Cicadas and humidity

Few things evoke old summer memories like the crescendo of the cicadas' drone in the dizzying heat of the late afternoon.  When I was young, I attributed the noise to electricity: I thought that was the noise transformers made when it was very hot outside.  After all, what else could explain that unceasing, unvarying buzz? (Keep in mind, this is before vuvuzelas became internationally known).  It still baffles me that an insect only an inch or so long can make such a loud noise.

I missed that sound when I lived in Florida, where we had the heat and humidity of a Midwestern summer for a good 3/4 of the year.  With my assortment of experiences, I suddenly find myself associating summer with a tropical location, and it becomes entirely appropriate for me to bake and eat cookies that are largely made with coconut.

108. Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons
This strikes me as a somewhat redundant recipe, as I made coconut macaroons nearly two years ago, and was impressed by their simplicity and tastiness.  This recipe went and kicked up the coconut several notches, first through the addition of coconut extract to the macaroons, and second through calling for a cream filling.

The cream filling is both appalling and kind of good at the same time.  It's made with butter, vegetable shortening, confectioners' sugar, cream of coconut (usually used for making piña coladas), and more coconut extract.  This fatty and sweet concoction goes between two macaroons to give a nice texture contrast (after all, the macaroons are basically coconut held together by egg whites), but the flavor is exactly the same in all parts of the cookie.  I found this a little bit disappointing, as I could have enjoyed the taste of coconut without setting myself up for diabetes and a heart attack.  Plus, I'm always of the opinion that each separate part of a cookie needs to add both flavor and texture contrast to be successful.

That said, I think I'll be sticking with the macaroon recipe sans filling (although I may try them with mini chocolate chips sometime...)

Oh, and a quick side note:  this recipe called for unsweetened shredded coconut, which is not available in most grocery stores.  To get around this, I used sweetened coconut and omitted all the sugar.

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