For the Hungry Crew

Spending Easter weekend on the boat?  How about a great treat that can double as the centerpiece or other decoration . . . and is super-simple to make?

Coconut macaroons are simply the easiest cookies I know how to make, with just two ingredients.  And they’re pretty darn good just in their plain form.  But add a couple of drops of food coloring, a dab of imagination and possibly a few props and you’ve got a centerpiece!

If you’ve got kids aboard — even toddlers — these are a great kid project.  There might be a bit of a mess, but they are easy and great even for young kids with short attention spans.  Just don’t blame me for the sugar buzz! 

The basic recipe is simple:

Mix a 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk (aka Eagle Brand in the US, Leche Dulcera in Latin America) and a 14-ounce bag of flaked or shredded coconut.

Drop by teaspoons (these are very rich, don’t make them too large) onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Baking time will vary by brand of milk — some are slightly thinner than others and will take a few more minutes to bake.  When done, there will be just a few golden spots on each cookie.

Remove from the oven and let sit on the cookie sheet for just a minute to firm up a bit, then remove to a plate or cooling rack.

Now for the fun — making macaroons for a special occasion!

Use a few drops of food coloring when mixing the “dough,” and possibly add some props to the serving plate.  Over the years I’ve created all sorts of scenes from just what was around the house/boat . . . and I’m not the world’s most artistic person!  And the nice thing is that the whole “decorating” bit took me less than 5 minutes after the cookies were cool.  Again, great for kids as an art project, maybe on a rainy day.

For the Easter scene, I tinted the cookies green to look like grass.  Once they were cool, I filled a plate with a single layer of the cookies, and stuck a few Peeps bunnies between cookies.  For Easter eggs, I sprinkled a handful of jelly beans over the top.

Chocolate bunnies and eggs would also be good, and you could put the whole arrangement in an Easter basket, too.  A perfect decoration on the boat as you won’t have to worry about where you’re going to store it!

The recipe is from The Boat Galley Cookbook by Carolyn Shearlock and Jan Irons, available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online retailers.  Get a free PDF sampler of it with 33 recipes here.

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