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Blueberry Orange Almond Brown Butter Muffins

  These muffins may or may not look quite familiar to you.  For those who have been reading here for more than a a month, you can attest to the fact that I'm clogging your Sundays with endless amounts of Joy the Baker food, as I'm a very active participant in the facebook group, Sundays with Joy.

  The first thing I made as a member of the group was this muffin recipe (Yes, Sundays with Joy members, I still haven't made the Oatmeal Raspberry Ginger Scones!  Some administrator I am, missing in action during the very first week.).  These guys look an awful lot like those muffins, don't they?

  Well, let me tell you a little secret.  This week's recipe is Blueberry Orange Almond Pancakes.  My deal was that the one day I had to make them, I was not in a pancake mood.  The sink was full of dishes (my dishes, probably), my mom was leaving for an entire week the next day, buttermilk was low, I didn't have enough blueberries, and I was just plain ol' crabby.

  When you're in that kind of mood, do you really want to dirty a bunch of bowls, whisks, and ladles just to stand over a hot, spitting, griddle for an hour, putting up with your families endless quizzes on what you're making and when it'll be done?  Well, I don't know about you, but I certainly wasn't feeling it.

  I only had to flip back about 12 pages to find the muffins that had been haunting my dreams since the afternoon I first made them.  How hard could it be to incorporate some orange and almond touches?  Not hard at all.  And, brown butter was involved, always a plus!

  A quick scan of the ingredient list and my mind was made up, muffins it would be.  Success?  Very, very much so.  It took no more than two days for my household to polish off 12 of these...and I'm not going to tell you how much I contributed to that polishing off.

Blueberry Orange Almond Brown Butter Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients for the muffins:
  • 7 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (If using frozen, thaw the berries and drain the liquid before using.  Another good tip, whether fresh or frozen, is to lightly toss them in a few tablespoons of flour before adding to the batter.)

Ingredients for the orange streusel topping:
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a muffin pan with liners and set aside. 

To make the muffins, brown your butter.  Do this by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Keep an eye on the butter while it melts, froths, and begins to crackle.  No worries, that's just the water cooking out of the butter.  The crackling will subside and then the butter will begin to brown fairly quickly.  Remove from heat when butter solids become a medium brown color and it smells slightly nutty.  Immediately pour the butter into a small, heatproof bowl, to prevent the butter from possibly burning in the hot saucepan.  You just browned butter, yay!  

In a medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg, yolk, and almond extract until combined.  Add the browned butter, whisking to combine.  In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and zest.  Add the milk mixture all at once to the flour mixture and stir gently to combine.  Gently but thoroughly fold in the blueberries.  Divide batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. 

To make the topping, place the sugar and orange zest on a cutting board or clean work surface.  Rub together with a bench scraper or the back of a spoon for about three minutes, creating a fragrant orange sugar.  Combine the orange sugar, butter, and flour in a bowl and rub together with fingertips until crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly over the muffin batter (Yes, really use all of it!).

Bake 18-20 minutes, or until golden and crisp, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  These are best eaten the day they're made, but they will last in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker's Cookbook


Baked Nutella Doughnuts, and a Guest Post!

  Soooo, guess who's doing yet another guest post?

  I'm slowing down now, really!

  This one has been in the making for quite some time, and I'm way excited to share these amazing doughnuts with you!  They're seriously one of the favorite things I've made thus far in life.

  I discovered Lizzy from Your Cup of Cake a few weeks ago, and man, can that girl make a cupcake!  Her site is just lovely.  I went on her facebook page to tell her so, and she soon replied with many thanks and told me that she thought my pictures were beautiful!  This was followed by an offer to guest post on her site.

  My response?  Duh!

  So go there now, get your hands (er...eyes?) on these doughnuts, and surf some of her other awesome recipes!


Raspberry Lemon Ginger Granita with Lemon Cream

  You know what's cool?  When you type "Indigo Scones" into Pinterest's searchbar and a bunch of pins that you didn't start yourself show up.

  Or when you Google "Indigo Scones" and your blog is in the top results.

  When you realize that not only are people noticing you, they're saying some very nice things.

  Who gets teary-eyed looking at comments like, "I love your blog!!"?  Me.  I do.  Why?

