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29 April 2010

My Macaroons

Already I have forgotten where I learned this, but recently I discovered that the word "macaroon" in Italian refers to almond paste. The word macaroni is from the same root, something to do with paste. If you go to a French bakery and they have something called macaroons, they are some kind of sandwich cookie, sometimes they have all sorts of different flavors and colors, but they sure don't have coconut sticking out all over-they are strictly an almond based cookie. Just do a quick image search, you'll see what I mean. 

The European macaroons are delicious, but I am obsessed with coconut, and I like my macaroons with toasty coconut and just a little almond. I like the coconut chopped finely, I think it makes a better textured cookie, and I don't get strings of coconut stuck in my teeth. These are pretty sweet cookies, so I started using unsweetened coconut, which I found from Bob's Red Mill at Whole Foods.

1 1/2 c. unsweetened coconut
1/2 c. almond pieces
1/2 c. sugar
2 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a cookie sheet. Chop up the coconut and almond finely - I do this in a spice grinder, but don't turn it into powder - place in a small bowl. Add sugar, mix in. Add egg whites, mix well. Scoop small balls of the mixture onto the cookie sheet, only about 2 tablespoons per cookie. Bake for about 10 minutes, let them set on the pan for a couple of minutes, then scoop them off and let them cool on a rack.
Note that these cookies will not spread out, you can place them very close together on the pan and they will not grow into each other.

18 April 2010

Mango Sticky Rice

This is a miraculous treat. It's easy to prepare and so delicious. If you have ever had it in a Thai restaurant, my version might not seem as good, but it's a good start. Last night I ate the stuff with mango too fast, so I took a picture today with oranges, which was also delicious. The sticky rice part of the recipe is one that I've adapted from Donna Hay's "Modern Classics 2."
The first time I made the sticky rice I didn't realize how much the coconut milk separates. I opened the can and scooped out some of the solidified fat on top, and much later discovered all the liquid underneath. It was a very rich dessert indeed.

Mango Sticky Rice
1 c. white rice (I used arborio rice once for extra creaminess, and the one pictured above was long grain white basmati rice, either way is delicious)
2 c. cold water
1 c. coconut milk, about 1/2 of a can; shake the can well, or warm it to melt the fat into the liquid
1/4-1/2 c. sugar (I like an evaporated cane juice sugar for this)
2 or more mangos, peeled and chopped

Cook rice in water until tunnels form, keep the pan tightly covered. Remove from heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Stir in enough sugar to suit your taste and coconut milk, stir in coconut milk 1/2 cup at a time, let the first bit soak in. Serve on your favorite dessert plates with chopped mangoes on top. Serves 4-6.