Before we get into the cookie part of this post, let’s revisit an important lesson in life. Looks don’t matter, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Now let’s keep that in mind when you take a look at my first attempt at Coconut Macaroons (not to be confused with macarons). I didn’t get into my cookie-baking state of mind until late tonight, which meant I was a little bit rushed and not patient (shocker). So while these coconut macaroons taste pretty good in my opinion, they don’t look like they belong on a cover of a magazine by any means. And while most people would say, who cares! My Type-A personality and OCD had me toss half the batch, but there is at least still a good amount for my trusty coworker taste testers tomorrow morning.
The idea for these came from my coworker Alex who has the great pleasure/honor (unfortunate circumstance?) of sitting next to me at work. At Sapient, we sit in a totally open office work environment, which means learning to work with headphones in if you want any sense of tuning out the people next to you. And Alex has to deal with all of the people coming over to my desk on Monday mornings getting their weekly sugar fix. Which I am sure is annoying. But, on the flip side, he gets first dibs on any cookies and a permanent spot on the coveted “cookie list” which some people wait their whole lives to get on. And what has secured his lifetime spot is the fact he came back from buying lunch the other day and dropped a bag of coconut and dark chocolate on my desk and just said “hint hint, coconut macaroons, hint hint.” It took me a while to pick up what he was throwing down, but I think I got the message that he wanted me to make some coconut macaroons. Challenge accepted.
I perused the internet this afternoon for variations of recipes to see how I wanted to make mine. Sally’s Baking Addiction used sugar and egg whites, while Ina Gartner went with a combination of egg whites and condensed milk. So because I love a good A/B test I made both. And while they both came out pretty similar, I think whipping the egg whites until they are a bit stiff on their own first, and even chilling the dough slightly helps keeping them from spreading too much, regardless of which ingredient variation you choose. I prefer using regular sugar over sweetened condensed milk, so the below recipe is from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 and 3/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut (a little less than one 14-ounce package)
- 1 package dark chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional)
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. According to Sally’s Baking Addiction, it’s important to make sure the oven is properly preheated before you put the dough in.
Step 2: Beat the egg whites, sugar, and vanilla together on medium-speed until the sugar is mostly dissolved and the mixture is foamy – for at least 2 minutes. Fold in the coconut, making sure it is evenly incorporated.
Step 3: Using a large cookie scoop, place even-size balls of batter onto a sil-pat or parchment lined baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Take your time here (unlike me) to get the mounds nice and neat and compact, to help prevent spreading.
Step 4: Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Allow the cool completely (again, unlike me) on the baking sheet. This will make it a lot easier to get them off of the tray without breaking them.
Step 5: In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the dark chocolate chips and coconut oil, removing every 30 seconds to stir to make sure it does not burn. Dip the bottoms of the cooled macaroons into the melted chocolate, and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for at least an hour.
Okay, so to be fair. I wrote the first half of this post before I actually tasted the finished product. And I’d like to retract my earlier statement that alluded to the idea that maybe I messed these up a little bit, because I taste tested one after it chilled in the fridge for a little bit. Holy coconut. These bad boys are duh-lish. Firstly, I friggin LOVE coconut. Especially toasted coconut. But coconut and dark chocolate? It’s like salt and pepper baby. Peas and carrots. Bill Cosby and Jello Pudding. Meant to be.
Friday at work we had a half-day training in the afternoon for the business consultants. It was about personality and behavioral assessments and we had to each do a quick version of our DISC profile, and then the facilitator went around the room and gave a little more insight into what that meant for each person based on the words they selected and some of the observations he had of us during the earlier part of the day. Most people he talked about how they were friendly and gregarious and hard workers and whatnot. I had circled “competitive” “perfectionist” as a few of my words. When he got to me he explained that “I am the kind of person who takes people to hell … but most people really enjoy the ride there with me.” He went on to say that I am a straight shooter, I stick to the facts and I “get annoyed when people get emotional and take things personally when I am just being straightforward.” Meanwhile, my coworkers are all nodding their heads in agreement like YEP, spot ON facilitator. You nailed it. I was sitting there feeling like I just got a psychic reading done and was thinking GET OUT OF MY HEAD. Now everyone is going to know I just use the Monday cookies as leverage to get people to work on my projects. Anyways, it will be interesting to see how everyone acts this week now that we are all self-aware of our profiles. I’ve already been nicknamed “The Hammer” and “Thor” by my tech team so I don’t think I have to inform anyone that I am a straight shooter. We all know my favorite line on conference calls is “let me be clear.”
