Over the holidays, with a rare bit of time off, I was dying to go somewhere, so I told Jan we had to do something (like that for a specific wish list?). He suggested Sun Valley, Idaho—a place neither of us had ever visited, and not too far for us to drive with all our ski gear. Besides, Jan had a coworker who lived nearby who once suggested we visit if we were ever in the vicinity.
It had been a strange weather year with our nearby Sierras still lacking snow, so a good ski vacation seemed perfect for us to finally realize that the season was, in fact, winter.
Ever since I made the German chocolate cupcakes for our Noktoberfest party (see post Lederhosen and Lebkuchen), I’ve had an abundance of sweetened shredded coconut in my pantry. Since I’m not usually a fan of coconut and the shredded coconut isn’t a regular pantry staple at our house, I’ve been looking for something else to make with all the leftover coconut besides simply making the German chocolate cupcakes again (which was tempting since they were pretty tasty).
Besides, I was inspired by all the snow we were getting in the Sierras and knew it would mean even more great skiing in the days to come. Jan and I already had a few good cross-country and downhill ski days in, and with all the new snow, I knew there would be plenty more in the future. Making cookies that resembled the snowy peaks seemed like the perfect way to welcome more snow.
To make the cookies, I beat egg whites until frothy, added sugar, chopped almonds, vanilla, salt, and the shredded coconut. Atop my new favorite kitchen tool the Silpat mats, I used a tablespoon to measure out the cookie mounds. Then, after dampening my fingers with water, I formed the mounds into little cones.
I baked the cookies until they started to turn golden brown at the edges. After cooling, I used a double-boiler to make the chocolate glaze, and slowly dripped the glaze over the tops of the cookies. Lastly, I substituted the recipe’s sugar crystals for decorating, and instead used some sea salt crystals sparingly (the reason for this was twofold: I didn’t have sugar crystals and didn’t want to go to the store, and secondly, I tasted the cookie and glaze and thought adding even more sugar would make the cookie overly sweet. Thinking back to a holiday potluck I attended in which one person made surprisingly tasty bars with only Lay’s potato chips and white chocolate chips, I thought these cookies could also benefit from the salty/sweet combination. As I was experimenting, I left half the cookies plan with no salt/decoration, and did the other half topped with a few sea salt crystals. I used friends and family to taste-test the cookies side by side for the next few days, with the salt-topped cookies the clear winner over the plain ones.)
Chewy but with a firm but flexible chocolate crust on the outside, the cookies tasted as good as they looked. Jan described them as tasting like a Mounds candy bar, so I was pleased.
The next day, I took some of the cookies in my backpack for another cross-country skiing adventure. Jan and I departed from the Tamarack Ridge Trailhead, about 10 miles north of Shaver Lake in the Sierra National Forest. Because the snow was fresh, deep and powdery, it wasn’t long before the groomed trail ended, and then after that, not even the snowmobiles could traverse the trails. So, about mid-thigh deep in snow, we made the path that looped back to the trailhead ourselves, and it was certainly a workout. But being out in the forest, hearing only the sounds of snow crunching under our ski poles, the beauty and serenity we were able to experience was worth the work. When I remembered it was time for a snack, the Snow-Capped Macaroons were just the thing to keep us going for the rest of the miles.