Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"12 Days of Christmas", Day 9- Chanukah & Coconut Recipes

May the lights of Chanukah usher in a better world for all humankind. ~ Author Unknown

As my “12 Days of Christmas” continue, I would be remised, if I did not mention “Happy Chanukah” to all of my Jewish readers and friends. During the Jewish Holiday of Chanukah, many families invite friends and relatives over to light the Menorah, sing songs, play games with a dreidel (like a top), exchange gifts and share traditional food.

Chanukah or the "Festival of Lights" is celebrated for eight days. The name came from a Hebrew word which means “to dedicate,” and during Chanukah, the Jewish people honor the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the “Miracle of The Oil”. The Talmud, which is a book of the Jewish faith, says that after the Temple had been won over, only a day’s worth of consecrated olive oil was left to fuel the eternal flame. Miraculously, it remained burning for eight days, which was just enough time to make more of the oil.

Because of the role that the oil played in the Chanukah miracle, it is customary to serve foods fried in oil. Some traditional Chanukah foods are Latkes, fried potato pancakes, and different varieties of deep fried doughnuts. It is also customary to eat dairy foods on Chanukah, in commemoration of the bravery of Yehudit, who used cheese to defeat the Greek general Holofernes.

So, my recipe for Day 9, of “The 12 Days of Christmas” is “Coconut Macaroons”. A macaroon is a type of light, baked confection, described as either small cakes or meringue-like cookies depending on their consistency. The original macaroon was a small sweet cake consisting largely of ground almonds similar to the Italian Amaretti cookie.

Day 9, Coconut Macaroons
Recipe is courtesy of Ina Garten
14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon good pure vanilla extract
2 extra large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 ° F. Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4 inch diameter ice cream scoop, or two teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve. Yield: 20-22 cookies.

Before I close this post, I would like to share with you another coconut recipe. This is a very simple cake recipe and it looks beautiful on a holiday plate. It can be used for Christmas, Chanukah, or even for your New Years celebration. I call it my “Easy Holiday Wreath Cake.”

Easy Holiday Wreath Cake

1 pkg. (2--layer size) cake mix. White cake is best but can use yellow cake mix.
1 can of Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package of sweetened shredded or flaked coconut
1 big red bow

Follow directions on cake box, then pour into greased, floured bundt pan. I usually use a 10 inch tube pan. You want it to be round to resemble a wreath with a hole in the center. Bake according to directions on the cake box. Cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool for another 15 to 20 minutes on a rack. After cooled then put on a plate and frost with the cream cheese frosting. It is ok if frosting is not perfect. Now you take the shredded coconut in your hand and carefully pat on some of the coconut. Go around the cake and the top as well as the hole in the middle. Cover cake completely with the coconut. Now that the cake is coated, attach your red bow on one side of the cake and now you have an “Easy Holiday Wreath Cake.” It is so moist and sweet due to the coconut. Plus, it is pretty placed on a plate that your guests will be amazed and think you worked on this cake for hours. See attached photo. Enjoy!!!

Thanks to my good friend Lois, for her information about Chanukah.

Till Next Time…………
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