Coconut Macaroons

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Years ago, I had boss who would bring me four coconut macaroons on a weekly basis from a little bakery that was near his house.

It only took me a couple of weeks to realize that those macaroons weren’t really for me. Well, they were, but they were for me in pretense only. It became a little routine that we had, every Wednesday morning the little bakery box would be sitting on my desk when I came to work. We would sit at my desk, and enjoy a macaroon…and we’d discuss the weekly report that was due on Friday. I would then leave the box containing the other two macaroons on my desk, and they would randomly disappear throughout the day.

It was an unspoken understanding.
One was for me.
Three were for him.

The other day I was sitting at my desk with my usual morning cup of tea, and I started thinking about the macaroons. It’s been so many years, but there are times that I miss that little routine. I miss that weekly macaroon. I don’t, however, miss that weekly report….

I came across some coconut in my refrigerator yesterday morning, and knew right away what I was going to do with it. Within a half hour, there were a dozen coconut macaroons sitting on my counter.

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Coconut macaroons can be found in cookbooks from as early as 1725. Earlier versions were made up of leftover mashed potatoes, covered in chocolate and topped with roasted coconut. Once they became commercial, the mashed potatoes didn’t have a very long shelf life, and eventually, the potatoes were replaced with fondant.

According to Wikipedia, this particular recipe is most popular in the United States, Australia, The Netherlands, and Germany. It goes on to say that they’re commonly coated in chocolate, and at times almond slivers are mixed in. And apparently in Australia, raspberry jam or candied cherries are hidden in the center before they’re baked.

Almonds? Cherries? Chocolate? There’s a good chance I’ll be making these again very, VERY soon…

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Coconut Macaroons
Makes One Dozen

A quick note:  Over the years, I’ve collected a lot of recipes, either by tearing them out of magazines, or newspapers.  Some I’ve acquired from friends.  Most of them I’ve changed up to suit my own taste.  This recipe was torn from a magazine, but I don’t remember which one, or when.

The original recipe actually calls for almond extract, but I actually use vanilla paste for this.  It is super fragrant, and the cookies are speckled with pure vanilla.  If you don’t have vanilla paste, you can use the almond extract, or vanilla extract.

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla paste
¼ tsp salt
3 cups shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together the sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla, salt, and shredded coconut until well blended.

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If you have a cookie scoop, drop mounds of the coconut mixture onto the parchment lined baking sheet. If you don’t have a cookie scoop, measure a heaping tablespoon for each macaroon.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

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Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone, and with a melted piece of a Cadbury’s Dairy Almond bar, I made a couple of Almond Joys with them. Luckily I only made two, or I would have eaten the whole batch!!

Enjoy!

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Coconut Cream Cupcakes

Well, I’ve gone and done it again.
I made cupcakes.

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I know, I know…I promised that I wouldn’t do it again so soon…But please let me explain.. it was my father’s birthday yesterday… and I really wanted to make him a birthday cake, a double layer coconut cream…but I haven’t had much luck making layer cakes stay together. Please see Exhibit A, which is basically a picture of the flopped cake that I made for Katie’s birthday this year. A pathetic attempt if ever there was… and it was perfect timing too…because as it was falling off the plate, Katie walked into the house just in time to help me try to catch the falling pieces. If anything, it was good for a really good giggle… The cake ended up in pieces on a cookie sheet, but the taste was still there!

If you’ve read my other posts, then you know that I have these grand visions of how perfectly things are going to go when I’m preparing a meal.. The cake stand in the picture was a part of Katie’s birthday gift.  I had this magnificent plan to have an absolutely beautiful cake sitting atop this cake stand, so when she walked in, she would be so surprised and happy…but as you can see… it turned out to be more of a horror story!

It’s not the gift, but the love behind it, right? Seriously though, we still laugh about it today…

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Anyway… back to my father’s birthday….like I said, I really wanted to make him a cake, but…well, let’s just say I really stink at layer cakes.  Plus I was on a time constraint… So, cupcakes it had to be. Pa didn’t mind…as a matter of fact, he ate two of them right after dinner!

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“Delicious..” he said.. which I believe put me right on the “Favorite Daughter” list. (I’m his only child… he has no choice!!).

We had a lovely time at my parent’s house, celebrating Roy’s 76th birthday. What do they say? 76 is the new 56.. or something like that. That statement couldn’t be more true. He doesn’t age, and is as handsome, intelligent, and funny as ever.

Happy Birthday Pa… I love you…

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Coconut Cream Cupcakes
(Makes 16 cupcakes)

My father was my guinea pig last night. Truth be told, I don’t think he minds one bit. You know, when you throw some flour, sour cream, and a few eggs into a mixing bowl, you kind of pray for the best. You know it’s going to be a cake….You just don’t know how mushy; or how rock solid it’s going to be! I think I just might have hit it somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. They turned out to be moist enough, and not overly sweet. Not overly sweet is a good thing, because the cake was able to balance the sweet coconut custard filling, as well as the sweet coconut topped frosting.  I received thumbs up all around the table… and that makes me happy. Coconut happy.

The Coconut Custard
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp butter
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup flaked coconut

Heat the heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the egg and yolks in a small bowl, add about a 1/4 cup of the heated heavy cream into the eggs, and whisk quickly…and then pour the egg/heavy cream mixture back into the pan. Add the sugar, cornstarch, butter, and vanilla. Whisk until the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and boil until the custard thickens (about 2 minutes) whisking constantly. Remove from heat, pour into a large bowl, cover with a piece of plastic wrap, and cool completely in the refrigerator.  After the custard has cooled, stir in the coconut. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

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The Cupcake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line a 12 cupcake tin with cupcake liners.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 egg yolks
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. On low speed, add the sugar, egg and yolks, sour cream and vanilla until blended. Increase speed to medium, and mix for 2 minutes.  Batter will be thick.

Add 2 tbsp of batter to each cupcake liner.  Place in pre-heated oven, and bake for 16 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack, and repeat for the remaining 4 cupcakes. Let the cupcakes cool completely.

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Now for the fun part… When the cupcakes are completely cooled, spoon the coconut custard into a 14″ pastry bag that has been loaded with a large tip.  I used an Ateco 824 for this.  Stick the tip right into the middle of the cupcake, and squeezing the pastry bag carefully, pipe a little bit of custard into each cupcake until a little of it puffs out of the top of the cupcake.

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The Frosting
1 cup salted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups flaked coconut in a shallow bowl
Silver dragees, optional

In the mixing bowl, and on low speed, combine the butter, vanilla, and salt.  Slowly add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time until it is completely blended. Add the heavy cream a little at a time until the frosting reaches spreadable consistency.  Increase the mixer’s speed to medium and mix for about 2 minutes longer.

Spread each filled cupcake generously with frosting. Dip each cupcake into the coconut until the frosting is completely covered.  Decorate with the silver dragees if you choose.

Enjoy!

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I really want to make layer cakes, so here is a question for you. I’m thinking that maybe I don’t wait long enough for the cakes to cool completely. Can I freeze the layers of cake, and then frost them while they’re frozen? Would they just fall apart after they thaw? The cakes are homemade, so while they’re on the moist side, they’re still pretty dense. I can’t imagine that they’re so overly moist that they can’t hold the frosting. Or maybe it’s the frosting…maybe I make it way too heavy. Any suggestions?