Hello from beautiful Oregon! I’m here for the next few days road tripping through the state, and I have big plans of drinking lots of beer + coffee and buying all the cheese at Face Rock Creamery! Yesterday, we went fishing on the Umpqua River, and I caught 20 fish! I even stuck my thumb into a few of their mouths, because apparently this stiffens them up and keeps them from flopping everywhere. I wasn’t totally down with this method of fish-holding, or any method for that matter, but I did it for the ‘gram. The Umpqua River might be one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, so for most of the journey, I sat back on the boat and admired the view. I saw at least a dozen giant birds, including some bald eagles which you can recognize because they have white butts.
Today, I head over to the coast, and apparently there will be wine tasting involved! I’m also in desperate search for some good coffee, because being in the middle of nowhere Oregon = little to no coffee options, and I’m dying of caffeine headaches. On the other hand, I found a legit drive-up ice cream spot today, which I honestly didn’t even know existed anymore, and they had cherry-dipped cones (a.k.a. the way to my heart). I vote that Reno gets an ice cream drive-up that specializes purely in cherry-dipped cones. I will invest actual money into this enterprise. Continue reading “Caramel + Coconut Nanaimo Bars”→
To know me and my dad is to know that we are utterly obsessed with coconut. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when I planned a family BBQ and somehow got talked into making an entire coconut cream pie. The conversation went something along the lines of –
Me: “So we’ll have tri-tip, carrot salad, and I’ll make a pie. What else would be good with this? Some asparagus?”
Every once in a while, I actually get my life together enough to provide a seasonal recipe before the season actually ends. Most of time, I end up making the recipe, taking about half the pictures, running out of time to finish taking the rest of the pictures, and decide I will keep them around until the next year when I can post that recipe. And by the time the season rolls around again, I a. forget about it completely, b. have decided the recipe needs to be improved, or c. hate the pictures I’ve taken from the year before.
And the cycle continues.
But! This year, I was actually responsible and got it all done, and now we have a springtime cookie recipe! Eeee! Also, not even kidding, I was able to get a couple of branches of the springtime cherry trees flowering a mere two. days. before they turned into dark purple leaves. It was meant to be.
These cherry macaroons were loosely inspired by smitten kitchen’s raspberry macaroons, which are 10/10, but I was looking for something a little different that had more of a “spring” vibe. I always think of cherries when spring rolls around, because the cherry trees bloom like crazy around Reno once it hits March. We also have these absolutely gorgeous trees that bloom little white flowers (as seen in a post from last year), and I absolutely loooove them, except I just learnt a dirty little nickname for them (prompted by a certain smell they give off) that I will keep off my family-friendly PG-13 blog, but let’s just say it rhymes with sum-trees *insert blushing-face emoji*. If you really need more information, there’s a very entertaining article about it here.
The more you know. I guess that’s what they mean when they say “Spring is in the air!”. Thanks internet!
But anyways, is this really a topic we should be discussing in the presence of innocent, delicate, spring-time cookies that summon images of blossoms, bunnies, and little chickies popping out of eggs? No. But it is me after all, and this is just the kind of thing we can expect on SSL.
One of my favorite aspects of these macaroons is that they are not quite as crackly as most macaroons I have tried in the past. Luckily for us, Cooks Illustrated solved all of our coconuty-problems with one simple solution: just puree the coconut in a food processor! Yay! Also, I loooove that I don’t have to whip egg whites for 20 minutes, which is traditional in most macaroon recipes. so. much. easier!
Lastly, while I think this is the perfect recipe for Easter-fun, I also just discovered that this is a kosher-approved cookie for my friendies celebrating Passover! Macaroons for all!
Oh wait, P.S. I highly recommend drizzling some of these with chocolate and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios. I used semi-sweet, but white chocolate or milk chocolate would work too!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the Day: The Next Time Around by Little Joy
Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like nothing goes right?
And then you realize that literally everything you’re sad about is just a bunch of first-world problems, and nothing is actually wrong and you’re just being a princess about everything…?
Because I had that kind of day on Friday.
First, I woke up really early (at like, 6 a.m. On my day only day off…) and could literally hear my next door neighbor’s TV. Please note: I live in a house. Not an apartment. Not a condo. A house. And I could hear their TV. Because only at 6 a.m. do I have superpower hearing. After laying in bed staring at the wall for a few hours, I got up and *attempted* to do my hair and makeup, but no matter what I did, I looked like a hot mess. After about 1 1/2 hours, I finally was able to make myself look how I do every single day. It just took twice as long.. I finally decided that I would grab lunch and watch movies. But then I dropped my lunch on the ground 1 bite in (and ate it anyways because at that point, I had no limits). I also couldn’t find half of my Disney movies. So to solve that problem, I had a meltdown.
I am almost 20 years old and I cried over not being able to find my Disney movies.
Eventually, I decided to go grab a coffee, talked to a cute barista, and ended up at an 80’s party wearing a Risky Business costume.
The day ended up pretty great, and I realized that I just needed to take a deep breath, and understand that my problems were really not that bad.
