Friday, January 8, 2010


One of my favorite things to do every day is enjoy the web comic Surviving The World by Dante Shepherd. I love his sense of humor and think his approach to sharing witty advice about our world in a white lab coat in front of a blackboard is pure genius. He also earns bonus points for naming his dog German...get it? German Shepherd. Hilarious! German is also featured in a few of the comics, like Canine Math.

These are a few of my all time favorites: Lesson #191; Monkey Feet; Lesson #45; Slurs; Recitation #20; Lesson #409.

It's because of this one, Breakfast, that inspired me to create the masterpiece known as the Cromufini.

I needed to start with the zucchini bread first, and I knew exactly which recipe I wanted to use: Food Blogga's. I've had her recipe saved in my favorites for months and hadn't had a chance to indulge yet. Perfect excuse!

The only thing I chose to do differently was use freshly grated coconut. I honestly believe the reason why many people claim they do not like coconut is because they've never taken the opportunity to enjoy it fresh.

Fresh coconut isn't a kick-you-in-the-face-sugary-sweetness-coconut-overload like that processed bag of coconut flakes tastes like. I promise people will be converted if you have them munch on a real piece of coconut. A fresh, mature coconut has a mild flavor with more of a coconut aftertaste, in my opinion. I love the energy I get from eating coconut. I never feel weighed down or have a sugar crash afterward.

Coconut and coconut oil is very healthy. The saturated fat contained within the coconut is high in medium-chain fatty acids, unlike most fats in the Western diet which are long-chain acids. The shorter carbon chain means the body moves the medium-chain fatty acid more swiftly through the blood stream into the liver where it is converted into short term energy use, instead of being converted into fat stored throughout the body. Coconuts are also high in lauric acid, also a medium-chain fatty acid, which is converted into a monoglyceride compound in the body which exhibits antiviral and antimicrobial properties. This means it helps the body fight against common diseases to serious lipid-coated viruses.

If you'd like to take a crack at eating fresh coconut, which I highly recommend, here's what to do:

Using a hammer and a nail, poke holes in all three of the coconut eyes and drain the coconut water into a glass. (Make sure when you're picking out your coconut to shake it around. You want to hear lots of sloshing and the coconut should seem heavy for its small size.) The coconut water is very sweet, so if you're unable to drink it straight, then dilute it with water or freeze and use in cooking, like with rice.

Next, you'll need a heavy towel. Wrap the coconut in the towel and then whack away with the hammer on a hard surface, like concrete. Try not to smash it into a million little pieces, because peeling it will be harder. Separate the hard outer shell from the meat. I rinse my coconut pieces under cool water to remove debris before shaving the coconut.

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the thin brown skin from the coconut. VoilĂ ! Delicious, healthy, fresh coconut!

The zucchini bread came out perfectly! Within the sweet bread, I could taste the pineapple and the crunchiness of the coconut and walnuts. Mmm! I am sticking with Food Blogga's recipe from now on. Next time I might sneak in some golden raisins though. Shhh!

Next came the muffins. I came up with this Orange Marmalade Muffin recipe because I knew the muffin would need to stand out against all the wonderful flavors of the zucchini bread. These turned out with more of a cake consistency than I planned, but the flavor was wonderful. Adding some glaze or icing on top would be a nice touch.

Orange Marmalade Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup turbinado
3/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter, melted
2 eggs
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup apricot jam
3/4 cup raw milk
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350*F and butter a muffin pan. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and set aside. In a small pan, melt the butter slowly on the stove. This should take about 5 min, until it starts to brown very slightly.

In a mixing bowl, combine all the wet ingredients on low. Slowly pour in the melted butter. Next add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into the muffin pan, leaving room at the top for the muffins to puff up. Cook for 15-17 minutes.

~Yields 12 muffins.

~Original by Brie.

Oh, look! Zucchini bread inside muffins!

Finally, came the croissants. And this is where it all goes downhill.

I chose to make an original, simple croissant recipe by Julia Child via Mamaliga, which has great step-by-step instructions.

However, I've never made croissants before. I have always heard how time consuming these are, but figured I needed to make a go of it anyway. Things started out normal enough, but my first bump in the road was during the first rise of the dough. I discovered this does not work in the middle of the winter in a cold house. All my dough did was sag where I had snipped it.

Oh, well. It was time to move on. Next came all the many stages of rolling the dough, to make the many delicious layers within the croissants. I could not get my dough to stop sticking - to everything! The roller, the counter, me. It was ridiculous.

Also, see here where I rolled the butter on the counter. Don't - just don't do that. Such a rookie mistake, ugh. I had to scrape all the butter off the counter, so rolling it on that surface was worthless.

