Monthly Archives: March 2012

Coconut Macaroons

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If you love coconut, these will be quite addicting. This recipe is really easy, eggless, and delicious. Using sweetened flaked coconut makes these macaroons really moist and the sweetened condensed milk brings out the incredible coconut flavor, without overpowering it. A small amount of flour helps bind these cookies together, while a pinch of salt also brings out flavor. And believe it or not, that’s it! And if you’re a chocolate-lover, these treats dipped in melted semi-sweet chocolate make them even more decadent.

I’ve tried this recipe with unsweetened dried coconut as well, but in my opinion, this makes them dry inside (since this type of coconut has less moisture content). I would stick to the sweetened flaked kind—like Baker’s brand or Wegmans/Giant brands work too.

Coconut MacarOOns (not macarons, which are the French almond sandwich cookies)

Yield: About 35-40 macaroons

Ingredients:

2/3 cup flour

pinch of salt

5 cups sweetened flaked coconut

1 1/3 cups (about equal to a 14 oz can) sweetened condensed milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment or wax paper.
  2. Sift flour and salt into large bowl. Stir in coconut.
  3. Pour in milk. Add vanilla and stir together from the center; continue stirring until a very thick batter is formed.
  4. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter 1 inch apart on to baking sheets. Bake for about 9-10 minutes, rotating halfway through, until tips are browning. Transfer to rack to cool.

If you want to make chocolate-dipped macaroons, melt some chopped semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips either in microwave or in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring constantly until melted.

Then, when cookies are cool, dip each one in the melted chocolate however you would like, and then back on covered baking sheets and place in fridge for 15-20 minutes or until chocolate hardens. Serve and enjoy!

Adapted from The Great Big Cookie Book by Hilaire Walden

 

 

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Tuscan Lemon Muffins

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These are light, fluffy, moist, and have intense lemon flavor. In other words, lemon heaven!

I have made these muffins many times now and they never fail to impress. The secret ingredients making these muffins so supreme are ricotta cheese and just ¼ cup of olive oil. The lightness of the ricotta can be detected in the muffins’ texture and the superiority of the olive oil over canola oil also upgrades both their moistness and divine flavor.

This recipe originates from Cooking Light magazine, one of my esteemed recipe sources. The only tweaks I made include decreasing the sugar quantities (which I tend to do 95% of the time).

Although squeezing the lemon juice and grating the lemon zest are a bit time consuming, it is well worth it when these fragrant muffins emerge from the oven.

 

 

Tuscan Lemon Muffins

Yield: A dozen standard-sized muffins

Ingredients:

7 9/10 ounces all-purpose flour (1 ¾ cups)

scant 2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 ½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

¾ cup part-skim ricotta cheese

½ cup water

¼ cup olive oil

1 TBP grated lemon rind

2 TBPS fresh lemon juice

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Cooking spray

A handful of turbinado sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt); make a well in center. Combine ricotta and next 5 ingredients (through egg). Add ricotta mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  3. Place 12 muffin-cup liners in muffin cups and coat with cooking spray. Divide batter among muffin cups. Lightly sprinkle turbinado sugar over batter. Bake at 375 for 16 minutes, rotating half way through, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack; then turn out of tin and cool completely on wire rack.

Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

 

Butternut Squash Bread

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This is what I would call a miracle bread.

After mixing up the ingredients and turning the batter into the loaf pan, I realized I had minorly contaminated my hands with batter. Too lazy to wash my hands before placing the bread in the oven, I grasped the edges of the pan with my two pinkie fingers and gingerly, yet speedily walked over to the ajar oven door. I must have moved too hastily because the pan slipped out from under my pinkie fingers, did a full somersault in the air, and landed with a thump on the hardwood floor.

Cringing, I glanced downward, peeking at what should have been a complete mess of splattered orange batter, but instead saw a completely in-tact pan filled with every original speck of batter. After about a minute of staring at the bread on the floor and finally registering the fact that I hadn’t ruined my butternut squash loaf, I scooped it up, placed it in the oven, set the timer, and patiently waited for the results of this miracle loaf of bread.

And it just so happened that this bread was meant to be baked because both its rich squash flavor and light, moist texture were thoroughly relished!

Butternut Squash Bread 

Yield: one 9×5 inch loaf

Ingredients:

1 cup mashed, cooked butternut squash (equivalent to roughly the bottom half (part with seeds) of 1 medium squash)

1/3 cup (5 1/3 TBP) salted butter, softened

scant 1/2 cup honey

2 eggs

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 cup each of nuts and raisins are optional, I didn’t add either

Directions:

1. Peel, seed, and cube bottom half of the butternut squash. Place cubes in a pot of boiling water and boil for about 15 minutes or until soft and tender when poked with a fork. Then mash until you obtain 1 cup.

2. Beat butter, add the honey, and beat until creamy. Add eggs and squash. Beat again until well-combined.

3. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Gradually beat into squash mixture. Stir in nuts and/or raisins if using. Note: Batter will be thick and sticky; at first it looks like there’s too much flour, but it will eventually become mixed in.

4. Pour batter into a buttered 9×5 inch loaf pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, rotate, then bake for another 15 minutes, cover with tin foil (with hole in center where underbaked) and bake about 5 to 7 more minutes. Note: You may have to experiment with baking times and when to cover the bread. Cover if you think the edges are done, but not the center. Just keep testing it with toothpicks; when it comes out with a few moist crumbs, the bread is done.

5. Let loaf cool for 10-15 minutes and then turn out onto wire rack and cool completely before slicing.

Adapted a lot from Café Brenda’s “Pumpkin Bread”