chocolate macs to the rescue

Coconut MacaroonsAs I mentioned in my last post, lately I've been all about using up the ingredients I had leftover from Thanksgiving. That amazing pudding from Flour came to the rescue when I had loads of half-and-half and heavy cream in the house. But the pudding had a lot of egg yolks in it, and there I was stuck with the whites.  Back to the drawing board... so I put a call out on Twitter to my foodie friends, asking for suggestions for how to use up those seven whites. After I got over the feelings of inadequacy when Irvin Lin told me he had 75 egg whites in his freezer that he needed to use up, I found this recipe on Joy the Baker.Coconut MacaroonsI haven't had lots of luck with coconut macaroons in the past (think soggy), so I was dubious at first. But Joy says her recipe was originally from Alton Brown, and he usually knows his stuff. You whip up the whites until they're "very stiff." That's where recipes I've tried before have gone wrong. And then you toast the coconut -- partly it's so that you get nice color, but it's really to dry out that bagged sweetened coconut, which is pretty damp when you use it as-is.Coconut MacaroonsI just looked back at Joy's recipe and realized she calls for dipping them in milk chocolate. I went with a blend of semi-sweet and bittersweet instead, and the results were awesome. I might even make these again for Christmas.

Joy's awesome brownie cookie

Joy the Baker brownie cookieEspecially now that Joy the Baker posted a comment on my entry about the Cran-Banana Bread, I'm happily searching through her site for more recipes to try. Here's a winner called Chocolate Brownie Cookies which she says she got from King Arthur Flour.Joy the Baker brownie cookieSo what makes them brownie cookies? Well, they're very chocolatey. And super soft, like almost too soft to be cookies. And they have that cool shine on top. Usually I associate that shine with brownie mixes (which I do not use), but how can you not love the way the surface of the cookie picks up the light?Joy the Baker brownie cookieI underbaked some of them like the photo above. I warned friends and family about the underbaked cookies because they were almost gooey inside, but everyone seemed to want to try those specifically.Joy the Baker brownie cookieThe properly baked ones were awesome too. You can see here they were just a bit lighter and thicker.Joy the Baker brownie cookieA few tweaks... I didn't have espresso powder, but I'd totally try that next time. I had to throw in some semi-sweet chocolate with the bittersweet because I didn't have enough. And I added chopped walnuts because, well, I love nuts in my brownies and figured I'd love them in these cookies too. The brownie cookies were a pretty major hit. Thanks, Joy.

banana-cran with Joy

Banana Cranberry BreadMy never-ending search for banana bread recipes landed me at Joy the Baker. I'm not sure how I never knew about her blog before -- she gets a ton of comments. I must be living under a rock or something. Not only do her recipes look great, but her posts totally crack me up. I really like the Bake Out with Jill & Joy videos too, but what's up with her gigantic kitchen? It's bigger than most NYC apartments. Before I saw this recipe, I don't think I knew bananas and cranberries were a yummy combination, but now I'm a convert. Here's how it went.Banana Cranberry BreadBanana Cranberry BreadBanana Cranberry BreadSo far so good, but I thought I didn't have any bourbon (actually, it was just really well hidden in my cabinet), so I used Grand Marnier, which turned out to be a nice substitution.Banana Cranberry BreadI used those dried cranberries instead of fresh. I knew the recipe would turn out a bit differently, but something told me it would be pretty good. You can see in Joy's post that the fresh berries bake into the bread really nicely though, and I knew I wouldn't get that effect.Banana Cranberry BreadBanana Cranberry BreadThe bread got a really nice, dark crust to it. Of course it softened up after sitting overnight, but those first few pieces while the bread was still warm were spectacular. Then I started wondering what this would be like with walnuts.Banana Cranberry BreadSee, my cranberries didn't get that ooziness like Joy's, but I wasn't complaining. The texture was fantastic, and this was a recipe I'd definitely make again.