I used to hate coconut.
Not the flavour mind you (I love coconut rum) but the texture. You see, I'm big on texture - especially when it comes to food. You could ask me to try the most amazing tasting thing on the planet but if the texture grosses me out, well, please look away while I spit it into my napkin.
Now I don't know what's changed - age, experience, hormones? - but for the last two years I have been friggin' LOVING coconut!!
A girl I work with, Angela at Ciao Down, loves entering cooking contests. Her latest entries have been submitted to the Real Women of Philadelphia contest with Anna Olson. In order to enter, you have to submit an original recipe using Philly Cream Cheese as an ingredient. She knew she wanted to enter a dessert and she knew she wanted something that was a spin on cheesecake. She originally had planned on a chocolate crust topped with avocado and lime cheesecake and mango glaze, cut into bars. I suggested using a coconut macaroon recipe for the crust, instead of chocolate, because coconut and lime pair so beautifully together. She loved the idea and so did I. In fact, after we talked, I couldn't stop thinking about coconut macaroons. And so here we are.
I found the recipe for the macaroons on AllRecipes. I always look for recipes with the highest ratings because they never disappoint. I also love to read user reviews to find out what's worked and maybe what hasn't worked in the recipe. The following recipe couldn't possibly be any easier:
Coconut Macaroons (makes about 48 small macaroons)
2/3 C flour
5 1/2 C sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cans sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla (could use 1 vanilla, 1 almond if you want)
- preheat 350 - line baking sheet with parchment
- In large bowl, whisk condensed milk and extract
- Add flour, coconut and salt - mix with hands - it's very sticky!!
- Roll into small balls (I had to rinse my hands every 5 or 6 balls because my palms were too sticky)
- Bake about 15 minutes then broil until golden and toasted on top
Now the original recipe calls for a 14oz can of condensed milk but here in Canada, our cans are 10oz. SO if you use 1 1/2 cans of condensed milk, what do you do with the extra half a can? Well you make Dulce de Leche of course!!
Dulce de Leche
Crank your oven to 425 degrees. Pour the leftover half can of condensed milk into a small baking pan. Cover tightly with foil. Place the small pan into a slightly larger pan. Fill the larger pan with water until it reaches about halfway up the smaller pan. Bake for 1 hour - 1 hour 20 minutes until the condensed milk is the colour of peanut butter. Check a couple of times to see if you need to add more water. Cool.
The longer you bake the Dulce de Leche the thicker it will become. You can either use it as a dip for your macaroons OR if your Dulce is thick enough, you could sandwich two of them together into a little French Macaron-style cookie!!
WARNING - Don't eat TOO many of these at once if you can help it!! Coconut Oil is known to be a natural laxative (if you catch my drift).
You can check out Angela's video for her Farfalle al Salmone (Bowtie Pasta with Smoked Salmon) (and vote for her!!) here.