Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Coconut Macaroons

Hello, blogosphere! This is Julie writing for a wonderful experiment I just concocted; coconut macaroons. I absolutely LOVE coconut (which I've found is a rare trait). Coconut macaroons are simply heaps of coconut. They are delicious.

So you may be wondering "Why coconut macaroons?"

Well, if you happened to read about me on this blog, I am currently a few weeks from graduation at Brigham Young University-Idaho with a degree in Theatre and Speech Education and a minor in French Education. My major requires that I read a lot (not novels, like Mary did) but a lot of plays. One of the plays I have read almost every semester for one reason or another has been Henrik Ibsen's A Dolls House (1879). This is an amazing play. I know that many theatre people strongly dislike Henrik Ibsen's writing, but as far as A Dolls House goes, I love it! ( I despise The Wild Duck however). For those who don't know the story, I will give a brief description.

This play was controversial for it's feminist demands and integrated women rights messages. In fact, there was another ending written...we'll get to that in a moment. This play centers around Nora and her husband Torvald Helmer. Nora appears to be extremely naive and almost stupid (Torvald calls her "scatterbrains" and "silly" often). However, unbeknownst to Torvald, Nora has earned plenty of money herself, money that she used to save Torvald's life. She uses her father's name (who recently died) but takes great joy in the fact that she herself was the one to pay for something so important. Toward the end, Nora realizes she needs to tell Torvald. She slowly changes from naive (sometimes annoyingly so) to a level headed woman who knows what she has done. Torvald reacts in a surprising way (first enraged and then as if nothing happened). Nora decides to leave Torvald; in the last few pages this exchange is made:

Helmer: Oh, you blind, incompetent child!
Nora: I must learn to be competent, Torvald
Helmer: Abandon your home, your husband, your children! And you're not even thinking what people will say!
Nora: I can't be concerned about that. I only know how essential this is.
Helmer: Oh it's outrageous. So you'll run out like this on your most sacred vows.
Nora: What do you think are my most sacred vows?
Helmer: And I have to tell you that! Aren't they your duties to your husband and children?
Nora: I have other duties equally sacred
Helmer: That isn't true. What duties are they?
Nora: Duties to myself.
(emphasis added)

Yeah! Makes you want to burn a bra or something, doesn't it? If you read the rest of the play, you will know why this moment is one that makes you scream "YES!" out loud. Basically I do that everytime I read this play. However, in the alternate ending (Ibsen wrote one due to the uproar from audiences about a woman leaving her post as a wife and mother), Nora comes back, sees her children and falls at the feet of them and her husband. This was even less popular and was called a 'barbaric outrage'. I personally like the original ending.

So...again...what does this have to do with Coconut Macaroons? Well, in the beginning of the play, Nora has just returned from shopping and is eating macaroons secretly. When Torvald comes in to greet her, she hides them and wipes her mouth. She lies when asked if she has visited the sweet shop (Torvald does not approve of her having sweets). As a theatre major who must analyze things to death, I see the macaroons as a symbol of foreshadowing. The macaroons represent her intelligence, her freedom and her inner desires that aren't yet outwardly presented. She has plenty of secrets by this time and doesn't think that another secret from Torvald will be very hard (and it's not!).
Macaroons themselves are light in color and very sweet looking but when you bite into them, it's a little unexpected. A little bitter, a little sweet, flaky, chewy and crunchy all at the same time. The macaroons in A Dolls House are evidence of just how complex and deceiving Nora is. Macaroons are very easy to make but deceivingly complex in taste!
All in all...Macaroons equal women's liberation! WOOO!

So now for the good part: The recipe. I found this online, I don't quite remember where.

Coconut Macaroons
3 cups shredded coconut
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine coconut, almond extract, and salt. Mix in condensed milk to form a thick paste. Fold in egg whites with cream of tarter. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Easy enough, right?! The most expensive thing was the Almond Extract and then the Cream of Tartar. Sheesh! They're so little! Oh well.

Here's your ingredients!

After that's a lotta coconut! Salt and extract are in there too.

Sweetened condensed milk is joining the party!

I must have been nervous about this blog: I never break the yolk when separating egg whites!!

Beaten egg whites ready to join the party!

Ooey Gooey mess! It looks like a lot less coconut now!

Spooned out and ready to bake! The Recipe says about 8 minutes.. I think mine took around 5. Don't leave them unattended!

Aren't they pretty?

They're even prettier on a green plate =)

Are they good? I better test it out...

They were really good! Super moist, chewy and a little crunchy on the edges. I brought them to rehearsal tonight and people seemed to like them =). They're all gone now.

I would highly recommend reading A Dolls House. It is an excellent piece of work and now you can eat macaroons just like Nora! But don't hide proud of your macaroons and your right to vote (if you're a woman). =)


Megan said...

Love coconut macaroons! You know what is also delicious? Dip half of each macaroon in chocolate. It is both beautiful and magical. Oh, and did I say delicious? Why, yes. Yes I did.

Mary J. Locke said...

Haha! Oh, Julie, you crack me up! Those macaroons do look super good. P.S. I also think A Doll's House is awesome, although I managed to resist the bra-burning urge when I read it.
@Megan, I don't know who you are, but that chocolate idea is genius!

Julie M said...

Megan! you're the coolest! I was thinking of doing that because I also have a recipe for pistachio, cranberry and chocolate macaroons...however...funds prevented me from doing so lol.

Macy Hammond said...

First: I love your blog.
Second: I LOVE A Doll's House, and it just so happens that I'm playing Nora for the evening of one acts! :)
Third: I LIKE YOU!!!!