This past month has been a bit of an exploration in my kitchen. I’m on research elective right now which means I don’t have much to do [read: study/cram] when I get home from work which hasn’t been the case for quite some time. It’s been a refreshing change of pace and it’s allowed me the liberty to try new things and make old favorites without having to sacrifice one for the other. I’ve been able to take my time to do things properly, read recipes several times through before measuring out the flour, allow butter to soften as it should. It’s reaffirmed my absolute love for baking, for the edible science experiment that only needs a few minutes before I can dig in. Instead of only enjoying the outcomes, I’ve begun to enjoy the process. Finances have been a bit tight around here in preparation for a couple upcoming trips that deserve every penny I can save so while my baking has increased my spending has – dare I say it – done the opposite. I’ve dugdeep into the dark, hard-to-reach corners of my refrigerator, cabinets, and cupboards to find ingredients I can use to satisfy my sweet tooth. I’ve searched, thought about, edited, and searched again for recipes to complement my supplies.
I’ve quite enjoyed it. My current “stop and smell the roses” lifestyle has made me want to drop out of medical school and become a pastry chef. A chocolatier, perhaps. I visited close friends in the City (that’s NYC for those of you from other areas of the world and as far as I’m concerned no matter where I live it’ll always be NYC) this past weekend and took them to my favorite chocolatier and chocolate shop. I spent $30 precious dollars on my version of gold: rich and luscious ganaches, macarons, light mousses, and crunchy pralines. It was worth every penny. Boy and my friend even made purchases despite their extensive “complaints” and comments about “developing diabetes” while I dragged them across town. To me, the experience alone is worth the trip. All the little chocolates lined up perfectly in their crystal-clear glass displays, some neatly positioned in decorative boxes with crisp ribbons, larger hand-crafted chocolate pieces that can only be described as artwork. And all you have to do is ask for a taste and a piece is handed to you with the daintiest pair of tongs and a smile at the other end of them, full confidence that you’ll fall in love and walk out with a bag full of happiness in the form of chocolate. The confidence comes from the freshness and the simplicity of their recipes. Cacao, cream, and a little bit of banana puree can somehow become the thing you crave for days after the fact cursing yourself for not snatching up a tray for yourself. So many flavors. So little time. Such shallow pockets. I’ll leave the chocolate up to the experienced chocolatiers in the city. For me, I’ll nibble on the treats I picked up and be perfectly satisfied with these cookies.
There’s something to be said for simplifying life down to the basics. Beauty in flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and one or two extra ingredients for some *pop.* Joy in only washing one bowl instead of bowls on top of sieves on top of measuring cups and spoons on top of a whisk and a wooden spoon. Satisfaction in sitting down to eat a bite of heavenly goodness that you set out to make less than an hour ago, knowing there’s still plenty of daylight for other accomplishments.
That’s what these cookies are to me.
They may not be my version of gold but they’re pretty gosh darn tasty and even more delicious when I think about how little effort went into making them. I had a few strawberries in the fridge that I wanted to use up so I slipped them inside and the result was the perfect hint of extra goodness. Try it if you can. No need to send any royalties.
Coconut Cookies with Strawberries
adapted from Saveur
2 c sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 c sugar
1 tbsp flour
4 tbsp melted butter
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
2-3 strawberries, chopped, optional
Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix everything in a bowl. Moisten hands to help with rolling. Roll 24 little balls of coconutty goodness as pretty as you want them. If adding strawberries, press single piece into the center of the cookie and gather all the smushed out cookie to reform a ball around the strawberry.
Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. [Mine took a little over 20.] Allow to cool and then drizzle melted chocolate or vanilla chips all over the place!
See how easy that was? No go on and use up your leftover coconut.