16 October 2008

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons (with title)
Eep! I know I said I'd write part 2 of my El Segundo trip but I just realized the Making History blog event's deadline is tomorrow! So, this is my contribution to Making History hosted by RecoveredRecipes.com.
Whenever people ask me when I started cooking, I always say that it was shortly before I graduated medical school-- early 2007. Before then, most of my cooking experience consisted of chocolate chip cookies and empty boasting. But I've always considered myself a person who liked food and the process of cooking, since my childhood. Looking at old recipe cards, I found the manual to my family's first Sunbeam electric hand mixer, copyright 1981-- the year of my birth. It would be funny to claim that it was my birthright and it was put in my hands as a neonate, but that's just the copyright. I was a few years old when we got it and I distinctly remember the family making severely overbeaten cakes in my childhood. What can I say, it was fun to see the batter get more and more satiny, gluten developing before our very eyes.

Ideas In Food, eat yer heart out! In other news, ketchup and shrimp? Barfff.
I remember carrying around a notebook when I was young, and flipping through the pages of the Betty Crocker Encyclopedia of Cooking, and attempting to write my own senseless recipes (like cakes made with "bread flour", as cake is SO the same thing as bread, naturally), dreaming about the dizzying hundreds of cakes and pies in the imposing tome (it has since gotten lost, sigh).

I copied this one, obviously. But why did I write "POOF"? The hell, lil' Mark. (Note that I wrote a reverse POOF on the back of the card. Maybe I was experimenting with a mirror.)
Growing up my dad did all the cooking and my mom was the breadwinner. Since my dad inherited his mother's recipes (they came from Pampanga, culinary capital of the Philippines) and the tricks he learned in college, he didn't write any of them down. My mom, on the other hand, occasionally cooked out of recipe cards (clipped out of the newspaper, painstakingly copied onto index cards, or collected from groceries courtesy of Lee Kum Kee and Del Monte) and while she relied on my dad to fine-tune the taste, she's a respectable cook and I looked forward as a kid to those rare times she would cook. For some sweet reason she sometimes allowed me to do the copying with my mediocre penmanship (much better now, obviously), and she even kept a few of my senseless recipes, even though they should NEVER be attempted by anyone who wishes to keep his sanity. Moms.

To this day, I adore ham with pineapple glaze. I dunno if we ever used this "recipe," I always just use brown sugar and not syrup. Note the artistic sketch of a bowl full of crap, or maybe a ham.
Then in early high school we got cable, and each afternoon I'd tune in to the Discovery Channel and watch Caprial's Cafe, Biba's Italian Kitchen, Baker's Dozen, and the not-so-enjoyable trainwreck Cooking with the Urban Peasant. Even if I still didn't really cook, I pretended that I knew how to cook, that by watching the shows ("Don't touch the meat!" Caprial says EVERY SINGLE SHOW, "You want the surface to caramelize.") I was absorbing the necessary skills I would eventually need... Apparently 12 years later. I don't know if they helped. But the summation of these people and experiences-- my parents, the encyclopedia, the recipe cards, the mixer, my crazy imagination, the cooking shows, and now, my insatiable hunger to cook everything I love to eat and more: that's the history of my love for cooking. Is your experience anything like mine at all?

Coconut Macaroons
This comes from a notebook my cousin kept of cooking lessons she took as a young girl. It was probably the mid-80's. Now that I've seen the recipes of coconut macaroons from the States, I wonder how different the taste is. I for one can't imagine them being made without the egg yolks and that sweet, sweet condensed milk (the only reason why I love this dessert despite my hatred for coconut). So I consider these to be appropriate "Filipino" Macaroons, perfect as tiny bites to be served with coffee or milk. I tested these today and I not only adjusted the instructions (OKAY, they're in Filipino, don't worry, I'll translate them), but also the baking temperature and time, and the size of the muffin tin. Standard size is too overwhelming for such a sweet bite.

  • 57g (1/4 cup) butter or margarine

  • 133g (2/3 cup) granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 2 large eggs

  • 390g (300mL or 1-1/4 cup) sweetened condensed milk

  • 93g (2/3 cup) all-purpose flour

  • 285g (3 cups) desiccated (fine unsweetened dried) coconut

Center a rack in and preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder, and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs alternating with the condensed milk, beating after each addition until well-combined. Add the desiccated coconut alternating with the flour in 3 and 2 additions respectively, folding after each addition until well-combined. Line 2 12-well mini-muffin tins with mini-muffin paper liners and fill each 1/2-2/3 full with the batter (use a regular teaspoon and another to scrape the batter off it, or a truffle scoop) and bake for 15 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out slightly wet. Turn out onto a cooling rack and let cool (it will continue to cook for a while until firm). Makes about 6 dozen.

blog comments powered by Disqus