  Because this time last year, I was running a garishly purple blog with awful pictures, elbow-deep in cinnamon roll dough that refused to rise for me all week.

  Because later on I deleted that blog, with no big hopes of restarting it anytime soon.  Instead, I started following blog after blog, watching how they dealt with things.  But I was always, always making food.

  So I think I've come about as far as one can go in 12 months.  Who knew that within 3 months of angrily deleting my blog, it would come right back?  I guess somebody thought it ought to stick around.

  Anyway, I'm happy to be here.  Really, I'm so so happy.

  And now I'm shutting up, before I get all bleary-eyed again.

  The stars must have aligned for this week's Sunday with Joy.  Amidst the boiling hot dry temperatures of the Midwest, there was granita.

  Now, ice cream certainly has its place, and sorbets are always a treat.  But when it's literally 100 degrees outside, you don't feel much like doing anything, even eating.  Enter this tart, bright, refreshing frozen treat.  If you're thinking this is some disgusting, water-y, wanna-be Slushie, you're wrong.  This is like a really flavorful frozen pink lemonade, just bursting with fresh flavor.  I love the spicy bits of candied ginger throughout, it took this dish from "good" to "awesome."

  Admittedly, the called-for flavor in Joy's book was actually espresso.  Look, I'm not a coffee freak.  I'm just not.  I tolerate the occasional latte or cappuccino, but further than that I have not yet gone.

  So I improvise.  What can I pair with Joy's sweet lemon whipped cream that would be quite stellar?  Oh, what's this?  Leftover fresh raspberries, and extra lemon?

  Done deal.

  Be sure to check out the other group members' posts at the bottom!  I'm hosting the link-up tool today, due to the fact that it's my co-administrator's anniversary.  Be sure to send your well-wishes over to Bakeaholic Mama on her special day!

  Stay cool, my friends.

Raspberry Lemon Ginger Granita with Lemon Cream
Yield: about 8 cups

Ingredients for the granita:
  • 2 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 (6-ounce) container fresh raspberries 
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped candied ginger

Ingredients for the lemon cream:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream 

Combine 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan on the stove. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.  In a glass bread pan or other freezer-friendly glass dish, combine the lemon juice and 2 cups of water. Pour in the simple syrup (boiled sugar/water mixture you made) and stir well.

Using the tines of a fork, coarsely crush the raspberries.  Add the crushed berries and chopped ginger to the lemon mixture and stir well.  Place the pan in the freezer and freeze for 1 hour.  Stir the mixture with a fork and return to freezer.  Allow to rest for another hour, then stir again with a fork.  Allow to rest for 30 minutes, then stir again with a fork.  Continue to do this every 30 minutes, until the mixture is flaky and fully iced over, about 3 to 4 hours.  As the mixture freezes, stirring it often helps to create the flakes and flecks, rather than a solid block.  Once flaked and ready, the dish can be covered in tinfoil and rest in the freezer until ready to serve.

To make the lemon cream, place sugar on a cutting board or clean counter surface.  With a bench press or the back of a spoon, rub the lemon zest into the sugar for about 3 minutes.  This will release essential oils from the zest, creating a more flavorful sugar.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat cream for 1 minute.  Add the scented sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.  Serve cream with the granita in small dishes.  Granita will last up to 3 days in the freezer.

Sources: granita adapted from Sarah's Cucina Bella via Taste for Adventure, cream from Joy the Baker's Cookbook


Parmesan Ciabatta

  Is it just me, or does the phrase "I trust you" seem to be dying out?  I don't mean that trust itself is dying, I mean our ability to say that we trust.

  I'm not talking about looking deeply into somebody's eyes and muttering it while you hand over your heart or whatever, I mean more everyday occurrences.

  Things like handing over your kid to somebody else for the afternoon, lending your car, people borrowing money from you, or letting your little sister cut out the cookies.

  I like it when people say "I trust you," it makes me feel empowered.  When's the last time you said that?  If you're one of those people who doesn't trust easily, I get it, saying it is even harder than doing it.  You can ask your dad to watch the oven, or have your mom take a picture, but you don't always say "I trust you" afterwards, do you?  It's just assumed.  That's nice, too, but sometimes the receiving end doesn't take this so well.

