coconut macaroons

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An amazing thing happened last week.  I had a Saturday off, I had a fresh batch of coconut macaroons and there was light.  The macaroons were a result of a Thursday night gluten-free cooking class (best present ever).  Since Jon and I both participated in the class we ended up with about 60 coconut macaroons.  I took a batch to work where they were thoroughly enjoyed by everyone from residents to social workers to administrators.  A few were enjoyed by guests we had visiting for the weekend and the rest – well – let’s just say that my lunches were pretty sweet last week.

coconut macaroons
yield: about 24 cookies

recipe notes:  The original recipe calls for a 250 degree oven, however we baked ours at 300.  This gave them a crispier shell.  The recipe recommends baking 25 to 30 minutes.  We started checking them around 25 min.  If you want softer cookies, take them out when they’re soft but if you want them crispier on the exterior, keep them in & turn down the oven temp to 250 for another 5 or so minutes.

2 egg whites
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups sweetened shredded dried coconut
1/2 – 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
chocolate, for dipping (optional)

1.  Preheat an oven to 300°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.

2.  In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they just barely hold soft peaks. Beat in the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

3.  In a large bowl, stir together the 3 cups coconut and just enough of the condensed milk to make a sticky batter. Fold in the egg white mixture.

4.  Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Dip the spoon into cold water every once in a while to prevent the batter from sticking.

5.  Bake until the cookies are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Turn the oven off. Prop the oven door ajar and leave the cookies in the oven for 10 minutes more. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool completely on the pans, then remove the cookies from the pans.

6.  Optional:  Melt some chocolate in a double broiler.  Dip cookies, cool on baking sheet.

Source: Williams-Sonoma

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mixed fruit anytime crisp

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I’ve been working nights recently – leaving for work around 5pm, getting home around 7am, sometimes sleeping, mostly up all night.  Sometimes I have time to eat, sometimes I don’t.  I’ve been eating “dinner” at 7am and “breakfast” at 2pm.  It’s weird.

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What’s not weird is this fruit crisp.  Deb calls it a breakfast crisp and makes it with all apricots.  I call it an anytime crisp and made it with a mix of apricots, cherries & plums.  Sometimes I eat it in the middle of the night, sometimes first thing when I wake up.  It’s good anytime.

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It’s great cold from the fridge, with a large scoop of greek yogurt and I imagine it would be excellent with ice cream, if you want to make it a dessert crisp.  It would be a fantastic potluck contribution and a super easy make ahead brunch item.  Or, if you’re me, an excellent anytime snack for whenever you have a moment to enjoy it.

Mixed Fruit Breakfast Crisp
Recipe Type: breakfast
Author: Deb Perelman, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 4-6
recipe notes: The recipe, as featured in Deb’s cookbook, is all apricots. I only had a few left, so used cherries and a plum to get to a pound of mixed fruit. Any combination you use, I’m sure, will be delicious. Deb mentions that in the fall, apples and pears could be used, but to increase the cooking time close to 40-45 minutes. Turbinado sugar is often sold as Sugar in the Raw and can be found at most grocery stores.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound (455 grams) mixed stone fruit
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar (granulated or natural turbinado)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose GF flour blend
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons (55 grams or 1/2 stick) of butter
  • 1/3 cup (65 grams) sugar (granulated or natural turbinado)
  • 1/2 cup (40 grams) GF rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpse GF flour blend
  • Good pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons sliced or chopped almonds
  • Yogurt of your choice, to serve
Instructions
  1. Prepare fruit: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. If using apricots, pull them apart at their seam, remove the pits, and tear them one more time, into quarters. If using cherries, pit and halve them. For other stone fruits, cute them up accordingly. Place fruit in a small baking dish (a 1-quart gratin dish is perfect, a pie plate works well, too). Stir in the sugar, flour, and a pinch of nutmeg.
  2. Make topping: Melt the butter in a small saucepan, and stir in first the sugar, then the aots, then the flour, and finally the salt & almonds, until large clumps form. Sprinkle the mixture over the fruit. Bake for about 30 minutes. Eat warm or chilled, with a scoop of your favorite yogurt.

 

chocolate dipped strawberries & chocolate bark

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When I first started out on my gluten-free diet, I cut out quite a bit more than just gluten.  I cut out dairy and pre-packaged anything (except for my daily gluten-free, dairy-free bar).  I cut out baked goods and I cut out chocolate.

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As I got a little more comfortable and less scared that something terrible would go wrong with my stomach, the first thing that got re-introduced was chocolate.  Just a little tiny piece, and went that went ok, it became my regular dessert.

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And while chocolate is great on its own, it certainly doesn’t hurt to do something fancy with it, either.  So when I found myself with a bowl full of strawberries I decided to embellish.  And when I melted a little too much chocolate for all the strawberries, that extra became peanut coconut apricot bark.  Both were delicious.  And gluten-free.  And a much welcomed treat.

recipe notes:  I apologize for lack of measurements in each of the following recipes.  I would imagine that a bag of chocolate chips (12 oz, typically) would cover a quart of strawberries, but that’s just a guess.  You’ll have to experiment.  The good thing is that there really isn’t a down-side to having too many strawberries – or too much chocolate.  If you’re left with more melted chocolate that strawberries to cover, start dipping whatever else you’ve got (pretzels, macaroons) or skip ahead and make some chocolate bark, another recipe for which measurements are arbitrary and the ingredients are adaptable to whatever you have on hand (see last year’s version).

chocolate dipped strawberries
yield: variable 

strawberries, cleaned
chocolate (I like dark, anything works, make sure it’s gluten-free)

1.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

2.  In a heat-proof bowl (I ❤ pyrex) set over (but not touching) simmering water, heat the chocolate until it melts.  Stir occasionally until smooth and melted throughout.

