Sunday, May 25, 2014

Strawberry Coconut Macaroon Squares

Tea time took on a whole new meaning when I moved to Australia.

Tea time is not just time for tea, or even a biscuit.

Tea time is divided into several different occasions. There's morning tea, afternoon tea and high tea....

That's tea three times a day!!

What I learned is that tea is really just an excuse to eat dessert every day. I really like this custom. It's not far from my regular life (it is exactly my regular life).

These little Strawberry Coconut Macaroon squares are something that would probably be served during morning tea since it is a bit lighter and fruity. Something rich and decadent (CHOCOLATE) would be served in the afternoon, right before dinner. It's like everything your mom told you NOT to do.

My momma taught me that if I didn't finish my pasta at dinner, I'd be eating cold pasta for bedtime snack - not quite as good-looking as a giant bowl of ice cream with Hershey's chocolate sauce. It worked. I always finished my pasta because I always had my eye on the prize.

I still eat dessert before bed. I grew out of crop tops and purple eye shadow; I definitely grew out of my old jeans and using the phrase "it's tha bomb!" (sort of), but I never grew out of having a bedtime snack.

This is actually happening right now. It's 9:15pm and I'm eating chocolate... and cookies.... This is my real life and it makes me happy. It also makes me sound like a 5 year old but who's counting?

The base of these squares is like a soft buttery biscuit. Imagine a cross between a cookie and butter cake. It is buttery and a bit dense like a shortbread, but still crumbly, light and soft thanks to a touch of baking powder. It doesn't get pre-baked before the layer of jam and coconut macaroon, so it is important not to under-bake or you will be left with a doughy center.

Strawberry season is just around the corner, and I can imagine these would be 13 times better if you made your own jam. It's easy! All you need are 3 ingredients.

The thing I love about this recipe is the use of whole eggs to make the macaroon topping. It adds more richness and keeps it nice and chewy. Why waist a yolk anyway? Yolks are tha bomb!

This is certainly one of the lesser indulgent recipes in my repertoire of chocolate madness, but even a chocoholic like me needs a reboot.

Whatever time it is, I'm sure it's tea time somewhere. So, let's just make this happen.

Strawberry Coconut Macaroon Squares
Makes 16 squares

For the base:
7 tbsp (100 g) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup (100 g) sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup (142 g) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup strawberry jam

For the macaroon topping:
1 ½ cups (90 g) fine unsweetened desiccated coconut
3 tbsp (40 g) sugar
2 large eggs
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugar in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Sift flour, baking powder and salt over the mixture and stir it in gently. Spread mixture into prepared pan and spread jam evenly over top.

In another medium bowl, lightly beat eggs with a fork. Add coconut, sugar and salt and stir well until evenly combined. Sprinkle all of this mixture over the jam, patting it down slightly.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. The coconut should be nicely toasted and the soft biscuity base should be cooked through. Let cool completely in pan before slicing into squares.

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