Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cuckoo for Coconut

Well, actually I’m not really that crazy about coconut. Fresh coconut – yes, coconut curry – yes, coconut lemongrass soup – double yes. But the shredded sweetened stuff has never really been a favorite of mine.
Personally, the Girl Scout cookies with the coconut are the worst ones those little girls are hawking. This, of course means that they are in fact, Joe’s favorites. So if we ever come across a group of small girls pushing boxes of temptations upon us, he will always buy those coconut ones. Really it’s not that bad, because it will be one less cookie for me to eat in the house. Or maybe that is bad! Who wants to have cookies laying around that you hate? It’s an inner struggle come girl scout cookie time –do I try (once again) those coconut cookies, only to spit them out in disgust, or do I walk past them with a squinty eyed glare as they taunt me with (in a sing-songy voice) ‘we are cookies, and you don’t like us!’

Anyways, coconut in desserts has not been a favorite of mine. Typically, I always associate Easter and spring with coconut. As far as I know there are no religious or pagan reasons behind coconut adorning desserts and breakfast goodies on Easter Sunday. Nevertheless, we had at least once, a bunny shaped cake with coconut on top of the icing to look like fur. And in theory this was magnificent, but I just couldn’t stand the coconut.
Now don’t worry, I am not going to spend the entire blog complaining about how much I dislike coconut. There is one recipe that I have found, with coconut that I actually enjoy. In fact, the recipe is mostly coconut.

When I was working with the cookbook author while in college, we were getting ready for Passover at her house. (I don’t know what the rules for Passover are, as far as having gentiles prepare food, but whatever.) One of the recipes we made was for coconut macaroons that she could keep on hand for sweets. These were the best macaroons I had ever had. I liked them so much that I went home and made a batch myself.
It’s been a while since I made them that first time, and I will admit that I had to scrap the first round of cookies this week. The second round came out better, and since these are gluten-free – they should be ok for Passover. Or, if you like coconut for Easter, you can dye the coconut in spring colors if you are daring. The consistency is very sticky, and these are very sweet. I highly recommend dipping them in melted chocolate, as it adds a little something to each bite.

Coconut Macaroons
I used 1 can of fat free sweetened condensed milk, and scraped out all of the milk with a spatula. My cookies had little pools of sweetened condensed milk around them, but I think if you punch two holes in the can and pour it out, it will give you the exact correct consistency – so no scraping!

14 oz. sweetened shredded coconut (2 small or 1 large bag)
1 can fat free sweetened condensed milk (opened with a ‘church-key”
1 egg white
1 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
Chocolate, for dipping

Preheat oven to 350°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.

Drop mounded spoonful’s of mixture onto baking sheets, about ½” apart from one another. Bake for about 7-10 minutes, or until the coconut is starting to brown on the tops of the cookies. Let cookies cool.

Melt chocolate, and dip the bottoms of the cookies in the chocolate. Place back on parchment paper to dry.

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