Coconut is a staple food and drink pretty much all over Southeast Asia.
You can buy fresh young coconut from the store, market or even the pedler who sells them from his rickshaw-type vehicle. The water of a young coconut is super refreshing on a hot day and also very hydrating. And also it is said to have incredible health benefits like being anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
All around the property of the house we are renting here on Bali there are coconut palm trees. Whenever we want one the gardener cuts one down with a hooked knife attached to a looong pole. Some of the palms are really tall.
One day even the old lady who works her rice field right next to our house gave us one as well. Once a tree brings fruit it grows them in abundance. But apparently it takes around 20 years until a coconut palm starts producing coconuts. Talk about patience…
Aside from coconut water a young coconut usually has a type of jelly attached to its walls which you can spoon out and eat. When a coconut gets older it is this jelly that gets thicker and harder and turns into the white flesh that shredded coconut is made of.
Shredded coconut can be found in many sweet and savory dishes around Asia and coconut milk is also often used for cooking rice and in sauces.
With this abundance of coconut around, I thought it would be fitting to make macaroons. But the chocolaty kind made with a brownie mix. I couldn’t find already shredded coconut at the store, so I bought half of a ripe coconut for its white flesh and grated it myself. It’s not that hard.
I used Pillsbury’s recipe which results in soft, chewy macaroons. (I used a different, local brownie mix so had to make adjustments, but next time I would add even more shredded coconut.)
- 1 pkg (15.5 oz) Pillsbury Fudge Supreme Chocolate Chunk Premium Brownie Mix
- 2 cups coconut
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or line a cookie sheet.
- Stir together brownie mix and coconut. Add in water, oil, egg and mix well. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet. Optionally sprinkle with a few coconut shreds.
- Bake macaroons for 12-15 minutes until edges are set. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then cool fully on wire rack.
In keeping with sharing not only successes but also failures (like the charcoal clusters last time) let me share my not-so-great experiment with the macaroons:
Just before I left the store that day, I spied a bag of what looked like some sort of shredded coconut after all. I couldn’t read any of the print (well, I could but didn’t understand any) but thought it maybe was already toasted coconut.
At home I tried a little of the bagged shredded coconut.
Well…it set my mouth on FIRE!
What gave the coconut its brownish/reddish color is the chilli it is mixed with!
But isn’t there something like chilli chocolate that they sell in stores? So I thought chilli brownie macaroons might be interesting too. However, they turned out WAYYY to spicy for us and impossible to eat. It might work to replace just part of the coconut with chilli coconut, but definitely not all of it. Trust me!
Now we are using the spicy coconut to season savory dishes. It add a really nice flavor to sauces, soups etc.