Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

In which I confess to eating truck stop cookies.

There is just something about a macaroon.  Not those fancy French macarons.  (Although my friend brought me back some from Paris that were amazing.  That little caramel one…)  But an almost overly sweet, slightly gooey coconut cookie.  There is a truck stop we know that has the most amazing chocolate dipped macaroons.  They are beautiful dense balls of coconut robed in dark chocolate.  All of their baked goods are amazing, but the macaroon is my favorite.  (This sounds like it should be on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.)Chocolate Coconut Macaroons top

So what do you do when you are craving one of those cookies, but are not going to drive 45 minutes just to get one?  You scour all of great-grandma’s recipes because you know you saw a macaroon recipe in there somewhere.  (It was in the cookbook I made for my grandma of her mom’s recipes).Chocolate Coconut Macaroons on Wedgwood

These ingredients do not seem like they would make a cookie.  They kind of don’t.  The end result is a lightly held together ball of coconut and chocolate.  I’d recommend using mini chocolate chips instead of the chopped chocolate. And definitely use a Silpat or whatever sort of non-stick cooking mat you have.  Chocolate Coconut Macarooons

I’m not going to lie.  These are not as good as the macaroons at the truck stop, but that didn’t stop me from eating at least my share of them.  I doubt these store well.  It’s probably best not to even try.  Kind of like kringla.  Chocolate Coconut Macaroons Cutting board


Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 cups shredded coconut
1/3 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Combine milk and coconut.  Add chocolate, vanilla, and almond extract.  Mix well.  Drop by teaspoons on greased baking sheets 1 inch apart.  Bake in moderate oven, 350°, 10-12 minutes.  Remove from pan immediately cool.  Makes 24.

Church Windows and Darned Good Candy

3 Days Until Christmas…

3 Days until Christmas!

Before I even begin with discussion on these recipes, I need to comment about those mini colored marshmallows.  Do they really exist for a reason outside of small children, jello salads, and grandparents? DSCN3523The first time I heard about Church Windows cookies (are they cookies or are they candy?) was after our tree fell on our neighbor’s fence.  It might be the biggest event this neighborhood has seen in a while.  It was such a big event that as we were cutting it down, neighbors from the senior housing facility put out their chairs, plugged in their crockpots, and sat outside to watch.  I treated them to some rhubarb brownies and some chocolate chip cookies.  Some of the men came over to help.  We started chatting about Christmas cookie plates and he told me about the church windows cookies.  I assumed he was talking about stained glass cookies, but when he described them, this was exactly what he meant.  I never expected to find that recipe among my great-grandma’s.  DSCN3526No matter what the recipe says about double boiler, melt the chocolate in the microwave.  It’s so much easier.  Put it in for a minute, stir it after a minute, it might need another 15 or 30 seconds, but it won’t need much more.  Stirring these bad boys is hard.  It’s messy and involved.  DSCN3520Ok, so flavor…think something like rocky road.  But vaguely fruity with coconut.  They aren’t bad, but probably best in small doses.

As for the candy…who in could resist something called “Darned Good Candy”?  I made it wrong the first time I did it.  Use chopped pecans instead of whole pecans.  It makes a difference.  I also learned to not put hot candy on waxed paper.  Guess what happens?  It sticks.  You end up with delicious candy that leaves paper in your mouth.  So these pictures are of the second time that I tried making the candy.  DSCN3522

Darned Good Candy is like a caramel taffy.  It’s stiff and it’s creamy.  It’s got buttery undertones and the pecan flavor permeates the whole candy.  Yeah, it sticks to your teeth, but in the best possible way.  It’s really darned good.

Church WindowsDarned Good Candy

Darned Good Candy

3 cups sugar
1 cup sweet or sour cream
1 cup white corn syrup

Bring ingredients to a boil.

Add 1 heaping cup of chopped pecans and 1 tsp salt.  Boil to a very hard ball.

Add 4 TB butter and 2 tsp vanilla (mix until butter is melted).

Let cool 10 minutes.  Start beating lightly until mixture begins to hold its shape.  Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased sheet.  (I shaped the warm candy into small oblong pieces).


