Desserts, Recipes

What to do With Egg Whites?

For our last gourmet gathering my task was dessert, a delicious pumpkin pots de creme. Topped with cream whipped with bourbon and maple syrup it was like eating pumpkin pie without the crust.  In fact, I liked it better than pumpkin pie because it was lighter.

Left from the effort were eight egg whites.  I never know what to do with them and if it’s just one or two I usually throw them out.  With so many, I knew there must be a good way to use them, and it occurred to me that coconut macaroons, the hubby’s favorite cookie, might be an option.

On the internet were more recipes than I could believe.  There were ones made with condensed milk.  There were vegan macaroons and gluten free ones.  There were recipes with craisins and sprinkles and pineapple and on and on. Finally, I settled on David Lebowitz’s recipe simply because it used the most egg whites and the baked cookies were dipped in chocolate.  How can you beat that combination?  Additionally, he said that it was one of the favorite recipes in his book Ready For Dessert

Coconut Macaroons 

4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups (250g) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
2 1/2 cups (200g) unsweetened shredded coconut (see note)
1/4 cup (35g) flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
2 ounces (55g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1. In a large skillet or wide saucepan, mix together the egg whites, sugar, salt, and honey.
2. Over low heat on the stovetop, stir the egg whites and sugar together until the mixture is tepid, but not warm or hot. You don’t want to cook them; just warmed slightly so they are looser.
3. Add the coconut, flour, and vanilla. Continue to stir the mixture over medium heat for a few minutes until it thickens to a cohesive mass. (It’ll be like very thick oatmeal and the bottom will very slightly start to scorch.) Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature.
4. When ready to bake, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking matand preheat the oven to 350º F (180ºC).
5. Form the dough into 1 1/2-inch (4cm) rounds in your hands, squeezing the dough to coax them into rough rounds (remember, the French call them “rocks,” so they can be a uneven – for smoother rounds, dampen your hands), then place them evenly spaced on the baking sheet. Bake the macaroons until deep golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.
6. To dip the macaroons in chocolate, melt the chocolate in a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a microwave.) Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Dip the bottoms of each cookie in the chocolate and set the cookies on the baking sheet. Refrigerate 5-10 minutes, until the chocolate is set.

Notes: Unsweetened shredded coconut is available in most natural food shops or you can purchase it online. Flaked coconut is larger and I haven’t tried these macaroons with the flakes but if that’s all you have, I would pulse the flakes in a food processor a few times until they’re finely shredded.

Storage: The baked macaroons will keep for up to three or four days if stored in an airtight container. If dipped in chocolate, store the cookies in a cool place. The dough can be refrigerated for up to one week or frozen for at least two months.

Making them I did learn a thing or two.  

  1.  It really is important to keep your hands wet otherwise the sticky mixture won’t roll.  Next time I might try using an ice cream scoop and see if that is easier.
  2. Be careful not to overcook.  My first batch was a little too brown which made the macaroon overly chewy.
  3. Semisweet chocolate chips melted in the microwave work great and don’t mess up as many pans.
  4.  Let the macaroons cool just a bit before dipping them in chocolate to avoid burning your fingers and squishing the cookie.
Without question, macaroons will appear here more often as they are not hard to make and they disappear very quickly!
i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind
Maine, Random

New Look Belfast

Belfast

This is Belfast, not in Ireland but on the midcoast of Maine, so named at the request of an Irish settler around 1770.  With names like Yarmouth, Moscow, Camden, Naples I think many towns in Maine are named for places of early settlers origins.

Not  too long ago Belfast was best known for its chicken packing plant.  That is closed now, and new restaurants, galleries, and shops line the main street making it a very fun place for an outing.

One of the most popular eateries, not only in Belfast but on Maine’s coast, is Chase’s Daily where tasty vegetarian dishes are prepared from produce grown at the family farm.  During the summer months, one can expect a lengthy wait for a table.

Chase's DailyWait time can pass pretty quickly if you venture to the rear of the restaurant where there is a stunning array of vegetables and flowers available for purchase.

 Chase’s is also a venue for local artists to display their work.   How many places do you go and see art and vegetables being complementary?

As good as all the healthy food is, my very favorite thing is this cookie oozing with chocolate and dried cherries.  I’ve been known to have one when I’m waiting in line for a table.