Speaking of Thor and Hammers, my sister was in town Friday night and was the first person to use the sleeper sofa in my new guest room. Little did she know that anyone who stays over must help with house projects. So she helped me finally get a lot of the wall art up in the guest room, and it’s really feeling like a comfy room now. I have one more ladder shelf thing coming from Pottery Barn this week for next to the desk, and then I think this room is finally done.
I love these wooden Starfish that I got from Pottery Barn a few months back.
I picked up these oars almost a year ago at The Crooked Fence in Chatham, which is great for nice nautical home furnishings. The pillows were from there as well.
So my sister is a very good swing dancer and competes on the weekends. So she was in a competition on Saturday afternoon in Newton but took the train up on Friday night to stay with me and we got to hang out during the day on Saturday before I dropped her off. After putting her to work, we had a nice lunch on Newbury Street, and then as an early birthday present I made her an appointment to get her makeup done at Mac. Normally, I hate when people say we look alike or asks who is older, but look how gorgeous this pretty lady looked after her appointment. I definitely wouldn’t mind if anyone confused us for twins with her looking like a smokeshow!
I went back to Copley later in the afternoon because I have been waiting for a long time for a new laptop and have been pricing one out for almost a year. I finally decided to pull the trigger on this new MacBook Pro since my old one wouldn’t allow me to download any of the software I needed to up my cookie-blogging game. I’ve been playing with Lightroom and love it. I need to take a tutorial to learn all the tips and tricks, but if you scroll up I bet you can tell a big difference in the pictures from this blog post.
Last but not least, if you know me on a personal level, you know that I am a total freak magnet when it comes to dating. My friends enjoy my singleness because post-dates I usually write up a hilarious debrief email that gives a play-by-play of the date, whether it was good or bad. Honestly, I should have just started a separate blog for these, but then that would make it seem like I actually have a dating life. The cycle usually goes that I go on 3 dates in a few week period, and then get so bummed out that the dating pool is full of circus looneys (remember Kevin Mango or Karate Greg anyone?) that I take a month off, forget about how bad it was, and get back out there. Anyways, I thought I had screened this last one pretty well before I agreed to drinks the other night. Well, I can’t even write up a full debrief, because my key takeaway was that he was crazy cat man who spent a really long time telling me about how he tried to patent a new cat food dish and all of the trials and tribulations around having a fat cat and a skinny cat. I spent the entire time trying to calculate in my head if no one ever wifes me up could I pay off my mortgage by myself. Well my trusty coworkers at least helped me find the humor in it, and when I came into the office the next morning, my desk was covered in hello kitty posters and cat food. Well done coworkers, but I think I prefer the baking ingredient gifts from Alex instead.
As much as I am suffering from a bit of the Sunday scaries tonight since Friday was intern Abby’s last day and I am going to be in major withdrawal tomorrow, I’d just like to say I absolutely crushed Sunday today. Like nailed it, fist pump, high-five, Sunday for the win. I started my day with a nice yoga class at South Boston yoga, followed by a much needed uber relaxing massage at my favorite Christine’s Day Spa in Newton Center. I went down to Hingham for a nice outdoor lunch in the sunshine with my friend Sarah. My friend Heather stopped by tonight with a surprise batch of fresh-picked veggies from her garden for me to play with. And I have a few different plans with various friend groups this week that I am really looking forward to.
Sometimes I get really wacked out in the head when people around me are a bit crazy, so it’s definitely nice to take a weekend like this to myself and have some ‘me’ time and also spend time with my friends who I enjoy being around. I’ve made a point to reconnect with some of my friends who I haven’t seen in a while, like my friend Jen from college who I grabbed coffee with last week, and then my friend Kate who lived across from me freshman year in college and lives around the corner this week. In my old age (30 is rapidly approaching people) I’ve learned the importance of surrounding yourself with good friends. Lots of people come and go in and out of your life over time, but if you have a solid group of friends from all walks of life that don’t bring you down, you’ll always be in a good place. And not to get all deep on you this Sunday evening, but I was jamming to 90s on 9 in the car this afternoon, and heard this Red Hot Chili Pepper’s song lyric which I just love, and are totally words that I would like to live by better.
“The more I see the less I know
The more I like to let it go”
Just don’t google the meaning of the lyrics, because everyone on the Internet is pretty sure this song is about cocaine … in which case, those aren’t really words I recommend living by. Happy Sunday.