Then, when it came time to shape the croissants into their famous shape, my dough kept shrinking back up into little flat pieces of dough. I couldn't even bring myself to take a photo of what they looked like, it was so embarrassing!

This is the closest thing I got to a "normal" looking croissant. Pathetic.

I do have some good news though. My croissants were absolutely scrumptious! I giggled and ate my way through several of them.

In the end it was all worth it. I proudly present to you: Cromufini!

Dum...Dum...DumDumDum! Dum! Dum! Dum! Dum! (a la Space Odyssey)

It took me three days, but there it is, in all it's glory. Needless to say, I would recommend enjoying each of these treats on their own.

I know this post was super long, but thank you for enjoying my Special Project - Operation Cromufini.

Oh, and remember Lesson #324!


  1. wow how spectacular this is, I just bought orange marmalade and now have a great reason to use it, and this last one hmmmmmmmmm looks wonderful!

  2. Great Post! Props to you for cracking a coconut. You are a better woman than me. :)

  3. My goodness - that's a lot of work! This recipe is a serious accomplishment.

  4. hehe this is awesome. we have a coconut tree in our front yard and use it often (just hoping this recent 'freeze' in Florida doesn't kill our precious tree...) and yes, fresh coconut is a huge difference!

  5. What an undertaking! You, and this, are both awesome. *clap clap*

  6. That looks like a big challenge to me. You really did great to amke these mouth-watering bakes. I love anything with coconut. It's such a healthy fruit and gives beautiful flavour to food.

  7. We should be lucky that grated and fresh coconut milk are easily available here. The zucchini bread looks yummy!

  8. Good post! We have a different way of cracking coconuts here. I use a kind of a pick axe and the trick is to crack it in the middle, such that it splits into half. As it cracks, collect the water and then split it completely open. Had to learn that art as I was initiated into cooking!

  9. That's a lot of work but still worth it as fresh coconuts are really good. Great job on that one. I should try doing it again sometime.

  10. Great post! I'm also a fan of Dante's work, which sent me over here :)

  11. Omg, this post was epic! I love anything that's complicated enough to begin with cracking and grating a coconut and then involves, like, 1,000 subsequent steps! Admit it: you've been waking up in the middle of the night with new ideas for this plan haven't you? Love it & totally worth it!! Don't feel bad about the croissants. It really is had to make rising breads in the cold - I recently put a starter by my portable heater overnight just so it would rise!

  12. You are a very dedicated and patient chef! I enjoyed reading through your experiments :)

  13. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat.

  14. So do you just dig out the middle of the muffin and stick the bread in? Or do you bake it into there?

  15. I once bought a coconut that I could not for the life of me crack open. I finally ended up dropping it out of a third story window in the apartment I lived in at the time... and it left a crack in the concrete. True story.

    Great post!

  16. Making these was an endurance challenge. I'm pretty sure that if I tried to make this at ourhouse, the individual pieces would have been eaten before I could complete the masterpiece.

  17. Wow, take that Turducken, indeed!

  18. That's bloomin' impressive. :D

  19. Dad always turned the oven on and put the bowl of bread dough over the heat outlet to encourage it to rise :)

  20. Thanks for the info on the coconut! And I'm impressed with your persistence on your croissants. Good job!

  21. This is like the breakfast/dessert version of Bacon Explosion... one delicious baked good stuffed inside another delicious baked good, and finally wrapped up in more deliciousness. :)
    I barely survived making my own croissants from scratch, let alone making other things to stuff into them, so major respect to you for pulling this off. Way to go!

  22. Oh YUMM!! That looks delicious!! :)) and decadent in a Russian doll way!! :))

  23. you forgot to put "breakfast turducken" on the labels

  24. Yum! Very inventive and I love the coconot milk!

  25. wow Brie, this is wonderful! I bet it is very low in calories too, oh who am I kidding, calories don't count for breakfast. Great post, thanks for all the info

  26. Brie: that is super amazing! I love combination recipes, and I love hearing how people come up with them. Sometimes I think I love blogs more than food!

    I have never cracked a coconut; the ease with which you seem to have done it makes me wonder why.

    You know what else you can use coconut for?


    Tempted? :)

  27. Holy COW! I would have milked this one for several posts- way to go! Thank you for Surviving the World web site - if you get a chance check out Its great to have a good laugh every day! - Mary

  28. I have a coconut that I need to shred. Thanks for the advice. I am a bit coco-tarded!

  29. Absolutely spectacular! I must make these!!!!

  30. Dang Brie! This is awesome!! I to love fresh coconuts, but making croissants stuffed with a muffin, so cool :D

  31. @pegasuslegend ha, thanks. i've been using orange marmalade a lot recently, and the flavor in the muffins was very nice.

