Dark Chocolate and Coconut… a little bit of tropical heaven

I love my weekly dinner with friends. If you don’t do this with your group of friends, you should. It is a great time to sit around the table talking and laughing. We switch off who makes the entrée every … Continue reading

Gracious Gifts

There are so many things that I love about food. The smell, the taste, the way that it gives you a reason to linger and chat with friends… But one of my very favorite things about it is its value … Continue reading

Girl Scout Cookies

Girl Scout Cookie Time!  Ok – so I wasn’t the best Girl Scout. I never actually made it past brownies.  I think I thought we would learn how to make brownies in brownies.  We didn’t. And the uniforms were not fun to wear.  I really wasn’t good at earning badges either…  Anyway – those girl scouts, though.  They can bake some cookies!  My two favorites?  Thin Mints and Samoas.  Apparently they aren’t called Samoas anymore, by the way.  I’m a sucker for coconut and chocolate and caramel.  And who doesn’t like chocolate and mint?  Well, a couple of nights ago I was having dinner with friends and we were talking about dessert.  Somehow Girl Scout cookies came up.  Seeing as how I have lost all touch with the world of scouting, I didn’t even know that it was cookie season.  So imagine my surprise when I passed a little table of cookie boxes outside of Walmart (way easier than door to door sales, by the way).  I admit I picked up several boxes of cookies on my way out.

Well, those darn boxes were just sitting on my counter taunting me and I thought, what a shame that people have to hoard these cookies in the freezer to make them last longer since they are only available once a year.  I decided to try to create my own Girl Scout cookies.  They don’t come in a box with inspiring stories and they aren’t sealed for freshness, but I think I got pretty close!  Try these when that Girl Scout craving attacks.  However, these cookies are more authentic once they have fully cooled so try to be patient in order to get the full effect!

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“Girl Scout” Cookie Ingredients:

  • 4 sticks room temperature butter (not margarine)
  • 2 Cups powdered sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 3 ¾ Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Cup shredded coconut
  • 1 t coconut extract
  • ¼ Cup cocoa powder
  • 1 t mint extract
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • ¼ Cup of caramel ice cream topping
  • Chocolate Flavored Almond Bark

Cookie Directions:

  1. Cream the butter in a stand mixer.  Add the powdered sugar and vanilla.  Slowly add the flour to the dough.  (It will stiffen up)
  2. Remove ½ of the dough and set it aside.  To the dough still in the mixing bowl add: 1/2 Cup shredded coconut and 1 t coconut extract
  3. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and gently pat it into a rectangle about ½ inch thick
  4. Return the dough that was set aside into a clean mixer bowl and add:  ¼ Cup cocoa powder, 1 t mint extract
  5. Once incorporated, Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap.  Shape the dough into a log and wrap it well.  Set it in the frig to chill
  6. In a small saucepan, heat 1 can of sweetened condensed milk until it starts to slowly bubble (do not boil)
  7. Add 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate to the milk. Turn off the heat and stir constantly until the chocolate melts.  Stir in 1 Cup of shredded coconut.  The mixture should be very thick
  8. In the microwave, heat ¼ Cup of caramel ice cream topping.  Spread it in a thin layer over the coconut cookie dough.  Leave about ½ inch border.
  9. Spread the chocolate coconut topping over the caramel. (about ¾ of a cup) You may not use it all.
  10. Using the wrap for support, roll the dough, starting with the long side, into a cylinder.  Wrap it tightly and move it into the frig to chill.
  11. Once the dough is chilled, about 3 hours or overnight, unwrap the cookie dough “logs” and slice them into ½” thick slices.
  12. Place them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake them in a 350 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes or until set.  The edges will turn light golden brown.
  13. Once the “thin mints” are cooled, dip them into melted chocolate bark (follow the directions) and let them set.  It only takes a minute!


German Chocolate Cookies

Do you ever need inspiration to get a project done?  I do.  Inspiration can come in many forms and fashions, too.  Sometimes it is just a burst of sunshine after dreary weather or a funny comment from a friend.  Today the inspiration came in a magazine; recipe upon recipe of yummy treats.  I was already set to make cookies for the Olive Branch in the bakery today so I decided to experiment a little.  To mix and match some ingredients and recipes.  So – a new Olive Branch treat was born! The German Chocolate Cookie is a crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, cookie.  It is full of dark chocolate chips, sweet coconut and crunchy walnuts.  Here’s how to make them at home…

1 pound butter, softened

1 pound brown sugar

½ pound granulated sugar

4 eggs

2T vanilla

1 ½ pound all-purpose flour

1 Cup Dutch processed cocoa

1t salt

1T baking soda

1/2 bag dark chocolate chips (I use Hershey’s special dark)

1 Cups chopped walnuts or pecans

1 Cup Shredded coconut

1 can sweetened condensed milk

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda
  4. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.
  5. In a little bowl, stir together the condensed milk, coconut and nuts
  6. Add the condensed milk mixture to the dough.  Once it is incorporated, add the bag of chocolate chips.
  7. Scoop the cookies onto a cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes.