31/52: Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons with Patrina

Last month I introduced my new baking project — Long Distance Baking! {See tab at the top of the blog} To refresh your memory, the gist of the project is…My Aunt who lives in Colorado and I will alternate choosing baking projects each month, bake them on the same weekend and share pictures and thoughts about the recipes! Last month my Aunt chose Homemade Hostess Cupcakes. I would venture to say they are even better than the real thing! This month was my turn to choose the recipe.

I have tried to take over a new leaf lately, mostly to get ready and anticipate the lack of time that I will have come fall due to my full schedule of full-time graduate school and my internship in the elementary school. That concept combined with my hubby’s recent love of coconut macaroons and the desire to cross off another item on my Kitchen Bucket List led me to choose Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons to bake this month! We had some yummy coconut macaroons while in Vegas back in June, but I have loved coconut macaroons ever since I studied abroad in England and France during J-term 2008. I’m not sure that I had ever had a real macaroon until then. They were so chewy and delicious — an instant favorite.

Speaking of… That trip was ridiculously amazing. I have always had a thing for studying World War II. Probably because my grandfather served in the Navy as a fighter pilot over the Pacific during the war. I should make a post just about his story one of these days, it’s unbelievable. Anyway, when the opportunity came up to study World War II in England and France I wanted to go with everything in me. I had never left the country before. Thanks to my amazing mother it became a reality. I will never forget the experiences of seeing the impact the war had on London, and England as a whole or the experience of walking the beaches of Normandy and seeing the battle field where so many of our men lost their lives on D-Day. Or, walking through the bunkers the Germans used {which still hold the guns they used}, or the many beaches where so many of our men fought for not only our freedom but that of the world, or walking through the American gravesite paying tribute to the soldiers… the memories are ones that I cannot truly put into words but they were most certainly life changing. I only have a few pictures from my travels because sadly the hard drive of my laptop crashed and I cannot find the backup CD. 😦 Nonetheless, here are a few pics from the trip to England and France! Good and emotional times.

On the Thames River & Boardwalk

 

 Oxford – Christ’s Church {parts of HP were filmed here}

Stonehenge — so windy and cold!


Point du Hoc, Normandy, France — to the West of Omaha Beach

Me on Gold Beach {taking a picture of the mulberry}

Anyway… on with the macaroons. Sorry for that tangent! As I was saying while I was over in England/France I had amazing coconut macaroons and pain au chocolat {OH MY GOODNESS}. To this day I have not been able to find anything that is even comparable at bakeries or stores. So I’m not really sure why it took me so long to want to re-create the macaroons, but alas a lightbulb went off and I started the search for the perfect recipe. I was still apprehensive because I had this perfect ideal in my head of what these macaroons should taste like. And to my present surprise {and my Aunt’s too} this recipe did not disappoint! These macaroons are so easy; they are so good you would think they took hours to make. I will be making these again very soon because we have already devoured the recipe I made less than a week ago!! You need to make these and when you do I’d love to hear what you all think? Be sure to let me know if you think they are as good as I do once you give them a try!!

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Ingredients:

1 14-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut (about 5 cups)
4 large egg whites
2/3 C sugar
1/3 C All-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Approximately 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate or white chocolate {or both!}, melted {use double broiler method} and cooled to room temperature

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 325° F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut, egg whites, sugar, flour, salt, and vanilla.

3. Drop packed tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. {I used my cookie dough scoop, and it worked wonderfully but you could also just used a regular tablespoon}

4. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until lightly golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

5. When cool, dip the bottom of each macaroon in the chocolate and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, 20 to 30 minutes. Store the macaroons in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days – if they last that long!


{Tip: My condo tends to run warm all year round, so I chose to keep mine in the fridge so the chocolate wouldn’t melt once firmed — if your chocolate starts melting, store them in the fridge in the same airtight container.}

Source & Recipe:
Real Simple

Happy Friday! I hope y’all enjoy your weekend!

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24/52: Life revamp & Bridal Shower Cupcakes

If you know me, it is not surprise to hear I am a creature of routine. I love getting up every morning with my husband, getting him off to work and then going about my day. I love going to work every morning… Even if I don’t want to work, the simple process of getting ready and accomplishing something during the day is fabulous. It gives me purpose. I had anticipated that I’d have to get used to a new routine once I started school. But I am shocked at how crazy my life has felt for the past week! Not only am I not in a routine at home yet (juggling laundry, cooking, cleaning and most importantly homework) I am struggling to get my brain movin’ again. My academic critical thinking skills definitely are getting a “tune-up” right now. 😉 I am just hoping that I get back into a routine soon, I hate feeling disorganized!

Needless to say, this week has been one full of adjustment and my blog somewhat suffered! I posted a short, sweet inspirational post last week because I was busy baking for my bestie’s bridal shower… And well, this week I haven’t had time until now. On the positive – thank goodness for 4 day class weeks so I can play catch up!

This week I bring you Rachel’s bridal shower cupcakes! These have been a on-going recipe experiment. I think I finally found a combination I like. I guess as the saying goes “third time’s the charm”! The first time around my inspiration was a flavor concept, so I googled multiple recipes. I wanted a coconut cupcake with coconut buttercream. The recipe was semi-homemade and the frosting was overly sweet. The second time around I made them for my bridal shower. I wanted to bake and just baked the flavor I was asked to. When it came time for Rachel’s shower I gave her a ling list of flavor options but she wanted coconut! This time I decided to make the frosting  on a whim and we decided to pair it with a vanilla and/or chocolate cupcake to bring out the coconut flavor more. And you know what? I loved them!! They were delicious and a big hit at the shower. Yum! Enjoy!!


Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes

The dark chocolate cupcake is the same recipe that I used on my Dark Chocolate Mini Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream  post {And were originally from Brown Eyed Baker}, with the addition of 1/4 tsp of espresso powder to emphasize the chocolate flavor. The vanilla cupcake recipe can be found on one of my favorite blogs, Brown Eyed Baker.

Coconut Buttercream

*Enough to frost 12 cupcakes or so, double if you are making more than 12

2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature
3-5 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 T Coconut extract
Heavy cream, at room temperature {Cold milk or cream added to frosting can cause curdling}

Start by creaming the butter in the bowl of a standup mixer with the paddle attachment. Cream until light and fluffy {a few minutes}. Add 2-3 cups of the confectioner’s sugar to start, continue adding until the consistency is very, very thick {This will vary for everyone on multiple factors}. Beat until all ingredients are completely incorporated and smooth. Add the coconut extract {I would start by adding half the extract and then adding more to taste} and beat on medium until the frosting is smooth and well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add a small amount of the heavy cream to somewhat thin the frosting to a medium {piping} consistency. Once you have added enough heavy cream for your desired consistency, whip the frosting on medium-high until extremely fluffy. Add to piping bag and decorate!

The finished product!

Have fun decorating… I decorated them three different ways to add some flair, some are decorated like snow balls with shaved coconut and some are decorated simply with pearl sprinkles. Get creative and have fun. 🙂

Happy Friday – everyone enjoy your weekend and don’t forget to celebrate all of those awesome dads out there!