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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Red Velvet Coconut Bars

UPDATE - After Book Club:
I would now substitute a basic chocolate cake mix instead of Red Velvet.  The red from the cake mix got all over fingers, teeth, and tongues.  Since bars are meant to be handled with your fingers, and I saw how intense the red was, I did take forks and plates and lots of napkins.  It was a bit embarrassing to see how overly intense the red was.  Oh well, lesson learned.  It was really tasty though!  Try it with just a chocolate cake mix and it will do fine...although, at Christmas, it might be pretty!
I am going to my first Book Club meeting Tuesday morning at Paragraph's on Padre and wanted to take a treat to have with coffee.  I found a recipe on Inside BruCrew Life's blog and I wanted to give it a try, but as so often happens, I didn't have all of the ingredients.  Since I'd rather be nibbled to death by ducks than go to the grocery store today, I scanned my pantry shelves.  I went crazy... I just flew by the seat of my pants and hoped it would turn out better than okay...but if it was at least okay, I'd have something to take.  I am a huge fan of Jocelyn at Inside BruCrew Life - she has a plethora of yummy desserts and I have tried several of them... not a bad one in the bunch.  I was very hopeful that my fly-by of one of her desserts would be something she might appreciate.

Here's what I ended up with:
Red Velvet Coconut Bars

Red Velvet Coconut Bars
Inspired by Inside BruCrew Life


1 Red Velvet cake mix (used Duncan Hines)
6 Tbsp salted butter, melted
1/3 cup Half and Half
1 14oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk (not evaporated milk)
8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
7 ounce bag of Bakers Angel Flake Coconut (sweetened)
6 ounces Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 tsp. brewed coffee
1/2 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare a 9x13 pan with cooking spray (I used a glass pan because I wanted to see what the layers looked like) .
Combine the cake mix, melted butter, and half and half until crumbly and wet.

Press one half of the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan.  Set the remaining dough to the side. (If you failed to heed my warning to wear gloves - well, you now have red hands)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the softened cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until mostly smooth.  Add the coconut and mix on low.
Pour the cream cheese mixture over the dough in the pan and smooth out evenly with a spatula.

Pull and drop bits of the rest of the cake dough over the top of the cream cheese mixture.  The dough is very "doughy" so try to pull small pieces and get them evenly over the will not provide full coverage.  That's okay.

Bake at 350 degrees 28-30 minutes.  There was still a bit of jiggle in the middle when it came out.  That's okay too. It firms up when cooled.  The edges are lightly browned.  Place pan on rack and allow to cool completely.

Place chocolate chips in a heat resistant mixing bowl and add one teaspoon of brewed coffee.  In a small saucepan, bring the whipping cream just to a slight boil, stirring the entire time.  Remove immediately from the heat as it reaches a boil and pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips.  Stir until mixture is creamy and richly chocolate!  You have ganache....yum.

Spread thinly over the top of the bars.  Let set completely before cutting into squares.

The "red" part of the Red Velvet is quite messy and impossible
to cut without getting color on the white portion.
Regardless, they are delicious!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Painting Cookies...practice required!

Inspiration - My Tervis Tumbler coffee mug!
When I think back to high school art class, I remember feeling so incredibly incompetent.  I think even further back to a class I took at the Austin PARD in my pre-teen years and I remember the teacher shaking her head because I couldn't get my head around painting a windmill in a field of tulips.  I couldn't see depth, I couldn't see that I didn't have to detail each and every tulip...I had such a literal sense of the visual that I could not put it on canvas.  I began to hate drawing and painting..despite my mother buying me an easel, paints, and a plethora of canvas so I could "practice".  I have ever since always said I am NOT an artist.

However, now that I am past that double-nickel point in time, I am a bit more forgiving of my abilities and find that I enjoy "trying" again.  I can step back and try to see the whole instead of every single little detail.  Decorating cookies has helped me see that I can be artistic without having to be "an artist".  Of course, the obvious benefit of working on cookies, as I've said get to eat the mistakes and they are gone forever!

I have spent the last couple of days of this lazy week-end painting Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies and Apple Butter Sugar Cookies.  I had only done a couple of painted cookies in the past and they took so much time I wasn't sure I would do it again.  However, I had some leftover base coated plaque sugar cookies and decided to spend some time playing with painting.  I watched some Arty McGoo and SweetAmbs youtube tutorials for inspiration today (I had seen both of them before).  I only finished a few...I'm still very slow.  However, I am trying!

I long to take a watercolor painting class...but I'm still afraid...leftover from those previous feelings of incompetence.  I know, however, that I really need to do exactly that!

Here's what I accomplished... and at the end, I'm adding one of the 1st two I did as well.

Inspired by SweetAmbs - I painted the flowery things
and used a FooDoodler to write the words.
Scribble Roses - Inspired by Arty McGoo
My second time to consider painting a cookie.
My son said "paint a rose" and was appalled when
I began a scribble rose :-)
My first time painting (my second cookie - both were herons)
At first I was hypercritical...then I let up on myself.
It's not awful...
Well, thanks for stopping by to see what I've been up to over the past few days.  I'm happy that I had some leftover cookies to practice with.  I think I'll base coat some more cookies and keep them "ready for the moment"... kind of like having a canvas on hand!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!

Shared With:
Chef In Training