Avocado Coconut Ice Cream

3 medium-large ripe avocados, chilled

1/4 Cup sugar

Juice of 1/2 chilled lemon

Juice of 2-3 chilled limes

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 can coconut milk, chilled

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Puree all ingredients in order in a large food processor or blender. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Honey Sage Shortbread Cookies

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Tablespoon thinly sliced fresh sage (if using dried sage – the fluffy kind, not the powdered – I’d say cut it down to 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons)
  • granulated sugar for sprinkling

Combine sifted flour, salt, baking powder and sliced sage in a small bowl. Place butter, powdered sugar and honey in a large food processor and mix until smooth. Pour flour mixture into food processor and mix evenly.

*note: I’m sure you can get the same results with a hand mixer, or even a pastry cutter and some elbow grease. I just wrote what I did this time around.

Divide the dough in half (it will be a rather sticky blob). Put half of the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap. Shape each half of the dough into a log, rolling outward from the middle, until the diameter is about 1 to 1 1/2-inches. I think mine were between 12 and 18 inches long. Chill the dough at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, slice each log of dough into 1/2-inch thick circles. Your shortbread cookies will be about the size of a half-dollar when they bake up. I was able to fit 8 rows of 6 cookies on two standard cookie sheets. They puff up a bit because of the baking powder, but none ended up touching.

Sprinkle the tops of the cookie dough with sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes on a standard cookie sheet, and 25 minutes if your cookie sheet is insulated.

Cool cookies before removing.

Makes 8 dozen mini cookies.

Milk Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Makes enough to generously frost the top and sides and center of a 2-layer 9-inch cake.

  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2-3 Tablespoons milk
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 4 Cups powdered sugar, poured from the bag into the measuring cup, then sifted

Melt chocolate chips, remove from heat, then cool to room temperature (a bit warmer is okay, I sped up the cooling by stirring). In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat butter, vanilla, milk and salt and powdered sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in a cooled chocolate. Be sure your cake layers are completely cool before frosting. If frosting is too gooey, let it rest a bit to dry out a little.

I posted tips for smoothing this buttercream out for a clean, pretty cake under “Super Slick” in the Sneaky Chef category.

Super Slick: Making Buttercream Look Like Fondant

After making milk chocolate buttercream frosting, I really wanted a smooth look to it after icing the cake. My offset spatula was doing well, but I wanted a fondant look. I had a thought: plastic wrap? Parchment paper? Both? Giving the frosting a little time to dry slightly, I pressed gently all over the top and sides of the frosted cake, once with parchment and once with cling wrap. Both worked well, with their own benefits and drawbacks: the cling wrap was easier to manage, but left little tiny “wrinkles” in the frosting. The parchment produced a much smoother effect, but was a little crunchy and hard to hold on to. But hooray, both worked so much better than I’d thought. If the frosting started to stick from being overworked, it just gave it a minute to dry again and smoothed it out.

The recipe for milk chocolate buttercream is here on Tenspoons.

Chocolate Chip Coconut Blondies

You can’t taste the coconut, but it adds good texture. You could put a drop of coconut extract if you wanted more coconut flavor. White chocolate chips would let more of the coconut shine through as well. These will appear undercooked, but let them cool completely and they’ll set up. Chill them about an hour if you’re in a hurry.

  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • scant teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely shredded unsweetened dried coconut
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 350. Butter a glass 9×13 baking dish. Melt butter and cool slightly. Whisk in vanilla and brown sugar. Whisk in eggs, one at a time until glossy and smooth. Combine dry ingredients up to salt. Stir into butter mixture. Stir in coconut. Spread batter evenly into baking dish. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top and swirl gently with a spoon until chocolate is just covered with batter. Bake 25 minutes, cool completely and cut into squares.