cookie.
  • Salt and coffee are your friends.  They enhance the flavors with salt highlighting the doughs sweetness and the coffee complimenting the chocolate. The browned butter blooms a tangle of flavors making the finished cookie taste caramelized and nutty all at once.   At the very least, always use salt.  Cookies and most all baked goods are just sad and flat without it.
  • Cornstarch lends a super soft and thick consistency to the cookies while the extra yolk makes them extra rich and chewy.
  • Chill the dough!  This allows the flavors to meld and redistribute while the flour absorbs into the liquid, hydrating it for a chewy and moist cookie.  If you roll/scoop out the dough then chill, it will also produce a much thicker cookie.
  • When in doubt, under bake rather than over bake.  You can always hit it with a little bit of heat later but you can’t ever take it back.
  • You can definitely freeze pre-scooped cookie dough balls.  I like to line them on parchment/silpat and allow them to freeze this way and then transfer them to a zip top bag.  My double wrapped batches stay good for up to 4 months.

Cheers to warm, chocolate chunk cookies!

Love,

Your Squishy Monster

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