Summer Foraging Recipe: Elderberry-Blueberry Jam with Chia Seeds

In the woodland valleys of Central California, Elderflower trees have been in bloom all spring with their prolific, lacy white blossoms.  I've enjoyed making Elderflower syrup, candied elderflowers and sweet Elderflower Tempura.  A few days ago, I noticed that some of the trees are starting to bear fruit -- diminutive, tart little berries, deep purplish-blue growing in heavy clusters.  

Inspired by a love of biscuits and jam, foraging, and adapted from a recipe from Simply Beyond Herbs, I whipped up a simple and delicious jam made from the foraged Elderberries, fresh blueberries and using chia seeds for a perfect jammy consistency.

Enjoy and Happy Foraging!
PrintWith ImageWithout Image Elderberry-Blueberry Chia JamYield: One half-pint jarAuthor: Jenn Erickson Prep time: 10 MCook time: 10 MTotal time: 20 M An easy and delicious sweet-tart jam to make from foraged Elderberries. Ingredients:1 1/2 cups elderberries, rinsedPinch of salt1 cup blueberries, rinsed2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds1/2 Tabl…

Easy Bakery Style Coconut Macaroons {chocolate-dipped}

If you can whisk together a few ingredients, then you can make delicious bakery-style coconut macaroons. 

This past weekend, I spent the day preparing a big Hanukkah meal for my family complete with Motzoh Ball Soup and golden latkes topped with corned beef and slaw.  It was a labor of love.

Since the menu was fairly labor intensive, I wanted dessert to be something that I could whip up quickly.  I'd never made macaroons, but had heard that they were a cinch to make.  I looked at dozens of recipes online -- there are so many variations.  I wanted a macaroon recipe that was quick and easy, but tasted just like the chocolate dipped macaroons that I get at our local French bakery -- lightly toasted on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and slightly caramelized on the bottom.  I didn't want a recipe that relied on too many eggs, too much sugar, or a can of sweetened condensed milk.

So, I took bits and pieces from a handful of recipes and came up with a formula of my own.  The results were just as I had hoped!  The macaroons weren't too wet or too dry.  They were tasty, crispy, chewy and struck the perfect balance between the sweet coconut and the bittersweet chocolate.

If that sounds like your perfect macaroon, I hope you give this recipe a try!

Bakery Style Coconut Macaroons

yield: approx. 20

2 large egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut, lightly packed (approx. 11 ounces)
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I recommend Ghirardelli)

Preheat oven to 325° with one rack in the upper 1/3 of oven and one rack in the lower 1/3 of oven.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 1:  In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until they have thickened to the consistency of  pancake batter.  Whisk in the sugar, vanilla, flour and salt.  

Step 2:  Stir in the coconut.

Step 3:  Gently roll a Tablespoon-size portion of the mixture between your palms, and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Optional:  Use your thumb and three fingers to pinch the ball into a tufted star shape.  Repeat with remaining coconut mixture.

Step 4:  Bake, in the upper 1/3 of the oven for 15 minutes.  The tops of the macaroons will have begun to brown.  Transfer baking sheet to the bottom 1/3 of the oven and bake an additional 5 minutes to set and caramelize the bottoms of the macaroons.

Step 5:  Set macaroons aside to cool.  When cool, melt chocolate over low heat.  If using chocolate chips, you may want to add a teaspoon of oil to the melted chocolate to fix the consistency.   Dip each macaroon in melted chocolate and set back on the parchment lined tray to set.  Once all macaroons are dipped, place in the refrigerator to help the chocolate set.  

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