Little Bits of Heaven

I made some cookies to share at a superbowl party last weekend. If I were a man, I might daydream heaven has something like unlimited cookie dough and football… but since I’m no where close to manly, I’m happy just baking in celebration of helmet cracking and dog piling (my heaven includes puppies). I intended to make something really kitschy like a football cake or little helmet shaped sugar cookies – then I realized I didn’t have time for all of that. Instead, I made cookies. Seems it may have taken the same amount of time to make three different cookies as rolling sugar cookie dough and decorating… it may have also helped if I had white granulated sugar on hand when I started. oops. That extra bag in my baking cabinet turned out to be a mystery bag of flour, not sugar. Bummer. Two cookies out, new cookies to come.
I was able to make Coconut Macaroons on Saturday night and subbed sweetened coconut and a tablespoon of brown sugar for the granulated. Interesting combo. Very chewy. I’m not sure if I like coconut macaroons or not. I might like this one more if it didn’t taste so much like almond extract/marzipan. Next time I’ll switch for coconut extract. Pretty, but super almondy. Don’t come to the wrong conclusion – people did like them – I would like them with less almond.
[insert: sleep, wake up early, go to race, watch M run a half marathon, go home, fast trip to grocery store for sugar, make cookies.]

If I had made more cookies on Saturday rather than wait till the last minute Sunday, you may never have been exposed to a favorite of mine, The Orange Snowball. I know it is not snowing here, but these cookies are like little magical white puffs dotted with orange zest and rolled in sugar. They sparkle. Snowball-esque. Pretty. Tasty. You must try them. They do make a nice addition to a Christmas cookie box, but you shouldn’t wait that long. They go just as nice with tea and coffee (or beer while watching football). They are simple to make and do not require a lot of ingredients. And unlike my description, they are more like a shortbread cookie than puffs of air.
Third cookie. I found this recipe while scouring the net for a cookie recipe that used solely brown sugar. After reading some recipes, I decided to wait for regular sugar, it seemed appropriate. And I stumbled onto a chewy chocolate chip recipe by Alton Brown I thought I should try. The other 600 people who tried it seemed to like it a lot – and baking with bread flour seemed interesting enough. The science behind extra gluten in the flour is supposed to make a chewier cookie. Unless I did a side by side taste test I couldn’t really say how chewy these were but they were definitely good. I’d make them again. If you have bread flour on hand try them out.
Coconut Macarons
2 2/3 C shredded coconut
1/2 C sugar
1/3 C flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp almond extract – or coconut extract
2 oz semisweet chocolate
1/8 tsp shortening
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Mix ingredients together in a medium bowl. Scoop dough into balls and place evenly on a greased and floured cookie sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Melt chocolate and shortening in microwave on low power. Decorate the cookies with the chocolate after they have cooled. Store at room temperature for 3-4 days.
Orange Snowballs
1 C butter
3/4 C powdered sugar
1 T + 2 tsp orange zest divided
1 T orange juice
2 2/3 C flour
Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Beat butter for a minute until creamy. Add powdered sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add juice and continue beating. Add in the flour and 1 T zest and mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. This might take a few minutes so be patient. Divide the dough evenly into 8 segments. From these segments, make 6 equal pieces of dough. Roll the dough into balls and set aside. Once you have rolled them all, coat them with granulated sugar and place on a baking sheet 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes. While the cookies are baking, mix the remaining zest with about 1/2 C sugar with your fingers. Remove cookies from oven and as soon as you can handle them, roll them in the zest/sugar mixture. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store airtight for up to 5 days.
I didn’t change a thing.

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