2016 Holiday Cookbook: Coconut (secret ingredient)

German Chocolate Pecan Pie
German Chocolate Pecan Pie The Wichita Eagle

First Place: Oatmeal Cake

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1 cup oatmeal

1 stick butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Spray 9-by-13-by-2-inch pan.

Pour boiling water over oatmeal and set aside.

Cream butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Beat in eggs. Add flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon, sifted together. Then add oatmeal mixture. Mix well. Pour into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.


1 stick butter

2 tablespoons milk

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

Boil together for one to two minutes, then spread evenly over hot cake and slip under broiler until barely browned. (Watch, as it can burn.)

This was handed to me from my Mother & I have made lots of them as it is dense & travels well. I send it to friends & family via FedEx with success.

Ann Smith, Wichita

Second Place: German Chocolate Pecan Pie

Pie crust:

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold shortening (I like butter flavor)

4 to 5 tablespoons cold water

Pie filling:

2 large eggs

5 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 corn syrup

2 1/2 cups chopped pecans

3/4 cup sweetened coconut

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the pie crust, mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in shortening until it forms coarse crumbs about the size of small peas. Add in the water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix with a fork until it comes together and forms a dough. Roll out dough on parchment and place in pie pan; trim and flute the edges. Prick the bottom of crust with a fork. Chill about 15 minutes. Line the bottom with foil and pie weights or dried beans and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

For the filling, whisk the eggs in a bowl and set aside. In a heavy saucepan, mix the butter, salt, brown sugar and corn syrup on medium heat until melted and smooth. Cool about 10 minutes or so before adding to the the beaten eggs. Mix in the pecans and coconut.

Remove the pie weights or dried beans and foil from the bottom of the baked pie crust. Spread the chocolate chips on the bottom of the pie shell and pour the filling on top. Bake until set, about 25-30 minutes. Cover the edges if the crust is browning too quickly. (The pie may still appear slightly jiggly in the center but will firm as it cools ). Cool completely before slicing.

This is one of my family’s favorite pies for Thanksgiving.

Steph Hilger, Colwich

Third Place: Braised Spinach and Chickpeas Enhanced with Coconut and Condiments

Serves 4 as main course, 6 as a side dish

2 teaspoons oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger from an approximately 3-inch piece

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

1 large lemon, zested and juiced (about 2 tablespoons juice)

1 dried hot red pepper, or dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 pound fresh baby spinach

1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Heat oil in a large, deep Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is just beginning to brown. Add garlic, fresh ginger, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and red peppers (if using). Cook for three minutes, stirring frequently.

Add chickpeas and cook over high heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the chickpeas are beginning to turn golden and coated with the onion and garlic mixture. Lower heat to medium-high.

Toss in spinach, one handful at a time. This will take about five minutes. Stir in a handful or two and wait for it to wilt down to make room in the pot before adding the next handful. When all the spinach has been added, pour in the coconut milk, salt, ground ginger and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the chickpeas are warmed through. Add more salt and/or lemon juice to taste.

This has a “sauce” flavor that lends beautifully as a topping for baked sweet potatoes, pasta, rice, quinoa or other grains for a main dish. It also has a thick enough consistency to be a splendid accompaniment as a side to fowl, fish or pork. Chopped cilantro leaves and/or toasted unsweetened coconut are optional garnishes. Warm tortillas or pita bread are perfect with this powerhouse veggie comfort food.

Katherine Hoffman, Wichita

Honorable Mention: Italian Cream Cake

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

5 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups flour

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted

Cream butter and sugar and beat at medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour and baking soda and add alternately with buttermilk to butter mixture. Stir in almond and vanilla extracts along with coconut and pecans. Bake in three 9-inch round layer pans (buttered and floured) at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove carefully from pans and cool completely on wire rack.


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter

1 box powdered sugar (1 pound)

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Shaved coconut, lightly toasted

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and almond extract and beat on medium speed until smooth. Spread frosting evenly between each cake layer and on top. Garnish with coconut.

This recipe became a favorite after Pat Wendell brought it to a potluck while we were working together at the Wichita Nephrology Group in the mid-1980s. In 2010, Paula Deen featured a similar recipe in her magazine. Combining the two recipes, this cake makes an elegant presentation on a glass cake stand at graduations and other special occasions.

Susan Carp, Wichita

Honorable Mention: Protein Bars with Coconut and Chocolate

Makes 8-10 bars

2 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup vanilla protein powder (use a vegan powder if necessary)

3 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1/4 cup water

1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips (dark, milk or bittersweet)

1/2 cup chopped almonds

Place coconut flakes in a food processor. Process one minute until small and sticky crumbs. Add water, coconut oil and protein powder. Process until a sticky dough forms.

Take a 2 tablespoon-size of coconut dough. Wet hands and shape into 3-inch bars. Keep wetting your hands, until finished making the bars.

