Coconut and Lime Macarons

A crack of the knuckles, a light breath to blow dust off the keyboard, and sitting down at my computer with purpose again. Remember to enjoy the little things. Oh blog, how I missed you. I want to apologize to you friends for the lack of updates since holidays began. Interestingly enough it is when most blogs show the highest number of post but when you work two jobs in retail, then take a vacation to visit family your time for cooking gets shorter. Many days I would get home at 11pm, go to bed and start the day over at 8am – 11pm again. I know, I did it to myself so only I am to blame, but it was nice to have the extra money, and work at a job that I cannot even express how much I enjoy it compared to the other.  Okay, enough about me and my weirdness enjoying a busy holiday season at the country’s biggest shopping mall.

On to the real matter at hand, food. Well with me it’s more sweets and desserts, but you know that by now. I have had this combination on my list since my first batch of macarons came out all lovely and puffy. At the local market I seen these lims that were the size of a large lemon and they smelled fantastic. Then what is in a basket on the end cap? A bag of organic shredded coconut which was on sale. I knew it had to be so I picked up both and went home on a mission.

It took mostly visual tweaks to get what I was looking for from these cookies. The first batch I used just the green color and it looked like the color teal from a bad prom dress in the 90’s. They tasted amazing but when the look doesn’t match the flavor it throws the mind off a bit. In that first batch I also learned that if you are going to put anything on the top of the macaron to decorate, make sure the cap is set. Meaning, it isn’t tacky to the touch.  When baked it will help form the dome but it also helps anything added to the top of the cookie from sinking into it. I am here to make the mistakes for you and trust me, many are made.

The green shells were finally achieved by following the basic shell recipe from an earlier post. Then adding to whipped egg whites;  3 drops of the forest green food coloring gel and one drop of chocolate brown food coloring gel, both from from AmeriColor. It got me the perfect green color I was looking for to represent a lime. After matching up the shells to as close as possible matching sizes. On one side I piped a ring of the Swiss buttercream frosting just around the inside edge leaving a hole in the middle. Once all the pairs had one side with the ring of buttercream, time to fill in the hole with lime curd.

You can have the curd in a squeeze bottle or a piping bag, I used both and they worked well, just add a little bit of the lime curd to the center hole of each cookie half inside the buttercream ring. Gently place on the matching half and refrigerate in a sealed container for up to two weeks. Just let them sit for 5 minutes before eating to come up in temperature. The shells will stay firm but soft and not dry and crumbly, like you might find in a late afternoon visit to the local pastry shop.

These coconut and lime macarons were shared at a dinner party with some friends as an after dinner treat. The host is not a fan of sweets that don’t involve chocolate, but for him to make a comment about how just amazing these were in the complexity of textures and flavors had me blushing. The light and not overly sweet Swiss buttercream with the tang of the lime curd balanced out with the sweet crunchy shells perfectly into an almost addicting combination. So of course I had to share it with you my friends. I hope you all had a lovely holiday season and I wish you the best this coming new year. You will see more of me in 2012, with new recipes and of course more macarons!

Coconut and Lime Curd Macarons
Makes 20-25 Macarons

Lime Curd

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • juice of one lime, large (or two small)
  • zest of one lime, large (or two small)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 egg yolks (save the whites for your macaron shell recipe)

In a small sauce pan over medium heat combine the butter, sugar, lime zest, lime juice, and salt, whisk to combine.  Add in one yolk at a time until combined. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until thick like a heavy sauce.  Pour into a bowl and place cling film over the top resting on the curd to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate over night to 1 week.

Basic Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Freeze any unused buttercream in individual containers with 1-1.5 cups in each container. This way you have buttercream at the ready for your next macaron or cupcake craving.

Macaron Shells

Following the recipe from a previous post, after the shells are not tacky to the touch sprinkle generously with flaked coconut and bake as normal. The coconut will toast lightly and add lovely flavor and texture to the cookies.

German Chocolate Cupcakes

EDIT: This pre-posted a few days early, originally and without a photo, that we were going to take, but unfortunately… we ate all the cupcakes before taking a good picture so despite my husbands very strong objections, I am using the photo off my iPhone, I am very sorry for the bad photo, forgive me? I really wanted to post this recipe because it was just fantastic! And the proof? We ate the cupcakes before we could take a photo, that’s how good they were!

I have the honor of making the cupcakes/cakes for my good friends boyfriends birthday. She has mentioned before that he likes German Chocolate Cake, so I knew that I had to make it for his birthday cake. Being that this even was going to be in her apartment I wanted to limit the amount of cleaning up she may have to do. Rather then making a big cake that would require plates and forks I went with cupcakes, and then a small 6″ layered version for the birthday boy.

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Coconut Macaroons

I asked my brother for some ideas as what I should make, and he mentioned coconut macaroons. There was this bakery in downtown area of Mt.Vernon, WA. We used to get these big coconut macaroon mountains from there with our mom, and he said make those.  I still had some coconut in the pantry and I finally got around to making them.  I wanted to use the left over condensed milk I had from making ice cream, and I didn’t want to use half of an egg white because it would just waste an egg.   So, instead I put some marshmallows in the microwave until puffy with the milk just before folding in the coconut and it turned out great.  I dipped the bases in melted semi sweet chocolate just like they did at the bakery. Surprisingly they didn’t end up overly sickly sweet which what I was in fear of, but they ended up amazingly perfect. I am not proclaiming this recipe to be healthy, but it is gluten free and delicious.

Food to me should bring you back to a memory, or create a new one. This recipe, this cookie, brought me back to walking down the street to my mom’s boat of a car, a ’78 impala, nibbling the chocolate off the base of these knowing they would not make it home. I was very pleased with the results.  I think you will be happy with how easy and simple this recipe turned out. I know now, that I will never buy them at the store again.

Coconut Macaroons
Makes 12 Cookies

  • 1/2 c Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1/2 c Mini Marshmallows
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 1/2 c Shredded Coconut, unsweetened
  • 2 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a microwaveable bowl combine the milk, marshmallows, and vanilla. Microwave for 10 seconds, stir, repeat in 10 second intervals until smooth. Stir in the shredded coconut combine until all the coconut is completely moistened by the milk mixture. Drop by spoonfuls on the cookie sheet, forming drops into mounds, and bake for 15-17 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Store in air tight container 2-3 weeks.

Optional: Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.  Dip the cooled cookies into the melted chocolate and decorate as desired.

Coconut Cupcakes

Coconut to me means spring.  At easter we would get one of those coconut bunny cakes from the supermarket.  You know the ones that were too sweet and had a plastic face of a bunny that was more scary then it was cute.  My mom’s favorite cake was coconut so we tried to get that on mothers day, which was basically the bunny cake in round form.  I wanted to make coconut cupcakes for easter but I could not find a recipe that didn’t make 30+ cupcakes.  I found a basic sponge that I quartered down and used my swiss meringue recipe for the frosting.  They turned out great, not too much coconut flavor but just enough to be pleasant, and have that tropical rich flavor.

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