Coconut Archive

Thursday, March 29, 2012

raspberry coconut macaroons

raspberry coconut macaroons

Every year around this time, behind the scenes, I go through my annual Macaroon Marathon, in which I decimate bags and bags of coconut in an effort to find a variation on the lowly macaroon worth noting, publicly. As evidenced by the fact that my archives are virtually coconut macaroon-free, I hadn’t thus far succeeded. But it wasn’t for lack of trying.

this week's macaroon marathon
rolled in coconut chips, prettiest

Two years ago, insistent on making something my coconut-loathing but chocolate-adoring husband would find palatable, I made multiple attempts at chocolate-coconut macaroons. They were… brown. And tangly. And rarely chocolaty enough. I don’t remember them fondly. Last year’s experiments centered on whatever appallingly bad home economics had led me to having three (3!) bags of unsweetened coconut in my pantry, and my determination that they would leave my kitchen in cookie format. They were… okay. I am sure more skilled macaroon makers than I make excellent macaroons from unsweetened coconut, but I found them consistently more dry and scratchy than those that began with sweetened coconut. This week’s coconut macaroon trials were the most obsessive yet, with versions rolled in unsweetened coconut chips (gorgeous, but man, are those chips unpleasant to chew), chopped almonds (tasty, but hardly noteworthy), thumbprinted with the intention of filling the indentation with jam or chocolate down the road but I lost interest before I did (a sure sign that they were a snooze) and even flattened, with designs on a sandwich cookie. Were it not for the one in which I’d actually pressed a whole raspberry inside a sealed ball of coconut macaroon, I wouldn’t be here discussing macaroons today because although it was fussy and odd to construct, the flavor smacked unmistakeably of cookie destiny: coconut and raspberries were meant to be together.

coconut snow

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

multigrain apple crisps

apple multigrain crisps

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that we had plans to flee this so-called winter we’re having in New York and jet to a place where it’s always summer. It was dreadfully boring, by the way, all silky white sand that was cool under your bare feet, blazing aqua waters that you could walk a full city block into before you were in deeper than your waist and oh so quiet (rumor has it that they don’t even let these on the island!). Blissfully, there was nothing to do but read books, stare at the horizon and not think about life for a while. The most profound conversation we had in three days was whether a spot out on the water where the color slipped from a piercing aquamarine to a deeper cerulean to was due to a change of depth, or just the cast shadow of a cloud. The shadow of a cloud. Man, times were tough.


What I forgot to mention is that we weren’t bringing our son with us. Lest you think I’m immune to Mom Guilt — au contraire, it is the very pitch to which my life is auto-tuned, the backbone, nay, doctrine of my existence, governing all decisions from “Is that my son picking up a stray cheddar bunny from the seat of a random stroller and do I really have to stop him?” to whether or not I should admit that I was late to call yesterday because I was, in actuality, reading with my eyes shut for the 9th time that afternoon. Ahem, so, Mom Guilt in full swing, I decided to leave something special — petite apple crisps — in the fridge that he could have as a treat on the days I’d be away.

whole wheat, oats, raw, brown sugars

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

double coconut muffins

I hadn’t meant to disappear on you, and what’s worse, I have a terrible excuse: I took a nap. In the same week that I conquered my cooking Mount Everest — a lasagna I’d only dreamed about for the better part of six years, one that still took me many tries in the kitchen to get right and more than a week just to write — I was going back and forth with my publisher over the page designs for my cookbook, and (no doubt) giving some poor book designer some gray hairs. One day, I’ll remind my editor about that time I said that I didn’t care how the book looked, “just make it pretty!” and she’ll snort coffee out her nose. It will probably be a while. Nevertheless, the day after I posted the lasagna recipe, we finally found something that made everyone happy and now they’re designing the remaining hundreds of pages and that night, I think I slept a million hours. I did the same thing the next night and on the third night, when I yawned at 9 p.m. and said I was thinking about calling it a night my husband — who is the one who typically has a bottomless capacity for sleep and I’m the one who pops up at 7:30 even when it’s my turn to sleep in — looked at me like I had two heads. I… just had a lot of catching up to do.

