Watermelon Cookie Slices

Watermelon Cookie Slices and Coconut Cupcakes

Tropical Dinner Party

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!)

Tropical Dinner Decorations

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.)

Watermelon Cookies
Watermelon Cookies
Watermelon Cookie Slices

Watermelon Cookie Slices

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

  • Servings: ~2 dozen cupcakes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Double Coconut Cupcakes

The Makings:

Coconut Cupcakes

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

Frosting:

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons almond coconut milk
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted

The Sweetness:

Coconut Cupcakes

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.

Coconut Cupcakes

4. Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Coconut Cupcakes

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.

”Fiesta

More Sweetness:

Coconut-Apricot Macaroons  Margarita Cupcakes  Churro Cupcakes

 
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Coconut & Lime Macaroons

Coconut & Lime Macaroons

A few weeks ago, I had plans to attend a friend’s Passover Seder. I made two batches of macaroons to bring to the party; the first, a Coconut & Apricot batch, and the second, a Coconut & Lime batch. Here’s the second recipe, as promised!

The Makings:

Coconut & Lime Macaroons

  • Egg Whites – from 4 eggs
  • Almond Extract – 1 teaspoon
  • Sea Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cane Sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Lime zest – grated, from 1 lime
  • Sweetened Flaked Coconut – 14 ounces

The Sweetness:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it.

Coconut & Lime Macaroons Coconut & Lime Macaroons

2. Whisk together egg whites, almond extract, sea salt and cane sugar in a large bowl. Add in lime zest.

3. Use your hands to shape macaroon mixture into small mounds and place them on the cookie sheet. (Macaroons will not spread when they’re baking.)

Coconut & Lime Macaroons

4. Bake macaroons for approximately 12-15 minutes, turning the sheet halfway through baking time.

5. Remove macaroons and allow them time to cool on a wire rack.

Here’s a photo of both batches. :) Yum!

Coconut & Lime Macaroons

Coconut & Lime recipe adapted from La Tartine Gourmande.

Coconut & Apricot Macaroons

Coconut & Apricot Macaroons

One of my friends is hosting a Passover seder tomorrow evening. When I asked her what to bring, she immediately answered, “just yourself.” But that just wouldn’t do! I prefer making things for group settings and occasions; it gives me the opportunity to try out new recipes AND not get “stuck” eating all of the leftovers. (It’s a rough job, I know. Most recently, my roomie stepped in to help me finish off the Margarita Cupcakes we had sitting in our fridge.)

Anyway, upon a bit more prying, I found out that no one had volunteered yet to bring the macaroons. Granted, she is baking a flourless chocolate cake (which I’m sure will be divine), but you’ve gotta have macaroons, too!

I found a few macaroon recipes I wanted to try, including one for Raspberry Coconut Macaroons. Alas, they didn’t have any raspberries at the grocery store, so I opted to make two other recipes. First up, it’s the Coconut & Apricot  Macaroons. (Edit: the second is a Coconut & Lime Macaroons recipe.) The subtle sweetness of the dried apricots in this recipe lends itself well to the super sweet coconut flakes. Warning: prepare to get sticky!

The Makings:

Coconut & Apricot Macaroons

  • Egg Whites – from 3 eggs
  • Almond Extract – 1 teaspoon
  • Sea Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Granulated Sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Dried Apricots – 1/2 cup, coarsely chopped
  • Sweetened Flaked Coconut – 14 ounces

The Sweetness:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it.

Coconut & Apricot Macaroons

2. Whisk together egg whites, almond extract, sea salt and granulated sugar in a large bowl.

Coconut & Apricot Macaroons Coconut & Apricot Macaroons

3. Coarsely chop apricots into small pieces. Stir apricots and coconut into the mixture in the bowl.

Coconut Apricot Macaroons

4. Use your hands to shape macaroon mixture into small mounds and place them on the cookie sheet. (Macaroons will not spread when they’re baking.)

Coconut & Apricot Macaroons5. Bake until lightly golden for approximately 25-30 minutes, turning the sheet halfway through baking time.

6. Remove macaroons and allow them time to cool on a wire rack. (Scoop up the extra bits of golden coconut as you’re transferring macaroons for a quick and yummy taste test/ preview.)

Coconut & Apricot Macaroons

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Recipes