  In short, sometimes there are situations where you should really consider saying it.  Be aware of that, it's much appreciated.

  Well we're on the subject, yeasted bread dough requires a goodly bit of this trust stuff.  However, it doesn't really require being told that.  Because, you know, who talks to bread dough? *cough* me *cough*

  Essentially, you're throwing stuff together in a bowl with yeast and then hoping like heck it rises.  Why does this intimidate people?  Well, because flops happen.  Last summer I had a straight week of yeast flops.  Nothing.  Rose.  It was a nightmare, but you know what?  I learned.  I learned that you should check the date on your yeast jar, that your ingredients should all be at room temperature, that the liquids should be warm but by no means hot, and that instant yeast doesn't really require proofing like active dry yeast does.

  And now, am I an expert?  No.  I'm still picking up the tricks of the trade, but that's why it's fun.  I do my best to depict every step of the process for you whenever I work with yeast, so I think the least you should do is just give it a try!  Once you've discovered how to gauge the right texture, the best place to let your dough rise, and so on, it just gets easier.

  Oh, and this ciabatta?  It's amazing.  No joke.  It never lasts more than two days here.  I love this bread when it's come out of the oven and just cooled to room temp, the cheese is still slightly melty and the air pockets are moist.  It's also amazing cold and slathered in butter.

  If you're looking for a trustworthy bread dough, then this is as good a place to start as any.

Parmesan Ciabatta
Yield: 2 large loaves

Ingredients for the biga (AKA the starter):
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat, pumpernickel, or rye flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast (AKA Bread Machine's yeast)

Ingredients for the dough
  • all of the biga (starter)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 4-5 oz. Parmesan (or other) cheese, cut into 1/4-inch dice, plus extra for grating on top


To make the biga, combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix until well blended.  Cover the bowl, and leave it at cool room temperature (68-70 degrees F) for 12-20 hours, until the biga is very bubbly.

To make the dough, mix the biga and the remaining dough ingredients, except for the cheese, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed just until a shaggy dough begins to form.  Switch to the dough hook and continue kneading on low speed for 6-8 minutes, until the dough is soft and only slightly sticky.  Add additional water or flour as necessary, a tablespoon at a time.

Mix in the cheese; don’t worry if some pieces pop out.  I usually knead them in by hand.

Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Gently punch down the dough once with your fist to deflate and turn out onto a well-floured surface.  Divide the dough into two pieces and shape into two long loaves, about 12 x 4 inches each.

Place the loaves onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Cover the loaves with well-greased plastic wrap and allow them to rise for 45 minutes up to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and sprinkle with additional grated cheese (I used mozzarella on top, which melts and browns a lot easier than a hard cheese like Parmesan, but it still tasted awesome!).  Once the oven is preheated, bake the loaves for 22-26 minutes, or until the tops of the loaves are golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

Sources: adapted from Annie's Eats, who adapted it from Amber's Delectable Delights, originally adapted from King Arthur Flour


Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheese Whoopie Pies

  Hello lovely people!

  I'm excited to say that I'm guest posting on my friend Tiffany's blog today, A Clove of Garlic, A Pinch of Salt!  Tiffany is a sweet lady that I've just recently gotten to know, and you should definitely check out her blog, and not just because I'm there today!  Her posts always make me smile, and her photography can be described in two words: warm and inviting.

  Check out the whoopie pies I whipped up especially for the occasion!  See you there.


Bacon Zucchini Potato Pancakes

  A challenge, I like a challenge.  Generally, if I'm scared of doing something, it means that I should just do it.

  You know that adrenaline charge you get when you finally do that thing that once scared the crap out of you?  Yeah, it's good.  However, if that thing is really life-threatening, or involves zucchini, it's a no-go.

  There are some foods that, as a kid, I would just shove around on my plate while I watched everyone else push aside their finished meals and consume dessert.  I was a strangely picky eater.  I hated (and still haven't retried...) tofu, wouldn't consume any kind of soup, and shuddered when my mother put zucchini pie on the table.

  Just one bite, you might like it!  Gooey, cheesy, mushy pie filled with huge slices of bitter zucchini?  Not a chance.

  This is why Sundays with Joy is really good for me.  Once in a while, it will present a challenge.  So far it's usually been just new stuff to try, but this is the first challenge where a disliked food from my past came up.

