Tuesday, June 14, 2011

#12 AND #13: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies and Coconut Macaroon Brownies

I did it again. I might've bit off more than I can chew. I had been talking for weeks about how my students were having a Hawaiian Day at school the day before school got out for the summer. Traditionally, this day was known as "Jellybean Day" at Finley Elementary- it's my understanding that this USED to be our school's field day, in which the students would participate in field day activities (sack races, egg-on-a-spoon relays, etc.) and be given jellybeans for their involvement. Apparently a couple of years ago, our gym teacher opted out of this tradition (which STILL bums the kids out...), and in its place, our school's dress-up day was born. Last year the entire school participated in Hawaiian Day- kids were encouraged to dress in their finest luau gear, and snow cones were passed out during lunch. This year, however, each grade level was encouraged to take on whatever theme they wanted- so while first grade had a fiesta day, and still other grades had red, white, and blue or school spirit day, the fourth grade team decided, my goodness, why fix what ain't broke?! I went all out for Hawaiian Day (what's new, honestly?)- I bought the kids each a really neat lei (cost me a bundle, whoops), brought in Finding Nemo and Lilo and Stitch for the kids to watch, turned on an authentic Hawaiian music station from Oahu (the kids all asked why we were listening to Mexican music... classic...), and of course, put together a Hawaiian feast, complete with Hawaiian sweet rolls, pineapple spears, Maui onion chips, Cracker Jacks (not Hawaiian, but I was NOT going to turn away free food from one of my classroom moms), POG juice (passion fruit/orange/guava, AWESOME if you haven't tried it), and blue Hawaiian punch. You think that'd be enough, right? Oh no, I of course had to bake, not one treat, but TWO. Ladies and gentleman, I bring you recipes #12 and #13...

#12: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

I love these cookies. Plus, nothing screams Hawaii like Macadamia nuts, if you ask me. I even have some sweet pictures of me touring an authentic macadamia nut farm on the Big Island (if you're ever interested in seeing them... the kids weren't, hmph...). Long story short, these cookies are DELISH... and fluffy. I'm not sure how it happened, but they are airy little guys.

#12: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies (found on allrecipes.com)


1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. 
      - Shout out to Midge Baird: Look at me! I'm using ALMOND. You'd be so proud.

3. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate. 

4. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Could it be any easier? No, I argue it could not. NOW, my second recipe I tried was... gosh, kind of a flop. I had to adapt the following recipe because I couldn't find cream of coconut ANYWHERE in the Tri-Cities. And no, I'm not talking about coconut milk, there was a frustratingly large amount of that stuff in town. I hit SIX grocery stores attempting to find this stuff, as well as the other food I needed for my Hawaiian feast... so yes, I will be counting this recipe as #13, even if I had to completely redo it for my needs. I'm gonna give you the "official" recipe I WANTED to make... and then tell you what I ACTUALLY did...
#13: Coconut Macaroon Brownies (as ADAPTED from Sandra Lee's Bake Sale Cookbook)


Nonstick cooking spray
1 package (19.9 ounces) dark chocolate brownie mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup chocolate milk
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cream of coconut (Dang you, cream of coconut!!)
4 egg whites
3 tablespoons cake flour
Pinch of salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, stir together brownie mix, oil, eggs, and chocolate milk until combined. Stir in chocolate chips; pour mixture into the prepared baking pan.

3. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; increase temperature to 375 degrees F.

All right, this is where I had to stop. I popped my brownies out of the oven, let them cool, and spread coconut walnut frosting over the top of them (I was determined to have some sort of coconut...). Let me continue on for those of you lucky enough to find the proper ingredients:

4. In a medium saucepan, combine coconut, cream of coconut, egg whites, cake flour, and salt; cook and stir over medium heat about 5 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in mixture reads 120 degrees F. Spoon hot coconut mixture over warm brownies.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes more or until done in center and coconut edges are lightly toasted. 

Here are what my baked goods ended up looking like:

And here's what the brownies SHOULD have looked like:

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