Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Friday, December 10, 2010

What a Maroon's Macaroons

Dark chocolate bottoms, dried cherries or pecans on top... the best of all worlds!

Bugs Bunny gave us the label. I reckon it fits, most days. I'm too often the slow, dim one when I set to work (I like to believe it's the result of medications, but, then, when everybody else in the family is comfortably qualified to join Mensa, and I just barely scraped by on the exams -- due to neglect of math -- it's probably not just the drugs speaking).

So, when I bake, I don't want to have to pretend I'm a Ph.D. in chemistry. Keep It Simple, Stupid, is the motto I've tried to live by as mush as possible. So, to the macaroons.

A few things to consider: we don't have a really good baking supplier in our region -- the nearest one is more than an hour's drive away. So, when I want finely shredded coconut, instead of those long, pretty strands that make such nice birds' nests for Easter, I have to toss my long shreds into a blender or food processor & turn them to near-dust. It's not an onerous task, but it does add an extra step to the otherwise brainless activity. And, of course, if you like chocolate, you may want to melt a pound or two in a double-boiler, so you can dip these puppies. I prefer semi-sweet or dark chocolate on my own, but I know a lot of milk choccie lovers, so go there if you must.

The Macaroons
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 bag (14 oz.) finely shredded sweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (preferably powdered, but any good variety will do)
Your preferred toppings (I have chosen tart dried cherries and pecan halves)

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

In a medium or large mixing bowl, combine condensed milk, coconut, and vanilla.

Using a small cookie scoop or a nice, rounded teaspoon, drop onto parchment-covered cookie sheet. (I usually spray the cookie sheet with a little oil to prevent slippage as I'm setting up.) Try to keep them as neat as possible.

If you want to go all fancy, top each one with a bit of your favorite not-too-sweet fruit or nut.

Pop those babies in the oven for about ten minutes, or, until they start turning golden-brown.

Allow to cool.
At this point, you can also dip them in chocolate, if you so desire. I found that, when one makes the cookies larger, they tend to go all floppy in your hands, so, to make them more manageable, I "painted" some chocolate onto their bottoms using a small spoon, and then let them completely cool on parchment before serving.

Then, if you want to keep a few to send out for Christmas, you'd probably be wise to hide them from Pop.

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