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Friday, March 20, 2009

Cookbook Coconut

I must be a nightmare for any cook book author. Smells, tastes and texture fill my mind when I sink into a cookbook but imagination takes me far beyond the original recipe into uncharted territory.

Yummm, cinnamon… what if I use cardamom…? Whoa that’s a truck load of oil… what about butter instead? …. sounds delicious but I’m missing one egg…. hmmmm, can’t use wheat flour so I’ll try this or that....what about margaritas ... margaritas?!? Where did that come from? .... never mind.

By the time I’ve mangled the recipe, the original is a distant memory.

It turns out that this apple has not fallen far from the tree. My father is an inspired cook - he skims a recipe, changes most of it and turns out an amazing dish. He introduced our family to Chinese food long before we had ever seen a Chinese restaurant. Inspired by the cooking show Yan Can Cook with chef Martin Yan, my father equipped our kitchen with Yan's cookbooks, a wok and various exotic utensils.

We fell in love with Chinese food. At my first visit to a Chinese restaurant I ordered sweet and sour chicken. Memories of my father's sweet and sour dishes filled me with longing. My plate arrived with perfectly round golf dough balls smothered in electric orange sauce.

I was shocked.

Electric orange golf balls were a far cry from my father's dishes and I realized that a well written cookbook teaches valuable lessons, even when the reader wanders off into dreamy new territory.

I had to chart some new territory myself with this recipe, Sally’s Coconut Macaroons from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift.

Eggs had to be replaced because of allergies so in went flax seed meal, tapioca starch and water. Oops, there wasn't enough coconut in the house so the recipe was reduced. Couldn't use butter for the dish because of allergies too. Oil didn't sound appealing so parchment paper was used instead.

Dutifully (ahem) I followed the remaining fragments of the recipe and formed lovely coconut mounds on the cookie sheet. After about 15 minutes, I peered into the oven... all my carefully formed coconut mounds had morphed together to form a lovely smooth layer. Ackk! renaming the recipe was my only recourse.

Sally, I’m sorry. I’d gladly eat the originals because they sound amazing. In contrition for mangling your recipe, here are some fabulous Coconut Wafers.

Coconut Wafers

1&1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flax seed meal
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
½ cup water
½ tsp pure almond extract
Pinch of salt

Parchment paper (if you do not use parchment paper, butter the cookie sheet generously)
Large cookie sheet with upturned edges or 9x13 pan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine the coconut and sugar in a small bowl.

Mix together the flax seed meal, tapioca flour and water in a small cup. Microwave the mixture for thirty seconds. The mixture will be thick and gelatinous and maybe a little lumpy. Stir vigorously to smooth the mixture then add the salt and almond extract.

Combine flax, flour, water mixture with the shredded coconut/sugar mixture. Mix until fully combined. Spoon the mixture onto the parchment on the cookie sheet. You can flatten and smooth this mixture onto the sheet, however, it will morph into one layer no matter how much you wish differently!

Since your mixture has an irresistible longing to be together, it will spread to fill the pan with a thin layer; your pan must have edges to prevent it from sliding onto the oven floor!

Cook for 20 to 25 minutes until the edges are slightly brown and crisp. Remove the pan from oven and let cool in the dish. The coconut crisp will be stiff but slightly gooey. Cut with a sharp knife and a gentle rocking motion so you do not shatter the wafer.

Store in the freezer, tightly covered, with parchment paper or plastic wrap between layers of wafers.

Recipe adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift

1 comment:

Kimberly Johnson said...

Your lasagna's look delicious! Thanks for co-hosting this challenge. I learned so much and will definately dry homemade pasta again!