I sometimes wonder if I think about food a little too much.
I've noticed recently that it always seems to be in the back of my mind even when I'm working. I'll be writing an email to one of my coordinators or doing a bit of photo research when I suddenly realize that all along I've been thinking about those quickly ripening bananas in the fruit bowl or contemplating a summery version of osso buco made with white wine and herbs. Thanks to the magic of Gmail chat, my boyfriend and I will usually communicate throughout the day, sending each other interesting news links or contemplating our different lunch options. I also tend to fill him in on these various kitchen plans since he is often, and with increasing frequency, my intended guinea pig.
"I'm thinking of baking cookies tonight," I told him recently.
"Macaroons?" He asked immediately. Though they hadn't originally been my plan (I'd actually been thinking something along the lines of jam-filled linzer cookies like those at Le Madeleine in Washington, DC, where I used to live), I instantly changed my mind and decided to make him the cookies I knew he would like.
These easy-to-bake cookies were ubiquitous in my house growing up, although we knew them by the spanish name--besitos de coco or "coconut kisses"; the perfect treat for your coconut-loving S.O.!
I used a whole vanilla bean in this recipe and the tiny flecks of vanilla really look beautiful against the pure white of the coconut. I like letting these bake until the tips are just slightly toasted and then drizzle half the batch with melted semi-sweet chocolate. This recipe makes quite a bit, so you can save any leftovers in an airtight bag or container. If your significant other is anything like mine, these won't make it through the weekend.
Vanilla-Flecked "Besitos de Coco" (Coconut Macaroons)
These cookies are incredible easy to make--no need to whip the egg whites beforehand. Just mix everything and bake. Parchment paper is the key to keeping these cookies from sticking (and easy clean-up). If you don't have any though, a VERY generous spray of PAM w/flour will also work.
3 egg whites (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 whole vanilla bean
2 1/2 cups unsweetened dessicated coconut (if you can only find sweetened, reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup)
5 ounces semisweet chocolate
1. Mix the egg whites, sugar, and coconut in a large bowl.
2. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise down the middle and scrape all the seeds into the bowl. Mix again making sure to evenly distribute the vanilla seeds. You should see tiny specks of black throughout the batter.
3. Using a tablespoon or ice cream scoop, place 12 scoops of batter at a time (evenly spaced) on a baking pan lined with parchment paper; each scoop should be about the size of a golf ball. The batter will be thick and lumpy with little peaks of coconut.
4. Bake for about 12 minutes at 350 degrees or until the tips of the coconut turn golden brown. Let cool completely on the pans, then separate the batch in half.
5. In a microwave, heat the chocolate for 30 seconds at a time until complete melted.
6. Dip a spatula into the melted chocolate and wave over the macaroons about 4 or 5 inches above the tray. Let the chocolate drizzle down in zig-zag patterns and let cool. (You can also dip the cookies one at a time by hand.)