Because they weren’t.
But they were kind of funny and now you can mock me a little.
Plus, I had these sitting in my fridge, so how bad could my day really be?
Since I know most of you are probably thinking, “What’s a nanaimo bar”, here’s a brief history:
The Nanaimo bar was invented in none other than Nanaimo, Canada. That’s about all I know. The actual dessert is made up of 3 layers. The first is a no-bake crust made with chocolate, nuts, coconut, and graham crumbs. The second layer is traditionally a custard buttercream, and it’s topped with chocolate.
But since it’s Girl Scout Cookie season (because obviously that’s a season), I decided to make them using Somoa cookies. Which already have chocolate, coconut, and a graham-like texture.
Plus caramel which is never a bad thing.
As previously stated, traditional nanaimo bars have a custard buttercream filling. Which is really good, but really rich, and really sweet. To make it a little less dense, I decided to make a swiss meringue buttercream filling. And add caramel to enhance the Somoa theme.
Result = something you need to make now.
Note: Please don’t be scared. 3 layers sounds like a lot. Swiss meringue buttercream sounds intimidating. SO NOT. These are very easy and don’t require that much time. Be brave, bakers.
1/2 c. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 c. Samoa cookie crumbs, crushed + 1/2 c. chopped roughly for garnish
1/2 c. almonds, chopped
1 c. sweetened coconut
3 egg whites
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. caramel sauce, homemade or store bought
4 oz. baking chocolate
1 Tbs. butter
For the bottom layer, melt the butter, sugar, and cocoa on the stove over medium heat. When it’s combined, mix 1/4 cup of the mixture into the egg to temper. Add egg mixture back to the chocolate mixture and stir over the heat until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in Samoa crumbs, almonds, and coconut. Press into a greased 8×8 or 8×11 baking pan. Freeze for 20-40 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1-2 inches of water in a medium sized sauce pan on the stove until it starts to simmer. In a heat-proof mixing bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar. Place mixing bowl on top of the sauce pan and stir the mixture until a candy thermometer reads 140-150* F. Remove from heat, and whip egg mixture until stiff peaks form and mixture is cooled. Add butter, 1-2 Tbs. at a time until frosting forms. If it appears curdled, keep beating until it forms, or add butter 1-2 Tbs. at a time until the texture is creamy and smooth. Add vanilla extract, salt, and caramel sauce. Pour mixture and spread evenly over the crust layer. Refrigerate until buttercream is firm.
While the buttercream firms, heat the chocolate and butter over low heat until melted. Spread chocolate evenly over firm buttercream layer. Sprinkle chopped cookies over the top, and refrigerate until chocolate is hardened. Cut into bars, or bite sized pieces. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Makes 16 large bars or 64 bite sized pieces.
I hope you all had a wonderful Sunday. I laid in bed until 11, went to my favorite coffee place, and watched Friends for hours.
What did you do?
*Song of the Day: Pedestrian at Best–Courtney Barnett
What do you do when you don’t have any bamboo skewers in your BBQ drawer in your kitchen?
You just make chicken satay without the skewers is what you do.
The moral of this story is that nobody is perfect but you should do what you do anyways.
Like yesterday. I went to the grocery store and got my groceries for the week. I then proceeded to pay at the checkout line, smile at the bag boy, get in my car and drive home. I walked through the door with my bags of groceries, put them away nicely in the fridge and pantry, and went to my bathroom to get a hair tie. It was at that moment that I looked in the mirror and noticed that my (very cute) button down flannel was unbuttoned all the way to the bottom of my bra. My boobs were hanging out. You could see my whole bra.
How long did I walk around like this? Good question. I have NO idea. None. At all.
I like to think that maybe some nice lady at the grocery store would have told me about my fashion faux pas had the whole dilemma happened in the store (as opposed to the car or at home).
I also like to think that if somebody was not that nice, at least I made a few peoples’ days hopefully.
The mystery remains unsolved, but at least I always have chicken satay to make me feel better from embarrassing moments.
Because if coconut peanut sauce doesn’t make you feel better after a rough day, something might be wrong with you.
Or maybe not, but I do question your morality.
Chicken (Serves 2):
1 chicken breast
1/2 c. low fat coconut milk
1/2 tsp. yellow curry powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. siracha
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. ginger, grated
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/3 c. low fat coconut milk
3 Tbs. natural peanut butter*
1/2 tsp. soy sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 Tbs. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. yellow curry powder
*Use natural peanut butter, like the stir kind with the natural oils. The kind made without any sugar. If you look in the ingredients, it will only list peanuts. I promise, it tastes so much better (and it’s better for you!)
Cut chicken into long strips. You want them to be fairly thin.
Place them in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Pour coconut milk over chicken.
Add curry powder, soy sauce, siracha, garlic, ginger, and brown sugar.
Stir together. Wrap with plastic and marinate for 1 hour to overnight.
Once they’re nice and marinated, grill until juices run clear, about 2 minutes per side over medium heat.
While the chicken cooks, combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and cook on medium heat until warmed through.