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Coconut Dreams

I consider myself a pretty good cook, but baking intimidates me.  I rarely venture into that territory; although I do enjoy making pies and tarts.  The main reason it’s a challenge is having to measure.  When I cook, all things are possible and I’m endlessly freelancing.  A little of this, a little of that; I instinctively know how to correct and adjust as I go along.  I’ve always cooked this way, and it allows for all sorts of possibility.   My wife Val on the other hand is an excellent baker.  It must follow her days as a licensed contractor; measure twice, cut once.  But me?  I hate being told what to do.

Last weekend we were invited for dinner and asked to bring something sweet.  I thought this was my opportunity to make macaroons for the first time (don’t ask me why).  So after breakfast on Sunday morning I got out the ingredients and went for it.  When they came out of the oven they, well, looked runny.  Little pools of goo had circled around each one and I wondered what I had done wrong.  This is when I reminded myself we are what we tell ourselves, and I went into this project thinking I’m not a baker.

After doing some investigating, I realized that I had inadvertently sent the oven at 300 degrees instead of 350.  I also realized that rather than getting out the Kitchen Aid for 2 egg whites I would use my stick blender inside a quart jar.  The egg whites never got stiff and I decided it wasn’t that important.  These two issues were obviously the culprits to my halos around the cookies.  Being slightly frugal, I trimmed eat cookie to eliminate the halo, mumbling under my breathe.  Val suggested I make another batch.  I clearly did not want to make another batch!  Val said, “Get back on the horse, and make another ducking  batch.  I don’t want to hear you say you can’t bake!”

More mumbling, as I once more assembled the ingredients.  This time I had the correct oven temperature, whipped beautiful stiff peaks with the Kitchen Aid, and wallah; wonderful looking (and tasting) macaroons.  I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Cappuccino Macaroons


  1. 1 cup sweetened condensed milk (from a 12 ounce container)

  2. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

  3. 1 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

  4. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  5. 14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

  6. 2 large egg whites

  7. 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and position oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of your oven.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Combine the condensed milk, vanilla, espresso powder and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Add the coconut and stir with a large silicone spatula until thoroughly mixed.

  3. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 4-5 minutes.  Using the spatula, fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.  Push the mixture together into a mound.

  4. With wet hands gently form rounded tablespoonfuls of batter into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Arrange 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.

  5. Bake, rotating and swapping the positions of the pans about halfway through, until the macaroons are golden brown in the spots and their undersides are tanned, about 25 minutes.

  6. Cool briefly on the baking sheets on racks, then transfer to the racks to cool completely.  They will keep, uncovered at room temperature, for up to 3 days, or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.  They can also be frozen for up to 6 months.


“Cookies are the sweetest little bit of comfort food. They are very bite sized and personal.”    —Sandra Lee

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