Coconut Macaroons

Here is the deal: if you have never tried a coconut macaroon TODAY IS THE DAY!  As I prepare my menu to sell at this year's farmer's market this addition was an obvious choice.  The insider secret to coconut macaroons is that they have sour cream, real vanilla beans, and eggs whites.  Get rid of all of the macaroon recipes that call for sweetened condensed milk.  The sour cream adds complexity.  For those of you who are really fancy, substitute in creme fraiche.  Coconut macaroons hold really well too...they are still moist and chewy days after they were baked.  This recipe was inspired by amazing Pastry Chef, Michelle Gayer, who owns the Salty Tart Bakery in Minneapolis.  

Yield: 24 (1 ounce each) cookies

  • 3 1/3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 5 ounces water (1/2 cup + 1/8 cup)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup or Lyle's golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 egg whites
  • 1/2 ounce sour cream
  • optional: citrus zest for some zip. Orange coconut macaroons around the holidays make me very happy.  If you are looking for a coconut macaroon flavor party, feel free to add essential oil flavors such as lime or rosemary (less is more with rosemary).

Directions:  In a small sauce pan, boil together the water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt.  Remove from the heat once the sugar is dissolved.*  Place the dry coconut in a blender bowl with paddle attachment.  On a medium speed, slowly poor the hot liquids into the coconut.  Continue to beat until the mixture is no longer crazy hot.  Meanwhile, combine the egg white, sour cream, and optional zest or essential oil.   Slowly add the dairy into the bowl and stop just as all of the ingredients are equally combine.  Prepare a sheet pan with parchment or a silicon mat.  Scoop or portion into equal amounts.  At this point you can bake them.  Bake at 350^F until they are nice golden color, about 15 or minutes.  If you want to make perfect balls refrigerate the uncooked portioned dough  until firm and roll the dough in your hands.  

If you are up to the challenge, dip or drizzle in dark chocolate.  

*The first time I made this recipe I thought I was smarter than the directions and I boiled the sugars together for several minutes until it became syrupy.  This was mistake.  I let too much of the water evaporate and the macaroons came out really tough.  REMOVE THE LIQUIDS FROM THE HEAT THE SECOND IT STARTS TO BOIL!

Check out this video to see how they are made.

Butterfinger Nutter Butter Cheesecake Bars

Say that 10 times fast!  This morning's baking challenge came to me via my friend Theresa.  Well, it was more like "I bought the ingredients.  Look, I have a printed recipe for you".  She had seen a pinterest post from Lauren Latest and wanted them to sell at her coffer shop, Bean Juice. There were no complaints from me.  My final thoughts on this dessert is that it was fun to make and try, but I would not make them again.  These 3 desserts are rich on their own and when combined together I thought maybe it was too much of a good thing.  3's a crowd.  What would I do next time?  I think the Butterfinger is the weakest link.  Adios Butterfinger.   Instead I would make a Nutterbutter crust cheesecake bar and drizzle it with chocolate...which is exactly what I challenge you to make.  This type of bar would be crazy good at a family gathering.  I am just curious....what is your favorite candy bar?  I am snickers girl.  I get it from my mom!  

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Ingredients:

For the crust:

16 whole Nutterbutter bars (1 regular package)

1/3 cup melted butter

For the cheesecake:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temp

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 whole egg

Chocolate Frosting:

3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

3 tablespoons butter

OPTIONAL:

6 fun size Butterfinger bars, chopped 

Directions: 

Heat oven to 325^F.  Crush or food process the Nutterbutter cookies until it looks like lumpy sand.  Melt butter and add to the crumbles.  In a 9X9 pan (you could use a 9X13 pan for a thinner bar) firmly until the crumbs are tightly bound.  Bake for 7 minutes to set the crust.    

Meanwhile, let's move unto the cheesecake.  I am a big believer in making cheesecake in a food processor.  If you have a processor, simple add all of the cheesecake ingredients and punch down the blend button.  I have had the best luck making cheesecakes with food processors.  The way it mixes does not allow the air to incorporate.  Generally speaking, air and cheesecake do not mix.  If you are using a hand blender it is very important to have the cream cheese and the egg at room temperature.  Start hand blending the sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla.  Add the egg last. Beat as little as possible.   Spread cheesecake batter over the cooked crust.  Optional, crush those Butterfinger bars and sprinkle over the top of the cheesecake.  Bake for at least 20 minutes, or until the middle of the bars are set.  Cheesecake can be tricky thing to bake.  If you know the cheesecake is close but you do not trust your judgment turn off the oven and gently finish baking the bars with the remaining heat from the oven.  

Finish by slowly and gently melting the chocolate and the butter.  Whisk until smooth and spread over the cheesecake.

Give these beautiful Nutterbutter Butterfinger cheesecake bars time.  They need to rest and chill out!  Your bars will cut cleaner if they are totally chilled.  

What's next?  Payday Snickers Twix Fix Mix? Whatchamacallit-you-haul-it?  I think I am onto something.   As always, thanks for reading!   

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