Macaroons dipped in chocolate

Macaroons and Chocolate -- A Pinch of Joy
Macaroons and Chocolate -- A Pinch of Joy

I love coconut.  And chocolate.  Put the two together – heavenly!  Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate would be a perfect Valentine gift.  Or an any time treat! 

My brother Jaycee was also a big coconut fan and between the two of us we could consume a bag of coconut in an afternoon.  Much to Mom’s consternation.  And to the younger kids loss.  Because no matter where Mom hid the coconut for her planned culinary endeavors, Jaycee and I would find it.  Eventually she quit buying it.  The four other siblings missed the clandestine consumption of coconut!   They had to wait until later to find the joy!   I’ve learned to discipline myself and leave the bag unopened until time to use it.  This recipe is great because it uses the entire bag because opened bags with “leftover” coconut – gone!  

The coconut macaroon recipe is quite straightforward and very easy to make. Parchment paper can be used to line the baking sheet instead of spraying with baking spray.  Use a slightly heaping tablespoon of coconut mixture for each cookie and place them about an inch and a half to two inches apart on the cookie sheet. Use the spoon (and fingers if necessary) to shape the cookie.  If cookie is mounded, gently press the center down so the cookie is slightly flat.  Note the oven temperature of 325 F and do not skimp on the baking time allotted unless the bottom begins to darken from golden brown.  This allows the coconut egg mixture to develop maximum flavor and chewiness.  Let set for a few minutes to cool before trying to remove the cookies from the pan.

Chocolate covered Macaroon hearts -- A Pinch of Joy

Normally this recipe yields 3 dozen small/medium macaroons.   For Valentine’s Day I used a silicon heart shaped baking mold.  The hearts are 2 ½ inches across at the widest point.  I patted the macaroon mixture into the mold being careful to keep it uniform and about ½ inch thick.  I baked it for the same amount of time and gently lifted one to see if bottom had begun to turn golden before setting the pan to cool.  Six hearts used about half of the mixture and allowed me to make about a dozen large  macaroons as well.

 After they were cooled,   I melted chocolate candy coating in a small dish in the microwave, following directions and then dipped the hearts into the melted chocolate topside down and covering the sides.  I did not try to cover the bottom, but lifted the heart out of the chocolate and let it drip for a few seconds before putting it on a rack and smoothing out the sides with a small spatula.  For the regular macaroons, I spooned the chocolate over one half the cookie, letting the excess drip off.  You could also dip the cookie and cover both sides of the chocolated half.  (Chocolated – totally a word!  You knew what I meant,  didn’t you?)
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Peppermint Patties

How Not to Make Peppermint Patties

Peppermint Patties:  A Pinch of Joy made all the mistakes so you don't have to!

 I asked Bytes what kind of birthday cake he wanted.   None, he says, but I do have a recipe  you could make instead.  He disappeared into that mysterious office and popped back with a recipe for peppermint patties.  You know the kind that makes your breath arctic fresh and makes little hand drawn pictures swirl around your head. 

Easy peasey!   Ummmmm —- w e  l l l.  You know what they say about not judging a book by its cover?  Well, you CAN judge a recipe by its brevity.  A list of ingredients is good.  A few instructions are good.  Some detail in instruction is even better.  But handholding is greatly underestimated.  The directions for this recipe said “Mix. Form log. Chill 45 min. Cut and dunk in chocolate.”  The one I’m giving you below — that one includes hand holding!

 I used the mixer to make the filling.  Went exactly as expected and came together beautifully.  I laid out a piece of waxed paper on the counter and lightly dusted it with powdered sugar.  Not in the directions, but I’d made refrigerator cookies in 4-H once.  That’s what you do.  I took a spatula and pushed the filling around in the bowl until it was all in one piece and shaped like a fat log.  Then I lifted it out and rolled it a bit on the waxed paper to lengthen and shape it.  Quickly done. 

Log o mint filling

Roll up the filling in the waxed paper and put it in the refrigerator to chill over night.  The directions said 45 minutes but by the time I got back to it, I thought a night’s sleep was also important so I over rode the directions.  This one actually turned out to be good. 1) It helped “mature”  the flavor of two teaspoons peppermint flavoring.  2) Being thoroughly chilled is important to the finished product.

slice mint filling

 Slice the chilled filling into quarter inch pieces.  What I should have done – wrap half the slices and put them back in the refrigerator to stay chilled.  Repeat: Being thoroughly chilled is important to the finished product.

Last piece

  While you are doing that, melt the chocolate coating in the microwave according to package directions.  I chose a low flat bowl, thinking it would give me room to work.  I ended up with everything squished into one corner to make it deep enough to dip the filling in, even before I got to the last piece shown here.  A regular cereal bowl or any microwave safe bowl that size would work fine and keep the chocolate warm, therefore fluid.  And deep enough to dip.

Put the slice of filling in the chocolate.  Work quickly to spoon chocolate over the top of it.  Scoop it out with a fork, smooth off the excess with the back of a kitchen knife and use the knife point to shove the candy off the fork to its resting place.  You don’t even want to know what didn’t work.  You also don’t want to know  what happens if you dally around taking pictures  with the candy setting in the warm chocolate.  Or if you put a room temperature piece of filling into the chocolate.  Droopage, that’s what happens. 

 I put a piece of waxed paper on the counter and set a rack over it to cool the dipped chocolate.   Big mistake.  Skip the rack and go straight for the waxed or parchment paper on the countertop.  When the candy cools, you will find it very difficult to remove from the rack.  When you do, it will look like this:

  back side of mints

I managed to salvage a  dozen peppermint patty mints that look pretty good  okay    edible from the top.  And another couple of  dozen  that are badly wounded.  But I’m pretty sure that didn’t hurt the taste.  Actually, I KNOW it didn’t hurt the taste.  I kept checking it out.  Just for you, of course. 

 Happy Birthday, Bytes. 

Peppermint Patties

Yield: 36 patties

Serving Size: 1 patty

Peppermint Patties

A delightfully refreshing mint wrapped in sweet chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 2 tablespoons cream OR half and half
  • 12 ounce chocolate candy melts

Instructions

  1. Mix the powdered sugar, butter, cream and 2 teaspoons peppermint extract with mixer until smooth and creamy.
  2. Place waxed paper on counter and dust with powdered sugar.
  3. Use two spoons or spatula to form mixture into an elongated ball in the bowl.
  4. Lift mixture onto waxed paper and quickly roll into a uniform log. Handle as little as possible as the heat from your hands will make it sticky.
  5. Roll log into waxed paper and chill for at least one hour. Overnight is better.
  6. Place candy melts in microwave safe bowl and melt according to package directions.
  7. While candy coating is heating, remove log from refrigerator and slice into uniform slices 1/4 inch thick. Return half the slices to the refrigerator.
  8. When candy coating is melted, place a filling slice on a fork and quickly dip into the chocolate. Use a spoon if necessary to lift chocolate over the top of the slice.
  9. Let chocolate drip back into the bowl for a few seconds, then push the candy off the fork with a sharp knife point onto a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper.
  10. Let chocolate harden before serving.
  11. Store in the refrigerator.

Notes

Charlene @ A Pinch of Joy

http://www.apinchofjoy.com/2013/04/peppermint-patties/

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How to make chocolate mousse – a Saturday Share

Rich and indulgent, chocolate is often at the top of everyone’s list of special treats. In this video, The Skinny Chef Jennifer Iserloh shows you how to make a healthier version of a creamy chocolate mousse.

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