Sprinkle nuts on top and lightly pat in. Place in dish and freeze for 10 minutes.

Place your chocolate chips in a microwave dish and melt at 50 percent power for 30-second increments, stirring each time. When finished, use an oven mitt to remove and stir well.

Place on cooling rack, and drizzle chocolate over bars and chill until chocolate sets. Wrap individually in plastic snack bags.

Keep cold or frozen and thaw before you need them. Another option is to place bars nut side down and coat with chocolate, let set for one or two minutes and carefully flip over and cover the top side and chill and wrap. Or don’t use nuts and cover all with chocolate or drizzle it, chill and wrap.

The bar recipe came from my son’s rock-climbing group. It’s simple to make. It was passed on to me, with a hint that I could make this any time and bring it when we visit.

Ginger Lawson, Wichita


1 package (14 ounces) flaked coconut

4 giant Hershey bars (7 ounces each)

Melt chocolate slowly in a double boiler over low heat. Remove from heat once melted and let cool. Place coconut in a broiler pan on middle rack of oven. Broil coconut using a spatula to stir coconut until toasted. As coconut starts to brown, watch closely and stir often so it does not burn. Let coconut cool.

Make a work station. Take a section of newspaper folded in half and tape a piece of wax paper wide and long enough to cover the newspaper. Tape securely so the wax paper does not move. Using a large serving spoon, spoon a heaping amount of coconut on the wax paper. Then with another serving-size spoon, add a spoonful of chocolate to the coconut. Using a fork, fold the mixture until the coconut is well coated. The mixture should be able to stand up and not be runny. You may need to add a little more chocolate or coconut to get the correct firmness. Cut a long piece of wax paper and place on table. Using the fork, divide out bite-size portions and transfer them to wax paper to dry. Continue this process with another spoonful of chocolate and coconut until you run low on the chocolate or coconut. It is possible to have some coconut or chocolate left over. Once dry, transfer haystacks to covered container. Store away from heat and do not refrigerate, as it will make the chocolate turn white.

My Mother would make these every Christmas. My family loves them and I usually make this recipe two times during each holiday season. I have fond memories of my Mother when I make haystacks.

Deborah Rector, Wichita

Glazed Carrot Coconut Cake

Serves 8 or more

2/3 cup oil

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/2 pound carrots, peeled and grated

1/4 cup grated coconut

Grated peel of 1/2 orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Beat oil and sugar together in a bowl until thick and glossy. Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat in eggs one at a time and add carrots, grated coconut, grated orange peel and vanilla extract.

Mix well and pour batter into greased 8-inch springform pan. (You can also use a cake pan or loaf pan.) Bake one hour until cake tester comes out clean. Cool, remove sides and spread with Orange Glaze.

Orange Glaze:

1/3 cup orange juice

Peel of 1/2 orange grated

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier Liqueur

Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring, for five minutes or until glaze is thick and shiny. Cool and spread it on top and sides of cake. (I drizzle it on top only.)

I received this recipe from a friend many years ago and it is still my go-to recipe when I’m hungry for carrots and coconut and don’t have much time. It’s also pretty yummy as a quick bread in the morning!

Dabs Jennings, Wichita

Coconut Fruit Salad

2 16-ounce containers frozen strawberries, thawed but not drained

1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks/pieces, drained

1 15-ounce can peach slices, drained

1 10-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained

1 box (3.9 ounces) instant coconut pudding mix

1/4 to 1 cup juices (drained from fruit)

Flaked coconut

Drain canned pineapple, peaches and mandarin oranges, reserving juices. Combine all fruit, mixing gently. Sprinkle the dry pudding mix over the fruit and stir. If the mixture seems too thick, add reserved juice as needed (you may want the mixture to sit for a short time before adding more liquid). Refrigerate for at least an hour. Sprinkle with flaked coconut just before serving. You can also add three sliced bananas just before serving.

Like many of my mother's recipes, this came from a fellow teacher after a school potluck lunch. It is especially good during the winter when fresh fruit is not at its peak, though it can certainly be eaten year round.

Carol Ann Robb, Pittsburg

Morning Glory Muffins

Makes 18-20 muffins

2 cups flour

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups shredded carrots

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1 apple, peeled, cored and shredded

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin cups or use paper liners. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt with a wire whisk. Stir in carrots, nuts, coconut and apple. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil and vanilla. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture, just until moistened. Fill each cup 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Tip: Lightly spray the paper liner with baking spray, and muffin will not stick to the paper when removing.

Vivian Talbott, Wichita

Coconut Pecan Ice Cream Dessert

2 cups rice cereal

2/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

In a bowl, combine the cereal, brown sugar, pecans and coconut. Drizzle with butter; stir until combined. Press small amount of mixture into the bottoms of 24 short disposable cups, top with a scoop of ice cream and then top ice cream with additional mixture. Cover and freeze until serving.

