Coconut Cupcakes with Easter Eggs and Chicks

I made these really cute coconut cupcakes for Easter! I was very happy with how they looked on the table and very sad when I took a bite and realized I over baked them a bit. I will pay very close attention next time!

I made a simple white frosting (butter + confectioners’ sugar +vanilla + almond extract) then tinted it pale green. I piled it onto the cupcakes using an offset spatula then sprinkled each cupcake with green coconut. (To make colored coconut just add coconut and a few drops of food coloring to a zip loc bag and shake, shake, shake!) The little “eggs” are speckled peanut butter M&Ms and worked really well on top of the green coconut. The chicks are (of course) Peeps!

Voila! Cute Easter cupcakes that will add flare to your holiday dessert table!

While we are on the subject of cute Easter cupcakes, check out these little flower pot cupcakes my sister-in-law baked. Aren’t they precious?!

Adorable Flowerpot Cupcakes with Lollipops made by my sister-in-law

Coconut Cupcakes:

  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 7 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut (for IN the batter) + 7 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut  (for on TOP of the cupcakes)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Recipe by Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa found here on foodnetwork.com.

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad

Ina Garten has been my favorite celebrity chef for a while now. There is such tranquility about her. I admire how she relies on solid ingredients and lets the food speak for itself. She creates hearty, satisfying, and delicious meals and she entertains with such ease. Her show is peaceful and calming as opposed to others on the same channel that are so frenetic. And her recipes are reliable. I have made several over the years including Maple Baked Beans and Soba Noodle Salad. She doesn’t disappoint!

Here is another one to add to the list! This Middle Eastern salad is perfect to make at the start of the week and scoop out each day for lunch. The chickpeas make it hearty and satisfying, the feta and lemon juice give it some punch, and the cucumber and herbs provide serious freshness. Mother Nature is not kidding around with the flavor in this dish!

Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad:

  • 10 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded, cored, and 1/2-inch-diced
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and 1/2-inch-diced
  • 1 can or jar (12 to 16 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, 1/2-inch-diced
  • Toasted pita bread, for serving

Place the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley, mint, and basil in a large salad bowl and toss to combine.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing gently to coat all the vegetables. Add the feta, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss gently. Serve the salad with the toasted pita bread.

Middle Eastern Salad found here on foodnetwork.com also in Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?