Toasted Coconut Chocolate Cream Pie by Chelsea Zwieg

It's pie time! And only 10 days after Pi Day! Aren't I so on top of things? I had this pie in mind for so long and I kept thinking, "no, no. I'll wait and post it around Pi Day? Won't that be so cute?" Well, tough luck, Pi Day. I missed ya big time. But this pie is also great for Easter. Or a Friday afternoon that really needs pie. Also, can we talk about today pre-pie for just a second? Because Nick Viall and Vanessa came to the bakery this morning and I just about die/peed my pants/cried all at the same time. And in my head I would have run up to them and told them how much I love them and how the bakery should obviously make their wedding cake (because Milwaukee connections. duh.) and can I have a picture? But in real life, I just stood in the kitchen creepily taking a picture from where they couldn't see me and hyperventilating with how excited I was while my opportunity to talk to them and fulfill all of my Bachelor dreams passed me by. What is wrong with me?? Also, I probably just lost like half of you as followers by admitting how much I love the Bachelor. Please don't hate me. I can't help it. 

Ok, but this pie though. 

This is a straight up wonderful marriage of coconut cream pie and chocolate cream pie. The crust is a graham crust mixed with shredded coconut. You can also do a chocolate crust (using chocolate wafer cookies), if you like more chocolate going on, but I think the coconut is more noticeable when it's in a graham crust. The filling is chocolate pastry cream, which is basically homemade chocolate pudding made with lots of dark chocolate. Much better than anything to come out of a box. Then it gets topped with coconut whipped cream and lots of toasted coconut. I used whipped cream with coconut extract, but if you wanted to make coconut whipped cream (from a can of coconut milk), that would be amazing as well. Really, with so much chocolate and coconut going on, you can't go wrong. 

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Cream Pie

Chocolate base adapted from Food and Wine

Note: I used whipped cream flavored with coconut extract for the pie topping, because I had some rando coconut extract sitting around. It was great, but you could also make REAL coconut whipped cream for a can of coconut milk if you're feeling extra ambitious (and smart. because it would be delicious.) Here is a really good tutorial on how to do that. 

Serves 8-10

| Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups graham crumbs (about 8 full graham crackers) 
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  •  1/4 cup sugar 
  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted 
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch 
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped 
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. coconut extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut, toasted (for topping) 

| Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Combine graham crumbs, shredded coconut and sugar in a bowl. Add the melted butter and stir until completely moistened. Pour the mixture into a 9 in. pie pan and press over the bottom and up the sides. Use a measuring cup or the bottom of a glass to pack the crust in firmly. Bake 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely.  
  • Heat the milk and 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it just begins to bubble around the edges. 
  • Whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch, 1/4 cup sugar and salt in a bowl. Very gradually, whisk in the hot milk. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens, 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until melted and smooth. 
  • Pour the filling into the cooled pie crust. If the crust is still warm, the bottom will become soggy, so make sure it's at room temp. Let the filling cool slightly, then place a piece of plastic wrap over the top, pressing it down over the filling. Chill the covered pie until firm, at least 5 hours, preferably overnight. 
  • Once the pie is set, whip heavy cream and powdered sugar in a stand mixer until it forms stiff peaks. Mix in the coconut extract, to taste. Top the pie with whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted coconut. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches with Chocolate Malt Buttercream by Chelsea Zwieg

I spent my day off last week working on an article for the Milwaukee Journal on how to bake better cookies and really, could there be a better day than one that involves making 5 kinds of cookies and eating them all like it's my job (because, it is?) The answer is no. There could not be. One thing I wanted to include in the article was a recipe for the most perfect chocolate chip cookie. That's a lot of pressure, since everyone's grandma/aunt/mom/whatever obviously already makes the best chocolate chip cookies. So really it's all a matter of opinion and what would be my perfect cookie. And then I remembered, I already made it! My very best, absolute favorite, haven't beat it yet chocolate chip cookie is the malted chocolate chip cookie I posted around this time last year. So I'm bring them back, sandwich cookie style. 

My favorite part about these cookies is that they have just a little bit of molasses. It's not enough to taste but it keeps them so unbelievably soft for days, which makes them the perfect sandwich cookie. Or ice cream sandwich cookie! Come at me, summer. Chewy cookies are so important for sandwiching because the filling doesn't just mush out the other side like it would with crisper cookies. 

And let's talk about that filling real quick. Chocolate. Malt. Buttercream. Need I say more? Just be sure to use unsweetened cocoa powder, or else the combination of sugar, malt powder and sweetened cocoa might just be enough to make your sweetest sweet tooth fall out. But with unsweetened cocoa powder, you can add as much as you would like (even more than what's in this recipe) to balance out the sweetness to your taste. Then get it all up in these cookies, sandwich them together and eat like 5 at one time. Cause that's exactly what I did and it was the happiest thing ever. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches with Chocolate Malt Buttercream

Makes 12 sandwiches 

| Ingredients | 

For the cookies: 

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup malt powder
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. molasses 
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped

For the buttercream: 

  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature 
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup malt powder
  • 1-2 tbsp. half and half or heavy cream 

| Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and malt powder. Whisk to combine.
  • In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Add molasses and beat to combine. Scrape bowl and add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  • Turn mixer to low and gradually add dry ingredients beating until just combined. Stir in the chocolate with a spatula or a few pulses of the mixer. Be careful not to over mix. Scoop dough into 2 tablespoon sized balls and place on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour, preferable overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange chilled dough on baking sheets and bake 10-12 minutes until golden around the edges but still soft in the center. Allow to cool on sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. 
  • For the buttercream, beat the butter in a stand mixer for 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl and add the sugar, cocoa powder, malt powder and 1 tbsp. cream and mix on low to combine. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. If it seems on the thick side, add another tbsp. of cream until it reaches a good spreadable consistency. 
  • Spread half of the cookies with the buttercream and sandwich together with the remaining cookies.