I remember my mom making this one Christmas, when I was a child. She used small Christmas cups; it made a very special treat. I make this recipe now and it is enjoyed whenever it is served. My mother has passed on her love for baking to my sister and I and to her four granddaughters.

Sally Brock, Redfield

Hawaiian Wedding Cake

Serves 12

1 box white Jiffy cake mix

1 box instant vanilla pudding (3.9 ounces/small)

1 3/4 cups milk

1 8-ounce package cream cheese

1 can crushed pineapple (20 ounces/large)

1 8-ounce carton Cool Whip topping

1 cup flaked coconut

Prepare and bake cake as directed on package in 9-by-13-inch glass pan. Cool completely. Cheese should be softened at room temperature. Prepare pudding using milk, then mix with softened cream cheese. Spread this over the cake that has been cooled. Scatter well-drained pineapple over pudding layer. Spread the carton of Cool Whip over pineapple. Sprinkle with the cup of coconut. Store in refrigerator.

Tip:You may use other flavors of cake or pudding. Chopped nuts may also be used instead of coconut if desired.

This cake has very special memories since my dear friend (Dick Smith) brought this back from Hawaii and served it at the office for all of us to enjoy. Every time I make it I think of this wonderful man.

Cylesta Peters, Goddard

Coconut Roll Tiramisu

1 1/2 cups strong coffee

1/4 cup Kahlua (divided)

1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese

8 ounces (1 block) cream cheese

1/4 cup sugar

1 bag crispy coconut rolls (Costco)

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Add 2 tablespoons of Kahlua to the coffee. Pour into a shallow dish.

Beat cheeses in a mixer until smooth. Add sugar and 2 tablespoons Kahlua. This mixture needs to be easy to spread. Warm slightly if needed.

Soak 16 coconut rolls in the coffee mixture for 15 seconds or so. Pick them up out of the mixture, shake off the excess liquid and use them to line the bottom of a 4-by-8-inch loaf pan. Top with a third of the cheese mixture. Put the cocoa powder in a sifter and sift a bit on top of the cheese. Add another layer of the soaked coconut rolls, cheese and cocoa powder and then a third layer. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least two hours.

This recipe is not only delicious, but is also gluten-free and Paleo.

Jennifer Zollinger, Wichita

Ice Cream Bar

Makes 24 2-inch squares

2 cups Rice Chex (crushed)

1 cup flaked coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup melted butter

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream

Mix first five ingredients together and take half and press into bottom of 9-by-13-inch pan. Put other half in another 9-by-13-inch pan loosely and stir twice while baking. Bake both at 250 degrees for 25 minutes. When cool, cover crust with ice cream. Sprinkle loose crumbs on top. Freeze.

My mother-in-law introduced me to this delicious recipe 20-plus years ago. Best of all for the cook, it can be prepared ahead and frozen.

Edwinna Carp, Wichita

Refrigerator Coconut Cookies

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup butter

2 eggs

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups coconut

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream sugars, butter and eggs. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Roll dough into small rolls and place on wax paper. Wrap in plastic. Put in refrigerator. When chilled, slice thin and place on cookie sheet that has been sprayed with Pam. Bake at 375 degrees for eight to 10 minutes. This dough keeps well for a few days in refrigerator.

Lois Hofmeier, Harper

Toasted Coconut Rice

Makes 6 servings

1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

1 1/2 cups Basmati or long-grain rice

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (regular or low-fat)

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

Place coconut in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, about two to three minutes until lightly browned (watch carefully). Remove from pan and set aside.

Wash rice under cold water and drain. Combine rice with coconut milk, water, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, stir and reduce heat. Cover and let simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and stir in the layer of coconut cream that forms on the top. Let cook an additional five minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat and place in a serving bowl. Top with reserved toasted coconut and stir lightly.

Here is coconut times two. This rice is especially good with curry, sweet and sour or Thai dishes. It’s also good with fresh mango or grilled pineapple. So good, in fact, that I’ll eat leftovers cold, straight from the refrigerator. They also make exceptionally good rice pudding.

Peg Bowman, Wichita

Italian Creme Cake

1 stick margarine, softened

1/2 cup oil

2 cups sugar

5 egg yolks

5 egg whites

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pecans (optional)


8-ounce package cream cheese

1/2 stick margarine, softened

1 box powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 9-inch cake pans with shortening and lightly flour.

In a medium bowl, combine 1 stick of margarine, oil and sugar and mix until creamy. Beat in one at a time the egg yolks. Set aside. Beat the egg whites until fluffy.

In a large bowl, combine the sifted flour, baking soda and buttermilk. Add the margarine/sugar mixture to the flour mixture and thoroughly combine. To this mixture add the coconut, vanilla and pecans (if desired). Fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour evenly into the three prepared pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool.

For icing, mix the cream cheese, 1/2 stick margarine, powdered sugar and vanilla together. Spread on the cooled cake layers.

Paula Richards, Wichita

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