CHOCOLATE COCONUT MACAROONS ….utterly delicious, divinely decadent

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This is the perfect cookie recipe for some one who NEVER bakes.   The individual who pops into Costco and buys trays of mixed goodies to bring to a pot luck dinner.   Or the hostess who passes off bakery cookies as their own.   This is the recipe that you can make your own.  Coconut macaroons are a blank canvass crying out for your unique interpretations of something more than wonderful.

The clever cook will add a touch of cinnamon to the mix.  Sprinkle a little cayenne pepper into the dipping chocolate. Chop up a few pistachios to compliment the coconut.     All you require is a can of condensed milk, coconut, vanilla and egg whites. Absolutely no flour!   Egg whites, by the way, can be frozen.   I freeze egg whites in small plastic containers (two egg whites to a container).   With the main ingredients  and egg whites in the freezer you can create a dessert elegant enough for any dinner party.

IMG_2315Mix the condensed milk, vanilla and coconut until thoroughly combined.

IMG_2317Add the whipped egg whites.  The egg whites lighten the dense elements. Mix gently using a lift and fold motion to keep them from deflating.

IMG_2319Bake the cookies on parchment covered trays for easy clean-up.

IMG_2321Bake for 25 minutes.

IMG_2333Melt chocolate on low power in a microwave, or in a pan of warm water on low heat on the stove.  Do not get any water into the bowl of chocolate.  It will seize the chocolate.

IMG_2335If the  chocolate cools reheat in warm water for easy of dipping.

IMG_2336Dip half the cookie or swirl the chocolate on.

CHOCOLATE COCONUT MACAROONS ....utterly delicious, divinely decadent
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: cookie
Cuisine: North America
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A quick and easy cookie to make with a slightly crisped exterior and a soft chewy center. Can be frozen.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk (from a 12-ounce can there will a little left over. Use it as a sauce over ice cream or fresh fruit.
  • 1 tsp. PURE vanilla extract
  • 14 oz (4½ cups) sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 large egg whites at room temperature.
  • 1 tsp. sugar.
  • For dipping.
  • 4 ounce of high quality semi-sweet chocolate.( I use Callebaut)
Instructions
  1. Set your oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Line two large baking sheets with parchment
  3. Combine the condensed mllk and vanilla in a large bowl.
  4. Add the coconut and stir with a large spatula until throughly mixed.
  5. Beat the egg whites and sugar with a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 4-5 minutes.
  6. Using the spatula stir one/third of the egg whites into the coconut mixture. This will lighten your mixture and allow you to easily fold in the egg whites.
  7. Fold the rest of the egg white gently into the coconut mixture until well combined..
  8. Using two spoons gently form rounded table spoonfuls of batter into balls about 1½ inches in diameter.
  9. If you are making smaller macaroons this recipe will yield about 35 cookies.
  10. For larger cookies that are perfect as a dessert treat the yield will be 20 cookies
  11. Arrange the cookies 2 inches apart on the baking sheets
  12. Bake, rotating and swapping the positions of the pans halfway through ( about 12 minutes).
  13. Bake until the macaroons are golden brown in spots and their undersides are a light brown (abut 25 minute in totals).
  14. Cool briefly on the baking sheets on racks, then transfer the macaroons directly to the racks to cool completely.
  15. The macaroons will keep, covered at room temperature for up to three days, or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three weeks. They can be frozen for up to six months.
  16. TO DIP THE COOKIES IN CHOCOLATE:
  17. Melt 4 oz. of your favorite chocolate, then dip the cooled macaroons into it.
  18. Place on clean parchment until the chocolate is set.

 

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MINESTRONE …. a wonderful winter soup

The pantry is filled with vegetables and herbs  harvested from the garden.  The mornings are cool and crisp.  Time to make soup.    I went to the bible of authentic Italian cooking.  THE SILVER SPOON.  Five pages of minestrone soups.   Almost every Italian region has its own exclusive recipe.

The best part of making minestrone is you can be very creative.   Pasta, rice, and legumes are added to your vegetables and herbs.    You can put them all in or leave some out .  Your choice.  The essential butter, bacon fat, oil or lard is added at the beginning to give flavour to the ingredients.    Again, your choice.I’ve combined a couple of recipes  for this pleasant and satisfying winter dish.

 

 

 

In a deep skillet saute the bacon, onion and garlic , sprinkled with salt, generous grinds of black pepper and  a scattering of red pepper flakes.  (about 3-4 minutes)

Add the celery stalk and parsley and continue to saute briefly.

In a large soup pot or stock pot put the canned tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon.  Add the contents of the saute pan to this.  Then add the chopped carrots and the chicken stock.  Cook until the carrots are tender.

Now add the white beans,  the  cooked pasta, and frozen peas  and bring back to serving temperature.   Stir in the fresh sage and basil.    Ladle into the largest soup bowls you posses and top with  lavish shavings of Parmesan cheese.

Buon Appetito!!

