Tropical Treats

15 Mar

As I promised, here are all the recipes from our “Trop Swap” party on the weekend. If you’ve never had a clothing swap night, I encourage you to try it with your friends…it’s a great way to get rid of things you no longer use that someone else might love. And any leftovers go to charity! 🙂 The tropical theme was a perfect remedy to the winter blahs (like the centerpiece behind the cupcakes?). Add a few flowered leis and you’re good to go…the tropics come to the great white north!

Now onto the recipes….the cupcakes themselves only have 3 ingredients, it’s just the frosting that takes a few more. I don’t love cake mixes on their own, but I will use them in recipes like this that zazzle up the mix a little (and make it guilt-free 🙂 ). These cupcakes are super-moist, so be sure to keep any extras in the fridge.

Hungry Girl’s Pina Colada Cupcakes (each one only has 115 calories and less than 2 grams of fat!)

For Cupcakes:

  • 2 cups moist-style yellow cake mix (about ½ of an 18.25-ounce box)
  • 1½ eight-ounce cans crushed pineapple in juice (NOT drained)
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract
For Frosting:
  • 4 ounces canned crushed pineapple in juice (drained)
  • 1 Jell-O Sugar Free Vanilla Pudding Snack
  • 1½ tablespoons fat-free cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 no-calorie sweetener packet – I used Splenda.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all frosting ingredients and mix until well blended. Refrigerate until cupcakes are ready to be frosted.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix with undrained pineapple. Add coconut extract and mix until thoroughly blended.
4. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with baking cups and/or spray with nonstick spray. Evenly distribute cake mixture among cups.
5. Bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
6. Allow cupcakes to cool completely, then evenly distribute frosting over the tops. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
*Optional: garnish with a slice of fresh pineapple to make them look extra-pretty.
Now for the cookies. I wanted to make a tropical spin on chocolate chip cookies, but I wanted to start with a base that was not too high in fat/calories, since I was adding extras (like coconut and dried fruit).  I remembered a recipe I had made a few years back from Weight Watchers magazine that was really yummy. The original recipe makes 36 oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies with about 50 calories each. My recipe makes 24 good-size cookies – not sure on the calorie count because of the added ingredients, but would still be better for you than the average cookie. The girls went wild for these. I will definitely make them again.
Tropical Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Weight Watchers Magazine
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1 large egg
3/4 cup rolled oats (I like old-fashioned, not instant)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 to 3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut (I didn’t measure this or the fruit)
1 cup (approximate) tropical fruit mix (or any kind fo fruit mix/trail mix you like, I just got mine from the bulk section) – chop any large pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray (or do like I did, use stoneware so you don’t have to spray).
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; set aside. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed (or do with a spatula/spoon like I did), beat the brown sugar, butter and vanilla and coconut extracts in a large bowl until blended. Beat in the sour cream and egg. With the mixer on low speeds, add the flour mixture and beat until blended, about 1 minute. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, coconut and fruit.
3. Drop the dough by level spoonfuls onto the baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart, making 24 cookies. Slightly flatten cookies with fingers. Bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool.
The pina coladas were really popular at the party. I set up a station with all my ingredients and made the drinks to order. This is a simple, tasty, alcohol-free version of the favourite tropical drink – with less than 100 calories per serving – waaaay better than those creamy concoctions you can get at bars. Substitute one sugar free pudding cup for the frozen yogurt if you avoid dairy.
Hungry Girl’s Pina Colada Smoothie
From Hungry Girl: 200 under 200

1/4 cup vanilla frozen yogurt
1/4 cup pineapple juice, cold
3 tbsp water
3/4 tsp coconut extract
2 1/4 tsp Splenda
1 tbsp crushed pineapple in juice
1 cup crushed ice or 5 to 8 ice cubes
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high speed for about 30 seconds, until mixture is smooth and completely blended. Pour and enjoy! Optional: garnish with a paper umbrella and a slice of pineapple, for added tropical flair :).
Last but not least, my tropical fruit dip. I love making fruit dip by mixing about equal parts of fat free cool whip and fat free flavoured yogurt. The flavour possibilities are as limitless as the flavours of yogurt you can buy. Since I wanted a tropical flavour for the Trop Swap, I went with pineapple-banana-coconut yogurt. Served with bananas, oranges, strawberries, kiwi and pineapple, it was a tropical treat!
So there you have it….now you can bring the tropics to you! These are all simple recipes that deliver tasty tropical flavour – go make them now – summer’s still months away!

2 Responses to “Tropical Treats”


  1. Simple St. Paddy’s Supper « hungryhealthyhilary - March 19, 2011

    […] show off your own little projects. My friends Tracy and Lisa brought me this lovely bouquet at the Trop Swap last weekend (thanks ladies!) but by Thursday, it was looking a little droopy.  Check out my […]

  2. A bran new day « hungryhealthyhilary - March 23, 2011

    […] haven’t forgotten, there’s just been a lot of other stuff going on since then (Trop Swap, dinners out, cross-border shopping)! I have saved this post for you…that’s the beauty […]

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