Wednesday, December 1, 2010

a coconut Christmas

Ally, here.

Let me begin by saying that today was the perfect day for Christmas baking. It was snowing this morning in Lexington, and there's really nothing better than watching the snow fall while whipping up some cookies (and warming yourself by the oven). I love, love, love snow and I love, love, love baking. That, and the fact that I still had some chocolate gooey butter cookies left from the first day of this adventure, made for a perfect combination.

Now, I'll tell you that I was a little disappointed when the day's cookie assignment arrived in my inbox. Coconut Macaroons. I don't like coconut. Really, the only way I will willingly consume coconut is when it's presented by a girl scout and masked in the chocolate delight of a samoa. But I promised you cookies, so I ventured out to the store (in the snow!) and bought some shredded coconut.

Perhaps you like coconut. If so, this is certainly your recipe. The cookies were a really delightful consistency, and were ridiculously easy to make. But be warned that they look a bit like cheddar biscuits when they come out of the oven.

With all of that out of the way, let's get to baking. The Barefoot Contessa's recipe for coconut macaroons will make you feel like you're on a tropical island, rather than a frozen tundra.

Here's what you'll need:

-14 oz. sweetened shredded coconut
-14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
-1/4 teaspoon salt

Here's what to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 325.

2. Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl.

3. Whip the egg whites and the salt in a bowl with an electric mixer on high speed. They will form medium-firm peaks.

4. Fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

5. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and drop the dough onto the sheets using two spoons or an ice cream scoop.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Now, let me tell you a few things about this recipe. You'll look at the bag of coconut shavings and think, wow, this is a lot of coconut. This is true. And you'll look at your two little eggs whites and think, wow, this is not a lot of egg whites. This is not true. Once you start beating the egg whites with your mixer, they will grow into this awesome, (comparatively) enormous white mixture that will seriously amaze you. I've never mixed egg whites like this before and I thought it was pretty darn cool.

The smell of these cookies will fill your kitchen (or your whole apartment, in my case) with joy. You're going to love it (if you like coconut, that is)!

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