There’s no gray area when it comes to opinions on coconut. It seems you either love it or you hate it. Personally, I love it with all my heart,to the point where I get rather offended when someone disagrees. “You just haven’t had it in the right thing,” I’ll say, “Let’s go get a big, chocolate dipped macaroon and THEN you’ll understand.” Of course, despite my best efforts, it turns out most folks really do know what they like. So, I’ve decided to back down and say that if you don’t like coconut, that’s cool, but you can stop reading right here right now, because this blog post isn’t for you. This blog post is about shameless coconut l.o.v.e.
Coconut haters aren’t new to me. Two of my closest friends hate coconut: my sister and my ex-roomie (note: it was an amicable roomie split not brought on by irreconcilable coconut differences). Fortunately, I do have a partner in coconut-love in my mother. When it comes to food, my mom and I disagree about basically everything, with two firm exceptions: meat-free meals and coconut-laden desserts. When I find a new place that has a coconut sweet, I call her immediately. As soon as I find a new coconut recipe to try, I email it to her. It’s kind of our thing. So, when I stumbled across Smitten Kitchen’s Double Coconut Muffins, my fingers flew to my gmail: copypaste,cutemessagetomom, aaand done. It was decided, I was going to make these muffins for my mom and I to share, and we were going to bond in our special way that coconut haters (like my sister) can never understand.
Shameless Macaroon Muffins
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Double Coconut Muffins. To make them “macaroon” I needed to add some big, dark chocolate chips.
- 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup lowfat vanilla Greek-style yogurt, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, divided
Disclaimer: I post this humbly, as Smitten Kitchen’s photography/writing/existence blows my mind, but I couldn’t resist sharing.
Preheat the oven to 375.
Scoop the coconut oil out of the jar. It will look and feel exactly like wax, but it will smell like heaven. Place it in a small sauce pan over low heat just until it starts to melt.
Combine the flours, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 cup coconut in a bowl. Whisk with a fork to fluff together (my version of sifting), then stir in the chocolate chips. You want to add the chocolate chips at this stage because they are less likely to sink to the bottom if they are mixed in with the flour beforehand. Trust me, it’s science.
Use another bowl to combine the remaining ingredients: egg, sugar, coconut oil, yogurt, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients just until combined. Restrain yourself and don’t over-mix. If the ingredients are getting nice and comfortable with each other, you’re done.
Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray, or rub down with coconut oil or butter, or use silicone liners, as I did (so environmentally friendly, this one is). Fill the muffin holes with batter. You’ll want to fill them most of the way up, but not too high – no one likes when a muffin top flattens, overflows and burns, am I right? Then top each muffin with a sprinkle (a hefty sprinkle, in my case) of the remaining coconut (plus more, if you so wish, which I did).
My recipe made 14 muffins, but Smitten Kitchen’s made 10. My silicone liners were apparently smaller than I realized. So, don’t freak out if you have more or less than you think you should. It’s all good.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
I loved these, but as a self-professed coconut fanatic, I knew I would. I mean, we’re talking a coconut oil batter stuffed with real coconut flakes and melty chocolate chunks, then topped with toasted coconut. Sign me up and hand me a fork, I say. The boy loved these too. In fact, he even had one for BREAKFAST, which is quite the accomplishment. While I’m a breakfast enthusiast, he thinks it’s weird and unnatural to eat in the morning. I still question whether he realizes eating at any time is a good thing and should be celebrated. Anyway, I gave him a muffin one early morning and not only did he begrudgingly take it, but he raved about it later! And I bet he had so much energy that day. Stable blood sugar does great things. Ahh, breakfast…but I digress.
The truth is, I had to learn a hard lesson with these muffins. It turns out that coconut does not conquer all when it comes to my mom and I sharing food. A few days after baking, I dropped off 4 muffins at my parent’s place so I could share the fortune with my mom. My parents were out, so I left them wrapped up in the kitchen, excited to hear my mom rave about the countertop surprise later that afternoon. After a few days and no coconut commentary, I knew it wasn’t looking good, but gosh darn it I needed to know the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts. The beauty of the muffins gave my mom the idea that these were going to resemble cupcakes in flavor and texture. So when my mother, with misguided expectations, bit into one of the muffins, she didn’t think, “It’s a macaroon muffin! Brilliant!” as I’d expected, but instead something more along the lines of, “Why isn’t there more sugar? Why is the texture not like a cake? How am I going to break this news to my coconut comrade?”
Well mother, fear not, because this baker takes no offense. As I said, there’s no shame in these muffins. They were made to be both loved and questioned, and possibly (gasp) disliked. If you’re a coconut hater, or you only like your coconut in cupcake form, that’s cool, but just move on and look elsewhere, cause this blog post isn’t for you. But, for those of you who are intrigued by a double coconut muffin filled with dark chocolate chunks, rock on. And mother, you better believe I’m going to take on the challenge of creating a coconut CUPCAKE for us to bond over. It’s going to be really special. We’ll get this coconut camaraderie back on track, I just know it.