16 April 2013

homemade sunbutter. bullpen butter?

A couple weeks ago I made my own toasted coconut butter. It's very easy to make in a food processor; it turns into a butter consistency pretty quickly, so there weren't ever any, "oh no! I'm doing it wrong!!!" freak out moments. It was so easy and fun I immediately thought, "what else can I turn into butter?!"

Next up were sunflower seeds. I followed the instructions on the Prudent Baby website except I didn't add any sugar, honey, etc.

I toasted the seeds in a pan on the stove-- not in the oven-- then poured them in the food processor to let it do it's thing. Which took like 10-15 min. I have a really good food processor so my motor did not get hot, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if you needed to give an older (or cheaper) food processor a break to let it cool. The bowl got hot though from the friction of all the spinning and grinding and mixing and processing, but that wasn't a problem. Then I scraped it all into a Mt Olive Pickles jar, and stuck it in the fridge for later. Check out the link for the details. And let me know if you try it. A 1 lb bag of raw sunflower seeds is available at Trader Joes for $1.99 in Raleigh, NC; and it made about 14 oz of sunbutter. Get you some.

I think at my house, sunbutter needs another name. I'm kind of liking bullpen butter. Thoughts?

02 April 2013


Evidently I'm easily inspired to try a new dessert. I have Messianic Jewish family living in Jerusalem, so they participate in all the holy days. I get to learn more about the festivals and what God has told them to do, as well as their traditions that have been added to the celebrations. One of the Passover traditions is eating macaroons. Check out my cousin, Callie's, blog post about Macaroon Madness and shopping for them at the shuk in Jerusalem.

My boys have a Jewish heritage, but as far as I know Jonathan's family does not observe any Jewish traditions. Eliad and I are learning more about his heritage from some children's books I've checked out at the library, from what I'm learning from Callie's first-hand experience, and of course from reading the Old Testament and stories from our various Bible story books. But really, making macaroons had very little to do with anything except, "HEY, macaroons for the Feast of Unleavened Bread?! Great inspiration! I'm doing it!" I've been known to make cheesecake during Shavuot too.

So how about a recipe. I pinned a pretty basic looking macaroon recipe on Pinterest just a day or two before Callie's macaroon blog post. I'm fairly certain it wasn't a coincidence that it popped up on the food & drink category page during Passover. The recipe is from Real Simple. I followed the recipe for the ingredients, but the ice cream scoop suggestion was making HUGE macaroons-- much bigger than I wanted. Instead I used a tablespoon and scooped a good, rounded coconut ball with that. I used insulated baking sheets which require increased baking time. And instead of parchment paper I sprayed my pans with olive oil-- risky, I know. My suggestion if you use a greased pan instead of parchment paper, let the macaroons cool very briefly after taking them out of the oven, then move them with a spatula. They do not stick to the pan when hot, but they will stick if they're left to cool very long on the pan. Also, this recipe is pretty forgiving with separating eggs. With my third egg, the whole thing plopped into the bowl and the yolk immediately broke. Booo. I scooped out most of the yolk with a spoon, but there was still a tiny amount-- it never would have whipped up for a meringue. But for these macaroons, it all worked out very well. (That was good practice for meringue though. Now I know I need to separate each egg over a different bowl before adding it to the other whites.)

My smaller version made about 24 macaroons. I dipped about half in semi sweet chocolate. I dusted a few with cocoa powder, a few with cinnamon, and I left a few plain. I'm very interested in other flavor ideas you try.

Here is the original recipe from Real Simple:

3 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 14-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut (about 5 cups)

1. Heat oven to 325° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

2. Vigorously whisk together the egg whites, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl until glossy, foamy, and the sugar is mostly almost dissolved. Fold in the coconut, stirring until evenly combined.

3. Using a small ice cream scoop, drop the batter in mounds (about 2 tablespoons each) 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through, until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes; let cool completely. The macaroons will keep for up to 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container.