Easter Dessert: Coconut Cake

Ham, deviled eggs, Spinach Madeleine (of course), perhaps even a congealed salad are all Southern staples for an Easter lunch. For dessert, however, we suggest our Coconut Cake from River Road Recipes I! The light coconut flavor and the delicate frosting makes this a gorgeous as well as tasty end to this celebratory meal with friends and family. With the addition of a few flowers, it can even serve as part of your tablescape!

Photo by Don Kadair.

Coconut Cake, RRR I, p. 179

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs (separate yolks and whites)
  • 2 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sweet milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Grease and line 3 8-inch cake pans.
  2. Set over for 375°.
  3. Cream butter and sugar well.
  4. Add egg yolks.
  5. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and add alternately with the milk.
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, then allow to cool completely.

Coconut Filling, RRR I, p. 179

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup milk or part coconut milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 grated coconut

Directions:

  1. Mix together all ingredients except coconut and cook in double boiler over low heat until thickened.
  2. Cool partly, then add coconut just before icing the cake!

Happy Easter from all of us at River Road Recipes!

Miss Congeal-iality: Raspberry Salad

I know what you’re thinking: “A congealed salad? How 1960s.” But fear not! Just like those flared jeans you’ve been hiding in your closet since the early 2000s, the congealed salad is making a comeback. Even Southern Living agrees! So break out that jello mold and make sure your next dinner party is on the cutting edge with a course featuring this latest culinary food trend. And if anyone looks at you funny, tell them those boring kale salads are so last year.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Raspberry Salad, RRR I, p. 28

With it’s beautiful pale pink contrasted against the bright green of butter lettuce leaves and lime wedges, this Raspberry Salad from River Road Recipes I will make the perfect addition to your Easter table this year! The best part? It doubles as the salad and the dessert, so feel free to have two helpings, guilt free!

Ingredients

  • 1 10-ounce package marshmallows
  • 1 package frozen raspberries
  • 1 small can evaporated milk (chilled and whipped)
  • 2 3-ounce packages cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise

Directions

  1. Melt marshmallows in double boiler with raspberries.
  2. Let cool; add cream cheese blended with mayonnaise.
  3. Add whipped milk to raspberry mixture.
  4. Place in tray and freeze.
  5. Unmold on lettuce leaves and enjoy!

Serves 12.

Recipe by Mrs. William Adams of Tallulah, Louisiana. 

Kids in the Kitchen: Snickerdoodles!

The recent blast of cooler weather here in Baton Rouge (it dipped below 60° today!) has us wanting to snuggle up with our loved ones and a yummy snack! Cinnamon always seems to pair nicely with chilly temps, so we are busting out one of our favorite cookie recipes: Snickerdoodles!

Whipping up this classic recipe is a great way to spend an afternoon with the kids, especially when they might be going a little stir crazy from being cooped up inside during the winter months. It’s never too early to start cultivating a love of cooking, and children love to feel helpful. Even the littlest members of your family can get involved – starting from the time your baby is able to sit up on his own, you can help him “help” you scoop ingredients and pour them into the mixing bowl. Toddlers are naturally curious and will enjoy tasting each individual ingredient, and older children will proudly help you stir the batter. Don’t worry about a little mess, it’s all part of the fun!

Through the Junior League of Baton Rouge’s Kids in the Kitchen community project, we help children of all ages in our community learn the joy of cooking. Junior League members purchase and transport ingredients to various volunteer locations, where we then demonstrate and work with youth to prepare meals and snacks.  During the activities, volunteers will encourage conversation about the benefits of healthy eating. So far our Kids in the Kitchen program has impacted between 350 and 550 children in the Greater Baton Rouge area!

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Snickerdoodles, River Road Recipes I, page 200

  • 1 cup soft shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups sifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Preheat oven to 400º. Mix shortening, sugar, and eggs together thoroughly. Sift flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together and add to above mixture.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Chill dough. Roll into balls the size of small walnuts. Roll the dough balls into a mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Place about two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned but still soft. (These cookies puff up at first then flatten out with crinkled tops.) Makes about five dozen 2-inch cookies.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler!