    @Jodie thanks ;) the coconut isn't very hard a lot and it earns lots of extra points in the kitchen. i encourage you to try it one day!

    @Cookin' thank you! it took much longer than i anticipated, but it was a lot of fun.

    @christey i'm in north Florida and would love to have my own coconut tree, but doubt it would make it through the winters. hope yours was ok!

    @Conor ::bows:: thank you, thank you!

    @Mary yes, i know you love coconut as well. i see it featured in your recipes which look great.

    @Cheah if you've got plenty of coconut around, you've got to try the zucchini bread recipe - it's delicious!

    @Shirley wow, that's a but above my skill level, but i'd love to master that technique. maybe i'll get picked to play on Survivor and can practice on an island somewhere ;)

    @Divina yes, having a featured post on coconuts would be great. they're so nutritious!

    @Jim thanks for coming to check out the post! i love Dante's comics as well and am still so thankful and thrilled he put a little blurb about the creation on his site.

    @Tasty haha, epic is the word for sure. gah, i should have put the bread near a warm oven or something. i'll have to remember that for next time!

    @Enzie thank you! so glad you stopped by :)

    @Anonymous (2) i made the zucchini bread first and then put a piece in the middle of the muffin mix before baking it. carving would have just resulted in crumbs.

    @Mae haha, that was one determined coconut.

    @My Man's Belly yeah, i'm so glad the croissants were the last part otherwise i would not have had anything to work with. those croissants were gone within hours.

    @Tara ha, heck yes!

    @Alyss thank you!

    @Gwenhyver great advise! i will definitely have to keep that in mind for next time.

    @Tasty Eats thank you! i'm not one to give in.

    @Polka thank you! on Dante's website, he called it the 'Breakfast Turducken'. it certainly was a major undertaking!

    @Asha that's an interesting way to see this creation - i like it! :)

    @Stacy thanks!

    @Shari ha, sometimes it's all about having fun

    @CCR thank you!

    @Mr.P yes, it's very simple and the different in taste compared to store bought is huge. i will have to check that out - thanks

    @Foodo haha, that would have kept the length way down for sure. so glad to introduce Dante's website to others. thanks for the oatmeal site - it is funny!

    @Casey have fun! i always end up leaving a few pieces to munch on later.

    @garbonzo thank you! hope you enjoy them as much as i did!

  32. @Diana thank you! coconuts make everything taste better! ;)

  33. Lovin the orange/apricot jam combo in the muffins... yum!

  34. mmm, yes, i love the sweetness in apricot.

  35. Oh, too wonderful. I only just discovered survivingtheworld, and this is the icing on top, as it were.

  36. Hello..I'm a first time visitor, and I got here through STW.
    First of all, your Cromufini = magnificence! I would have loved to get a bite of that :)

    Second of all, I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but may I offer some advice on tackling a coconut?
    Instead of smashing the nut to smithereens, I find its usually easier to split the nut in half with a cleaver or a sturdy knife. Something like this
    Once you have the nut split in half, you can scoop out the flesh with a spoon quite easily, depending how ripe the coconut is.

    I'm from southeast asia and I've been opening coconuts my whole life, and its generally agreed that splitting them is the easiest method. Just a friendly suggestion. Happy cooking :)

  37. hi, Contemplative! thanks for stopping by and leaving me a note. no offense at all! i welcome constructive criticism. you are correct that the split-in-half method is more professional and proficient. i have had more practice with coconuts since this post and also prefer your method. at the time this post was created, i was more concerned about getting people to try fresh coconuts and didn't want to scare anyone away with cracking a coconut perfectly in half. however, i love coconut and it certainly deserves an update. i will definitely make a note to get a post up this year about how to properly open a coconut. thank you and i hope you stop by again!

  38. Dear Brie,

    I know this is an old post, but I have two detailed suggestions on the issue of raising yeast breads in cold houses. If a microwave is available boil a cup or two of water in it, leave the water in the microwave and raise the bread (covered) in there. You can check it periodically and reheat the water as needed. If a microwave is not available I recommend putting a casserole with a little water in the oven, preheating it until its temperature is a little over a hundred degrees and raising the bread (again covered) in there. Just make sure you shut off the oven; I've killed yeast before by letting the oven get to even 200 degrees.

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful passion for cooking. I hope this helps you grow in it.


  39. nice recipe

    thanks for your article :)