Thursday, January 8, 2009

End of The Quest

I have a character flaw. Well, to be honest, I have many. But the one I'm addressing today is my tendency to say, "Close enough."

Back when I used to try to sew clothes for myself, everything I made looked homemade because once the garment was complete, I couldn't muster up the energy to go back and pick off the stray threads, remove basting seams, and finish up the raw edges. I used up all my energy to get the stupid blouse, dress, or nightgown done, so I'd look at the pathetic, ugly thing and say, "Close enough."

I'm the same way with housecleaning. I feel I've scored major points just by getting the vacuum out of hibernation and running it around the floor. Is it really necessary to get the hose attachments and suck the dust blanket out of the corners? Who notices that? Close enough!

And, unfortunately, I'm the same way in baking. I love gorgeous "feast for the eyes" cakes and cookies, but I just don't take the time to make my baked goods look perfect. I love the look of intricately iced cookies or lavishly decorated cakes, but honestly, it's just food. If it tastes good, isn't that enough? I don't have the time or patience to spend 2 hours decorating cookies that will be eaten in about 2 minutes.

So, how does this impact my quest to recreate the cookies that I ate over 10 years ago? I've procrastinated, tried several recipes, learned a few things and came up with something that tastes like what I remember. Moist, chocolatey outside with smooth, coconut inside. Not as cloying as a Mounds bar, but still addictive.

What's wrong with that? Nothing, except it doesn't look right. My cookies started out as nice balls, but in the oven they squashed out a bit. It would take a lot more experimenting to figure out how to make the cookies come out round. Lots of chilling of the dough, maybe a stiffer dough, cooking in a mold, ..... oh, well, I'm done. Close enough.

I think theses cookies kind of look like mountain peaks so I named them Coconut Matterhorns. You could opt for the summertime version and leave them plain brown, or go for the snow-capped version and roll them in powdered sugar. Either way they make substantial, delicious cookies. If you try them, let me know if you think they were worth the effort.

Coconut Matterhorns

1 batch of these macaroons, slightly underbaked (about 18 minutes)


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking sod

1- Beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl until well blended.

2- Add corn syrup, egg and vanilla, blending well.

3- In a small bowl combine the flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, blending well.

4- Cover the dough and chill for at least 1 hour, or until firm.

5- Heat oven to 350 deg. F and position rack in the center of the oven. Spray a cookie sheet with baking spray.

6- Using your hands, mold the dough around the macaroons. I used about 1 Tbsp of dough to cover the top and a little less than that, to cover the bottom. Make sure the macaroon is entirely enclosed, and pinch off any excess dough, shaping into as round a shape as possible.

7- Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the dough looses its gloss and just looks set. Remove the sheet from the oven and let the cookies sit on the sheet for an additional 5 minutes.

8- Remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

9- If desired, roll the cooled cookies in powdered sugar.

The cookies will keep well for a week stored airtight at room temperature.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

"I just don't take the time to make my baked goods look perfect."

I'm the saaaaaame way, Lynn - but you've inspired me to work harder to make my baked goods look prettier!! :-)

LyB said...

I usually work way harder on my baked goods than I do the housecleaning! lol! So glad you could find a way to recreate the cookies you remembered, they look delicious. :)

ChefSara said...

there are a few of us "Type A" personalities out here would would LOVE to be able to let things go with "close enough." i think there would be much less stress in my life if i could learn to be happy with close enough...

Anonymous said...

Why should these be perfect balls, they look delicious to me and very tempting. Just call it a monir flaw that makes it more interesting.

Debbie said...

and the cookies look great, I'm going to try them.

Sarah said...

those looks so tasty! i'll have to try them!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Ah my child, your close enough is my beyond perfect. These look like the Matterhorns I need to climb, bring 'em on!!

Eva said...

I'm pretty much the same, Lynn, but with so many interesting things to do in life - how could it be any other way..;-)
I think your cookies look perfect - not sure if I had taken the time to cover already delectable cookies with another dough to make them even better!

NKP said...

I am so bad at housecleaning.. hubby does much of it.
I have a good thing going!
Your cookies are so pretty, I have never had anything like them.

Lien said...

What a great name you gave these beautiful cookies, love it! Looks delicious too. I think your close enough is just plain good.

grace said...

i love all things coconut, and i also really, really appreciate a clever name. your creation is full of win, lynn.

ha. that rhymed. :)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

These look like a very special cookie.

Anonymous said...

Oh, those turned out delicious looking. That is another cookie I want you to make for me for when I come to visit...someday!

Being super obsessive about anything is usually not a healthy thing. I don't think I have to worry about being obsessive about cleaning, that's for sure!
Face it. We are just mentally well adjusted women!

Maria said...

these look perfect to me!

Anonymous said...

I suffer the same! Especially with cleaning or those last cake decorations. I know that perfecting things is fun, but sometimes they are good when they are close enough!

Katie Zeller said...

That's why I never make fussy desserts - if close enough doesn't' work I don't want to try... I look at it as needing freedom for self-expression.
As to the dust... Mine is in an experimental stage, so please, don't disturb it!

CookiePie said...

I think a truly delicious dessert is more memorable than one that looks "perfect" -- and besides, those cookies look fabulous to me! :)

Peabody said...

Those look fantastic. I love me a good coconut anything.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I don't think "close enough" is a character flaw. In fact, I'm trying to be more of a "close enough" person and lean away from perfectionist tendencies. As for the cookies, anything with coconut makes it worthwhile for me. :)

Navita (Gupta) Hakim said...

its the same with me...:(
i try ...but get tired easily..or may be lack of patience..

love the "matterhorns"...:p

whats thw bread baking babes doing this month...wyd love to participate.