As hard as I try not to think about it, summer is slowly coming to an end. Before we know it, September will roll around and our troubles will march back into the house of torture that is school. On one hand, I have to admit, I’m looking forward to it. Namely, I’m looking forward to a break from the smart-ass comments and eye rolling that flooded into in our house recently. If I had a nickel for every eye roll I’ve got this summer, I’d be on my way to Hawaii right now. I know it’s the age. I know it’ll pass; I’ve done it once before and I’m here to write about it. But gosh darn it, there are moments when I think September can’t be here fast enough!
On the other hand, there are things school will bring I could definitely do without. Having to get up at the ungodly hours of the morning. Driving the offspring to school in the dark still half (or more like three quarters) asleep. School projects, practices, info nights, PTA meetings. Probably more driving and almost certainly more eye rolling, yay. Because I don’t know what I’m talking about, I went to school looooong time ago, I was schooled in a completely different country… and thus – yep, you guessed it – I don’t know what I’m talking about. But at least the eye rolling won’t be a continual all day thing and it’ll be mostly confined to evening hours. That’s my hope, anyway.
There is one more thing I’m most certainly not looking forward to: It is the phrase “I’m sorry, I forgot, but I need <insert XYZ> for tomorrow.” It is a statement said exclusively at 9pm or later, and actually, scratch that I’m sorry part, because that rarely happens. And now that the darling son remembered, Mother, jump up, perform a miracle and provide what he asked you for! Go to the (now closed) store and get that special scientific calculator he won’t be able to do the math test without, and bake four dozen cookies for his team meet-up next morning!
And since you’re the Mother, exasperated you let out a
yell sigh, and then do the impossible and pull that rabbit out of the hat anyway. When I was faced with a task to bake loads of cookies at the shortest notice possible, I’ve always turned to the same tried and true recipe for coconut macaroons. It literally involved only shredded coconut, egg whites, condensed milk, some sugar, and splash of vanilla (if I remembered!), all mixed up in a big bowl. Within half an hour the cookies were on the tray ready to go, and they were aIways a hit.
This time I took the same basic recipe minus the condensed milk and tried to make it into something a little more sophisticated. I molded the coconut mixture into a little cups, and filled them with a simple dark chocolate crème. The soft and smooth chocolate ganache is a great complement to the crispy and chewy coconut, the coconut – egg white mixture holds together well and is easy to work with. The cups can be made ahead and stored for up to one day, and the ganache is whipped up within minutes. Not a lot more work than the original one-bowl recipe, but the end result is much prettier than the shaggy coconut macaroons I used to make for school. A wonderful little dessert, and now that I think about it, maybe it could serve as an efficient way to stop the know-it-all comments coming out of our kids’ mouths too. But if you find out how to deal with the eye rolling, please let me know. Still have no clue what to do about that.
Coconut Cups with Dark Chocolate Crème
(inspired by Gale Gand’s Short + Sweet)
- 396 g (14 oz.) sweetened flaked coconut
- 3 egg whites (½ cup), beaten
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Dark Chocolate Crème:
- 450 g (16 oz.) good quality bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon Frangelico or Amaretto liqueur, or almond extract (optional)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- First, make the coconut cups: Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175°C). Lightly butter mini tartlet molds or mini muffin pan (I used small brioche molds). In a big bowl, combine all the ingredients, making sure all the coconut shreds are thoroughly moistened with the egg white.
- With your fingers, press 1 – 3 tablespoons of coconut mixture on the bottom and up the sides of your molds of choice. Cover with aluminum foil (the tops brown quickly) and bake 10 – 15 minutes for the mini muffin size, or 20 – 30 minutes for the bigger molds, or until the cups are baked through and golden brown in color. (The bottoms should still look a little undercooked, they will harden as they cool. If you try to bake them till the bottoms are completely cooked, the sides will burn). Let the cups cool completely in the molds and then remove them carefully, running a knife around the edges. Set aside.
- For the Dark Chocolate Crème: Place the chopped chocolate into a glass bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy whipping cream and butter to a simmer. Pour the hot cream – butter mixture over the chocolate and let stand for a minute to melt the chocolate. Mix in the liqueur or almond extract. Whisk until the chocolate mixture is smooth and glossy. Let cool slightly.
- Pour the warm chocolate into the cups. Let the cups set for at least one hour at a room temperature. Before serving, sprinkle each cup with toasted coconut chips or toasted almonds.
The leftover chocolate ganache crème can be refrigerated/frozen for later use.