January 6, 2013
Child B, mother of the adorable toddler and brand new baby boy, had a birthday Jan. 2. (She was my tax deduction who didn’t arrive as scheduled on Dec. 28; in a full turn of irony, her new one was due Jan 1 but came in a C-section on Dec. 28, so she got the tax deduction I did not.) As I was up there grandmothering, it naturally fell to me to cook her favorite things for a birthday meal.
Those being red beans and rice, and coconut macaroons. The “generally vegan and healthy” rule around the house was suspended temporarily, as the beans had a pound of andouille sausage, 12 ounces of ham and about 12 ounces of chicken in ‘em. (The chicken was leftover chicken tenders wrapped in bacon.) Now personally, I see nothing especially unhealthy about this, barring what is probably a bordering-on-dangerous amount of salt and nitrites. Particularly when it’s paired with beans and tomatos, both healthy on their face, and brown rice, just full of good nutrients. I’d planned on coconut macaroons instead of birthday cake, as she is my gluten free kid and loves her a coconut macaroon better than almost anything.
Then her husband came home from the grocery with a gluten-free cake mix and cream cheese frosting, which is another of her favorite things. (And I will note, Betty Crocker makes cream cheese frosting which is just as good as mine. I’m just saying.) So, of course, I made gluten free cake. Because I Am The Mommy. And that’s what mommies do.
Issue the first: The child does not own a mixer. I laid the butter out to soften (A whole STICK of butter, in a cake that bakes an 8 x 8 finished product? And gluten-free is healthy HOW?), but I commenced to puzzle on how I might actually assemble that cake batter. I x’ed out the Vitamix (Son-in-law 1 makes smoothies with ingredients I don’t want to know; they’re odd colors), but discovered the food processor. OK, sez I. We’ll FoPro this cake.
Which we did. It might not be optimal. But it worked. The cake was fair when it was fresh, not worth a damn when it was a day old, which has proven to be the case with most gluten free baked goods I’ve attempted. I’m about to decide the best alternative is to bake less often, take plenty of alleviative meds, and damn the gluten, full speed ahead.
However, the GF cake with cream cheese icing was duly made, and iced, topped with candles, and consumed. And macaroons were enjoyed by all. I have perhaps offered the macaroon recipe, but here is the fairly much perfected version.
- 2 bags sweetened flaked coconut (I think they’re 12 ounces each, but I wouldn’t swear to it; they’re not the big bags, but not the little bags; the medium ones)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp almond extract or 4 tbsp amaretto
- 1/3 cup (more or less) almond meal
Dump the coconut in a big bowl. Sprinkle the sugar over, and shake the bowl. Put the eggs and almond extract in a smaller bowl, and beat with a whisk until a smooth yellow. Add to coconut, and sprinkle in 1/3 cup almond meal. Dive in it with your hand — a spoon won’t work worth a flip — and smoosh the stuff together until it’s a semi-cohesive mass (it will be loose). Add another tablespoon or so of almond flour if it stubbornly defies you.
Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper, and spray the paper with cooking spray. You could probably just spray the baking sheets with cooking spray, but this keeps you from having to wash them, and I am all about using something and not having to wash it. Take about 2 tbsp of the coconut goo and squash it into a semblance of a ball. Plop it on the baking sheet — you can put them really close together, as they won’t rise and spread out like conventional cookies. Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes, or until they’re a light golden brown.
Try not to eat a whole sheet at one sitting. This is not easy. These little buggers are GOOD, I’m telling you. Sweet Baby Jesus good.
You can do this with one bag of coconut, one egg, and a tad less almond meal. Once. You will not do it again, because? That makes only about two dozen cookies, and you’ll eat those suckers that night, and be wishing you had some more the next day. I think we finished ours on Friday, after making them Wednesday. That would be early Friday.
If you want to be all lah-ti-dah and that, you can dip the tops of the baked macaroons in melted chocolate. Personally, I think that’s pretty much useless. Because, there’s perfection, and why mess with it? Although, maybe if you had Really Good Chocolate….
Anyway, the kid had a fine birthday dinner. And the macaroons were fine while they lasted. I’d offer some to you and y’mama ‘n ‘em, but….they’re gone.