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By MARY ALICE HOLT
Wanting to make something special for your Valentine? I suggest you try Rebecca "Becca" Ricks' Coconut Macaroons or Chocolate Toffee Cookies.
I ate myself silly with the macaroons before Christmas, when reporter Robert Villanueva brought some in for the newsroom to share. (I’m not always good at sharing.)
Robert and Becca have been a couple for many years, and I first met her when Robert worked here years ago. I kept calling the cookies "Brown Sugar Meringues," because that’s what I thought they were. They were obviously made with egg whites, so I thought they were meringues. They were light brown, so I assumed they were made with brown sugar. I was really surprised when Becca sent me the recipe.
When I made these for the picture, I made one batch following the recipe and another batch substituting brown sugar for the white sugar and adding some chopped macadamia nuts, which I happened to have on hand.
Both batches of macaroons were great. You could make all kinds of interesting substitutions or additions with this — folding in dried tropical fruit, or even folding in a few chocolate chips.
Becca insists that the macaroons are best right out of the oven, but I honestly can’t tell the difference. They could be a month old and I would eat them. They’re great.
The Chocolate Toffee Cookies recipe originally was supposed to be chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips, but Becca is a toffee lover, so she experimented with the toffee chips, and the cookies turned out great.
The original recipe was on the back of Reece’s Peanut Butter Chips. Becca says the toffee melts into the cookies so that they are chewy, even when cold.
Mary Alice Holt can be reached at (270) 505-1751, or at email@example.com.
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
1 3 1/2-ounce can (1 1/3 cups) flaked coconut
In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites and vanilla until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold in coconut. Drop by rounded teaspoons two inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 325-degree oven for about 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Makes about 30.
Source: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (1989 edition)
Chocolate Toffee Cookies
1 cup butter (softened)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 bags of Heath toffee chips
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. In a different bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Blend the flour mixture into the butter and sugar mixture. With your hands, work in the toffee chips until well mixed. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly with a fork. Bake in a 350-degree oven for eight to 10 minutes. Cool one minute before removing from cookie sheet.
Makes about 60.