3.  Dip the strawberries in the chocolate then place on the baking sheet.

4.  Place the baking sheet in the fridge to cool.  Serve cool from the fridge or at room temperature.

chocolate bark
yield: variable

chocolate
peanuts
coconut (shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)
dried apricot, diced

1.  Let a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

2.  Melt the chocolate, as above.  When the chocolate is melted, pour 1/2 of the peanuts, coconut and dried apricot into the melted chocolate and stir everything together.  Pour the mixture out onto the parchment paper and use a spatula to spread it out, if needed.  I usually spread it to about 1/4-inch thick.

3.  Top the bark with the remaining peanuts, apricots & coconut.  You may need to press down on the peanuts and apricots a bit so that they adhere to the melted chocolate.  But no biggie if they fall off later.

4.  Cool in the fridge or on the counter until the chocolate has hardened again.  Break into pieces.  Enjoy.

source: Anna Maria original, inspired by chocolate

 

coconut macaroons & a care package

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February is a big birthday month in our family.  I was fortunate enough to celebrate with my brother in person.  My sister, away at college, got a care package.  Last year for her birthday we made my grandma’s coconut cake, but this year I needed something both portable & gluten-free (because even though she’s not, I am, and I needed to taste them before I sent them).  Enter macaroons.  Sweet, light, coconut-y goodness.

I_0183Happy Birthday, sweet girl.  You’re the best.

coconut macaroons
yield: 24 macroons

4 egg whites (from large eggs)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups sweetened coconut flakes

1.  Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (I used two silpats).

2.  In the bowl of standing mixer or with a hand-mixer, beat egg whites, vanilla, and salt on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form, another 3 minutes. Gently fold the coconut flakes into the egg white mixture. (If you want a more dense, less meringue-like macaroon, you can skip beating the whites altogether. Just whisk the egg whites, vanilla, salt, and sugar until frothy, then fold in the coconut.)

3. Uing a small dough scoop (or just a large spoon), form mounds of batter and drop onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the macaroons are just turning golden. Remove to a wire rack and cool copletely.

source: thekitchn

also in the package?  Some clothes of hers I borrowed (thank you) and a new scarf (because every college girl needs some lululemon)

macaroons, elsewhere: lime in the coconut macaroons from bon appetit

brownies, blues & a birthday

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I’ve been slow to tackle gluten-free baked goods.  The lemon & coconut bars were the first gluten-free baked good to come out of my kitchen, but I can’t really take responsibility for making them.  I simply watched them be made, took pictures of them and then ate too many over the next few days.  But then last week when my brother announced he was coming to visit, the weekend before his birthday, along with his lovely girlfriend, baked goods were in order.  (And so were tacos, but we’ll save that for another post).

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Fortunately, one of my awesome co-workers had brought these brownies into work a week before.  So, I knew they were good.  And since the boy loves chocolate (we’ve been through this before), these were the perfect pick.  I toyed with the idea of mixing in some soft of peanut butter swirl but opted against it because I was worried about texture.

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In the end, it didn’t matter.  The brownies were amazing on their own, and (per the birthday boy) slathered with a big scoop of crunchy peanut butter.  All in all, the brownies, the blues and the pre-birthday weekend was a success.

Happy birthday, Joe.  Come visit again soon (and please bring Kate).

this birthday, last year:  chocolate peanut butter cake (not gluten-free)

gluten-free brownies
yield: 9-12 brownies

recipe notes:  I followed the directions exactly as they are written in David’s post.  The part about the batter pulling away from the sides of the bowl in step 4 is important.  I set my timer when beating to one minute and didn’t see the sides pulling away.  After beating another 30 seconds, it started to.  Mine crumbled a tiny bit, but only the ones from the very edge of the pan that got a little more done that the middle ones (which is probably because I baked them in a small toaster oven).  Otherwise, the texture was spot on – fudgy and delicious.

6 tablespoons (85g) butter, salted or unsalted (see headnote)
8 ounces (225g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, natural or Dutch process
3 tablespoons (30g) corn starch

1. Line the inside of an 8-inch (23 cm) square pan with foil so that it goes up the sides to the rim. Lightly grease the foil with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350º (180ºC).

2. Melt the butter and chocolate (and salt, if using) in a medium saucepan over very low heat on the stove top, stirring constantly until smooth.

3. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar, then the eggs, one at a time.

4. Sift together the cocoa powder and corn starch in a small bowl then stir them into the chocolate mixture. Beat the batter vigorously for at least one minute, until the batter is no longer grainy and nearly smooth. It will pull away from the sides of the pan a bit.

5. Add the nuts, if using, then scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

6. Bake for thirty minutes, or until the brownies feel just set in the center. Do not overbake. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from the pan and slicing.

storing: The brownies can be stored at room temperature up to 4 days and in the freezer up to 1 month.

source:  David Lebovitz

variations:
– Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
Salted Caramel Brownies