Coconut Raisin Oatmeal Chewies

It's always a good time when my brother brings his cute family down for a visit. In the evenings, we usually gather around the kitchen counter, eat dinner and I make some sort of treat. The first night it was Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies. The second night, I was about to make the Salted Caramel version, but my niece Kaiden said her favorite cookie was an oatmeal raisin. Funny, but lots of kids are not fans of oatmeal raisin cookies! I was happy to oblige and come up with this recipe for Coconut Raisin Oatmeal Chewies. They are a little crispy, super chewy and made with a yummy blend of golden raisins, coconut and oats.
They were a hit. The cookies that didn't get eaten up that evening turned into breakfast cookies early the next day :)

That's me.
And my little brother, and a perfectly beautiful spring day.
The flowers on Temple Square this time of year are absolutely breathtaking!

Coconut Raisin Oatmeal Chewies
A Bountiful Kitchen

2 cups old-fashioned  oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 to 1 cup raisins, I used golden
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 375°F or if using convection, 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets or use parchment paper.
Beat together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined well.  Add all dry ingredients to the bowl (including coconut and raisins), and mix on low speed just until combined. Do not over mix.
Scoop cookies out onto a baking sheet. I used a 1 3/4 inch cookie scoop. Flatten slightly with palm of hand. Bake for about 8-10 minutes on convection or about 10-11 minutes if cooking at 375 regular bake. Remove from oven when cookies have flattened and a light crust has formed. Let cool completely.
Yield about 24-30 cookies.


Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Cake for Sweet Saltwater Design Celebration!

What's a party without a cake?   Kayleigh and Linsey  are best friends, old college roommates, elementary school teaching partners and moms of two kids each.  They love the ocean and candy created Sweet Saltwater Designs.  They make the most precious leather, steel and wood jewelry. I  absolutely love their hand written "I love you" bar necklaces. 
They are celebrating the launch of their new website this weekend with a 48 hour Instagram "party" and asked me to share a cake recipe for their celebration.  My favorite way to celebrate is to combine both cake and ice cream in one dessert. 
Tillamook is my favorite ice cream and this cake combines the goodness of Tillamook with a home made cake and rich chocolate frosting! It's one of our family favorite desserts. 
Happy day Kayleigh, Linsey and Sweetwater Design! 

Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Cake
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ice cream, 1.75 quart container of chocolate (I used Tillamook)
Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows)

Place rack in center of oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2-9 inch round cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment; butter parchment, and dust with cocoa.
Into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on medium speed, stir in eggs, buttermilk, warm water, sour cream, oil, and vanilla until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely. I place the layers on a cooling rack in the fridge to cool them quickly.

Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3-4 tablespoons milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

Cream butter, powdered sugar and cocoa in a large bowl. Mix in milk and vanilla, add salt. Beat until smooth add a little more milk if needed.

Assembly, three basic steps:

1. When cakes are cooled completely, place one of the cakes on a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper. I like to place the cake in a 10 inch Spring form pan or 10 inch cake pan, but a plate will work as well. Scoop the ice cream onto the cake. I use about 3/4 of the container. Try to make an even layer of the ice cream, then place the second layer of cake on top of the ice cream. Using another piece of parchment or wax paper, Press down on the top layer of cake. Don't worry the cake will not be ruined, press down evenly, so the ice cream will be compacted and the layers meet up more closely on the sides. Don't cry if part of the cake sticks to the paper, just scrape it off an eat it as an appetizer.
* see additional note below about pressing down on cake.

2. Place the cake in the freezer for at least two hours.
3. When ice cream cake has been frozen for at least two hours, remove from freezer and place on serving plate. Frost top and sides of cake. Place back in freezer and let sit for at least another hour.
If preparing ahead and cake is frozen for several hours, remove about 30 minutes before serving to allow for easier cutting.

-Don't let the length of this recipe intimidate you. It's basically cake, ice cream and frosting. Best to start this recipe the day before serving. You can make the cakes, and place in the freezer or fridge for easy handling. Make sure to freeze on a  flat surface.
-I have used lots of different recipes over the years. Boxed, home made, they all work well with ice cream cakes. But home made is always best :)
-You may use any flavor of ice cream. I thought when I picked up this flavor it was plain chocolate. While I loved the flavor and taste of "Udderly Chocolate", I prefer a solid color for the ice cream layer. I just like the way it looks as opposed to the mixed brown and white of this particular carton of ice cream.
-*Pressing down on the second layer of cake: This step is important if you want to be able to frost the sides of the cake and avoid huge gaps between the cakes. Press down evenly. It may be helpful to press down using a cookie sheet to get an even surface.
-This cake keeps well in the freezer for about 2 weeks if covered tightly with plastic wrap.


