Tuesday 29 May 2012

Chocolate macaroons and the wee rascal

I feel like I may well slip behind in blogging as I have so much to occupy me lately.  We are racing through our DVD of Downton Abbey, I finally have a Pinterest account and work is really busy.  Yet there is so much good food to share that I need to blog some of it.  Today Sylvia and I have been drinking smoothies made with quince poaching liquid, I have baked bread, made a lovely stew and have almonds soaking for some vegan feta.  Yet one of the best things I have made lately is this batch of chocolate macaroons.

I can't think of macaroons without remember my Grandpa who loved them.  In fact, the only macaroons I remember eating in my childhood came from him.  Despite the sentimental connection, I am not so keen on baked goods that are loaded with egg.  So a vegan version of macaroons is just my thing.  Except that I am not vegan so I feel free to use honey for the sweetener.  I found a healthy macaroon recipe and then remembered the macaroons from Ricki Heller's Sweet Freedom that included ground almonds and tahini.  I combined the two and got what is already a favourite biscuit.

We have a strong genetic history of sweet tooths in my family.  Both my grandfather had and my dad has a stash of sweet foods.  I then married a man who also has his sweet stash.  So it is no surprise that while Sylvia can be fussy with her savoury food, she is a lot more likely to like sweet foods.  These macaroons are no exception.  If I had made them during the day she would have pulled a chair up to help before I had the ingredients out.

When I made these macaroons last week I was in need of chocolate by the end of the day.  It had been a busy day.  We went to the pool where Sylvia was very proud of herself.  Using a noodle (aka a flotation device) she was able to kick her way through the water!  I think we call that swimming!  Lunch was at Trippy Taco in Collingwood - the Tofu Asada Burrito was nice but not great.  Hopefully we will get there again to try other dishes.

We went to a floor covering place because at the moment the lino in our bathroom is gaffer taped together (long story)!  Next it was off to the shops where I tried on some new clothes with Sylvia wedged between my legs to stop her escaping out the gap under the door.  At home she wouldn't eat dinner.  Then she made herself up a bed on the floor out of cushions and decided she would sleep there.  Oh no!  I put her to bed and made these macaroons!

It is a while since I did a post about Sylvia.  She is now a real chatterbox and says much to amuse me so I thought I would share some gems and a few updates:
  • Today I asked her what sort of milk she likes and she said "chook's milk".  (She actually loves soy milk.)
  • She loves to ask me "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"  You may recognise this question - it comes from The Wizard of Oz.
  • Her favourite place is on windy castle or windy hill (aka the back of the sofa) where she likes to jump or be a shopkeeper.  Far better there than deciding to sell off my crockery from the cupboard!
  • She loves to sing "The Sound of Music" as we wander through the shops. 
  • Her sense of time is still developing.  She loves talking about "last day" or "next day" or even "annunna day".  Last week she told me "when I was a big girl I played with those bigs girls."  Um, no.  That would be her plans for when she is a big girl.  However I hope she wont be playing with the girls she referred to because they were shop window dummies.
  • She had her first haircut at a hairdressers today.  They asked quietly if she would like a lollypop.  I said no.  The next place we went to she was given a lollypop anyway!  Sigh!  She was delighted.  It got "lost" rather quickly. 
  • Another amusing conversation was on the way to work when she was questioning me about why was I going to work.  Finally after some discussion I told her I go to work to be paid and then I spend the money at the shops.  There was a long silence.  Then she said, "that's amazing!"  A few days later on a slow morning when I told her I had to get to work or I wouldn't be paid, she said "well you just go to the supermarket and they will pay you money".  Does that mean she was amazed I went to work for money when I could just go down the supermarket for money?
  • I have caught her a few times "doing the dishes" in the bathroom.  Sweet, yes.  However I would prefer she doesn't wash my toothbrush in soapy water!
  • When we were down the street today someone asked her what her name was.  She answered "Dolly's mum".
  • She is really into sticky tape, the hole punch, scissors, pens, making presents and whatever other mess she can create!  She is not that interested in cleaning it up.
It seemed an appropriate post to give some updates on sylvia because she loved these biscuits so much.  We all loved them.  E thought them not sweet enough at first but then they grew on him.  They were wonderful work snacks for both of us.  I loved the combination of honey and tahini which reminded me of halva, though the texture is more like my favourite grubs.  They are not like your regular macaroons but they are pleasingly chewy. 

Finally in one of those odd coincidences, I noticed that the biscuits had the same look as my cardigan that I had bought that day.  Now that gives a new twist to the saying, you are what you eat!

