We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cookie Recipe #121 - Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons

Today's cookie is a sweet nutty filling squeezed between 2 mounds of coconutty balls. Reminds me of a mounds bar without the chocolate.

Ingredients: 3 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 large egg whites, 1 teaspoon coconut extract (I used almond extract), 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt; filling: 2 tablespoons butter, softened, 2 tablespoons cream of coconut or butter (4 tablespoons in all), softened, 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, 1 teaspoon coconut extract (again, I used almond extract).

Make cookies as follows: Stir together coconut, granulated sugar, egg whites, coconut (or almond) extract, and salt in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees; line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Form heaping teaspoonfuls of dough into balls; space 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Gently flatten to about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Bake cookies until edges begin to turn golden, 9-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for a minute before transferring to cooling racks. As cookies are cooling, prepare filling as follows: put butter, cream of coconut (or more butter), and shortening in medium bowl. Mix until smooth, about 1 minute. Add confectioners' sugar and coconut (or almond) extract; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

To assemble cookies: Place a heaping teaspoon of filling on the bottom of one cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Transfer to a platter; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until filling is firm, about 30 minutes. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.

Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment paper in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Makes about 2 dozen macaroons.

"Martha Stewart's Cookies", Clarkson Potter Publishers, New York, 2008.

Cookies Rule!!!

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