Sunday, April 19, 2009

Macaroons for cancer research

Baking for no apparent reason is fun. But baking for a good cause is even better.
Many of you know about the training I've been doing with Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to hike the Grand Canyon and raise awareness and funds for cancer research. My friend Kelly and I are chronicling our efforts on our AZ Hiking Chicks blog.
On Saturday, we held a yard/bake sale fundraiser, and I donated a few things to the cause -- a coffee pot, some of my husband's shirts, and, of course, some baked goods.
Making macaroons (or "Coconut Clouds," as the recipe calls them) for this fundraiser was a no-brainer for me. The recipe is just about as easy as can be, the cookies stay fresh way longer than any cookie should, and they are undeniably one of the best things I make. I get a lot of requests for these bad boys.
I always have yellow cake mix and a bag of coconut on hand for last-minute invites to a friend's house for dinner or a work potluck.
All you do is mix the batter:

Roll the dough in some extra coconut:

Throw them on a cookie sheet:

And in 10-12 minutes, the smell in your home will make your mouth water.

Don't tell anyone... but I saved a few cookies from this batch for myself.

Coconut Clouds
2-2/3 cups flaked coconut
1 package yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine cake mix, egg, oil, water, and almond extract in a large bowl. Stir in 1-1/3 cups of the coconut. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into the remaining coconut. Roll to cover lightly. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool one minute on baking sheets; remove to cooling racks. Cool completely and store in airtight container.
Yields: 3-1/2 dozen cookies
Source: Favorite Brand Name Recipes: Santa's Favorite Cookies and More (Eagle Brand and Baker's Joy)

My notes: The almond extract is KEY to this recipe. Something about the combination of the yellow cake mix, coconut and almond is SO good. I've always wanted to try these with another flavor of extract, but I've never been able to bring myself to do it. It would be like cheating on almond.
Also, when I make these for Christmas, I sprinkle a bunch of red and green sprinkles into the batter before rolling them in coconut. Then when you bite into them, you see a little hint of red and green. It's quite festive.


Cindy Guenthner

These are the best cookies ever, if you like coconut!

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