In less than 43 days, Santa shall be paying the kidlets a visit while I lay curled up in my duvet. The sounds of bells will surround us as we all wait the longest night for morning to come and the festivities begin. Christmas Eve will mean I am up to my elbows in bows, snacks, presents and giggling gaggles of children. I love Christmas!
A plate of goodies is left out for Santa to enjoy, and to my granddaughters delight the plate is always empty in the morning…she will proudly proclaim…”See Mamo, Santa loves your cookies too! ”
This year we are going to ensure we provide some of Santas favourites, and try to broaden his tastebuds. Classic treats with a modern spin perhaps. Simple things like Macaroons and pretzel sticks for the reindeer will be laid out this year…I’m sure Santa will have plenty of Oreos and Chocolate Chip cookies elsewhere. …he won’t mind 😉
Macaroons are probably one of the easiest cookies that you can make. These are made with just egg whites, sugar and shredded coconut, adding a little bit of vanilla extract (or other flavoring to suit your particular tastes) thrown in for good measure. These can be made just about any time that I find myself with an unused bag of coconut lying around, and I’ve also been known make them when I need an easy to make dessert for any get together. These cookies are sweet enough to be satisfying and have a great coconut flavor to them.
One trick to use to get a good consistency in macaroons is to run a chefs knife through the shredded coconut before using it. This will break up some of the long strands of coconut and ensures that you get a macaroon that won’t fall apart when you bite into it. You can really finely chop the coconut, too, but I prefer to keep some of the texture of the shredded coconut and go for more of a ‘rough’ chop. The cookies can be shaped into round balls before baking, or patted into different shapes, or which ever shape amuses you at the moment before baking.
Macaroons are good plain, but you can easily dress them up by dipping the cooled cookies into some melted chocolate – dark, milk and white chocolate are all good choices – and placing them on a sheet of wax paper to firm up before serving. I am a big fan of chocolate, so ?i can say that these are very good when they are fresh, but will alaso keep extremely well in an airtight container and become even more moist and chewy after a day or two.
Chewy Coconut Macaroons
3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread your shredded coconut on a cutting board and coarsely chop it with a knife to break up the larger shreds of coconut.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, sugar and vanilla until well blended. Add in shredded coconut and stir with a spatula until well moistened.
Place level 1/4 cup scoops of the coconut mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Pack the macaroons together with your fingers (forming the mix into pyramid shapes is very attractive, but mounds of macaroon are just as tasty!)
Bake for about 20 minutes, until macaroons are golden brown around the edges (time will vary slightly by size of the cookies). Cool completely on a wire rack.
Makes 12 large macaroons.
are also very easy to make, and the combination of sweet chocolate and salty, crunchy pretzels is fantastic !
You can use any pretzels you want, but I prefer large pretzel rods or twists, since they are faster to make and look great when packaged as a gift.
- 1 package (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- 1 tbsp shortening
- 2 dozen pretzel rods or large pretzel twists
- Assorted sprinkles or small candies (optional)
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil.
2. Combine the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate and the shortening in a large microwave-safe bowl, and microwave until the choclate is melted, stirring after every 20-30 seconds. When chocolate gets overheated it thickens and becomes unworkable, so watch your chocolate carefully! Take it out of the microwave when there are still unmelted chips remaining, and stir until the final chips melt.
3. If dipping pretzel rods, hold a rod by one end and dip it into the chocolate to cover, leaving an inch or two uncovered. If you are dipping pretzel twists, drop the whole pretzel in the chocolate and submerge it slightly. Use a fork to pull the pretzel out of the chocolate. Shake the chocolate-dipped pretzels several times to remove excess chocolate, and place it on the prepared baking sheet. If you are using sprinkles or small candies, sprinkle them on when the chocolate is still wet. Repeat with remaining chocolate and pretzels.
4. Place the pretzels in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set the chocolate.
5. If desired, melt the white chocolate and drizzle it over the pretzels for a decorative look. Briefly return the candy to the refrigerator to set the white chocolate before serving.
Enjoy, Share…and Embrace your Loved Ones!