Suzi's Blog

Coconut Joys

Editted 2013_02_03_0483

 

I have a new proof for the existence of God. It would take such superior designer to come up [and conceal] two very distinct but two very complex nut foods. Foods that are encased so deeply you cannot believe how people ever figured out to use them.

There is coconut, of course. And then there are the cacao pods which are transformed into chocolate only through a series of steps that impossible to have ever been devised. But thanks, perhaps to a gracious God, they were revealed. There are no chocolate atheists.

The combination of coconut and chocolate can be sublime. What better vehicle to transport those flavors to you than a perfect French meringue. I do mean perfect.

As soon as Suzen saw the title, Coconut Joys, she was onto this recipe. Surprisingly, I was entrusted with making them. And this only because in the brilliant new book Meringue by Linda Jackson and Jennifer Evans Gardner there is the technique for perfect meringues.

You’ll want to use very, very fresh coconut flavor here. So, that half-used package of coconut from last spring that is sitting on your shelf? Use it for the photo. That’s what I did.

Instead of using full-sized chocolate chips, the use of mini-chips here reinforces the daintiness of the cookies.

These are easy to make — 15 minutes. And long to bake — 3 ½ hours in your oven. It’s a weekend treat. One you could use, say, to teach your children to be patient. [Or yourself.]

One thing about meringues. If it is raining out, don’t even think about it. Humidity is the mortal enemy of meringue, so wait for sunshine.

Coconut Joys

Yield: about 40 small cookies

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped almonds, optional

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 200°F. [Yes, 200°F]

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar, increasing speed to medium-high until soft peaks form. Add superfine sugar and then powdered sugar, about a tablespoon at a time. With a rubber spatula, very gently scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl because the powdered sugar is so lightweight it will fly up and stick to the sides of the bowl. Continue beating on high until peaks are stiff and glossy. Reduce to low and add vanilla, coconut, chocolate chips, and almonds; beat until combined.

Drop by well-rounded teaspoons onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 90 minutes. Turn oven off and cool meringues in closed oven for 2 hours or until dry to the touch.

Cool completely before removing from baking sheets. Store in an airtight container.

 

Source: Meringue by Linda Jackson and Jennifer Evans Gardner

 

Brian’s Perfect Chocolate Glaze

Ah, yes, the brownie is good. It’s really good. And I swear I will blog it tomorrow. But today, raise your eyes. Look at that chocolate glaze. That perfect chocolate glaze that made these brownies “the best ever.” Suzen said that. I was humbled.

The brownie is from Maida Heatter, with some modifications. This glaze starts with her, too, but I’ve totally modified it. Maida wants only cream, instant coffee powder and LOTS of chocolate. Her glaze was for a cake, mine for a single layer of brownies, so I use less chocolate, add some butter and some powdered sugar.

The result? This is an awesome glaze, for many reasons. It’s easy to make. It spread wonderfully. And it dries into a work of art.

Often when you see a recipe for powdered sugar, it calls for sifting or sieving. That’s a good idea here. You might see in my picture just a speck of two of powdered sugar that was not fully dissolved. By the time you add the powdered sugar, this mixture is becoming very viscous. You won’t have the opportunity to get rid of every speck of unsifted powdered sugar. Just consider it decoration.

 

Brian’s Perfect Chocolate Glaze

Yield: easily enough to top one 8” X 10” sheet.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, in small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Preparation:

Put the cream in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Bring to a simmer, with bubbles starting to form on the side of the saucepan. Add the instant coffee powder and the chocolate and whisk for one minute — with the mixture still on medium heat.

Remove from the heat and, if necessary, continue to whisk until the chocolate is fully melted. Add the butter and whisk until smooth. Add the sugar, ½ cup at a time, whisking after each addition. You’ll need two additions and perhaps much of the third.

If the glaze is still “hot” then wait a few moments. When it is warm, and still quite fluid, pour the glaze over your brownies, or whatever, and allow it to gracefully flow.

Complete the task by taking a rubber spatula and cleaning any remaining glaze out of the bowl. You can share with your spouse or your children. Or, if you are alone, you can just eat it all yourself and smile at your success.

Source: Brian O’Rourke inspired by Maida Heatter