Hi Merlin. It has been a whole year and I still miss you…
Here’s to you.
I took yesterday off of work, and spent the bulk of the day in the kitchen, making sure that there was as little left to do on Thanksgiving as possible.
I cubed up the bread (home-made rosemary-sage bread) for the stuffing and set it out to stale up a little bit.
I peeled and chopped the root vegetables.
And I did some baking – gougères and spiced coconut macaroons.
The gougères are good for breakfast and to snack on throughout the day. I don’t necessarily reserve them for eating with the meal itself.
Bring the milk, butter, salt, and cayenne to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the flour all at once, and mix vigorously with a wooden spatula until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer to a food processor, let cool for 5 minutes, then process for about 5 seconds.
Add the eggs and paprika to the processor, and process for 10 to 15 seconds, until well mixed.
Transfer the choux paste to a mixing bowl, and let cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the grated parmesan and swiss cheese.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. (If you don’t it will be a pain in the but to pry the cooked gougères off of the cookie sheet.) Scoop rounded tablespoons of the gougère dough onto the parchment paper, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 30 minutes, until nicely browned and crisp.
The coconut macaroons are for dessert. Pies are tasty, but too heavy for me for after a meal like Thanksgiving. (My favorite pumpkin pie is the one that my Grandma made. I have the recipe, but I can never get it to come out the way that hers did. Best not to try to replicate perfection and fall short.) Plus I have the makings for a very nice after dinner cheese tray. The macaroons are the perfect little bites of sweetness to round out the day. This is the best (and easiest – no messing around with meringue) macaroon recipe that I have ever tried.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the coconut, sugar, and cardamom in a bowl. Stir in the lightly beaten egg whites and a teaspoon almond extract. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or you will never get your macaroons off of the cookie sheet in one piece). Drop small spoonfuls of the mixture on the parchment paper, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden on the edges.