Fat Coconut Ballerinas

“See.  Look what happens when you don’t listen to me?  Haven’t you learned yet that I’m always right?”

“Hadeha.  Not all the time.”

“Well, most of the time then.  Foolish girl.  Don’t you ever learn?”

This was followed by smug little tut-tuts and a playfully self-satisfied grin.  Had he not been helping with dinner, I would have booted him out of the kitchen.

This foreseen little boast-fest took place over a tray of slightly flattened coconut macaroons.  Only slightly flattened.  During the baking process, some of the egg and sugar liquid seemed to have migrated southwards.  The overall effect was of a sea of plump little coconut ballerinas with tutus way too big and fluffy for their diminutive frames.  But cute all the same.

The run up to the above went something like this:

Me: “What can I bake tonight?  (as I flicked through Household Management).  Maybe I could try out these Cocoa-Nut Biscuits in Mrs Beeton.”

Him:  “What’s in them?  Anything good?”

Me:  “Well, there’s 10 ounces of sifted sugar…”

Him:  “That’s good!”

Me:   “…3 eggs…”

Him:  “OK…”

Me:  “…and six ounces of cocoa-nut.  What’s sifted sugar?  Is that powdered sugar?  Anyway, I guess I can make it from raw sugar.  I’ll get the rolling pin. ”

Him  “Are you insane?  It’ll never work.  They won’t stick together.”

Me:   “Of course they will.  Trust me.”

Him:  “I’m telling you, you’re wrong!  And I’m not even going to help you.  It’ll be too embarrassing for you when you see I’m right.”

Me:  “Oh please just shut up and let’s give it a try.”

First of all I tried putting the sugar in a bag, figuring that I could roll it cleanly without making a mess.  Unfortunately, a hole soon formed, so I tipped the sugar onto a baking sheet and rolled it on that instead.  Despite the smug tutting in the background, it did actually work – to an extent.

In the meantime, I had my boyfriend take turns with me to whip up the egg (we divided all ingredients by 3 and made just a third of the stated quantity), then add the sugar and lastly coconut.

As I rolled them into little pyramids, he was still clucking away about the sugar.  “It’ll never work. You even added extra coconut, I saw you!” (OK it’s true – I did add an extra tablespoon or two to make the mix stiffer). “I told you so!”

Well.  In 15 minutes, I had myself some delightful, sturdy little pyramids.  Somewhat squishily plump and unevenly brown, I grant you, but passable enough all the same.

As he shoved one into his mouth, he managed to utter a faint “Well…” which I hastily interpreted to be a humble, partial admission of error.  Not that I could get him to admit it, of course.

“Hey,” I wondered aloud as I re-read the recipe later on.  “Cocoa-nut.  Coconut.  I guess cocoa-nut is the old spelling for coconut?”

“Um, are you sure that’s what she meant?  What’s chocolate made out of?”

“Cocoa beans… cocoa nuts?”

“So were you supposed to make them out of cocoa powder?”


On reflection, I think my interpretation was correct.  But I’m going to do some research before I go making any claims out loud – otherwise, he’ll undoubtedly hold it over me for future teasing if I’m wrong.

Either way, these coconut (or cocoa-nut) biscuits are pretty damn good.  Half of them have miraculously disappeared down my boyfriend’s throat, so I can safely assume that none of this has affected his sweet tooth in any way.

Cocoa-Nut Biscuits (Recipe 1740): http://www.mrsbeeton.com/35-chapter35.html#1740


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