I am sending these chocolate macaroons to Amy's Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: SOS Chilli non carne with carob and kasha
Two years ago: GF Peanut Butter & Choc Chip Cookies
Three years ago: The Carlton Paragon Café
Four years ago: Rethinking Bread and Butter Pudding
Five years ago: MM #12: A marriage of vanilla and chocolate

Chocolate macaroons
Adapted from Ricki Heller's Sweet Freedom (recipe in Cookstr) and Healthful Pursuit
Makes about 36

2 cups dessicated coconut
3/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup cocoa
2 tbsp ground linseeds (flax seeds)
pinch salt
1/2 cup honey (or other sweetener)
1/4 cup tahini
1 tsp vanilla 

Line two baking trays with either baking paper or silicone mats.  Preheat oven to 180 C.

Place dry ingredients into a largish mixing bowl.  Add wet ingredients and mix well.  Dampen palms and roll walnut sized balls, then flatten slightly between palms and place on baking trays.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes until dry to touch.  (I baked mine at 190 C for 11 minutes to make amends for my oven's vagaries).  Cool on the tray - they will be very fragile when warm but easy to handle once cold - though you may need an eggflip or spatula to prise them off the silicone mat.  Ours kept for a week in an airtight container.

On the Stereo:
The Very Best of Peter Allen: 18 superb original tracks


  1. aw, Sylvia sounds so precious!! The Sound of Music was one of my favorite movies growing up too! i used to love to sing that:) And her first haircut! how exciting! Your macaroons look phenomenal -- you're right...some days you just need a chocolate "nightcap!" thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks GF Happy Tummy - the sound of music songs are classics! though you probably have never heard them like Sylvia sings them - would love to have heard you singing them as a child (or even now )

  2. aww Sylvia is too adorable!

    and I love the smoothie + quince poaching liquid idea :)

    1. Thanks Lisa - hate to throw out anything so often put any fruity stuff around the house in a smoothie - quinces give a lovely fragrance

  3. These macaroons look and sound delicious Johanna - definitely my sort of biscuits too. The tahini and linseeds particularly appeal and aren't things I would have thought to include in macaroons - but I can see how they would work brilliantly with the chocolate.

    I also loved, really loved, this latest update on Sylvia and her antics. I am particularly amused by her understanding of the work / shops / money system and her developing sense of time - not to mention your skills at trying on clothes with her between your legs!! Sounds like an adventure on a daily basis :-)

    1. Thanks Kari - tahini would never have occurred to me but it is great here - I think I am going through a tahini phase because I want it in everything.

      Live with sylvia is amusing and adventurous indeed - and inflation is terrible in her shop - everything went up from being 99 to being 200 tonight - a bit much for an apple :-)

  4. I love that you've cut the coconut with almonds and flax, as I still don't like things that are onnnllllyyy coconut. And aw, I feel like I'm going to blink and next post you'll be talking about Syvlia's formal dress!

    1. Thanks Hannah - I loooove coconut but I also love ground almonds and I like this happy medium between the two. (And please don't mention Sylvia's formal dress - it is too scary to think of - though if it can be 15 years since Austin Powers time can do funny things!)

  5. These look fantastic! And you know I do love your posts on Sylvia. She is so adorable! :D

    1. Thanks Lorraine - well I agree that sylvia is adorable but I am biased - glad you agree

  6. I like the sound of the macaroons but would use maple syrup or agave. I'm sad to hear that the Tofu Asada burrito didn't live up to your expectations, I adore them! Love the Sylvia antics, there is too much in there to pick out a favourite. Your blog will be fantastic down the track for remembering her stages of development and all of these little quirks!

    1. Thanks Mel - ricki suggests half maple and half agave but I didn't have agave and I love the flavour of honey. I hope these records will be helpful in remembering her childhood (and I already forget things so I need to jot down stuff somewhere)

  7. I remember when my eldest son became a "chatter box" & was quite indignant, insisting that he was a "mail box".
    I'm on the lookout for biscuits that I can make for a friend whose daughter is severely allergic to diary products, nuts & eggs. I will have to substitute the almond flour for rice or oat flour, but I'll give these a go soon. You could even make lemon flavoured ones next time.
    Ciao for now!

  8. Thanks Pene - one of the recipes I used had all coconut and no tahini (a friend of mine has a son who is allergic to nuts and seeds) so this might work better for you - check the Healthful pursuit link above. Very funny about your son. I may like lemon flavoured ones but the idea of lemon baking doesn't appeal much but I think I will try a lemon cake

  9. Love your update on Sylvia - she says the most lovely things! They look like delicious bikkies too.

    1. Thanks Caroline - Sylvia does say lovely things (though she also says go away some time which is less lovely)


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