No Rats Included

Note: This comes from something I wrote for work for the 2005-2006 school year. It was part of a memoir/cookbook project I used to do.

When my cousins and I get together, it is always a grand affiar. We see each other a lot, and every time we get together we pick up just where we left off the last time we saw each other. We love to make crazy home movies in which we create our own television shows or funny movies. For the longest time, we filmed an advertisement video for a horrible camp called Camp Hymelick, where they fed the campers onion soup and slices of Ched-O-Bit cheese everyday.

One of the other things we like to do together is cook. Whenever we get into the kitchen we always create something – whether it be a great new food or a horrible mess that we leave behind for someone else to clearn up. We have attempted to make all kinds of things, from pizza to fondue. Most of our creations involve cheese in mass amounts, which we eat without a care in the world and regret it later when we’re all sick to our stomachs from too much cheese.

Another one of the the things we specialize in is dessert. For the most part, I make the dough and my cousins and sister help me cook by eating it as I am going along. Still, this balance works and we soon find that we have a niec batch of cookies to enjoy. A few summers ago (the night we made pizza with tons of cheese), I decided to try an easy looking recupe that I happened to have all the ingredients for. It was for Lime Cookies, and they quickly became one of my cousin Kara’s favorites.

When Kara was visiting me last year [note: this was written in 2005, so by “last year” I mean 2004], she beged me to make her the lime cookies. So around eight o’clock that night we had to go to the supermarket to pick up the ingredients. When we got home, we set to work. However, the lime cookie dough needs to be refrigerated for one hour before the cookies can be baked. Neither of us wanted to wait that long to enjoy something sweet. I suggested that we make my grandmother’s macaroons while we waited for the dough to cool, since they were quick and easy to do. Kara agreed.

We assembled all the ingredients in a big bowl and prepared to add the flour when I spotted a container of cocoa powder in the cabinet. Knowin you could replace flour with cocoa powder in a cake, I figured the same thing would be true in the macaroons. Feeling adventurous, we decided to give it a try. The result: an improvement to an already wonderful recipe.

When we got the end of the batter, we decided (as we often do) to make one giant cookie. We shaped the dough into an oval and placed it into the oven to cook. When it was ready, we left it on the counter to cool and enjoyed the smaller cookies that were already finished. Eventually we were able to cook the lime cookies as well and we forgot about the giant cookie in the kitchen.

When my mother came home that evening, she walked into the kitchen and gasped. My cousin and I looked up from where we were sitting to see what had scared her. It turns out that she had looked at the giant chocolate-and-coconut cookie mound on the counter and thought it was a giant rat! From that day on, Kara and I renamed our created “Rat Cookies.’

Try them and see if you like them as much as Kara and I do. And I promise – there are no rats included.

Rat Cookies

A.K.A. Chocolate Coconut Macaroon

Ingredients
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups coconut
2 tbs. unsweetened cocoa poweder

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix the egg whites until soft peaks form.
3. Add the sugar and mix well.
4. Add the vanilla and cocoa powder and mix until glossy and stiff.
5. Stir in the coconut.
6. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes.
7. Line baking sheets with aluminum foil.
8. Place the macaroons on the foil, keeping them two inches apart.
9. Bake until the tops are browned, about 13 minutes.
10. Rest in the pan for 2 minutes.
11. Cool completely on foil on a wire rack.

If you would like to make the original version, you will need to use 2 tbs. of flour instead of the cocoa powder, and then melt 3 1/2 oz. of bittersweet chocolate. When the macaroons are cool, dip the tops in the chocolate and allow them to set. The chocolate should be hardened before the macaroons are ready to eac (but I won’t tell anyone if you eat them while the chocolate is till melted!).

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