This is a sponsored post. I was provided products by Cat Island Cookies & Cracker Co. However, the opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.
I have a confession to make. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to product reviews on this blog.
You kind of have to be. After you’ve been blogging awhile, you start getting emails from every Tom, Dick and Harry offering to send you a free sample in exchange for a positive review. You could call it a job perk. Until you start feeling a little like a door-to-door salesman.
A few years ago, I decided I would only write about products made in Mississippi. We have some great ones! Recently, I wrote about Delta Grind Grits. Last year I shared my experience with Two Brooks Rice (formerly Mississippi Blue Rice), Charboneau Rum and Bristow Gin.
This past May, I received an email from Ann at Cat Island Cookies & Cracker Co. The name of the company immediately got my attention. Cat Island is the name of one of the five barrier islands located off the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Right away, I knew this was a local product.
Ann went on to explain what makes Cat Island Cookies & Cracker Co. different. It was formed in 2014 by New York pastry chef and Mississippi-native Leslie Bullock and her sister Shelly McNair. I actually got the opportunity to chat with Leslie for a few minutes by phone to hear her tell her story. Originally from Pass Christian, Mississippi, Leslie wanted her two daughters to grow up in a small-town environment like she did. She moved them back to Mississippi and started looking for a job that would allow her to work around her daughters’ schedule. A caterer by trade, she began baking, eventually deciding to develop a line of healthier cookies and snacks made from all natural ingredients.
I asked Leslie what made her cookies and crackers better than the name brands I can buy in the store. She went on to tell me that all her products are made in small batches. Everything is hand measured, hand mixed, and tested.
“Testing cookies is horrible job,” she joked, “but somebody’s got to do it.”
Leslie added that all the ingredients she uses are all natural, right down to the unbleached flour, butter and chocolate chips.
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I agreed to give the cookies and crackers a try with the agreement that I wouldn’t just write a product review. I wanted to find a way to incorporate the products in a recipe. My samples arrived right around the time school got out for the summer. It was a crazy day trying to get used to my new routine of working with my six-year-old underfoot. I put the plain carboard box aside and actually forgot about it until later that night when my husband noticed it sitting in the corner.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Oh, I forgot about that …” I went over to examine the box and saw the name Cat Island Cookies & Cracker Co. in the return address. “Oh! This company on the coast sent me some cookie samples to try.”
Well, this got The Husband’s attention. “There are cookies in that box?”
The kiddos were already in bed for the night. We cut open the box and dumped the contents in the middle of the coffee table. Ann had sent a nice cross section of their cookies and crackers. On the sweet side – Brown Butter, Lemon Butter, Lime Butter, Chocolate Chip, Toffee Chocolate Chip, and Pecan Chocolate Chip cookie. The savory selection samples included Zesty Cheddar Bites and Spicy Asiago Wafers. The Husband and I proceeded to have a sort of “wine tasting” with the products. We opened a package, tried it, discussed what we liked and brainstormed ways to use them in a recipe.
Amazingly, the products I thought would be my least favorite ended up being my top picks. I’m not a huge lime fan, but I loved the Lime Butter cookies. The lime flavor complements the buttery flavor of the cookie without over powering it. With the onset of warmer weather, I had been toying with an idea for a lime-coconut combination for awhile. As soon as I tasted the Lime Butter cookies, I knew they would be the perfect base for a pie crust.
Summers are SWELTERING here, so cool and creamy ice box desserts are always at the top of my list. My hunch about the cookies was right on. The Lime Butter cookies were the perfect base for this refreshing dessert. I added just a little lime juice to the filling to give it a subtle lime flavor. Toasted coconut and lime zest added color and another dimension of flavor.
Coconut Lime Ice Box Pie
For the crust:
- 1-1/2 cups finely crushed lime shortbread cookies
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the pie:
- 3 egg yolks
- 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 1/3 cups sweetened shredded coconut divided
- 1 tablespoon lime zest optional
- Whipped cream optional
For the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all the pie crust ingredients in a large mixing bowl until crumbs are thoroughly coated with the butter.
Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-inch round pie plate.
Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow pie crust to cool completely before proceeding.
For the pie:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Separate the eggs, reserving the whites and yolks in separate bowls. Set egg whites aside.
Beat egg yolks until frothy.
Add sweetened condensed milk gradually. Leaving the mixer on, add the lime juice and 1 cup of the shredded coconut.
Once combined, pour mixture into the pie crust.
Bake pie at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the filling is set. Allow pie to cool completely. Chill for at least four hours.
In the meantime, toast the remaining 1/3 cup of coconut in a skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Toast the coconut, stirring frequently, until it is lightly browned. Be sure to keep a close eye, as the coconut can burn quickly. Remove skillet from heat and set the coconut aside.
Before serving, sprinkle the cooled toasted coconut over the top of the pie. Garnish with whipped cream and lemon zest if desired.