Last week, I celebrated my half birthday. While I’m not exactly sure where I’ll be for my birthday in December, I’m determined to make it somewhere warm! (So obviously, Chicago isn’t going to cut it. :-P) In honor of the half and to celebrate the start of warmer temps, I hosted a tropical-themed dinner party for a some close friends. It only seemed fitting to recap a couple recipes from the event for my first Fiesta Friday Blog Party. (Thanks for the invite to participate, Jhuls!)
The full dinner party spread looked like this:
- Appetizers: watermelon, chips & salsa, drunk gummies and fruit glazed meatballs
- Main course: pineapple & ham fried rice, BBQ pulled chicken on Hawaiian rolls and ginger & garlic green beans
- Dessert: double coconut cupcakes and watermelon cookie “slices”
- Drink: tropical ginger punch
I also had a few fun and tropical wearables – leis and party glasses, courtesy of Oriental Trading. (I had to practice restraint when browsing through the Luau section — so many cute and appropriately themed things!)
OK, time to skip to the desserts. The watermelon cookie slices really DID taste like watermelon! (Several friends were convinced I’d melted watermelon Jolly Ranchers into the batter, as they swore that’s what they were reminded of when sampling the cookies.) But the solution to make these cookies was a lot simpler. I turned a box of Betty Crocker Watermelon Cupcake Mix into cake mix cookies, and added some icing and green sugar to create the rind. I used my roommate’s “muffin tops” pan to create the larger cookies, and cut them in half once they’d baked (and had time to cool) to create the slices. (Want to learn how to create cake mix cookies? See my recipe for Strawberry White Chocolate Cookies.)
The Double Coconut Cupcakes were a bit more involved, though I still used a box of cake mix for the base batter. (Hey, I had three other courses to worry about! :-P) Once out of the oven, these cupcakes were super light and spongy. The condensed milk and coconut on top makes them look pretty even without the frosting.
Double Coconut Cupcakes
- 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 box white cake mix
- 1 1/4 cups almond coconut milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 4 egg whites
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons almond coconut milk
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small frying pan, cook sweetened coconut flakes over low-medium heat for a few minutes. Stir often and watch carefully, as the flakes will easily burn if left unattended.
2. Mix toasted coconut with condensed milk. In a separate bowl, combine cake mix, milk, vegetable oil and egg whites together using a mixer on low for the first minute and at medium speed for another 2 minutes.
3. Insert liners in muffin tins and fill liners about 3/4ths full with batter. Scoop condensed milk/coconut mixture atop batter on each cupcake.
4. Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
5. While cupcakes are cooling, create frosting by beating butter smooth with a hand mixer. Gradually blend in powdered sugar to form a crumbly mix. Next, add in milk and mix until desired consistency.
6. Frost cupcakes and sprinkle tops with toasted coconut.
This recipe was adapted from Crazy for Crust.