MINESTRONE .... a wonderful winter soup
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: Soup
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The best part of making minestrone is you can be very creative. Pasta, rice, and legumes are added to your vegetables and herbs. You can put them all in or leave some out . Your choice.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup finely chopped bacon
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2-3 fat cloves garlic finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.
  • 1 celery stalk finely chopped
  • A generous handful of flat leaf parsley chopped
  • Around 2 cups of chopped carrots
  • 1 28 oz. can San Marzano whole tomatoes
  • Generous 2 cups of chopped zucchini
  • 4 cups of homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock (for vegetarians)
  • 1 generous cup of frozen peas
  • 1 cup dry pasta (your choice small-sized pasta)
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • A handful of fresh sage leaves and a handful of Fresh Basil, chopped
  • Lots of good Parmesan cheese to finish
Instructions
  1. In a deep skillet saute the bacon, onion and garlic , sprinkled with salt, generous grinds of black pepper and a scattering of red pepper flakes. (about 3-4 minutes)
  2. Add the celery stalk and parsley and continue to saute briefly.
  3. In a large soup pot or stock pot put the canned tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon. Add the contents of the saute pan to this. Then add the chopped carrots and the chicken stock. Cook until the carrots are tender.
  4. Now add the white beans, the cooked pasta, and frozen peas and bring back to serving temperature. Stir in the fresh sage and basil. Ladle into the largest soup bowls you posses and top with lavish shavings of Parmesan cheese.
  5. Buon Appetito!!

 

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BUTTER TARTS . . . the quintessential Canadian dessert

I have shared hundreds of recipes on my food blog MRS. BUTTERFINGERS.  One recipe has been  extraordinarily popular.  It is my recipe for butter tarts. Hundreds of  cooks have down loaded the recipe  this quintessential Canadian dessert.

The melt-in-your-mouth flaky pastry tart is filled with delicious concoction of butter, sugar, syrup and eggs .  Cooks add their own variations.  The purists add only  currants or raisins. Others add variation with nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, figs or dates.

In l955 I was working as a writer at a small Alberta radio station.  One day I brought a box of butter tarts I had baked to work.  I was asked if I would bake butter tarts for a bridal shower.  I was soon working nine to five as a writer, then filling orders for butter tarts at night.   My career in the food business had begun.

This is the very best of pioneer Canadian cooking.  The earliest recipe for butter tarts was found in 1900 in The Woman’s Auxiliary of the Royal Victorian Hospital Cookbook.  Over the years I continually tweaked my recipe.  This recipe found in the Harrow Country Fair cook book (with a few adjustments) is a blue ribbon winner.  I always use currents (reconstituted) as opposed to raisins.  I think their flavour and texture  better compliments the syrupy filling.  The pastry of butter tarts is equally as important as the filling.  It must be flaky and rich yet be able to hold the delicious and sometimes runny filling.

You can  make butter tarts in tiny tart tins for one bite of heaven.  If I plan to use the butter tarts for a dessert I use a larger tart tin and serve with a generous scoop of  sublime vanilla ice cream or a flourish of whipped cream.

When rolling your pastry for the tarts keep your pastry cool.  If it seems to be getting a bit soft return it to the refrigerator for five or ten minutes.  Before you fill your pastry it is a good idea to refrigerate the unfilled tarts to the refrigerator for fifteen minutes.

Butter Tarts will keep about a week at room temperature and freeze beautifully for three to four weeks.  This makes it the ideal dessert for entertaining.

 