  I considered passing it by, and just using more potato, I really did!  But what does that make me?  A coward.  A zucchini coward.  So I pulled on my big girl pants and cooked some bacon.  Because if anything can tempt me to swallow zucchini, it's bacon.

  And you know...I liked it.  I had five of these little suckers.  With a mound of sour cream and generous sprinklings of paprika and cumin, it's a lot more than just bearable.  Crisp on the outside, with a cheesy, chewy interior, this dish is all sorts of awesome.

  This is also my first dinner post!  I actually cook quite a bit, and dinner has been served by yours truly on more than one occasion.  But, when you've got four or five hungry faces staring you down, it's hard to get halfway-decent pictures.  In fading daylight, no less.  And when it comes to cooking, I'm hopeless at following or sometimes even using recipes.  So I don't see the point in typing up a recipe with "a dash of this and a bit of that" interspersed thorughout.  All I know is that it gets made, devoured, and, more often than not, praised.  And that's good enough for me.

  Please take note that I've adapted this recipe from Joy the Baker's Cookbook, and threw in what I deemed necessary to help slither grated zucchini down my unwilling throat.

  Get your fork into these fancified hushpuppies!

Bacon Zucchini Potato Pancakes
Yield: about 12-16 pancakes

  • 10 bacon slices (I used turkey, to keep things on the lighter side) 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely-diced yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups grated (and unpeeled) zucchini
  • 2 cups peeled and grated potato
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Sour cream or crème fraîche, for serving

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and lay down the bacon in a single layer.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Place in the oven and cook until crisp and cooked through, about 13-15 minutes (If using turkey bacon keep a watchful eye on the time, as it tends to cook faster.).  Remove to a cutting board and allow to cool.  Lower oven temperature to 200 degrees F.

Place zucchini and potato in a colander over a medium bowl.  Let sit for 10 minutes.

In a medium-sized saute pan over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add onions.  Cook until onion is fragrant and translucent, then add the garlic.  Cook for 1 more minute, then place onions and garlic in a small bowl.  Chop the cooled bacon into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl with the onions and garlic.

After 10 minutes, press down on the potato and zucchini with a clean towel, squeezing out excess water.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs.  Whisk in the flour, baking powder, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Add the cooked onion and bacon mixture, Parmesan, zucchini, and potato and stir until well combined.

In the medium saute pan used to cook the onions, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  When oil is ready, drop the batter in by rounded tablespoonfuls.  Flatten gently into a disk with a fork or the corner of a thin spatula (pancake turner).  Cook for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly crisped (Note: as the oil gets hotter, it will take less time for the pancakes to cook.  Watch how much they brown, and reduce heat if necessary.).  Flip and cook for another 2 minutes or until golden.  Place the completed pancakes on an oven-safe plate as you cook and keep warm in the 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.

Serve with sour cream or crème fraîche, paprika, and ground cumin.  These are best served immediately, but they can be cooked and kept in an airtight container in the fridge.  Reheat in a lightly greased saute pan the next day.

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker's Cookbook


Get Your Ice Cream On

  Hi.  So I've been on the computer a lot.  And when I'm not on there, I'm in the kitchen.  Also, I've been writing guest posts for people.  So when I do bake stuff...it gets e-mailed off.  Don't worry, I'll let you know when and where they come up!  There are recipes you won't want to miss.

  P.S. On a more pancake-related note, my Brown Butter Dutch Baby was featured on Yummly!  You should really check out the other posts there, I'm kinda sorta lusting after the Caramel Apple Cloud Pancake.

  In the meantime, I hope you've been celebrating National Ice Cream Month in true form!  And if you had no idea that this was National Ice Cream Month...well that's what I'm here for.

  Are you a food picker?  Never enough chunks in the ice cream for your liking?  You should get Joy the Baker's cookbook and treat yourself to some Strawberry Double Cookie Dough Ice Cream.  It's for real.

  It's hot, right?  Who makes pie in 90-degree weather? *cough* me *cough* But I get it, when you want pie...you want pie.  And if you happen to be craving a classic Reese's combo, then might I recommend this Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pie

  Or, if you're not feeling up to doing all that assembly, there are some simple recipes for Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ice Cream included!

