Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons


Life is never simple, is it? We go through ups and downs and everything in between. Sometimes when we least expect it, something so big will happen that it changes our life course forever – for better or for worse.
As I mentioned earlier this week, my mom sold the house I grew up in and it closed today. But what I didn’t mention was the tsunami like waves of emotions that would hit my mother and I as if we were little people in someone’s snow globe and they were shaking it furiously.

My mom and dad came to this country with nothing and raised 6 children under the poverty line. The only thing of value they ever owned was a home in Seattle, which is the only home my mom has ever owned and lived, that is before she came to live with us after Dad died. For the last seven days my mom has been over there sitting in it alone, and I know she’s been grieving. When she walks through our front door, I always ask her whether or not she is okay. With a valiant effort to conceal her true emotions she tells me she is okay in a way that sounds to me like she’s in denial.

Growing up 2nd generation in the era I did, I essentially lived in two worlds. I lived in the ‘old country’ culture with its own set of rules and values as well as the ‘new American’ culture, which often conflicts with the former. I had to learn to balance both. Respecting and honoring your elders was a top priority (as it still is today) – even when it means submitting to an ideology you don’t agree with. I also appreciated the sacrifices my parents made in order for their children to have a better life.

I view taking care of my mother very seriously. I look after her like a mama bear cares and protects her child. I try to make her breakfast each morning along with a hot cup of coffee. I check her bedroom almost daily when the weather is cold outside to make sure she’s warm enough. I encourage her to spend time enjoying her favorite hobbies now that she has time to.  For her this means learning how to make certain types of Korean foods or cook a few recipes I have taught her.  The no-knead bread recipe on this site is her favorite.

Every time I think about my mom’s current pain I start to well up with tears. I’ll distract myself with something because I don’t like to cry. So all this week I’ve been occupying myself with baking projects as a coping mechanism. Self-therapy in the form of baking has its advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, I don’t remember pushing myself so much like I have this week. I have given much thought to the science of baking and have attempted different methods of baking. The creative-inventor part of me thinks of an idea and cannot let it go until I know if it is possible or not.

Today I have a Coconut Macaroon recipe I am in love with. This recipe idea was inspired by my mom. Yesterday she spent one last day at the house and came home with some clippings from the grapevines that my dad planted when I was a baby. The vines now hang on about 400 feet of fence. Not knowing how to start a new plant from her clippings, I set up her with my laptop to watch YouTube videos on how to do this sort of thing because this was going to be the project she wanted to take on today.


I walked away from that our conversation as quick as I could to compose myself because I could feel a big lump in my throat and my eyes starting to water. I decided that today was a, “I’m going to comfort myself” type of day… a macaroons type of day.

So today’s baking therapy session are these macaroons. I’ve always been a coconut fanatic. As much as I love the chewy milky macaroons made with sweetened shredded coconut with condensed milk, these are not the macaroons I made.  Instead, I baked the more delicate type of macaroons made with desiccated unsweetened coconut which is dry and fragile, like I was today. As I thought about the texture, the idea for the method occurred to me. I would make a macaroon similar to the method of making the sweetened coconut version.  My only concern was the macaroon falling apart if I bit into it.

After a few failed attempts I came up with a method of boiling water, sugar, and Asian coconut milk. By cooking these ingredients together they make a thick syrup so the desiccated coconut is held together considerably more than it would be if I had just added sugar to egg whites. Adding a little bit of coconut milk also gives it more rich coconut flavor and a beautiful bright white filling. I could have left the macaroon alone at this point but I couldn’t because that’s not how I do things. I needed to add a touch of ‘specialness’ to these beautiful mounds of coconut bliss. After I topped them off with a little drizzle of dark chocolate and a few small flecks of Fleur de Sel (sea salt) they were perfect. They had a thin crunchy coconut shell on the outside and a tender and delicate mound of sweetened coconut on the inside.

