Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate Chips

These are my husband’s second favorite form of crack (the first are my chocolate chip cookies). They are fast and easy to make, perfect for a last-minute get together. I’ve baked these in the morning for a party that afternoon. 

I prefer them baked the same day, for maximum crispiness. That being said, I’ve had no problem scarfing down some from a bag the next day 🙂

Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate Chips

1 bag (14 oz) sweetened shredded coconut flakes
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 t vanilla extract
1 t salt (or 1 1/2 t Kosher salt)
1 C semisweet chocolate chips (I use the mini chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Add coconut and mix together. Add chocolate chips; combine so chips are evenly spread throughout.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a small ice cream scoop, or two teaspoons, to form small balls. Space evenly on the baking sheets (on half-sheet pans, I get 5 rows along the short side and 6 rows along the long side – 30 total on one sheet).

Bake 12-18 minutes, until the tops are browned. I prefer a crisp outside and chewy inside, and in my oven baking for 16 1/2 minutes for this size macaroon is perfect. I have also used the regular sized ice cream scoop, and because those are bigger I bake them for  20 minutes (I also flatten the large ones slightly, so they’re evenly thick for baking).

Take out of the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

Makes 6 dozen small macaroons.

These are a mix of small and large macaroons.

Writing Fiction: Creating Characters

Writing can be a delight. I enjoy creating a plot, and casting the characters to make the story flow. 

You look around, taking traits from people you know. You see an actor or actress you like, and base a character on them or the character they’re portraying. That only takes you so far, and then what?

Writing is work. Once you exhaust the pool of people, actors, characters you know, you need to make them up.

I read a variety of writing books and posts on Pinterest. Something I read in a book by John Sandford, The Fool’s Run (Henry Holt, copyright 1989), talked about the character Kidd who uses the Tarot to open up possibilities and alternatives. It’s a way to think sideways.

While shopping for some items in a New Age store, I saw a Tarot deck and bought it. At this point, I wasn’t sure how to use the Tarot cards to create characters.

I came across a post on Pinterest about using the Tarot to create characters (The Character Insight Spread). I used the seven card spread, and was pleased and surprised with the results. 

The result is a new tool in my writing arsenal.