Coconut Syrup

Sometimes my recipe tinkering comes about because I am trying to create a copycat version of a dish we had at a restaurant.  Today’s recipe is one such occasion. For our honeymoon, my husband and I went to Hawaii.  One of our favorite things on that trip was the coconut syrup that was served with waffles at many of our breakfasts. My husband insisted I learn how to recreate the syrup, I’m sure so that he could envision he was sitting under palm trees whenever he ate breakfast. When we returned, I did research and recreate the syrup using coconut extract and corn syrup.

Now that I am a more seasoned cook, I wanted to update my recipe so that I could eliminate the corn syrup.  I don’t know why I didn’t do so years ago, but starting from coconut milk is just as easy.  With just three ingredients – coconut milk, brown sugar, and corn starch – you can create a vacation worthy topping for your waffles or pancakes.  My husband loved this version of coconut syrup just as much as the first time we tried it.  I guess I will be making it more often!

Coconut Syrup

  • 14 ounce can of coconut milk
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch

Add the ingredients to a medium sized sauce pan and blend together the ingredients until there are no corn starch clumps. Simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce to thickens (it should coat the back of a spoon). Cool before serving; store left overs in refrigerator.


Bulletproof Energy Bites

Have you heard of bulletproof coffee? It has been something my husband and I have wanted to try, and had resurfaced recently in a morning conversation.  The concept is that creamer is replaces with a pad of butter and a bit of medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil (or coconut oil in some copycat recipes) for a morning cup of joe that is said to give you more energy.

While trying bulletproof coffee is still on my list, I did try something new this week – coffee cherry flour. It caught my attention as I was meandering through the bulk bin aisles at my local grocery store, mostly because I had never heard of it.  It looked like cocoa powder, but I didn’t know if it was actually made of coffee.  It turns out coffee cherry flour is a gluten free flour made from the coffee cherry which is the fruit that surrounds the coffee bean.

bulletproof energy bites

Since I had bulletproof coffee on the mind, I thought it would be fun to make a recipe that played on the bulletproof concept and made Bulletproof Energy Bites.  I started with a date base, then added in unsweetened shredded coconut, butter, coconut oil, and a bit of the coffee flour.

The result was an energy bite that looked like a chocolate truffle and tasted fantastic. These Bulletproof Energy Bites are a great mini snack for a pick-me-up that will satisfy a sweet craving.

Bulletproof Energy Bites

Bulletproof Energy Bites

1 ½ cups chopped, pitted dried dates
1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
½ cup coffee cherry flour
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Place the dates and coconut in a food processor and mix until chopped fine and begin to stick together.  Add in the flour, butter, and coconut oil and process until well mixed and dough sticks together well.  Using hands, roll into 1-inch balls and place in a plastic or glass container.  Refrigerate until firm; keep refrigerated until ready to eat.


Coconut Mango Coolers

Sigh.  The springtime weather in the Denver area has been crazy this year, with multiple storms each dropping over a foot of snow, all in the last month. My husband has nearly listed our home for no other reason than to escape to someplace warm.  If we can’t enjoy our patio or an impromptu jaunt to somewhere tropical, we might as well enjoy a drink, my Coconut Mango Coolers, that tricks us into thinking we are on vacation.

Coconut Mango Coolers

These Coconut Mango Coolers are something I whipped up as an entry for the Master of Mixes At-Home Mixology Challenge last year. Master of Mixes has approximately 20 different non-alcoholic mixer flavors to choose from, making it easy to create a whimsical cocktail or mocktail. I chose the Mango daiquiri/margarita mix to build my Coconut Mango Coolers. The drink is layers of a coconut flavored beverage (vodka or coconut milk), lime syrup, grenadine, mango daiquiri/margarita mix, and lemon-lime pop which created a stratified look that resembles a sunset.  The drink is garnished with whipping cream, toasted coconut, one maraschino cherry, and a lime wedge. With my Coconut Mango Cooler in hand, I can almost forget the piles of snow on the ground.

Coconut Mango Coolers

Coconut Mango Cooler

½ cup ice cubes
1.5 ounces coconut flavored vodka (or coconut milk for a non-alcoholic drink)
1 ounce sweetened lime syrup
1 ounce grenadine
4 ounces Master of Mixes Mango Daiquiri/Margarita Mixer
4 ounces lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage
Aerosol whipped topping (~1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon toasted sweetened, shredded coconut*
1 maraschino cherry
1 lime slice


Add the ice to a Collins glass.  Next pour in vodka, lime syrup, grenadine, Master of Mixes mango daiquiri/Margarita mixer, and lemon-lime carbonated beverage.  Stir gently to mix.  Top with a swirl of whipped cream, then sprinkle with toasted coconut and top with the cherry.  Add the lime slice to the rim of the glass and serve. Makes one serving.