As I contemplate everything happening right now, I take great joy in knowing my grieving process is not in vain. And at the very least, I am very happy to be able to share a delicious treat with you. Hope you enjoy these macaroons as much as Mom and I did.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: Makes 16 pieces
A delicate and memorable coconut macaroon recipe topped off with dark chocolate and fleur de sel.
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup Asian coconut milk (full fat version)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1 egg white (approx. 3 tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon Fleur de Sel
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a non-stick pan, heat the sugar, water, coconut milk, and salt on medium heat.
  3. Allow the mixture to come to a medium simmer and cook for 5 minutes. The mixture should look white and bubbly and be slightly less thick than maple syrup but more than than water.
  4. Add 1½ cups of coconut to a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the warm sugar coconut water and stir the coconut.
  5. Stir in the egg white followed by the remaining coconut until well mixed.
  6. Using a small cookie scoop, firmly pack the scoop with the coconut mixture and place on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper.
  7. Place unbaked macaroons 2 inches apart from one another.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until the outside shell is crispy to the touch and the tips of a nice light golden brown.
  9. Remove the sheet from the oven and allow the macaroons to cool on the sheet for 30 minutes.
  10. White the macaroons are cooling, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir the chips and if needed, microwave again for 15 seconds.
  11. Drizzle the chocolate over the macaroons and top each one off with a few flecks of Fleur de Sel.
  12. Allow the macaroons to completely cool before serving.

Al natural red velvet brownies


You know the expression, “beat a dead horse?” I’d say it’s probably time I moved on from the all-natural red velvet cake thing, but a lot of you keep asking for brownies, so read on, my friends, and I’ll give you my recipe.

But first, I want to turn your attention to the sidebar. Not too long ago, it read: “I’m Jaime, a single mom of three. I love the classics, French pastries, and British accents. Welcome to my blog.” Notice anything different?

I got married!!!!


Meet Matt, my wonderful new husband. Many people know him as Matthew J. Kirby.

I met him last July while I was at an event in Salt Lake City signing my cookbook. He came up after my presentation and wanted to know more about what I liked to cook. On my drive home, I thought, That guy’s gonna ask me out. Sure enough, the next day, I got an email from him, telling me who he was and asking me if he could take me out for lunch or coffee. When I googled him, I realized I had bought the first book he had written, The Clockwork Three, for my oldest son, three years earlier.

Our relationship started slowly at first, and then there was no stopping it. We are so happy. The children adore him, he adores them, and we are very, very, VERY much in love.

Enough of that mushy stuff. Now to the brownies . . .

all-natural red velvet brownies

For instructional photos on how to swirl make the brownies, you may find this old post helpful.

for the red part of the brownies:

1 large beet
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons natural cacao powder (like Hershey’s)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

for the cream cheese swirl:

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
pinch salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

1. To make red part of the brownies: Wrap beet in a layer of parchment eduessaytoday.com paper and a layer aluminum foil. Place in a 400ºF oven, and roast until tender to the point of a knife. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. When the beet has cooled, peel and chop into large chunks. Add it to a food processor with the lemon juice. Pulse until very smooth, 2-3 minutes. It should be the consistency of baby food.

2. Change the oven temperature to 325ºF (165 degrees Celsius). Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and cacoa powder. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together for 5 minutes, until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary.

3. With the mixer on low, add in the beet puree, followed by the flour mixture. Pour into the prepared pan.

4. For the cream cheese swirl: With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar, egg, salt, vanilla, and flour.  Pour over chocolate mixture.  Take a spoon and pull the red brownie mixture up from the bottom of the pan in about 4 or 5 different places and then, drag a spoon or knife through the two mixtures to create a swirled effect.

5. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.  Allow to cool completely in pan.  (After about 45 minutes, I toss mine in the freezer for 30 minutes to help it along.  This will also help solidify the chocolate chips, giving the brownies a nice crunch.)