So long New Year’s resolutions — carnival season is here, and that means king cake! From the French-style king cakes at Strand’s Cafe, to the traditional, cream-cheese, fruit-filled,  or Zulu confections at Ambrosia Bakery and Gambino’s, to the maple bacon king cake at Tiger Deaux-nuts, the variations are infinite. And the fun (cough, calories) don’t stop there – don’t forget the king cake balls at Cupcake Allie, the king cake milkshake at Fat Cow, and even king cake fries from Freetown Fries!

Some New Orleans favorites: McKenzie’s, Party Palace, Croissant D’Or, Cake Cafe, Haydel’s and Dong Phuong Bakery. Picture courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

Some New Orleans favorites: McKenzie’s, Party Palace, Croissant D’Or, Cake Cafe, Haydel’s and Dong Phuong Bakery. Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

So many amazing options with so little time before Lent is upon us. Luckily for you, there is a way to get your fix: host a king cake tasting party! This fantastic idea was originally featured by The Scout Guide New Orleans in January 2015, and they recently featured this idea again, with staging by  New Orleans caterer Patti Constantin. It’s the perfect way to sample all of the City’s best king cakes and Mardi Gras inspired treats while enjoying time with friends.

Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

First, the menu. Have friends bring their favorite local king cake (or king cake inspired treat) to share with everyone. Can’t pick a favorite? Here’s our cheat sheets from 225  Magazine and Baton Rouge Mom’s Blog:

For beverages, serve our Café au Lait Punch from River Road Recipes IV, page 17, along with wine, beer, sodas, and water.

Cafe au lait Punch, RRR IV

Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark roast coffee or coffee extract, at room temperature
  • 1 liter ginger ale, at room temperature
  • 1 liter club soda, at room temperature
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

Combine the sugar, coffee, ginger ale, club soda, and half-and-half in a large punch bowl and mix well. Fold in the ice cream and ladle into punch bowls.

Makes 12 to 14 (2-cup) servings.

Second, decorate! Go big with Mardi Gras beads and plenty of purple, green, and gold accessories, or keep it simple with an elegant bouquet of purple Irises or other flowers as a centerpiece. Break out the silver and crystal to have a party fit for royalty, or keep it casual with purple and green paper plates. Either way, you’re bound to pass a good time!

A beautiful King Cake tasting by Patti Constantin. Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

A beautiful King Cake tasting by Patti Constantin. Photo courtesy of The Scout Guide New Orleans.

Special thanks to The Scout Guide New Orleans for the photos and the fantastic idea!

Bourbon Walnut Balls

These tasty treats are perfect for your next party or social! Easy and quick to make, these delicious Bourbon Walnut Balls will keep your guests coming back for more!

Photo by Don Kadair.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (5 dozen) finely crushed vanilla wafers
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons white corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • Additional confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions

Mix well the wafer crumbs, cocoa, sugar, and nuts. Add corn syrup and bourbon. Blend well. Form into one-inch balls (in diameter). Roll each of these into the sifted sugar. Makes about 3 dozen.

River Road Recipes I, p. 229.

Pecan Pie

Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the occasional treat! Pecan pie for dessert is a Southern staple, and you simply cannot beat a warm slice of pecan pie on a chilly night. And for those not-so-chilly winter nights that we are oh-so-familiar with in the Deep South, a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side puts this favorite over the top!

Photo by Don Kadair.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 unbaked pie crust

Directions

Cream butter and sugar. Add remaining ingredients and pour into unbaked pie crust. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes and lower to 350° and cook for approximately one hour.

River Road Recipes I, p. 205

Cream Cheese Dainties

Snow in the Deep South is a rare sight, but that doesn’t keep us southerners from hopefully wishing for a white Christmas. These festive treats make a beautiful addition to your holiday table and add the appearance of “snowballs”. Be sure to give yourself a little time in the preparation of these treats as the 1-2 hour chill time is critical to their presentation and helps them bake evenly. Although these “snowballs” are far too tasty to throw, make plenty and enjoy them with those you love, give as gifts or bring to your next cookie swap.

