Monday, April 23, 2012

A Sampling of Springtime

It's been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely......Oops, O.K., so I was about to start this post off with, "It's been a long time..." and I was sidetracked, like I often am, by the recollection of a song that has similar phrasing.  With the sounds of Led Zeppelin reverberating in my head, I will continue on with the main point of this post, which is to give you a little sampling of my springtime.

This year, Easter found me making macaroons, a fantastic recipe I found in a 2001 issue of Country Living Magazine.  They come out light and airy and then after being dipped in bittersweet chocolate they are divine.  The recipe is as follows: 

Chocolate-Coconut Macaroons
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vegetable oil 

1. Prepare the batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl with mixer on medium speed, whip the egg whites until soft peeks form.  With the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar in a steady stream and mix until well blended.  Add the vanilla extract and continue to beat until mixture becomes soft and glossy peaks form.  Add the flour and beat until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold in the coconut.  Allow the macaroon mixture to rest 10 minutes.
2. Bake the macaroons: Line a baking pan with parchment paper.  Place heaping tablespoons (I use a cookie scoop) of the macaroon batter on the pan, two inches apart.  Use thumb and index finger to pinch each small mound of batter into a pyramid shape.  Bake until golden brown - about 13 minutes.  Remove from oven and let the macaroons rest on the baking pan for 2 minutes.  Transfer macaroons to a wire rack to cool. 
3. Dip the macaroons: Place chocolate in a heatproof dish over simmering water or in the top of a double boiler.  Melt, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  Remove from heat and stir in the oil.  Dip the tip of each macaroon into the melted chocolate.  Place dipped macaroon on wire rack and let cool until set.  Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

So, there you have a recipe from an 11 year-old magazine.  And, I'm a little surprised that it's been that long since I first discovered this recipe. Some notes I might add are that I have actually used semi-sweet chocolate chips and they come out just fine.  In the future, I would also like to try shredding the coconut finer before I mix it in to the batter.

And then, finally, daffodils....a whole field of them to be exact. After eating the macaroons, (well, not right after) we took a little trek through the woods to a daffodil field that is surely a sight to behold.  The field can be found in Parson's Reserve which is one of many reserves that are part of Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust

With that, you've had a little taste of my springtime.  There's more to share, but I'll save that for another post.  And, I promise not to serenade you with any more from Led Zeppelin.

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