New this year in Belfast is an unbelievable farmers market.   I’d been told it was wonderful, but I wasn’t prepared for just how great it is.

Most Maine farmers markets are outdoors.  Not this one!  It’s in a huge enclosed building, and plans are for it to operate year round.  Hopefully, the full time population of the midcoast will support it as it is a great asset to the area.

In addition to produce and locally made cheeses and meats, there are all kinds of prepared edibles surprisingly representing a number of cultures.  It’s going to take more than one visit to try them all!

It was great to see a variety of handmade items  displayed and getting considerable interest.  It got me to thinking about whether or not some of my handwoven pieces might find a market there. Scarves and shawls just might fit right in.

cupcakesMost of the vendors did a great job displaying their wares.  I tried to pass by the egg carton full of mini cupcakes, but it was impossible to resist!  Not only were the cupcakes cute, they were very tasty.

That’s a quick look at some of what is in Belfast.  Next stop is Coastal Mountain Land Trust’s recently developed rail-trail which follows the route of the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad, a passenger and freight line which operated from 1871 to 2007 between Belfast and Burnham Junction.  A hike is just the thing to walk off the extra calories ingested at the farmers market.  Let’s get going!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

at home, Baking, Random

A Gown Day

Rockport HarborBlustery winds, rain, boats rocking in the harbor made it a perfect day to stay inside and have what a friend calls a gown day.  That means you don’t have to get out of pajamas if you don’t want to.

applesDays like this make me want to be in the kitchen and fill the house with sweet smelling aroma.  There are lots of freshly picked apples waiting to be used, so it was to work chopping them for an Apple Dapple Cake.   (Recipe here.)

apple dapple cakeHot out of the oven, a brown sugar/butter topping is poured all over, and the cake is left to cool.

apple dapple cakeTurned out of the pan, my mouth begins to water, but I’ll resist the temptation to have a bite since this will be perfect for the dessert I’m to take to a friend’s house later.

biscoff toffee cookiesNext up are some Biscoff Toffee Cookies, a recipe found here.  In addition to the toffee bits, I added a partially used bag of Ghiardelli semisweet chocolate chips.  Might as well double the pleasure, don’t you think?  As soon as they were out of the oven, I treated myself to a glass of milk and  a few cookies.  I’m home alone this week, so I can indulge some favorite things.

biscoff toffee cookiesBy the way, if you don’t have a Silpat, get one.  They are wonderful for so many baked things, they clean up easy and can be used over and over again.

centerpieceWell, time in the kitchen took up most of the morning, so it’s time to sit by the fire and read.  On the way to the living room, however, the dining room table looked like it could use a little sprucing up.  Some pumpkins and gourds, a few fallen leaves from the porch and a new tablecloth took care of that in an instant.

Though I wouldn’t want too many days in a row like this one, every now and then it’s great to have a gown day.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Full Plate Thursday

Foodie Friday

Baking

What’s With Nutella?

Preparing strawberry and nutella filled crepes  during the French Foodie Adventure, 2013
Preparing strawberry and nutella filled crepes during the French Foodie Adventure, 2013

I first tasted Nutella in Europe some years ago which makes sense since it has long been popular there. Created in Italy, it is a chocolate hazelnut spread that can be used in a variety of ways and is now commonly found on U.S. grocery shelves.

Nutella cookiesI bought a jar to play around with and found it to be a nice addition to cookies that started out as oatmeal raisin but became something else.   I added a little of this and that, and the result is a tasty crispy cookie that quite by accident is also gluten free.  Ordinarily I don’t like baking with gluten free flour, but by mistake I used it instead of regular flour and luckily the cookie turned out fine.  

Nutella cookiesJudging from how fast they are disappearing from the cookie can, they must be pretty good!

If you are in the mood to bake after all the holiday cooking, this is the recipe.

Nutella Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 c. granulated sugar

3/4 c. brown sugar

3/4 c. softened butter

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla

1 1/4 c. flour (I used Red Mill gluten free by accident)

1 t. baking soda

1 c. Nutella

2 1/2 c. uncooked oats

1 c. Craisins

1 c. white chocolate chips

Cream together sugars and butter.  Add eggs one at a time, vanilla and Nutella, mixing well.  Gradually add in combined flour and soda.  Stir in oats, Craisins and white chocolate chips.  Drop by teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

Next time I make these I’m thinking of adding a little coconut, too.  What do you think?

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Foodie Friday