Suzi's Blog

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel or Dolce de Leche

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Good food is edible. Great food is edible art. Such is the story of this cookie which could double as a gem in Madison Avenue storefront. If you have a sweet tooth, if you love coconut, then this cookie is for you. Small coconut balls are given a thumbprint impression, then baked. The indent is filled with one of two things: salted caramel [the original recipe] or dolce de leche [Suzen’s favorite].

To make dolce de leche, you can simple cook a can of sweetened condensed milk cover in water in a saucepan. When, as Suzen does, you are making dolce de leche for 50 people, all burners are active. Our kitchen becomes a production line.

This cookie is quite versatile. For dessert on a warm summer weekend night, when the barbeque dishes are not yet digested and you just want a tiny touch of dessert, then this cookie is perfect. It will cleanse away all traces of chicken, steak, onions and potato salad. A glass of sparkling wine is not mandatory but suggested.

If you want elegance, say for a fall or winter holiday feast, then a plate of these cookies — centered on the table and reflecting candle light in that dolce de leche — is understated sophistication. This year round cookie is one you will simply never tire of. Trust me. I’ve had a few dozen in the past year and my addiction is only intensifying.

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel or Dolce de Leche

Yield: ~ 50 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Table salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 12 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
  • 44 small soft caramel candies (12 ounces), such as Kraft
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Large, flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  • Or, in lieu of the caramels, cream and Maldon, 1 ½ cups of dolce de leche

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour and ½ teaspoon table salt, and beat to combine. Press dough together in plastic wrap, then roll into 1 ¼-inch balls. Dip each ball in beaten egg, and roll in coconut. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheets, and press an indentation into each with your thumb. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove sheets from oven, and re-press indentations. Bake cookies until golden, 9 to 10 minutes more. Let cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough.

If making a caramel filling instead of using dolce de leche, place the caramels and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the caramels are melted and mixture is smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. Spoon into indentations in cookies, and sprinkle with sea salt. Rewarm caramel if it hardens before all cookies are filled.

Source: Martha Steward Living, February 2012

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/6 for 1/40th second at ISO-3200

Chocolate Kissed Macaroons

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No, no chocolate is evident in the picture. The complete recipe is below, with the chocolate, but the teenagers consuming the cookies were, to be direct, gloriously impatient. Some of the macaroons were dipped in chocolate, many were not, and the only ones left were unadorned with chocolate.

The Manhattan/Hunter College High School for the Sciences is a very special New York City institution. Students specialize in science and math but have massive, hands-on tutoring in the social sciences and English. Their entire fourth year of high school is spent on the Hunter College campus taking a mix of both high school and college level courses.

The kids are wonderful: bright, happy, and hungry. They are far from being pure geeks. The school has, for example, a Cooking Club. Suzen has always had a mission at Cooking by the Book to give back to the community. So three times a semester the Club comes to Cooking by the Book to prepare a complete meal or to enjoy an afternoon of baking. For their latest CBTB outing, the kids did prepare a real meal, but it ended with these cookies. And these cookies were consumed almost as soon as soon as they exited the oven.

Try these yourself. Either chocolate dipped or simple coconut. You’ll feel like a teenager.

Chocolate-Kissed Macaroons

 Yield: 36 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (7 ounces) flaked sweetened coconut
  • 2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dairy sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, optional
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil

Preparation:

Heat oven to 300 degrees. In a large mixing bowl break up flaked coconut well with your fingers; stir in unsweetened coconut, sugar, and flour. Stir in sour cream and vanilla. Stir with a spoon, then use hands to blend until well mixed.

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Using a rounded tablespoon of batter for each macaroon, shape into ovals and place onto sheet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or untilg olden brown. Remove from oven. Let stand 1 minute. Remove to wire rack. Cool.

Combine chocolate and cooking oil in  2-cup glass measure. Microwave according to chocolate package directions;stir until smooth. Dip one half of each cooled macaroon in chocolate, covering evenly. Scrape excess off bottom with a knife. Place on waxed paper-lined tray.Chill until chocolate is firm. Store in tightly covered container.

 

Source: www.kitchengadgetgals.com