When my sister was graduating with her undergraduate degree in English last May, I had to show up to the ceremony with a little treat for her to eat afterwards.
This tart is incredibly easy to put together and is flavorful yet light. I first saw it on Zen Can Cook, thinking it was odd that a recipe so simple would be on his site. Then I knew it was destiny when fellow DC food-blogger Olga of Mango & Tomato re-created it with some crystallized ginger. How could you go wrong with mango and ginger?
My sister & I in Philadelphia
All bundled up, ready to be enjoyed
I was a bit lazy, which yielded a more “rustic” result. I used pre-chopped mango from the store instead of slicing my own, which made the tart a bit more clunky and testy when slicing. But the end result was still scrumptious and looked perfect for the occasion in my Panibois Baking Molds wrapped with ribbon and cute graduating owls.
Macaroons are light, almost meringue-like cookies that originated in Italy, France, and Belgium. They were originally comprised of mainly almonds, similar to the Italian cookie amaretti. But once North America got its hands on the cookie, by way of Scotland, we swapped the nuts for coconut and made it our own. The coconut macaroon is popular in Australia, the United States, The Netherlands, and Germany.
Macaroons are a favorite treat in my parent’s household because they are on the lighter end of the sweet scale, especially when homemade. Made this way, they are also highly customize-able. You can choose different fillings (chocolate & almond spread for my in-laws, lemon curd for my side), to dip or drizzle with chocolate, or to eat them plain (my Dad’s favorite way). The shredded coconut I use is a little bit drier than the common “blue bag” (Baker’s Angel Flake) brand, and I also supplemented it with a little unsweetened shredded coconut to tamper the sugar level even more.
Besides decorating these to be cute nests, the best part was getting to snack on the leftover sweetened condensed milk, a tradition in my family. And since I was making these at my condo, I didn’t have to beat anyone at rock-paper-scissors for the rights to do so.
Cocoa Almond “Nutella” & Peanut Butter M&Ms
Lemon Curd & Gourmet Jelly Beans
I saw this recipe linked to in an Easter Dessert Recipe Round-up at Rachel Cooks, which led me to two different variations on Two Peas and Their Pod: Coconut Lemon Macaroon Nests & Nutella Macaroon Nests. My personal favorite was eating them plain, followed by the chocolate ones. It may have been the lemon curd I used, but the lemon versions were a bit too sweet. And, I almost killed my sister because I forgot that these were tropical jellybeans that had “strawberry” as one of the flavors! (She’s allergic to strawberries).
If you want an even easier version, you can look at Danny’s Macaroons, or a quick white-chocolate dipped version I made a while back for my Dad.
Coconut water is supposed to be good for you, right? Then why do they all taste so horrible? I’ve tried several different types of coconut water and my absolute favorite is Harmless Harvest Raw Coconut Water. It is the only coconut water I’ve tried that actually tastes like fresh coconut water, BUT it is quite expensive at around $5 per bottle.
My second favorite brand of coconut water is COCOZIA. It as strong of the odd, sour, artificial taste that other brands have. I think that it is the pasteurization process that modifies the flavor, which is why the raw coconut water tastes much better. I also like Coco Cafe Coconut Water & Coffee as well as Zico’s chocolate flavor, but that’s because they’re loaded with sugar and flavorings. COCOZIA ranks higher than Vita Coco, Zico, and Trader Joe’s Coconut Water for me in terms of taste. I also like the packaging since it seems more economically friendly than plastic bottle (though the individually wrapped plastic straws negates that a bit).
From their site:
COCOZIA® Coconut Water is exactly that: a pure, natural hydration source containing not only water from the green coconut, but essential electrolytes too.
COCOZIA® contains a natural abundance of potassium and magnesium, as well as other electrolytes. Electrolytes are directly involved with body hydration and muscle function. Better to get yours from a natural source like COCOZIA® than from a sugary, synthetic sports drink alternative.
COCONUT WITH A STRAW
That’s how they drink coconut water in the islands, but fortunately, COCOZIA® has made it a little easier for you here! All the natural elements and flavor, without the need to carry a coconut to your work-out!
Unfortunately, the only place that I have seen this coconut water is online on Amazon. $25 for 12 cartons of coconut water is not too bad of a price, especially if you’ve tried other coconut waters and haven’t cared for them.
Disclaimer: I was contacted by Epicurex and provided a case of Cocozia Coconut Water free of charge. All opinions are my own.