*To make toasted coconut, preheat oven to 350°F.  Spread 1 cup of sweetened, shredded coconut on a baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, stirring once, or until coconut is light brown.  Let cool and store in an air tight container.


Samoa Granola Bars

Samoa Granola Bars

So far I have resisted the tempting display of Girl Scout cookies at the entry of the grocery store.  Growing up, my mom always bought thin mints and tag-a-longs so it wasn’t until I was an adult that I really got to appreciate the perfect flavor combination of the Samoa cookie – a buttery wafer coated in caramel, coconut, and chocolate. YUM.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love the thin mints too, I just have two favorite Girl Scout cookies now.

While I may have made it past the stocked tables brimming with colorful cookie boxes, it only resulted in my need to whip up my own version of the treat – a Samoa Granola Bar.  Since I prefer my granola bars chewy, I used the oven only to roast the oats to combat their raw flavor and to toast the coconut. The remainder of the prep was simply mixing and pressing into a greased 8-inch x 8-inch dish and letting the bars chill overnight to firm up. I do recommend chilling them overnight, as only a few hours of chilling results in more crumbling.

Samoa Granola Bars

The Samoa granola bars turned out every bit as chewy as I had hoped, and taste like their cookie inspiration. I also barely swatted my husband away to grab photos of the finished dish. Thankfully I managed to take a few pictures of the Samoa Granola Bars before they were declared “awesome” and devoured. While they are a bit more decadent and gooey than I would typically make for a hike or snack, they are a great way to make a gluten-free treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth and your hankering for a Girl Scout cookie.

Samoa Granola Bars

Samoa Granola Bars

Samoa Granola Bars

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
½ cup honey
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup caramel bits
½ cup dark chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line an 8-inch x 8-inch pan with foil and spray with cooking spray and set aside.  Spread the oats on a large rimmed baking sheet and the coconut flakes on a second rimmed baking sheet.  Put both sheets in the oven, baking the oats for 15 minutes and the coconut  for 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring both twice during baking. Remove the oats and toasted coconut from the oven and add to a large bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the honey, butter, salt, and vanilla extract.  Pour the honey mixture over the oats and coconut and stir to coat.  Add in the caramel bits and chocolate chips and stir until combined. Press the granola mixture into the foil-lined pan and chill in the refrigerator overnight.  Lift the bars from told the dish using the foil and cut into 8 bars; serve or store in refrigerator until ready to eat.

Note: I used old fashioned rolled oats which did result in some crumbling.  Jenn from suggests using quick cook oats to reduce crumbling.


Key Lime Bites

Key Lime Pie is one of the decadent treats my husband loves and can’t resist when he sees it on a menu. I think it reminds him of sea & sand filled vacations, and all the great associated memories.

Despite his adoration for this dessert, I can’t remember the last time I made it for him. So as a special treat I made him Key Lime Bites, for a small dose of citrus-infused sugary goodness.

I started with a package of powdered sugar donut holes and cut them in half.



Then, I mixed together some sweetened coconut and lime zest.

Next, I channeled my inner Sandra Lee and her semi-homemade skills and dug into a jar of key lime pie filling . . . . putting a bit on the cut side of half of the donut holes. I recommend having something like a cutting board with a ridge to hold the holes in place before the next step, otherwise they can get a bit top-heavy.

Finally the key lime pie filling gets topped with some of the coconut, and the other half of the donut hole is placed on top to finish off the bite.


To keep them from rolling around, I like to thread them on a kabob skewer, which also makes for easy serving.


The quick and easy bites were a hit, and may have been eaten for breakfast as well as dessert.


Key Lime Bites

½ cup shredded, sweetened coconut
1 teaspoon lime zest
18 powdered sugar donut holes
9 teaspoons key lime pie filling

Mix together the shredded coconut and lime zest, set aside. Cut donut holes in half. place ½ teaspoon key lime filling onto one cut end, add some coconut and then sandwich with the remaining donut hole half. Set down on a ride in a cutting board or skewer with a kabob skewer. Refrigerate until ready to serve.