Tag Archives: Trader Joe’s

It’s All About The Coconut!

Frosted cupcakes piled high with coconut chips.  Yes, coconut chips!!  I came across them at a food show and thought they would make a beautiful complement to chocolate cupcakes frosted with vanilla buttercream.

We shot this cupcake at the studio one day, and it has become one of our all-time favorite shots. To make a more dramatic presentation, I used a  Texas-size cupcake pan lined with extra-large paper liners.  (A standard cake mix will make  10 to 12 cupcakes.) I frosted the cupcakes with a rich vanilla buttercream.  To give the coconut a hint of color and to bring out its flavor, I  very lightly toasted the coconut chips. (Place them in single layer on a baking sheet, and toast in 275° oven for about 5 minutes.)

The best coconut chips are just pure dried coconut—organic, unsweetened and sulfite-free.  You can eat them straight from the package, add them to your favorite trail mix, stir them into a fruit salad—be creative! Coconut chips may be a little harder to find than shredded coconut, but they are certainly worth the search.  I found them at Trader Joes, and they are also available at natural food markets. Or, you can order them online.  Here are a few online resources: Tropical Traditions,  Nuts Online, or Melissa’s.

as photographed by our team, alacartepartners

Cathy

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Filed under Chocolate, Cupcakes, Dessert

Do You Fondue ?

I used to think fondue was a throwback from the 1970’s.  Remember those bright-colored earthenware pots with those tiny little forks? But fondue is not just a throwback anymore. Last week, I was in Trader Joe’s desperately  looking for a quick, but interesting appetizer to serve to last-minute guests.

In the cheese section, I happened upon a package of Swiss Beer Fondue that just called for heating and serving. Perfect!  I don’t have one of those vintage bright-colored pots but, having a food background, I knew I didn’t need one.  I figured I could heat the fondue in the microwave oven or in a double-boiler just before serving and it would be fine.  And sure enough, it was.  I served the fondue in small ramekins and when it needed to be re-warmed, I just put it in the microwave for about 15 seconds.  I served the fondue with chunks of warm crisp sourdough bread and fresh veggies.  Perfect with a cold beer or glass of wine. And my guests loved it!

If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your area (you poor soul!), I have noticed pre-packaged cheese fondue in the produce sections of supermarkets.

Another way to “fondue”  is to make a dessert fondue.  Dark, milk or white chocolate fondues are delicious served with strawberries, pound cake or angel food cake cubes, biscotti, ladyfingers, marshmallows, banana chunks, pretzel rods, and more.  Flavor the chocolate with your favorite liqueur or extract.

Here’s a quick recipe:

Easy Chocolate Fondue

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

1 cup heavy cream
12 ounces chocolate (semi-sweet, milk, bittersweet, or white), chopped
2 tablespoons favorite liqueur (such as Chambord, Grand Marnier, or Creme de Menthe) or 1/4 teaspoon favorite extract flavoring (optional)

– Heat cream in small heavy saucepan over medium heat just until small bubbles appear around edge of pan.  DO NOT BOIL.

– Remove pan from heat; add chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted.  Stir in liqueur, if desired.

– Serve warm directly from pan.  If fondue gets too thick, thin with 1 tablespoon heavy cream.

Tip

– For a Mexican favor, using the darker chocolate, add  1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon and 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper. Olé

Cathy

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Filed under Appetizer, Dessert, Snacks

I Never Met a Lemon Bar I Didn’t Like

That said, there are definitely some lemon bar recipes that are better than others.

I am always looking for the perfect combination of crumbly shortbread crust and just-tart-enough filling. Well, my search for the perfect recipe just came to an end. While perusing the frozen dessert section of Trader Joe’s the other day, I noticed a sweet little package of lemon bars. Hmmm, I thought. I should try these. Am I glad I did! They are delicious—not too tart, not too sweet, not too crumbly, not too sticky, and not too many calories either.  Just 80 per serving, made with natural ingredients.

Not only are these bars fully baked and pre-cut, they are adorable and look completely homemade. And they pass the taste test! Try them, you will not be disappointed.

These bars would make a perfect Easter dessert. For a pretty presentation, arrange them on a flat white plate and garnish with small blossoms of pansies or johnny-jump-ups. Sweet!

Heather

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Filed under Dessert, Sweets