  Christmas in July.  Why not?  This Peppermint Semifreddo is creamy, rich, and just plain awesome when paired with warm chocolate sauce.  However, if peppermint is causing you to pre-stress about Christmas shopping...that's ok!  Try out some other flavors, such as lemon, vanilla bean, coffee, butterscotch, amaretto, or caramel, to name a few!  Just invite me over.

  I'm definitely the girl who will put one of everything on her sundae.  How is it I've only been to Coldstone once in my life?  I love me some toppings!  Hot Fudge Sauce and Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce are in the archives, and they're calling your name. (I really need to start working with some more recipes!  A girl can't live on fudge and caramel alone...right?)

  If you're feeling adventurous and are in need of an ice cream cone that isn't reminiscent of cardboard, try your hand at these Chocolate Marshmallow Cones!

  And last but not least, my favorite ice cream that I've made yet, Chocolate-Covered Toasted Coconut Macaroon Ice Cream.  We're talking about a frozen coconut milk base infused with chunks of chewy, chocolate-covered toasted coconut macaroons.  I don't know how you could possibly ask for anything more.

  So get out there!  Eat ice cream, don't drop your cones, and ask for one of everything.


Chocolate-Covered Toasted Coconut Macaroon Ice Cream

  Here's a challenge, I've got 15 days to learn how to cope without gluten.  No, I'm not intolerant (thank heavens), but guess who's got another catering job?  This girl.  I'm smacking post-its on the desk, creating my own business cards (say whaaat?), researching flour, desperately pinning any gluten-less appetizer ideas, trying to keep up with the dishes and food that my ill mother isn't able to deal with, and shoveling s'mores brownies into my face.

  And yet, I find time for Sundays with Joy, and this blog.  I even put a creative-ish twist on this week's recipe.

  I guess that means I like you guys or something.

  And I do like you, I really do!  But, I did majorly procrastinate on this assignment until like two days ago.  My sainted father stopped at an Asian grocery store to pick up my coconut milk, and I blame the heat and disorderliness of trying text grocery lists for his forgetting the coconut oil.

  So, there was no homemade coconut magic shell for my ice cream.  Boo.  But, the ice cream itself quite made up for the lack of it.

  I've tried a couple macaroon recipes, and while both tasted great, they were a pain.  Both times I ended up meticulously peeling off the runny cooked egg whites that had formed an unsightly ring around the cookies.  I was pretty sure I'd just never make them right.
  But, lo and behold, Joy's macaroon recipe came out of nowhere.  Seriously, I was searching her site for something completely different, when that page came up and inspiration hit.  I knew what I wanted to do with my ice cream.

  When I first read the title in Joy's book, everything seemed to scream, "Score!!"  But as I perused the ingredients, my heart sank a little bit.  But just a little!  You see, when I read the title Chocolate Covered Coconut Macaroon Ice Cream, I was envisioning creamy vanilla ice cream filled with chunks of frozen, chewy chocolate-covered macaroons.  So you can imagine my brief disappointment in finding the base to be made up of nothing more than coconut milk and sugar, later mixed with some toasted coconut.  The chocolate topping seemed to be its only saving grace.

  To anyone else, of course that sounds amazing!  But I had a vision, and I wasn't going to give that up; not when I'd already lost my coconut oil. 

   So, while making a pie for a gathering with friends, I mixed up the macaroons.  And, incidentally, the recipe was spot-on.  Definitely the best I've made yet!  However, the macaroons screwed up my timing, and the pie seemed to take forever because of it.  But I diligently tore the sticky cookies apart, and drizzled them with chocolate.  I let them set in the freezer while I stuck my coconut milk mixture in the ice cream maker (And, you know I couldn't resist adding just a dash of my rummy vanilla extract!  It really did seem too plain.).  I was quite crabby by then, and was mumbling to myself that the extra step I was taking had better be worth it. 

  I later tried my first spoonful after the photoshoot.  And oh, my friends, it was worth it.  This recipe is coconut to the core, and only gets better as it starts to melt.  The delicate crunch of smooth chocolate as you bite into a just-thawed macaroon chunk, the softness of the ice cream as it puddles...it's gorgeous.

  If you wish to try the coconut magic shell, I definitely recommend the purchase of Joy's book!  Oh, and thanks for letting me yab.  Then again, you don't really have a choice, do you? 

