Toasted Coconut & Rum Iced Coffee

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Heeeeyy! It’s been a bit hectic around these parts–my mom is in town and it’s always a whirlwind of eating and doing while she’s here. There has been a lot of yard work–planting flowers and herbs and watering all manner of greenery. There have been trips to Home Depot and Ikea, Powell’s, the Oregon zoo, and even the coast. There has also been a ton of eating. So much food (see my Instagram feed for a teeny glimpse).

It’s always so fun when my mom and Mel–my mom’s husband and Casper’s “Papa”–they adore Casper, and he loves them. Plus, everyone gets along super well. It’s good times. Also good times is this iced coffee beverage. I saw both Nicole and Jessica make iced coffees with coconut milk and I just jumped right onto that caffeine-wagon. I added toasted coconut and rum to mine because sometimes I like a little boozy-weekend brunch drink and sometimes I like a little coffee-dessert-drink. This Toasted Coconut & Rum Iced Coffee satisfies both of those things and is super easy, to boot. Like an indulgent iced coffee thing (a la Starbucks) but…you know…drunk. CHEERS!

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Toasted Coconut & Rum Coffee

for the creamer:

1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes

1, 14 fluid ounce, can full fat coconut milk

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

for the cold brew coffee:

1 cup coarsely ground coffee

4 1/2 cups cold water

whipped cream (or coconut whipped cream!) and toasted coconut to garnish

for the creamer:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and spread the coconut on a sheet pan in an even layer. Bake the coconut in the oven for 5 minutes, stir, and repeat until the coconut is golden and fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool a bit.

Heat the coconut milk and brown sugar in a saucepan, add the toasted coconut and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to steep, about 20 minutes, before straining out the coconut flakes. Pour the toasted coconut creamer into a jar and fit with a lid. Refrigerate until ready to use.

for the cold brew:

Combine the ground coffee and water in a glass container (I like to use an 8-cup glass bowl with a spout, like a large measuring cup) and stir to combine. Cover and steep the coffee at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours. Place a strainer over another large bowl and place a coffee filter into the strainer. Strain the coffee through the filter lined strainer. Do this in batches if needed. Pour the coffee into a pitcher.

for the Toasted Coconut & Rum Iced Coffee:

In a tall glass combine a few tablespoons of the toasted coconut creamer with 1 ounce of rum (I used a coffee infused rum) and a cup of the cold brewed coffee. Top with ice and stir well. Garnish with whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes.

Rhubarb Crumb Cake

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This past Sunday, I had my first Mother’s Day. It was a good one…I mean, this cute little guy was involved…though not exactly what I had imagined Mother’s Days to be. Instead of brunching leisurely, sipping mimosas, and kicking back, I woke up early and was at Home Depot just before 7am to rent a contraption called a “plate compactor.” Then, I moved a literal ton and a half of bricks and sand into my backyard from the driveway. FUN TIMES. I kept telling myself that in a few short weekends it would be all worth it because we will have a lovely, herringbone-patterned brick patio to lounge on for sunshine-y, summer days now and into the future. Luckily, I didn’t do all of this alone. Sean did a ton of the work and his brother also came over to help out. Plus, there was a big square of rhubarb coffee cake and a delicious breakfast sandwich in there, both from Grand Central, between the Home Depot trip and the manual labor stuff.

The cake was a total dream and I just couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I decided to recreate something similar at home. A lot of the recipes I found had a thinner batter that results in a cake with chunks of rhubarb mixed into the cake itself. I really wanted the rhubarb to sit atop the batter between the cake layer and the crumble layer. This cake, an adaptation of the New York-Style Crumb Cake from the famous Baked NYC, was pretty much perfect. A solid ratio of buttery boulders of crumb topping to tender-yet-sturdy cake base–perfect for holding up plenty of tart rhubarb. I didn’t do anything to the rhubarb because I knew that the sweet crumbs would offset the sourness of the rhubarb. I also held back on adding any sort of cinnamon or spice–which is normally my instinct with coffee-cake-like things, but I really wanted it to be all butter and vanilla with punches of rhubarb. The only thing I would do differently next time is to double the rhubarb. I totally think this cake could handle it. I could see this cake being made all times of the year with various seasonal or frozen fruits. I’d avoid anything too wet, like strawberries, but apples, cranberries, pretty much any berry, or even stone fruits (cherries!) would all be lovely.

