Coconut Macaroon Nests

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Happy Easter!  I know I usually post on Sundays, but with Easter being tomorrow, I figured I’d give you a last minute (and quick!) recipe to make in case you’re scrambling for something.  This is also the last post I get to do from the house I grew up in – my parents are moving out within the week, but I did get to come home for one last holiday with everyone.  So I’m feeling a little sentimental.

The flip side of my parents moving this week is that there really isn’t much left in the house – so I had to actually go to a friend’s to borrow sugar and flour.  Oddly enough we had the rest of the ingredients on hand.  Why we had coconut and sliced almonds but no basics is beyond me.

This is a recipe I adapted from a cookie I tend to make around Christmas for my mom – coconut macaroons.  Then I saw on Pinterest all of these awesome nest cookies using mini Cadbury eggs (my favorite Easter candy) and I decided to combine the two.

First, combine the flour, sugar, and coconut in a bowl.  Baker’s sweetened coconut flakes actually come in a 2 2/3 cup bag, which is strangely convenient.

 

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Then, mix in the sliced almonds, egg whites, and vanilla and almond extracts.  The measuring cups were already packed, so I eyeballed the almonds, but the spoons fortunately were not.

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Then, using your hands (it’s sticky, but easier to shape this way), roll the mixture into balls and press your thumb in the middle to make a nest.  Put the cookies on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 325°F for 20-25 minutes, or until the coconut is golden brown.

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Transfer to a wire rack while still warm (and quickly if, like me, you didn’t happen to grease the cookie sheet) to cool completely.

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Time-saving tip: rather than melt chocolate in a double boiler, it’s just as easy to use those dipping chocolate tubs that you melt in the microwave.  I cheated this week and used this one:

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Put a spoonful of chocolate into the middle of each nest and add three mini eggs.  If you’re OCD like me, make sure each nest has 3 different colors.

I know this is a short post, but I don’t get to spend time with my whole family at once very often, so I’m off to do that!

Enjoy!

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Coconut Macaroon Nests

Ingredients:

  • 2 2/3 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • melted dark chocolate
  • Cadbury mini eggs

Directions:

  1. Combine the flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl.
  2. Add the egg whites, almonds, vanilla extract and almond extract, mixing until sticky.
  3. Shape into balls and press a thumb in the middle to make nests on a greased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake at 325°F for 20-25 minutes, until the coconut is golden brown.
  5. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Melt chocolate and put a spoonful into the center of each nest.
  7. Add three Cadbury mini eggs to each nest.
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Granola Bars

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I decided to be selfish this weekend.  Usually, I love to bake things for other people.  I bring treats into work and they disappear before 2nd period.  I bring treats to my classes and my students remember that I can be cool on occasion.  I bring treats to friends and make more friends.  But this week I decided to make something only I would get to eat: granola bars.

Now, I’ve made granola before, so if you’ve been reading me stuff for awhile, you know that I’m a little bit obsessed with the stuff.  I recently became addicted to Kind bars, but part of me understands that that is because they are really candy bars in disguise.  So, turning to Serious Eats, I found a recipe that claimed to be healthy and went for it.  The healthy part was also appealing after spending my evening last night with some other teachers eating fried chicken and Portuguese egg tarts (thanks Tim!) – I needed to counteract that somehow.

So without further ado, your first step is to generously grease a 9×13 inch glass baking dish.  I know what you’re thinking – Meg, how is generous use of butter healthy?  Let’s just assume it is and move on.

 

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Next, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, whole wheat flour, cranberries, and almonds in a large bowl.

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Two confessions: the first is I didn’t have enough brown sugar so an “unpacked” 1/2 cup looked like this:

 

 

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Second, I never toast nuts when recipes tell me to.  I pretend it’s because I like how the nuts taste raw (which I do), but it’s more because I’m too afraid to burn them.  And I’ve never had a situation where I didn’t toast the nuts and people found my baked good inedible.  So I think that’s fine.

Next, in a separate medium bowl, whisk together the honey, egg whites, oil, applesauce (or mashed banana if that’s what you prefer), and vanilla extract.  You’ll need to gain a little momentum with the whisk before you really get the honey going, but it does become pretty liquidy after a bit.

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I happened to be finishing one container of honey and moving on to a second for this project.  Want to know what is infuriating? Trying to get the last couple drops of honey out of one of those little bears.  It just doesn’t work.  You would think someone would have thought of that before creating a bear with that many crevices – very impractical.

Anyways, you then create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the honey mixture.

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Using your hands, work together the dry and liquid ingredients until they form a loose ball.  This is very messy, but smells very good and tastes very good when you lick your fingers.

Flip the mixture into the baking dish and push it into a rectangle with about a half inch border around the outside.

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Bake at 350°F for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the outsides of the bars begin to brown.

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Then, allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before cutting into bars.  I was able to get 20 squares out of it.

 

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Then, allow to cool completely on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container. 

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They end up being almost cookie-like in texture (probably because of the flour and eggs), but I’m still calling them a granola bar.  You could also very easily substitute in different nuts or fruits based on what you like without any terrible consequences – I just happen to like almonds and cranberries (And craisins were on sale…).  I can’t think of a reason they wouldn’t keep for a good long time in an airtight container – all that could happen is they get a little stale, which is fine since granola bars are supposed to be crunchy anyways.

Enjoy!

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Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup unpacked light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Generously grease a 9×13 inch glass pan.
  2. Mix together oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, cranberries and almonds in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together honey, egg whites, oil, applesauce and vanilla extract in a medium bowl.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the liquid ingredients.  Work into a loose ball using your hands.
  5. Turn out onto the baking dish and press into a rectangle, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the outside.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes or until edges get brown.
  7. Allow to cool in pan 5 minutes before cutting into 20 bars and removing to wire rack to cool completely.