coconut oil
really thick batter (yours won't be)

We’re also officially in the part of the year I affectionately call The Dregs of Winter. It’s not spring yet, in fact, it will at least a month before anything tasty or green emerges from the earth and another month after that before they will be good enough to eat. It’s not actually snowy and pretty enough out there to bliss out in a New York Winter Wonderland; in fact, it’s just cold and a little dull. Typically, the way I get through the blahs of winter is not to sleep through them but to begin plotting an escape. I start pining for someplace tropical, please, where the deep blue ocean meets the bright blue sky at a horizon so far away, it’s almost unfathomable to this city dweller, whose current vista is little more than the building across the street. And so I think about it, think long and hard about it, a book open on my lap, my fingers wrapped around a frosty, fruity cocktail with an umbrella and then I fly home a few days later, my usual ghost-like complexion faintly less so and my brain cleared of thoughts that don’t include “Is it time to reapply?” and “Are we too old to go on the water slide that leads to a swim-up bar?” You know, weighty matters.

batter in, when you don't have papers

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

blackberry and coconut macaroon tart

sliced

For the last few weeks, I’ve been going nuts as it feels like every single person I know that has a food blog, has read a food blog, is a fan of food blogs or eats food itself has been gushing over Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks new book, Super Natural Everyday. But not me! Because although I pre-ordered mine in early March, it didn’t arrive for what felt like an eternity. Every morning, me and my tiny partner in crime would take the elevator (always his favorite part of the day) down to the basement, where unclaimed packages often linger by the Super’s apartment and came back empty handed. Then we would sigh, get to work load up Twitter on my laptop and read that another two friends were gushing over a book I was being cruelly deprived of and shake our tiny fists at the Amazon Gods and cry, “Why must you make us wait?!”

dry ingredients
adding melted butter

Neither of us are very good at waiting, you see. Nevertheless, one fine day last week a box finally arrived and after careful toddler investigation of the package (Can I stand on it? Can I lift it? What will it taste like if I lick it? Can I jump off the 2-inch box and applaud myself when I land on my feet?) I was given permission to open it, take another magical elevator ride to the basement to drop off the box with the recycling and then finally his dad returned home and I was granted an entire bath and bedtime ritual to curl up with Heidi’s newest book.

blackberried up

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Monday, February 28, 2011

piña colada cake

pina colada cake

You might want to start rolling your eyes right now, you know, to get a head start before you hear what I’m about to say next: You know that time I dashed off to Aruba for a lazy weekend? I couldn’t find a decent piña colada anywhere. I know! Can you imagine having to suffer like this while on vacation? I mean, life is hard enough when your resort has a water slide with no age limit that deposits one mere feet from the swim-up bar; where you can cat-nap under your cabana while reading a book — with pages — any time being awake is just too exhausting to bear and wake up to gaze at the turquoise water meeting the impossibly blue sky until all of your thoughts file neatly into order. Obviously a watered-down piña colada from a piña colada mix is taking things just one step too far.

good things start here

All joking aside, can we eversobriefly have a moment of silence for a once-great drink that’s been drained of all frolic and joy — waves of sharp pineapple juice, creamy coconut foam and a dark island rum undercurrent — by beachside hotel bars trying to increase their profit margins? That pour corn sweetened weakly flavored mixes from cartons and clear rum from a no-name brand with ice into a blender and think this is what one travels all the way from NYC in the dead of winter for? Once upon a time, a coworker taught me the secret to astoundingly delicious piña coladas, and it is not pineapple juice but crushed pineapple from a can in its juice. You run this through the blender with ice, cream of coconut and enough dark rum to make you arch your eyebrows and blink a few times after the first sip, but quickly return for your second, pour it into a glass, pop a pineapple wedge and a paper umbrella — yes, even if you’re snowbound in your living room in the Northeast, actually especially if so — near the rim and beam yourself anywhere you want to be.

peelingpeeledquarteredfinely chopped

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