Life’s Better With a Little Cookies and Milk


Life's Better With a Little Cookies and Milk

Give in to indulgences. Whipping up a fresh batch of cookies is good for the soul and packaging up some for hubby to take to the office doesn’t hurt either. 😉

There’s something about creaming butter with brown sugar and the smell as the dough begins to brown in the oven; filling the house with heavenly-chocolately-cookie scents that is unbeatable. That’s it.

Caramelized Papaya and Toasted Coconut Cupcakes


Caramelized Papaya and Toasted Coconut Cupcakes

Caramelized Papaya and Toasted Coconut Cupcakes


I hate lugging groceries from the store, it’s one of the inevitable tasks you must do every week. Fortunately companies like Fresh Direct exist and can deliver whatever you need to your home with the click of a button. Browsing through their online lists, I saw papaya and thought back to Dean & DeLuca where I would eat the the scraps from the papaya for fruit salad and platters. Delish. I ordered two, because generally they are pretty small. What was delivered was larger than a football and no matter how much I love them, after eating several pounds of fresh papaya you get sick of it.

Huge fresh papaya - skin peeled off, seeds removed, cut in half

Huge fresh papaya – skin peeled off, seeds removed, cut in half

So I decided to challenge myself and make two recipes with papaya. I remember hearing of a papaya cake before, so I looked it up and there is a Bahamian Rum Papaya cake that looked to die for. I played off that one by adding coconut and caramelizing the papaya. As I was making the cake I decided I wanted to add more coconut flavor, so I added half a can of coconut milk. I think it made a really moist delish cake.


The frosting is a light coconut flavored buttercream with large toasted coconut curls.


Here’s how I did it. 🙂


Caramelized Papaya Cupcakes with Toasted Coconut

2 cups AP flour

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/8 t baking soda

pinch salt

2 eggs

1 stick softened butter

2 T dark rum

1/2 can coconut milk

1 T orange zest

1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened/chipped)

1.5 cups caramelized papaya (Recipe follows)

  • Whip softened butter until light and fluffy, add both sugars and whip until creamed together.
  • Add one egg at a time until they are both combined.
  • Add in coconut milk, rum, zest, and coconut milk.
  • Sieve all dry ingredients together.
  • Add in dry ingredients until combined, do not over mix.
  • Add in cooled, caramelized papaya. Fold in by hand.
  • Scoop into cupcake liners, I used a portion scoop so they are all even.
  • Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until set. Mine took about 16 minutes. Rotating in between.
  • When they are completely cool, ice and top with toasted coconut.


Caramelized Papaya

1 large papaya, diced

2 T brown sugar

2 T butter

  • Melt butter, add sugar, allow to caramelize.
  • Add in papaya, cook in caramel on low heat until fruit is tender and caramel is thick.
Caramelized papaya cooled and add to batter

Caramelized papaya cooled and added to batter

Coconut Buttercream

1 stick softened unsalted butter

1/8 t ground ginger

2 cups confectionary sugar

1/2 coconut milk

1/8 t good vanilla extract


  • Whip softened butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add coconut milk whip to combine.
  • Add powdered sugar, vanilla, ground ginger.
  • Whip until all is combined and light and fluffy. Add more confectionary sugar if needed.


This recipe produces a cupcake that is a little denser more like a teacake. It is honestly one of the best things I have ever made up! Absolutely delish, you are not going to be able to stop eating the coconut buttercream.





I hope you try this one! Enjoy!

Sean Patrick Gallagher

Effortless Sticky Buns


I am not a baker, that is for sure. I do however love to have guests over, and to entertain. This last weekend we had some friends visiting us in Philadelphia from New York City and I wanted them to have a sweet treat in the morning. Not sure what to make, and I scoured the fridge and freezer. I like to keep a package of puff pastry in the freezer, I use it for all types of appetizers and entrees, and desserts as well. I decided to make a breakfast treat with puff pastry.

Sticky buns are traditionally made with a yeast dough, and take a good amount of time to prepare. Using puff pastry, I get a very similar effect with about a fourth of the work.

Try this recipe out, its super simple and satisfying!

Effortless Sticky Buns

Makes 8

1 package of puff pastry

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

splash vanilla

1 stick butter

2 T cinnamon

sprinkle salt

1 cup toasted cashews finely chopped

1: In a small bowl mix together the two sugars. Take half the sugar mixture and mix with one stick softened butter. Add the vanilla, and 1 T cinnamon.

2: Take the other half of the sugar mixture and add the other T of cinnamon.

3: In a small baking dish, smear the butter mixture evenly across the bottom.

4: Take your finely chopped cashews and distribute them evenly over the butter mixture, patting them in.

5: Now unwrap your puff pastry, there ill be two sheets. Place them on a flat surface, and place one down and then the other sheet overlapping the edge by half an inch. Press firmly on the edge to make one long sheet of pastry.

6: Sprinkle the entire amount of sugar and cinnamon mixture across the pastry dough, covering it entirely.

7: Gently start rolling the bottom of the dough; roll very tightly to keep all the sugar in and get the classic cinnamon bun look.

8: Keep rolling until the whole sheet is rolled tightly into a cylinder.

9: Cut the cylinder into 8 equal portions.

10: Place the rolls into the baking dish, spaced 1 1/2 inches apart.

11: Gently press them down into the butter mixture.

12: Place into a 375° oven for about 45 -50 minutes, you want to check after 30 minutes to make sure that they are browning evenly, rotate them if need be.

13: Make sure that the dough is completely cooked through, if still doughy cook for an additional 10 minutes.

14: Let cool for 20 minutes, and then turn the dish over to reveal the chewy caramel on the other side of the buns.

This recipe is delicious and can be make in advance or morning of. They are great for breakfast or as a dessert.

Thank you for reading, I hope you try these out!

Sean Patrick Gallagher