A Tough Nut to Crack

Food historians believe the coconut was named by Portuguese sailors in the 16th century because the three holes on the coconut looked like a human face. “Coco” means “laughing face” or “grimace.” The English word “nut” was only added later on. The coconut is not actually a nut at all, but a stone fruit, like peaches and plums. Most coconut palms bear fruit for 15 to 60 years but some can even live up to 120 years.

Did you know coconuts can float for long distances across the ocean and then put down roots again when they are washed ashore? There are reports that individual coconuts have even reached Scandinavia.

Coconuts are also used in a variety of cosmetic applications — more, in fact, than any other fruit. The liquid inside a coconut, called coconut water, has become the darling of health-conscious people all over the world.

We prefer our coconuts baked into delicious treats like the ones below. Go ahead and try some today!

Coconut Cupcakes With Frosting

These make the perfect after-school snack or even an easy
dessert after a full-course meal.

1 3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 cups packed sweetened flake coconut, divided*

6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) margarine, softened

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup coconut milk

*available at The Peppermill

For the frosting:

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

2/3 cup water

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

6 egg whites

Make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 18 standard muffin cups with paper liners.

Whisk flour, baking powder and 1/2 cup coconut in a large bowl. Cream margarine and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy and light colored. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla.

Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients to margarine mixture in 3 additions, alternating with coconut milk. Scrape sides of bowl if necessary. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan on wire racks. Decorate with frosting and top with flake coconut.

Make the frosting:

Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, and cook until mixture registers 230 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining sugar. With mixer still on medium-low, carefully pour boiling sugar syrup in a slow, steady stream down side of bowl. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff peaks form and mixture is cool, about 7 minutes. Use immediately with a piping bag or metal spatula.

Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to 3 days, unless otherwise noted.

Pina Colada Muffins

The flavor combo of coconut and pineapple takes these muffins up a notch!

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup margarine (1/2 a stick)

1 egg

1 cup cream of coconut or coconut milk

1 teaspoon rum extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 (15-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved

1/2 cup flaked coconut


1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1–2 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan, or use paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, margarine, egg, cream of coconut and rum extract. Beat together until smooth.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Blend into egg mixture. Stir in pineapple and coconut. Divide batter into 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly tapped. Remove from oven and cool.

Combine confectioners’ sugar with pineapple juice, stirring in a little at a time until you get a thick drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cupcakes. Serve immediately or wrap well and freeze.

Many ingredients are prone to infestation. Please consult a local Rav for specific guidelines on how to avoid transgressions related to insects.