lemon almond coconut macaroons | foodloveswriting.com

Edit: I wrote this post before the Newtown tragedy Friday afternoon, but, reading back over it now, I’m struck by how much I need the reminder all over again—to look for the good in people helping, praying, loving; to recognize the darkness that brings murder and heartbreak and how it is so not at all the voice of Light. It feels wrong not to acknowledge the pain that the affected families of children and teachers are facing today. We wish we could do more. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Newtown.

Some days, I’m overwhelmed by the lack of love in the world: the snubbing, the name-calling, the pushing, the overlooking, the thoughtlessness human beings show to one another.

For as many of you as relate to a genuine curiosity and interest in other people like I mentioned in the last post, there are others who don’t, who never turn their eyes outward, who come to the party and talk but never listen, who sit near you at a table and stare sullenly ahead, who learn your name and job title and put you into a box marked Understood.

I’d like to throw all such offenders into a Them box, one decidedly Not-Me, but then the thought flashes through my mind, while I sit across from strangers at a car dealership this past week, that I should try to talk to them, show some kindness, and I don’t; I share dinner with a friend and know I could encourage him, and, instead, I’m quiet; we run into friends, and, instead of entering into their lives, I’m anxious to get back to work; I go through entire days of regular life with my husband without once stopping to consider and tell him how good I know he is to me.

lemon almond coconut macaroons | foodloveswriting.com

And other days, I’m overwhelmed by the love there is in the world. Sonja and Alex from A Couple Cooks go to Cambodia and partner with the Center for Global Impact to create a a cookbook that benefits at-risk young women in Cambodia. Nicole Gulotta starts The Giving Table to find a way to do good with food. Stephanie May writes true words about how vulnerability goes hand in hand with love. Strangers let me go in front of them in line at the grocery store. Tim lets me cry on his shoulder while we watch Parenthood’s winter finale.

lemon almond coconut macaroons | foodloveswriting.com

This is life, pain and joy smashed up against each other, “the holding pain and heartbreak in one hand and tickling your kid and laughing in your deepest gut in the other,” the surreal goodness of self-employed newlywed life mixed with the hard truth that some people won’t like you in it (sometimes, for it).

What it makes me think is, partly, that this life is not perfect (and not all there is); partly, that all things are complicated (again); and, mostly, that alongside grief there is comfort, and alongside hard things there are good.

lemon almond coconut macaroons | foodloveswriting.com

Maybe the key is learning how to count the good things heavier, learning how to give them more weight.

I’ll start—by telling you about these lemon almond coconut macaroons, baked during a few quiet hours home alone on Sunday afternoon, just a simple little riff on the version we’ve made many times before. When the last tray of them turned golden, the final momentary drops of daylight fading fast, I placed them on a cutting board in the dining room, and Tim walked in the kitchen door, back from watching football, and he ate one and we sat on the sofa and there was nothing left for us to have to do all day. It was a good moment, the kind Tim’s always saying we should comment on, so we remember.

Lemon Almond Coconut Macaroons
Makes around 30 to 40 cookies

I looked at these macaroons as a sort of experiment: Can one make macaroons without all coconut? I am happy to tell you yes—I substituted 2 cups of almond flour for part of the original coconut amount, and this recipe still turned out great. The centers of the macaroons weren’t as crisp, kind of chewy instead, but the overall feel was the same. And the bright lemon flavor is quite nice.

Ingredients:
1 cup egg whites (from around 8 eggs)
2 cups coconut palm sugar (or other sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
2 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 cup einkorn flour (or other flour)
Zest from one lemon
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Zest from one lemon

Directions:
In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, mix together the egg whites, sugar, salt, honey, coconut, almond flour, einkorn flour and lemon zest. Stir constantly as the mixture combines, scraping the bottom as you do. Keep this up until the mixture just begins to scorch at the bottom.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in almond extract and lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature (this is the perfect point to refrigerate the mixture for later, if you like: it can be chilled for a week or frozen up to two months).

To bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and scoop dough into little rounds on the sheets. I like to use my cookie-dough-scooper so I get uniform sizes, but we have free-formed before in order to make more mini macaroons, which are great for parties! Bake for 18-20 minutes, until deep golden brown. Cool completely.

Cooksnaps
Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. sara

    you are such a beautiful writer, i love reading your thoughts. I agree on so many levels – especially trying to weigh the good and positive differently than than discouraging and the sad. Life is a big thing. Relationships are big things. It’s all a lot to take in sometimes. Thanks for being great.

  2. Felicia @ Dish by Dish

    Shanna, this is another remarkably bookmark-able post.

    Not only in light of Friday’s school shooting, but also because we’re always in need of a reminder to count the small blessings we have, which are dusted across our days. There’s a necessity for us to be shaken up once in a while and have the goodness in our lives highlighted blatantly for us to see, and realize that for all the bad in the world, there is still goodness shining like gold in the dirt.

    And of course, the reminder that while we’re lucky to be able to thank god and count the blessed things we have in our lives, we should also strive to be the ones who light up the lives of others, to be that little sparkle for our colleagues on a dull, blue Monday, or be the ringing laughter that lifts the atmosphere at home with the family.

    Hoping you have a beautiful week, and are enjoying the festive season!

    btw, these macaroons looks swooningly beautiful!

    love from buenos aires,
    felicia

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Felicia, I just saw a quote pinned on Pinterest that said something to the effect of, When people only come to you when they need you, give thanks that they remember you as a source of light in their lives. In other words, exactly what you wrote in that third paragraph and exactly what I need to hear today. Thank you for the reminder that not only can we notice light, we can be it. Yes.

  3. Sonja

    This is a beautiful post, Shanna. Like Nicole, we’re honored to be mentioned. I read this post prior to Friday’s events — at the time, I was struck by the phrase “This is life, pain and joy smashed up against each other”. Such truth in that — and now, even more so in light of what has happened. I can only hope that joy can come in time for those now experiencing the pain. Thank you for your kind words.

  4. Pingback: Our Daily Bread at Le Pain Quotidien « Cooking up a Storm, Dish by Dish :: Felicia Lim

  5. sarah

    Lovely post. I tend to keep to myself most days, too, which I don’t like. Reaching out on a small scale is always the most difficult: the crabby neighbor, the rude clerk, the weird neighbor kid. Thanks for the reminder to step out, do something.

  6. Pingback: Oven Fries with Lemony Green Dressing + Gruyere | Food Loves Writing

  7. Pingback: chocolate + coconut macaroons | morestomach

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