Sunday, January 30, 2011

Coconut Macaroons

I’ve never made macaroons before. My mom’s distaste for dried coconut banished them from our family treat menu growing up. As an adult, I’ve never had a hankering for food with this ingredient. I do like macaroons, however. They always seem fancy to me, and I like the light and airy texture. A chef in my office building’s kitchen makes an especially delicious coconut macaroon. I asked her before my attempt if there were any tricky steps. She said no—and was right.

Egg yolks: a lovely bi-product of this recipe

Mount Al'mond

Coconut Macaroons (Page 164-165) come together with the simple steps of whipping and folding. Whip stiff peaks of egg whites with salt, then add sugar until shiny. Ground almond and coconut give these treats good texture, folded in with flour and butter. This gooey mixture is spooned onto greased trays and baked for a quarter of an hour. That’s all there is to it.

An ice cream scoop makes nice round 'roons

I could take or leave the chocolate icing. While I’m a proponent of all things with heavy cream, dipping the macaroons in chocolate made them sticky and much more tricky to store or handle.

Chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons

As cookies go, they’re fairly healthy too. They have Vitamin E from the almonds, lots of nutrients and fiber from the coconut (and there’s a lot of coconut), and protein from a substantial amount of egg whites.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate-PB pie topped with whipped cream and Panamanian chocolate bits

Wow. I have a serious "food hangover" today. You see, while most people resolve to be more healthy at the first of the New Year, I resolved to make Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie (Page 190-191). It's so good. But it's super rich. And on top of baked brie, prime rib and scalloped potatoes, my stomach is suffering the consequences. But today is my legs day at the gym, and I'll kick up the internal engines to burn some of the cream and sugar of last night's indulgence. Shoot, tonight I may sit down to the leftover pie.

Simple ingredients: I had everything already in my kitchen for this recipe

This pie will indeed send peanut-butter fans into ecstasy. It's rich, but not overly sweet. The peanutty creamy goodness rests on a solid foundation of graham and chocolate. The graham crust is liberally buttery. The layer of chocolate ganache coats the graham and creates a very aesthetically pleasing dark line between graham and PB.

Godly crust: Graham, brown sugar, and butter

A word to the planners: The recipe calls for using a 9" pie pan. I used an 8" pie pan plus another "pint-size" pie pan. The recipe makes a lot of filling. And I could easily stretch it into a pie and a half-pie.

I challenge you to make this recipe without taste testing a large amount of this creamy batter.

It's pretty easy to make. Only the crust bakes. The chocolate melts, and the whipped cream gets folded into cream cheese, peanut butter and confectioner's sugar mix. You can top it with Reese's bits, chocolate shavings, or whipped cream. Yum.

See? Doesn't that chocolate stripe look nice?
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