Friday, April 30, 2010

Cookie of the Month - Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

Yikes, I'm really squeaking by at the very end of the month here, but I did deliver the goods yesterday to the Nelsons who bought my "Cookie of the Month" package at this year's scholarship auction. The goods? Coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate.

Here are your ingredients:
2/3 cup flour
5 1/2 cups coconut (14 oz. bag)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract

1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

One good thing about these cookies is the few ingredients and no mixer required!
Put the coconut, flour and salt into a large bowl.

Toss it together until you have loose, fluffy, flour coated coconut.

 Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and almond extracts.

There are two camps on the macaroon front:  people who make them with an egg white base and those who make macaroons with a sweetened condensed milk base.  I find the egg white version can spread and run a little... although they will get crispy around the edges if that's what you like.  I prefer macaroons to have a texture similar to Mounds bars so I like the sweetened condensed milk version - and they hold their shape nicely.

Mix together until you get a sticky mush.

My daughter worked in the BYU bakery this year and she said they piped their macaroons from a big bag fitted with a tip like this.  So, I thought I would try that instead of making the usual balls with wet hands.

Fold open the top of the bag and mash the mush in.

Twist the end of the bag closed and get ready to pipe.
Definitely line your cookie sheet with parchment.

Ok, this dough was too thick for that little opening, but by golly if if was good enough for BYU, it was going to work for me.  I thought I was going to pop a tendon in my wrist from squeezing when my daughter told me the BYU dough was something they just mixed with water and was way thinner.  Thanks Chelsea... a little late now that my carpal tunnel surgery is scheduled.  The big prize?  They still look like I dropped them from a spoon anyway...

These cookies can actually be placed even closer than this since they don't spread.

Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes in a regular oven.  However, I baked these for 12 minutes in the oven on regular setting and then for the last two minutes switched the convection fan on to get these little toasted tips.  If you don't have a convection feature, you can always switch on the broiler for a minute to get a little brown.

Slide your parchment off onto a counter and let your macaroons cool.

Pour some of the chocolate chips in a bowl 
and microwave for 30 second intervals until melted.

Plop your macaroon in the chocolate.  I like to dip the bottom for black bottomed cookies, but you could drizzle or dip half or whatever strikes your fancy.  After I dip the bottoms, I invert on a cookie sheet and put them in the fridge for the chocolate to harden for a good 15 minutes.

Lovely, yummy bits of chocolate and chewy coconut.  Mmmmmmmm!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Color My World

Sit back.  Breathe deeply.  Relax your shoulders.
Now...  enjoy these early spring love letters
from my Wisconsin garden.  
Don't you love this time of year?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I've added a new gadget to my blog - Followers.  Currently, there are five people who have followed RubyLemons without any help from me.   It's been recommended that I make it easier for potential "followers."  Back in September, I started this blog without much knowledge of the blog world.  Some of my friends as unlearned as I, tell me "I'd follow you, but I don't know how."  Maybe my Followers gadget will make that easier.  It requires establishing a Google account, but then if you follow several blogs, you can log into one place and see all new posts.
I also subscribe to Google Analytics which tells me a lot about who is reading my blog.  It tells me how many times a specific person visits my blog, where they live, how they get to my blog and how long they stay on my blog - everything but their names, addresses, and favorite food!  According to Google Analytics, there are currently about 75 people that read my blog regularly.  I think.  If I'm interpreting things correctly.  Also, I have a few readers who have visited more than once from Australia, England, Ireland, Italy, Canada, Germany, Romania and France.  Guten tag, bonjour,  salut, and benvenuti!  Google Analytics also tells me my most popular post to date was the post about my Barbie jacket.  Anyway, if I subtract my sister, my mother, brother, daughter, and son who are regular readers, there are still 70 or so others of you who find what I post interesting enough to return frequently.  Thank you all.  Feel free to "follow."  Who knows, maybe I'll run a contest one of these days!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shelf of the Week - Black

Oh, the days are running out. One down, three to go. That is, one college student home, three to go. Chelsea came home Saturday night - Freshmen year now a memory. She'll probably sleep for a week after finals, juries, work, packing and traveling. Soon the piano will start making noise again. Next we'll probably see Nate and then Lars and Spring. That means my days are numbered to complete the transformation of my sewing room to sort of guest room. My machines and ironing board will move to my bedroom for the summer until mid-August when Lars and Spring head for their year in China. This all means I've gotta get cracking on that fabric folding, sorting and organizing... which leads me to this week's shelf - BLACK.

You may recall that my black shelf was the smallest - 
tucked up at the ceiling of the knee wall. 

The satisfying sight of better organization.  My black collection yielded a few goodies and the realization that I need more room for black fabric.  Where to put my very cool black knits?

1940s barkcloth.  These flowers are large - a good foot across.

Some humble cottons.  The one on the left was a day bed cover.

A tiered, ruffled and rick-racked apron.

36" width calico

An unusual barkcloth depicting a Chinese scene complete with turquoise trees, lined waterfalls, the Great Wall, pink pagodas and yellow landscape.  I only have one repeat of this fabric about 28" top to bottom.  Maybe my China-bound son would be interested in a wall hanging.  Or maybe my China-bound D-in-L would like a big bag or purse.  Maybe the Chinese people who saw it on her shoulder would think it's weird.  Hmmm... they'll probably be more fascinated with a pale, freckled, blue-eyed, blonde.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ragged Mystery

Long just a folded up bundle of fabric on my red shelf, this piece of brocade is actually an old dress... housecoat... day dress?  I'm not sure.
I hung it on the dress dummy to see what the heck it is.

OK, what is it?

I don't remember when or where I got it... or why.

It is an unusual oriental brocade.

But it's unbelievably worn out and ragged.

How old is it?  Who did it belong to?  Why is it so wrecked?

Could the tags hold a clue?  Maybe my old friend Google will have something to tell me.  Hmmm... there are numerous businesses called Sanwa Trading Co. Ltd. all over the country selling everything from dental equipment to groceries.  I did find vintage electronics from Sanwa of Japan... kind of like a Sony, I guess. Well, there are more labels...

OK, this is silk.  That explains the wear.  Maybe someone tried to wash it or it was left in the sun... or it's just really old or all three.  It seems 30s or 40s to me... or even 50s - like a kitsch 50s dress that Lucy might have worn to be chic Hollywood, ya know?  Mrs. Havisham?  I'm getting nothing from Google on these tags.  Anyone out there in cyberspace have a clue?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Granted... These Quilts are Old (2 of 2)

Last week I posted about one of two quilts that were given to my mother from family friends.  Here is the second quilt in that pair also made by Epsi Addaline Grant - first cousin to Ulysses S. Grant.

A patchwork star pattern - the exact name, I'm not sure.

 It's in beautiful browns...

...with a border of teal floral.

Hand pieced and hand quilted.

The corners were done in a print where part of the pattern has worn away probably due to the dye color of the stripe - revealing the old cotton batting.  This is an old quilt.  I wish I knew exactly how old.  My best guess is still late 1800s.

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