Perfect Au Gratin Potatoes

Have you ever made an au gratin dish you absolutely love? Until now, my answer would have been no.  My top four issues with au gratin potatoes: (side note, the difference between au gratin and scalloped potatoes are, scalloped potatoes never have cheese, and au gratin potatoes always have cheese)

1.  Potatoes are not cooked/soft enough to be melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
2. Not creamy enough.
3. Not enough cheese.
4. Too complicated.

I knew there had to be a way to make potatoes that were creamy, delicious and simple every single time. I've experimented with making a roux, then adding thinly sliced potatoes, and everything from garlic to onions, seasonings etc. before baking and serving. None of the variations I tried were perfect.
Sometimes, making lists like the one above helps to tackle each problem you're trying to solve in a dish. It sounds like I'm working on a peace plan for the UN, right?  Some things are just that important.

I always started with raw potatoes, usually russets, and then decided if I wanted a soft and creamy dish, I needed to boil the potatoes ahead of time, until they were done. Which makes sense if you think about it. Completely cook the potatoes ahead of time, then all you are really doing in the oven is heating them up and browning a bit. No more guessing if the potatoes are cooked all the way after baking. Also, the type of potatoes you use in an au gratin dish makes a huge difference. Russets are great for mashed potatoes and baked potatoes, but not so great for an au gratin dish. If you want the potatoes to still hold their shape while also being cooked to a soft texture, then a Yukon Gold is your potato. They are golden or yellow in color, have a higher moisture content, and are absolutely perfect for this dish. Problem one solved.

Made with shaved Parmesan cheese from Harmons Grocery. Highly recommended. 

Problem two, not enough cheese, and problem three, not creamy enough were fairly simple to solve. I had always used grated cheddar, or a mixture of grated cheeses. I love Parmesan, and wanted this dish to be about creamy potatoes, not cheese. but still wanted a subtle cheese flavor. So I went with Parmesan. And for the creaminess factor, I went straight to cream, and skipped making a roux (problem four solved).  Because nothing creates creamy quite like cream :)

This is by far the best au gratin type potato dish I've ever made. It's rich and creamy, simple and still sophisticated.

For local readers, Harmons is running "secret sales" all week available only to their Facebook followers!  If you want to participate in their online Easter egg hunt for a golden egg (special sale deals), check out their page.  They'll have sale items only available for one day and recipes to make planning your Easter feast the best one yet.  Can't wait for Easter dinner with family.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Perfect Au Gratin Potatoes
A Bountiful Kitchen

2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup melted butter, unsalted
1 cup cream, I prefer heavy cream

Grease a 9 inch pie plate or other baking dish of similar size. Set aside.
Wash the potatoes, and place in a large pot. Fill with water until just barely covering potatoes.
Place pan on stove and cook over high heat until boiling, then reduce heat to medium heat for about 30 minutes, or until a fork inserted easily goes through to the middle of the potato.
Drain the water and place the potatoes on a cutting board.
Using a paring knife and a dishcloth, peel the potatoes, and slice thin. Place about half of the potatoes in the prepared dish for baking. Generously salt the potatoes. Sprinkle about 1/2 of the cheese on the potatoes, and drizzle about half of the butter on as well.
Continue to slice the potatoes and place on top of the potatoes in the pan. Sprinkle with additional salt, cheese and drizzle with remaining butter.
Finally, drizzle the cream on top and around the edges of the potatoes in the dish.
Bake in a 375 degree oven on top third of oven for about 20 minutes or until bubbly and golden.

-You may use about 3 1/2 lb potatoes to increase the size of the recipe. Bake in a 9x13 pan or a casserole dish.  Double the rest of the ingredients.
-I try to mound the potatoes up a bit in the middle. While baking some settling occurs, and mounding the potatoes up will take care of sinking potatoes and overall appearance of the dish.
-I use the Shaved Parmesan from Harmons Grocery, found in the prepared foods section. If you don't live near Harmons, buy a block of Parmesan, and use a knife to shave off large bits of cheese. Place the cheese on a cutting board that is stable and shave the cheese onto the cutting board.

This post is sponsored by Harmons Grocery.