So between traveling for two weeks to Spain and France with my two besties and working on something special for the past eight months, I've been crazy busy and have sadly neglected this blog. Therefore, I come before you today with a confection-based apology. Cozy on up on your couch with your fan and maybe your air conditioner too, because this weekend is going to be hot. Also, while you're cozied up, eat a macaroon. And read a book. Specifically, this one:
This time last year I had never heard of the Independent Publishing Resource Center, even though I had just moved into an apartment a mere 1.3 miles away. A friend told me about their year-long fiction/non-fiction certificate program on July 29th, the date which I remember because the deadline for applications, including writing samples, was July 31st. I freaked out, decided that was a brilliant idea, and immediately filled out the application and typed and sent in ten vignettes I had written in the past year. My lofty goal for my final project was a book entitled Divorce: A Love Story with Recipes. Fast forward to now, and those ten vignettes have grown into a little 116 page book that I wrote, arranged into book format through InDesign, designed a cover for, printed, and bound, all by myself. Okay, I did it with the help of a lovely cohort of talented writers, IPRC volunteers, a mentor and a teacher, and also my second writing group I met through Write Around Portland (I love you guys!). I still hate InDesign. And Adobe products in general. Same goes for the IPRC's black and white printer, Blanche. But Super Stan the color printer is cool.
So if you want to learn how to self-publish, check out the IPRC. I'm super glad I did. In the meantime, don't forget to make these macaroons that I'm taking to the IPRC graduation ceremony tonight. And since I know when I post this, my bestie's husband is going to say, "HEY, YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO SEND ME THESE IN THE MAIL AS PAYMENT FOR DRIVING YOU ALL OVER FRANCE!", I have to add, "I know, I know! I'll send you some soon, I promise. I'm just worried they will melt by the time they reach Atlanta." Besides, I already paid for the rental car with real money, not just coconut-based currency. :-P
I got the recipe idea from this blog, but decided it was silly not to use the whole can of sweetened condensed milk because I kept forgetting to use the rest and ended up throwing it away. Therefore, I decided it would behoove me to just make more macaroons. I can be smart like that sometimes.
21 oz sweetened shredded coconut
one (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 egg whites from large-grade eggs (my 3 egg whites weighed exactly 90 g)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (really just a pinch)
12 ounces dark chocolate (I always use a mix of Trader Joe's Pound Plus bars that are 55% and 72%), finely chopped
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, salt and vanilla extract. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites on low setting until they start to foam, then increase to high speed until firm peaks form.
4. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the bowl o' coconut just until incorporated.
5. Using a small cookie scoop (mine holds a scant tablespoon and has a spring-loaded handle for easier release), scoop out small coconut mounds onto the parchment-lined baking sheets. The recipe made approximately 65 small macaroons. Bake 20-25 minutes, until the bottoms of the macaroons are deep brown and the tops are golden brown and starting to look toasty and delicious in spots.
6. For dipping, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a small pot of simmering water until most of the chocolate pieces are melted. Remove from the pot of water and keep stirring until all of the chocolate is melted. Try to keep the chocolate from going over 95 degrees so it will keep it's shine. Alternatively, you can refrigerate the macaroons immediately after their chocolate bath, but you could still end up with streaks in the chocolate and they won't look as pretty. Honestly, it's a pain in the ass to keep a large amount of chocolate at temper, so for efficiency's sake, today I used the Christmas present I gave to myself last year, affectionally nicknamed the Choco-nator 5000.) Dip half of a macaroon into the chocolate, letting any excess drip back into the bowl, and return to baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining macaroons. Eat them, take them to your graduation, mail them to your best friend's husband even though it's 90 degrees in Atlanta, whatever you prefer.