Tuesday, February 12, 2013
mardi gras cookies (grain & dairy-free)
Tony's really into coconut in general, and coconut macaroons in particular, and with the whole gluten-free thing it's been just a really useful kind of treat to make.
Whip your egg whites (use 2-6; I usually set aside egg whites in the freezer when I use yolks; you could also separate 2 eggs and keep the yolks for breakfast or for an egg wash in the freezer), like really beat them, till quite foamy and they hold their shape, but aren't at the dry stage. Add in your sugar, approximately 2 tbsp per egg white or to taste. Also add a pinch of salt, on small pinch per egg, and a little bit of vanilla if you like. Beat that all till it's uniform and lovely.
Now for add-ins. The simplest is plain coconut. About 1 smallish bag (probably 200 g) is good for 2 egg whites. You can also use small nuts, ground almonds, etc. You want the mixture to be thickly coconut-rich but without being dry. It should be wet when you gently handle it to put it on sheets later. It's something you sort of develop an eye for. In an evenly mixed mixture you should see the coconut dispersed with about 2 mm coating between pieces. If you have much less coconut, like at a dispersion rate equalling 1 cm or more, you'll end up with more of a light coconut meringue product. If you add much more, you might end up with cookies that don't hold together well and/or get quite dry. Anyway you'll decide when you have enough. We added coconut, pecan bits, ground almonds, AND chocolate chips today, as we won't be using sugar or honey till Pascha and we wanted to say a proper farewell.
Bake them for about 10-12 minutes at 350 until browning on top. I then remove them, let them cool a couple of minutes, and flatten them. (Egg white cookies get quite puffy.) I do this because I like the really chewy texture that results, but if you like the airy puffy texture you could just leave them in the oven. Finish them for another 5-10 m (they can be a richer golden-brown than you see in the picture with no harm done) in the oven.
Let cool on sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks.
Happy Lent! We're such a Roman-Greek house that I get to play with various approaches a lot during Lent. For example, the Alleluia is suppressed in the Roman rite during Lent, during Mass and the Divine Office, but in the Eastern rites there are MORE Alleluias. Isn't that neat? Anyway I feel free to pick and choose, and Ambrose is old enough to understand more of my little print-outs and explanations and things, so I have a smattering of things planned, some ideas from Pondered In my Heart, some from Catholic Icing, and some print-outs inspired by the one we used on St. Nicholas Day from the St. Nicholas Center, drawing from Catholic Culture and other sources (it's a lot of copying & pasting, not original material, and I didn't maintain credits as it was designed just for our use, so I don't feel free to share the docs here, but feel free to email me and I can send my Ash Wednesday and Lent sheets to you - leave a comment if you don't have my email address). We're all very excited for Lent this year. May you have a blessed one!