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Rhubarb Crumb Cake

Adapted from Baked Explorations

Aside from adding rhubarb, I  used a vanilla bean in the batter and added some extract to the crumb, omitted the cinnamon, subbed in more dark brown sugar, subbed in some oats for flour, and browned the butter for the crumb. To ensure large chunks of crumb, I put the mixture in the refrigerator to rest while I made the cake batter.

Makes 1, 9×13 inch, cake.

For the crumb topping:

1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, browned

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats

For the batter:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cups sour cream

1 1/2 heaping cups rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I would do as much as 3 cups in the future)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on 2 sides, and grease well.

Make the crumb in a mixing bowl by stirring together the sugars, salt, and flour. Fold in the browned butter and press the crumb firmly into the bowl before placing in the refrigerator to rest while you prepare the batter.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt for the batter. Place the rhubarb pieces in another bowl and toss with about 1 tablespoon of the dry mix, just to coat lightly. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and the scrapings from the vanilla bean. Beat until the mixture begins to lighten in color and become a bit fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition. Add the sour cream and beat until just combined. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down the bowl after each addition and beating until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Scatter the rhubarb over the top of the batter. Grab handfuls of the crumb topping, squishing it in your fist to make large chunks of crumb, and cover the entire cake. Bake the cake for 45-60 minutes (mine took the full 60) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving. Leftover cake can be wrapped well in plastic and stored at room temperature, though I opted to refrigerate the wrapped leftovers. Serve any leftover cake at room temperature.


Raw Sugar + Vanilla Margaritas

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I’m cutting it real close, but these Raw Sugar + Vanilla Margaritas are so easy to make that you’ll have plenty of time to throw them together for some Cinco de Mayo cocktailing. These guys start with a simple raw sugar syrup that’s punched up with vanilla bean. I always love the combo of sweet, creamy vanilla with tart citrus.  I mean, there’s a reason why a creamsicle is such a classic.  So, this is like an adult creamsicle minus orange and dairy, plus lime and booze. Once the syrup is made and cooled a bit, it’s just lime juice, a little water, and tequila. The syrup is caramel-y and fragrant with vanilla, which play so nicely with the tart lime and sharp tequila. I also made a quick vanilla bean salt for the rim of the glasses–totally optional, but totally delicious. I mixed these up pitcher-style and served them on-the-rocks, so they’re perfect for an easy, breezy cocktail-hour and are perfect for scaling up for a crowd. ¡Salud!

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Raw Sugar + Vanilla Bean Margaritas

4 to 6 servings.

Adapted from THIS recipe.

I used a vanilla bean for this, but you could totally sub in some vanilla paste or extract. You’ll have a little extra syrup–use it to sweeten the margaritas if you like them less tart, OR, add it to your morning coffee! 

for syrup:

1/2 cup raw sugar (sometimes called turbinado sugar)

3/4 cup water

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

for vanilla salt:

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped

for margaritas:

1 cup Raw Sugar + Vanilla Bean Syrup

1 cup lime juice

1 cup tequila

1 1/2 cups water

lime wedges, crushed ice, and vanilla salt (optional) to serve

for syrup:

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, water, scraped vanilla bean seeds and pod. Heat over medium-high to dissolve the sugar, bring to a boil, and boil 1 minute. Remove from the heat to cool. Pour into a heatproof jar and set aside.

for the margaritas:

Stir together the syrup, lime juice, tequila, and water in a pitcher to combine. In a bowl, combine the salt and vanilla bean seeds and rub the two together until the seeds are distributed throughout the salt. Spread the vanilla salt into a shallow dish. Rub the edges of your glasses with a lime wedge and dip each glass in the vanilla salt. Fill each glass with crushed ice and top off with the margarita mixture. Serve with a lime wedge.