Coconut Balls

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While these lovely little cookies are very easy to make they can be a quick fix before somebody is coming to visit.

Offering their delicious silky texture, coconut flavor nicely balanced with a bit of rum, I can’t imagine a person, young or old, who wouldn’t adore them.

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To prepare them you need:

7 cups (350 grams) sponge fingers, broken into small pieces
3/4 cup (180 mililiters) milk
3/4 cup (70 grams) desiccated coconut
1/2 cup (110 grams) butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
rum/rum essence/rum extract (extract without alcohol is also available)

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1. Pour milk into a pot and warm up over medium heat. Stir in flour while mixing constantly. Bring to boil and cook for about 3 minutes until the mixture is dense in texture. When finished, add coconut and let cool.

2. Beat butter together with sugar until creamy and fluffy. Mix together with the cooled coconut mixture. Add finely ground sponge fingers and as much rum/rum essence as you wish. This is the phase where there’s no other way but using your hands. So keep kneading until you form a huge ball without cracks (If cracks appear that means that the mixture is too dry. So keep adding milk little by little until the surface is nicely smooth).

3. And the best thing is that you don’t bake these balls, so just take a bit of the mixture, form a small ball with your hands (you can place a roasted nut in the center, but then you better inform those who will eat it), roll it in coconut, place in a tiny cupcake case and that’s it.

Enjoy!

My Mom’s Magical Garden Sneak Peek

My Mom is a hugely inspirational person. She is an avid gardener, talented painter and the best Mom. I love her very much.

It is so much fun to be around her.

There are loads of wonderful stories about her I could share and I surely will.

Today I just took a sneak peak into her gorgeous flower garden. More pics of her exceptional magic powers coming later…

my mom's magical garden sneak peak V

These smell really sweet, they lift my spirits indeed.

And yes, you are right, that is a rabbit in the back. Though Mom wanted to keep her garden for the flowers only, it is slowly transforming into a fairy land, which I absolutely adore.

my mom's magical garden sneak peak I

Very romantic flowers.

my mom's magical garden sneak peak II

… “in da groove”.

my mom's magical garden sneak peak III

… “feelin’ funky”.

my mom's magical garden IV

… “go, bradaz, go”.

The Napkin Craft

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You can use this easy method to decorate just about anything.

My Mum’s friend decorated a small wooden box from a hobby shop and an instant coffee glass.

All you need is the upper ply of a nice napkin (if you don’t want to cover the whole object you can cut out the design in advance using short, sharp scissors). Dot a couple of drops of glue on to the item to be decorated and place the napkin on the item. Using a soft paint brush, paint applique glue over the napkin. Start from the center and work your way out to the outer edges. Try to work smooth and avoid ripping the napkin.
Let dry.

Stunning Beauty! And so much fun!

I love it!

Hmmmm, my plain white flower pots can start looking forward to a very bright future!

Tall Coconut Macarons

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I love cooking and baking. Of those two baking is my true passion. To me, baking is a real art. A am deeply fascinated by the process of sweets making. And to tell you the truth – I LOOOOOVE to eat them, they lift me up to heaven. I will deliver these beauty pieces very often I suppose.

Today a prepared a yummy piece called the Tall Coconut Macarons. These are more interesting than the usual simple coconut macarons (though I love those too). My tall ones stand on a tasty cookie platform offering a delicious surprise inside. Though it takes a bit longer to prepare them (so being in a patient mood is highly recommended), they totally are worth all the effort.

Heaven in mouth for coconut lovers.

These wonderful cookies consist of the Linzer cookie platform, vanilla custard filling, raspberry jam, coconut macaron shells and chocolate icing.

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1. For the Linzer cookie platform you need:

3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour

1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter

1 cup (115 grams) confectioner’s sugar

1 egg

lemon zest

raspberry jam (on top)

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Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C).

Place all the ingredients in one bowl (except for the jam) and mix them together. I use my hands to do this because I love to touch things and feel them in my hands. During the first moments, the dough doesn’t seem to come together. But don’t worry, it takes about 5-8 minutes’ work for the magic to happen. In the end the dough should hold together and be mildly firm.

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Roll out the dough with floured rolling pin to 1/8-inch (3 millimeters) thickness on a well floured surface. Cut out disks with a cutter (I used 2-inch/5 centimeters cutter in diameter but a slightly bigger one could be even more appropriate). Re-roll scraps and repeat.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the cookies on the sheet and put in the center of oven.
Bake for 12 minutes or until edges turn golden. Then let cool.

While the cookies are cooling place the raspberry jam in a small saucepan and heat gently until it has thickened slightly. Let cool.

2. For the vanilla custard you need:

3/4 cup (180 milliliters) milk
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter

Divide milk in two same amounts – one in a pot and the other one in a bowl. Heat the milk in the pot over low heat. Mix the milk in the bowl with the sugar, cornstarch, salt and cocoa powder. Add to scalded milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Continue cooking vanilla pudding for about 5 minutes to thoroughly cook cornstarch. Stir in vanilla extract and let cool.

When cooled, add butter (cut in cubes; the pudding must be really cooled before you do that, otherwise the butter would melt and we don’t need that to happen). Mix thoroughly. I used a hand mixer and it did the job well. The filling should be stiff in the end.

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3. For the coconut macaron shells you need:

2 1/2 cups (300 grams) confectioner’s sugar
6 egg whites
3 1/3 cups (250 grams) desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to 250 F (120 C). The good way is to let the oven cool down after baking the Linzer cookies.

Put egg whites in a metal bowl or a pot. Place the pot over simmering water. Beat the whites with an electric mixer. Remember that you can’t leave this work while in process (not even to answer the door) because the whites might turn into sweet egg white omelet. Gradually add sugar while continuing to whip until stiff peaks form. Finally add coconut BUT stir it in with a spoon (I made a mistake by using coconut and mixer together which turned my kitchen into a coconut covered kingdom, but it was fun).

Now you have a firm mixture. Line a sheet with parchment paper. Drop mixture by heaping teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet (as you can see I used an ice-cream spoon here; dipping the spoon into water makes the mixture slide off easier).

Put the sheet in oven and bake/dry for about 60 minutes until very lightly brown.

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To finish it all, put little bit of jam and custard filling on the Linzer cookie top it with the coconut meringue. Then dip the edges in the butter icing and let in a fridge for at least 3 hours.

4. For the chocolate butter icing you need:

1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
3 3/4 cups (430 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
1-2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons cocoa

Dip the edges of the cookie in chocolate icing (which you can buy prepared already). If you want to make the icing yourself then put the butter in a pot over a very, VERY, very low heat (strong heat ruins your butter) and gradually beat in the sugar, a few spoons at a time. Add milk at various times to help mix well. Finally, stir in cocoa powder. Remove from the stove when all butter has been melted.

Enjoy!

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