As a child, I was a Girl Scout. I started as a Brownie and ended as a Brownie, and I did it mainly because I had serious patch envy and wanted all the patches, pins and badges my greedy little hands could get on. But of course, in order to get patches and pins, you actually had to do things. Like charity work, special lessons, classwork, and even dreaded camping. Yes, this camping hater even went camping for a patch. I told you, I was obsessed.
However, through the patch-obtaining obstacles, I learned a lot of valuable tools from Girl Scouts. One being that I have absolutely zero resistance when it comes to Girl Scout Cookies. Two: my favorite Girl Scout Cookies were the Caramel Coconut cookies, or Samoas back in my heyday. Three: how to survive in the wilderness (aka, in a campground — throw me into a national forest and I’m doomed). Four: how to be kind to others, share, and be a girl’s-girl — this became extremely helpful when you’re an awkward teen in the throes of adolescence and meanie classmates. And five: how to be especially clever. How do you think I got those patches otherwise? Being clever is how!
Creating games and activities to earn patches, starting fundraisers to earn patches, begging my mom to be Cookie Mom to earn patches — my cleverness worked in my patch-obsession favor. Now as an adult, those tools I learned as a wee girl have stuck with me into adulthood (believe me, I still can’t resist those cookies). But I’m really excited that I maintained that clever resourcefulness.
Whether it be re-purposing an old shelf as a new photography backdrop or using applesauce instead of oil in cakes, I love coming up with new, easy “life hacks.”
Nestle® Coffee-mate® recently launched the “One Smart Cookie” campaign which celebrates the spirit of making the world a better place through smart, clever and resourceful ideas which Girl Scouts are known for. And after my Girl Scout training, I feel qualified to label myself a “Smart Cookie”, too!
One of my favorite “life hacks” actually has to do with using coffee creamer in place of milk for some baked recipes! As I’m sure you’re aware, coffee creamer isn’t just your standard vanilla and hazelnut flavors anymore. With flavors like peppermint mocha, Dulce de Leche, cinnamon cream, Crème Brulee, and these new Coffee-Mate Girl Scouts flavors in Caramel & Coconut and Thin Mints®, you can enjoy coffee flavors pretty much exactly how you want them — including tasting just like your favorite desserts!
When milk is called in recipes for baked donuts, muffins, or even cupcakes, you can replace the standard milk with flavored coffee creamer for a unique flavor… which is exactly what I did for these Caramel Coconut Muffins. I used Coffee-mate’s Girl Scouts® Caramel & Coconut flavor in place to give the muffin a rich, intense caramel flavor with a hint of coconut — just like the delicious creamer. I think their Girl Scouts® Thin Mints® flavor would be particularly delish inside of a baked chocolate donut!
Another favorite kitchen life-hack of mine involves brown sugar, which is one of my favorite ingredients! But as you know, brown sugar tends to clot and get hard, which makes it difficult to use and salvage. Simply store a piece of white bread or a handful of marshmallows in your brown sugar container or bag, leave it overnight, and the bread or marshmallows will help soften the sugar! No more wasted recipes or brown sugar due to thick and hard clots.
And now for the fun part — you have a chance to win a $100 Visa Card if you answer this question: what is YOUR favorite life-hack? Can be anything from blow-drying your flats to break them in, or using an ice-cube tray to sort jewelry. Tell me in the comments below!!
Now back to this muffin business… These soft & tender muffins taste identical to those addictive Caramel Coconut Girl Scout Cookies® which is a great way to eat cookies for breakfast — in muffin form! Paired with a hot cup of coffee enhanced with a splash of the same Coffee-mate® creamer, and you become the Smart Cookie for having the best breakfast ever, and for being able to enjoy Coffee-mate’s® Girl Scouts® Cookie flavors all year round!!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ⅓ cup oil
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup Coffee-Mate Caramel Coconut Coffee Creamer
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ pkg caramel bits
- 1 cup toasted coconut
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, eggs, coffee creamer and vanilla until blended. Stir in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon until a thick dough forms. There may still be clumps in the dough, but that's okay -- don't over-mix. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
- Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each cup to just about the brim. Bake for approx. 5 minutes, then immediately turn down the heat to 375 degrees F and continue to bake for another 20 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool the muffins completely.
- Melt the caramels down in a microwave safe bowl with a splash of milk, or in a small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Dunk each top of the muffin into the caramel, allowing excess caramel to drip off. Dredge the caramel-topped muffins into the toasted coconut to coat completely. Allow the muffins to set before eating.
To learn more about all the fun experiences girls and volunteers have at Girl Scouts, visit www.girlscouts.org/join. And follow Coffee-mate on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more great ideas. You can also visit the Coffe-mate website!
And don’t forget to leave a comment below with your favorite life hack to enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!
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Have a delicious day!! xo, Hayley