BEST BUTTER TART RECIPE
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: 12 tarts
The butter tart recipe I used today came from THE HARROW FAIR COOKBOOK. It's filled with nostalgic photographs and prize-winning recipes. It's a joy to read.
Ingredients
  • filling:
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (250 ml) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) cream (the original recipe calls for milk but cream takes it up a notch)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) currants (and perhaps a few chopped walnuts to up the ante)
  • FAVOURITE PIE CRUST
  • 2¼ cups (560 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) fine sea salt
  • ½ cup (125 ml) lard, cubed
  • ½ cup (125 ml) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) white vinegar
  • ice cold water see instructions for the amount
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450° F (230c)
  2. Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin pan. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Roll out the pie crust.
  3. Cut twelve 5 inch (12 cm) rounds out of the pie crust.
  4. Fit each round into the muffin pan, making 12 tart shells.
  5. I consider the pastry for butter tarts almost as important as the filling. I like to make my pastry tarts just a little thicker, so you may not get as many as 12 tarts, or you could use both pastry discs.
  6. Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, milk, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  7. Place a little over l tsp (5 ml) dried currants in each tart shell. (Some may call it tampering with a good thing but you could also add a few chopped walnuts).
  8. Add approximately 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the filling mixture to each tart shell. Don't overfill as the mixture puffs up with baking.
  9. Bake for 8 minutes are 450°F (230°C) Reduce temperature to 350°F (180°C). Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the tart shells are golden brown.
  10. Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the tarts to a rack. Cool to room temperature before serving. Bet you can't eat just one!
  11. FAVOURITE PIE CRUST
  12. This crust, made from lard and butter, is flaky, tender, buttery, and golden brown. Makes enough for one double crust 9 inch pie, or two 9 inch single-crust pies.
  13. Sift together the flour and Salt. Incorporate the lard and butter using a pastry cutter or a food process. The crumbs should be the size of peas.
  14. Beat the egg and vinegar together and put into a liquid measuring cup. Add enough ice cold water to equal ½ cup (125 ml) of liquid.
  15. Pour the liquid over the dough. Knead, or pulse in the food processor, until the dough comes together in a ball. A little extra water may be required to incorporate all the flour. If you are adding the liquid to the flour mixture in the food processor process JUST UNTIL the mixture starts to com together.
  16. Then remove and knead into a ball by hand. When working with the pie dough be sure to use a gentle touch and do not overwork the dough.
  17. Divide the dough into halves. Shape each half into a flat disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least l hour prior to rolling.
  18. Any unused dough can be stored for up to l week in the refrigerator or frozen until needed. If freezing, double wrap the dough in plastic wrap until ready to use. Defrost slowly in the refrigerator.
  19. ROLLING PIE DOUGH
  20. After the dough has rested in the refrigerator, remove it and let it sit for 15 minutes before rolling.
  21. Scatter a small sprinkle of flour onto your work surface. It is better to use small amounts frequently. Roll the dough out from the centre to the outer edges using a rolling pin. Avoid moving the pin backwards; rolling the dough out from the centre is best.
  22. Roll the dough out as evenly and thinly as possible, without breaking or tearing it. The dough will be about ⅛ inch (3 mm) thick. Lift the dough frequently to prevent it from sticking, and sprinkle with a little flour on the work surface and rolling pin, if needed.
  23. If all this seems a little difficult roll the dough between two large pieces of parchment paper - lifting and peeling the paper away every few rolls to prevent wrinkling your dough.
  24. Depending on the depth of the pans, the dough will to be 1½-3 inches / 4-7.5 cm) larger in diameter than the pans.
  25. Place the dough disks in the pans and use your thumbs to ease the dough in, pushing it up gently to crete a slightly raised edge.
Notes
Pie plates come in all sorts of materials; metal, glass, ceramic. Each has a different impact on the crust. Glass pie plates with wide rim crisp and brown pie crusts evenly. I prefer glass pie plates. You can also see how brown your crust is underneath.

 

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FRENCH ONION SOUP LES HALLES INSPIRED

 

 

It was our last night in Paris.   The night sky was fading as we wandered into an old bistro in the lst Arrondissment.    This is the  area where  the citizens of the old market place of Les Halles  worked 24 hours a day  distributing food to every corner of Paris.   And, this is where we ended our Paris adventure with bowls of  restorative onion soup, crowned with bread encrusted with gruyere cheese.

I came away from a  tiny bistro with a new recipe  for  onion soup.  Onion soup made with rich chicken stock.    This is the way I have made onion soup ever since



The secret to a great onion soup is slowing cooking your onions.

Serve with a crisp, citrusy whites; Sancerre, Pouilly Fume

FRENCH ONION SOUP LES HALLES INSPIRED
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Les Hales, this is where we ended our Paris adventure with bowls of restorative onion soup, crowned with bread encrusted with gruyere cheese.
Ingredients
  • 4 TBS BUTTER
  • 6 TO 7 ONIONS THINLY SLICED
  • 8 CUPS OF REALLY GOOD HOME MADE CHICKEN STOCK
  • 1 CUP (250 G) GRATED EMMENTALER, GRUYERE OR COMTE CHEESE
  • 4 LARGE SLICES TOASTED BAGUETTE
  • SALT AND LOTS OF FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER, TO TASTE
  • A SHOT OF SHERRY (OPTIONAL) ... or pour yourself a glass while the onions cook.
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a large casserole, add onions, sprinkle them with a little salt, and cook covered over low heat for at least 30 minutes, stirring every once in a while.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the stock, grate the cheese, toast the bread, and get the bowls ready.
  3. Once the onions are translucent and slightly caramelized, add the stock, and allow to cook covered for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
  4. Optionally, add a shot of sherry before serving.
  5. Stir the soup, and ladle into the four bowls. Place toast on top of each bowl, and cover generously with cheese. You may find you want more cheese than the recipe calls for.
  6. Place on a baking dish under the broiler until the cheese melts, bubbles, and is golden. Remove from oven, place bowl on a small place, and serve immediately.
Notes
Serve with a crisp, citrusy whites; Sancerre, Pouilly Fume

 

 

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THERE ARE NO WORDS

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COCONUT CAKES FINANCIERS

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  There I am.  Nose pressed against the window of a pastry shop in Paris.  It is a magnificent display of opulent, mouth watering goodies,  but what has caught my eye are miniature golden loaves  – Financiers.  The story is … Continue reading

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