6. Use parchment paper to lift from pan; peel off and discard. Cut into 16 squares.

Batman Cookies

A little boy is celebrating his birthday very soon and when the order came in from his mother for Batman themed cookies I was delighted to fill this order.  Not only because Josee and I are new friends since the Ottawa Cupcake Camp (where her amazing cupcakes won) but also because I’ve only once before baked cookies for a little boy and it was fun to do.  I was looking forward to making these for Josee’s little boy.

Now if Josee’s son is anything like mine was when he was his age, they are very particular about their super-heroes and every detail about them is as familiar to them as the back of their hands.

batman cookies

I decided to make the Batman logo and try to do a likeness of Batman’s head.  I put a small smile on the face.  When my husband saw the finished cookies he said that while he thought they looked good, he never remembers Batman smiling.  Even when they grow up they don’t forget their super-heroes :)

“Holy Joker Batman! Why Are You Smiling?”

I’ll chalk it up to creative license and hope that Josee’s little fellow is forgiving and not embarrassed that he has smiling Batman faces at his super-hero birthday party.

Here’s a photo-tutorial should you have a Batman fan in your household. (One day I will get myself a photography light.  The need is great as most of my decorating is done in the evenings!)

1.  You will need to bake both large oval cookies and large rectangular cookies.  The day prior to decorating your cookies, print off a page-full of the Batman Logo and a page-full of the Batman head sized to fit your cookies.  Lay your print-out under sheets of waxed paper and with a #2 tip and black piping icing outline your two designs.

3.  Flood all the outlines with black flood icing.  While the flood is somewhat damp on the mask, pipe small curved dashes with grey piping and a #1 tip on either side of the masks to make the eye-slits.

4.  Flood the *face* portion of the mask with tan flood icing.  Let dry overnight.  When completely dry, draw on the mouths using AmeriColour Brown Food Colouring Pens.

5.  Using a #2 tip and bright yellow piping icing, outline your oval-shaped cookies.  Let dry.

6.  Using a #2 tip and bright yellow piping icing, outline your rectangular shaped cookies.  Let dry.

7.  Flood all your ovals with bright yellow flood icing.  While icing is still damp, carefully add your Batman logos to the center of the cookies.

8.  Flood all your rectangular cookies with bright yellow flood icing.  While icing is still damp, carefully add your Batman heads to the center of the cookies.

9.  Let dry overnight.  Package in the morning and tie with coordinating ribbons.

I’ll be linking this up at I’m Lovin’ It Friday’s.  Cheryl has Amber from Bluebonnets and Brownies hosting it for her this week.  Come on over and link up with us!

Santa and the Grinch Decorated Cookies

Today I’m sharing with you how I made two of the more popular sellers at the Artisan’s show.  Children and adults alike had special smiles for these two decorated images.

Santa and grinch cake decorating

Before I get into the tutorial, I want to thank Thyjuan of Inspirations by Thyjuan for the excellent Grinch cookie that she did freehand and posted on New Year’s Eve 2010.  It was her cookies that inspired me to do the Grinch this year, but with the help of my Kopykake.

So, once I had piped and flooded the cookies in white and sized my Grinch image for my cookies, I used an edible marker to trace it and then outlined the image with black piping icing.

Next I used yellow flood icing to do the eyes and then added a dot of red piping icing to finish them off.

The hats were then flooded in red, the hat rims in white and the faces in dark green flood icing.  the cookies were then left to dry completely overnight.

Once dry, a black edible marker was used to draw in the face detail.  White sanding sugar was shaken over small amount of clear corn syrup that had been brushed over the hat rim.

For the Santas I used my Kopykake to trace the image with edible marker.  Black piping icing was then applied over the trace lines.

Red flood icing was used to fill in the hats.

Next I flooded the faces with tan flood icing.

White flood icing was used to fill in the remainder of the hats, the eyebrows and sideburns, the moustaches and the beards.  Again, the cookies were left to dry overnight before using black, red and brown edible markers to complete the facial and mouth details.  White sanding sugar was applied to the pom-poms of the hats.

Fun cookies to make!  How are you feeling about Christmas this year?  Are you like him…

or feeling more like this happy fellow…