Cream Cheese Dainties

Cream Cheese Dainties, (RRR II Pg. 215)

  • ½ cup butter or margarine
  • One 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups crisp rice cereal, coarsely crushed
  • Red and green candied cherries

 

Cream butter, cheese, sugar and almond flavoring until light. Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in butter mixture just until combined. Chill 1 to 2 hours. Shape into balls, roll in cereal and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Top each with a cherry. Bake at 350 degrees 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on racks. Makes 4 dozen.

Pecan Pie Muffins

Nothing says “Welcome to the South” better than a delicious pecan dessert.  Pecan pie muffins, found in River Road Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes, page 100, are a unique variation to the typical assortment of muffins.  With the many celebrations of fall and winter quickly approaching these tasty muffins will be a southern addition to your holiday celebrations or just perfect to enjoy with a cup of café au lait on a cool fall morning.  Be sure to stop by the River Road Recipes tent at Alexander’s Market on Sunday, October 2 to sample a pecan pie muffin and purchase your own River Road Recipes cookbook to add this and other fabulous recipes to your own collection.

Photo by Kimberly Brewster.

Photo by Kimberly Brewster.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 to 25 minutes

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 2 to 2 and 1/2 dozen

KITCHEN TOOLS:

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Electric mixer (optional)
  • Cookie sheet

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix the brown sugar, pecans, and flour in a bowl.
  2. Whisk the butter and eggs in a separate bowl until blended.
  3. Pour the butter mixture into the brown sugar mixture and stir just until moistened.
  4. Fill greased or paper-lined muffins cups 2/3 full.
  5. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or less.  Serve warm.

 

Lemon Drop Cookies

This delicious, lemony dessert is found in River Road Recipes I on page 195. You can find lemon drops on the candy aisle of your grocery store or even at the gas station.

lemon-drop-cookies-1

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Level of Difficulty: Medium

Servings: 3 dozen cookies

KITCHEN TOOLS:

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Electric mixer (optional)
  • Food processor
  • Mortar and pestle (optional)
  • Sifter
  • Cookie sheet

INGREDIENTS:

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

  • 1/2 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed lemon drops

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Gather kitchen tools and ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease cookie sheet. Using a food processor, process the lemon drops as much as possible. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the processed lemon drops further if necessary. Sift the flour.
Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Sifting the flour allows you to use less flour overall and makes for a lighter, fluffier cookie! Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Sifting the flour allows you to use less flour overall and makes for a lighter, fluffier cookie! Photo by Lauren De Witt.

2. Cream (mix) butter and sugar together using an electric mixer or by hand.

3. Add egg and lemon juice.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the sifted flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon drops.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

5. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix together.

6. Drop by 1/2 teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.

7. Bake about 10 minutes, until sides begin to brown.

8. Cool slightly and remove from pan.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Photo by Don Kadair.

Fool's Toffee

Fool’s Toffee

This foolishly easy treat is found in River Road Recipes IV: Warm Welcomes on page 235. Check out our original post here!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes, plus at least 30 minutes refrigeration time

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Servings: 8 to 12

KITCHEN TOOLS:

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • 10×17 inch baking pan
  • Aluminum foil
  • Saucepan
  • Food processor or chopping knife and cutting board
  • Butter knife or metal cake spatula

INGREDIENTS:

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

  • 36 to 40 saltine crackers (1 sleeve)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Gather your kitchen tools and prepare your ingredients. Preheat your oven to 350°. Using a food processor or a chopping knife and cutting board, roughly chop 1/2 to 1 cup of pecans and set aside.
  2. Line a 10×17-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and coat the foil with butter. Arrange the crackers in a single layer with sides touching in the prepared pan.
Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

3. Combine 1 cup butter and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

4. Pour the butter mixture over the crackers. Using a wooden spoon, spread the mixture evenly over the crackers.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

5. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and let stand for 2 minutes or until the chocolate chips soften. Spread the chocolate evenly over the prepared layers using a butter knife or metal cake spatula.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

6. Sprinkle with the pecans and press lightly. Chill for 30 minutes or until set. Break into pieces and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Photo by Lauren De Witt.

Fool's Toffee

Photo by Aimee Broussard.