Brownie Cordial Cookies and Anise Candy

6 days until Christmas…

6 days until Christmas…

DSCN3503Growing up we went to a church that had a phenomenal Christmas bazaar every year.  There were certain things that could not be missed.  In the tearoom, you could sit and drink hot cider and eat a selection of Christmas cookies and cream puffs stuffed with chicken salad.  There were the baked beans.  Sadly that recipe didn’t make it into the church cookbook.  I’ve been attempted to recreate the beans.  My mom had the recipe at one point, but it might’ve gotten lost in a move.  The beans were that good. DSCN3504You could tell it was time for the bazaar weeks ahead of time.  The familiar fragrances of the church, the incense, Murphy’s oil soap, old wood, and beeswax, would start to become entwined with the smell of sugar and anise.  DSCN3507At the bazaar, a cut glass punch bowl would be piled high with baggies full of jewel-like red and green candies.  My siblings and I would always make sure that my mom bought at least one bag.  There were a few years where I would bring my own money to secure my own bag.  Anise is one of those flavors that not everyone likes.  I get it.  But it takes me back to those days of helping in the tearoom, exploring all the goodies, conversations in the kitchen with the “old” church ladies.  And the color is so pretty and this anise flavor isn’t very strong. It’s more of the suggestion of anise than a powerful anise flavor.  DSCN3506Since those days I have helped 2 churches start their Christmas bazaars.  One turned into an event with a fancy wine and cheese night and silent auction.  The other is an amalgamation of sewn crafts, canned food, lefsa, fresh bread, herb butters.  I was the official bread maker for years. DSCN3508 Ok, enough of the sentimental drivel and let’s get to cookies.

Chocolate, cherries, coconut.  They are soft and chewy and vaguely taste like the cherry cordials that my husband insists on every year, but grown up and better.  I considered breaking into my stash of brandied cherries that I made earlier this summer to experiment with, but realized that these cookies should be more child friendly. (Which is the same reason I didn’t put brandied apples in my apple pie, although that was tempting also.)  The recipe does not call for any decoration or frosting, but I had melted chocolate leftover from decorating the Real Orange cookies and thought it might look pretty and add a touch of class to the chunky brown cookies.  They provide a nice foundation to my cookie plates and create a nice balance of flavors and textures.  (And aren’t they pretty?)AniseBrownie Cordial Cookies



Groovy Teen Bars

In which I channel Shaggy (from Scooby Doo, not the other guy)

Are you concerned that your teen or preteen is just not groovy enough?  Do they seem a bit down in the dumps?  Maybe your son wears his polo shirt buttoned all the way up to the top button.  Perhaps he has no idea how to roll up his sleeves or loosen his tie. Maybe your daughter can’t see past her very proper twin set and pearls.  Perhaps it’s time to turn off the Pat Boone and put on some Janis Joplin and serve your teen a plate of these groovy treats (while wearing a tie-dyed apron, of course).DSCN2676

This was one of those recipes that I knew I had to make.  When we were kids my mom served us something called a “Teen burger.”  This is a fabulous creation that is like a hamburger and a sundae all at once.  Literally a scoop of ice cream on top of a burger with all the fixings.  Our introduction to this recipe used chocolate marshmallow swirl ice cream, but mom said the proper way to do it was really vanilla with chocolate syrup.  My sister has continued the tradition in some of the exotic places she has lived and for some reason, I have never made that for my very groovy kids.

However they did get to eat an entire pan full of these bars.  I can’t remember who was coming to visit when we made them.  If it was you, please comment and let me know.

Ok, so what do you need to know about these bars? (I just re-read the recipe and realized that they are only for boys.  Maybe no one wants groovy girls?)  They are pretty good.  The fudge, egg white, nuts,and coconut topping was a little weird to make.  The crust was super easy. DSCN2684

I found another recipe in the archives that must be for the girls.  It’s called “teen bars”.

So if you want your boys to be groovy or just make some bars especially for teens, put on the lava lamp, burn some incense, and get super hip to this recipe.  Let your hair hang down and…who am I kidding?  I’m not even slightly groovy, even after eating these bars.Groovy Teen BarsTeen Bars