Chocolate-Covered Toasted Coconut Macaroon Ice Cream
Yield:1 quart

Ingredients for the ice cream:
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk
  • Scant 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Dash of pure vanilla extract

Ingredients for the macaroons:
  • 6 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 large egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

To prepare the ice cream, in a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk and sugar.  Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Place milk mixture in a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Put in the refrigerator and allow to cool completely (Overnight is preferable.  When you remove the chilled mixture from the fridge later, don't be disconcerted if you find an icy layer of sorts on top.  Just leave it, and pour it all into the ice cream maker.)

While the milk mixture chills, prepare your macaroons.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  On a separate, unlined sheet, spread the coconut out into an even layer and place in the oven.  Allow to cook, stirring every 4-5 minutes, until evenly browned (about 10-15 minutes total).  Remove from the oven and scrape coconut into a separate bowl, allow to cool. (Be sure to leave the oven on.)

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and salt on medium speed until they become white, very foamy, and begin to stiffen.  With the mixer on medium-high speed, add the sugar in 3 parts, whipping well after each addition.  Continue to whip until the egg whites hold stiff, glossy peaks.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the toasted coconut.

Drop a teaspoon of the mixture onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving 1-2 inches around each cookie.  Place in the oven (still at 350 degrees F) and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the outsides are golden brown but the insides are still moist.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. 

Once cool, move onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Break each cookie into 2-3 bite-sized pieces.  In a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water (be sure the bowl does not touch the water, and don't let the water boil), melt the chocolate.  Allow to melt until just a few discernible chunks are left.  Remove from heat and stir until smooth.  Grab a rubber spatula and drizzle the bowl of chocolate evenly over the torn-up macaroons on the baking sheet.  Place in the freezer to set.

Once the milk mixture is chilled, remove from the refrigerator and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Once it reaches the consistency of soft-serve frozen yogurt, it's done.  Place in a freezer-safe container.  Remove the macaroons from the freezer and quickly break up any chunks stuck together by chocolate.  Fold the macaroon bits into the ice cream, then place in the freezer to harden.  Once hardened, serve the ice cream in scoops, or as desired (I found that it froze rather hard, so I recommend letting it sit at room temperature for a few minutes, so it's easier to scoop.).

Sources: ice cream adapted from Joy the Baker's Cookbook, macaroons adapted from Joy the Baker as well


Family Vacation

  I mentioned the fact that I was on vacation last weekend, and I thought it only fair that I share a bit of it with you!  We went way north to stay in an adorable cottage right by Lake Superior. 

  It was a bit of a hike, but entirely worth it.  We stopped for lunch, and like any bunch of mature young ladies would do, raided the machines at the Chinese buffet.  

  This is my sister Carol, she's gonna be a famous movie director someday.  You just watch.  She's already got her own logo going, and, ya know, she's filming her own movie this summer.  That she wrote and stuff. (Little proud here...just a little.)

  So anyway, the cottage.  We got there!

  I was fond of the "backyard."  Take a walk out the back door, across the back porch, down these few wooden steps, and then it's all rocks and Lake Superior.

  And it was gorgeous.  We clambered much on these miniature cliffs, dipping our toes in the icy cold water.  Yeah, it gets all the way up to the 30's in the summer.  Yeesh.

  It was a lovely breakfast spot.  I miss this dearly. 

  Good morning large boat.

  Because we're crazy, my sisters and I got up at 4:30 the next day to watch the sunrise.  Worth it.

  The kitchen, was awesome.  I loved it, in all its tiny glory.

  Good thing I liked it, because I was the one making breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Interested in the menu plan?  Alrighty!

Day 1:
Dinner the day we got there- Creamy White Chicken Artichoke Lasgana
Day 2:
Dinner- Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese, salad, crusty bread
Day 3:
Lunch- leftovers
Dinner- Pizza with friends!  And cookies, naturally. 

  It was a weekend full of naps, books, dawdling by the lake, food, touring tugboats, watching ships, and Go Fish.  It was beautiful.

  We topped it off by stopping at a bridge on the way home that raises and lowers itself to accommodate the tall things that must get through.

  Yep, I'm pretty smitten with this place.