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.)
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).
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.
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
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.
In which we prepare for the Big Game.
As most of you know, the Super Bowl is on Sunday. For those of you who don’t know (like a lot of my family), there are a bunch of great commercials on TV on Sunday interrupted by a sportsball game. Whatever your plans, whoever your team, chances are people are going to want to eat. (Just a hint, people always want to eat.)
I have punch recipes. I have a lot of punch recipes. I have more punch recipes than I have occasions to have punch. I’m going to need to start having more occasions. Maybe I need to celebrate small things like learning a new Spanish vocabulary word or not falling down the stairs. A few years ago, I bought a double drink dispenser for the kids’ birthday party. I served both iced tea and lemonade with flavored simple syrups so that party guests could have whatever combination they wanted to drink. The only reason I bring this up is because the dispenser works equally well for holding a single beverage, like Lime Punch. I hesitate to even refer to this as a recipe. It’s something small children can make easily and probably have made a version of it at a soda fountain at some point. Heck, these days, there are those dispensers that will do it for you. It’s limeade and lemon-lime soda. I suppose someone could get all fancy and use ginger ale, except as my mom experienced, ginger ale is not available in all parts of Iowa. Use ginger beer and you have the non-alcoholic version of a Moscow Mule. You could even serve it in fancy copper mugs. (We didn’t. I think we used red solo cups.) (We also didn’t use ginger beer.)Ok, about those cookies. When the boys were little we took them out to a restaurant on a Friday night. The kids meals came with a choice of dessert. One boy ordered a chocolate chip cookie before he was told the options and the other chose an M&M cookie after listening to his choices. In order to prevent a jealous fight (which was more common in those days than it is now) we asked if the waitress could please just bring us 2 M&M cookies. She did as we asked and the younger boy started crying. “I don’t like M&M cookies.” We struggled to console him. “I thought you did.” “I don’t…except on Fridays” he wailed. “It is Friday,” we told him gently. Immediately the tears dried up. “Ok,” he said and happily munched his M&M cookie as we looked on bewildered. You’d think after that sort of quick mood shift I’d be more ready for their preteen hormones.Whether it’s Friday night or Sunday afternoon, dry your tears and make these cookies. If you buy a big bag of M&M’s you may be able to pick out your team colors for the cookies. (which means you also get to snack on all those other colors.) For those of you who are aware of such things, I made this recipe some time before “our” team was eliminated from the Super Bowl. (You can probably even guess which team we cheer for).
In which Nancy Drew appears.
When I was very young (probably between 4 and 6) my mom walked in on me reading two Nancy Drew books at the same time. I would read one page of one book and then one page of the other book and then turn both pages at the same time. I have a vague memory of this. I explained to her that the stories were too formulaic and boring and therefore needed to be spiced up. (Not quite in those words, but that was the thought.)From a very early age, I loved a good mystery. More often than not, the books I have checked out in Overdrive are mysteries. The really good ones have twists that you never see coming. The silly ones are fairly obvious from early on and I spend most of the book waiting for the characters to catch up to where I already am.There was one book I read a few years back where the main character knew who the killer was by asking for them for an answer to a cryptic crossword. I was confounded at the time, but have since learned to do cryptics. Not nearly as well as my friend that takes existing crossword puzzles and then writes his own clues to the answers. Also, not nearly as well, as our other friend who just has the sort of brain that overthinks everything (Yes, mom, even worse than I do.) I do best when I have someone else with whom I can discuss the possibilities. I am usually pretty good at sussing out secrets. Not always to my benefit. Occasionally, though, there are things that I just never see coming. Like when my half-brother became my half-sister. Never saw that coming.
Some of these recipes are like that. Where I just have no idea what it is that I’m supposed to expect. Like “Japanese” Chicken or Deviled Hot Dogs. Then there are others that give me an idea, but don’t give me a lot of details. Unbaked Cookies is a good example, as are most of the cake recipes. I spend a lot of time assessing what I know about cooking and applying that logic. That’s part of the appeal about doing this blog for me. Solving the mystery of these recipes, taking some pictures, trying them out so people know what to expect. It’s so easy these days to search for a recipe online. Most of them have explicit how-tos and pictures. It wasn’t always quite so easy. This recipe was an easy one. It just didn’t have a title. Or instructions. It’s probably a good thing that the thing I like to read best after mysteries is cookbooks. Yep. Just read them like novels. It’s a great way to see how ingredients are supposed to go together and which foods pair well with other foods. It gives you an idea of the culture and values of populations. Shows you how much time people have to cook or bake. It’s an anthropological study (read: mystery).
Another note about these cookies, I don’t like creamy peanut butter. I know, I know, it might call one to question all sorts of things about me, but I said it. Peanut butter without nuts is just like paste. Texture needs to happen for me. It needs some crunch. It needs to be more than just glue that sticks to the roof of your mouth. You may point out that this recipe calls for cornflake crumbs and that should provide the texture I say I need, but that’s crisp, not crunch. Incidentally, these cookies are delicious.
I cup margarine (2 sticks) creamed with 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar. When while creamed, add one egg and 1 tsp vanilla. Add 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 1/3 cups of flour, 1/4 tsp salt. After everything is mixed together, gently mix in 1 cup of cornflake crumbs. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350°. Yield is 4 dozen.