It has been a while since I have been in a situation where I am meeting new people with the hopes of developing new friendships. After living and working in the same place for over 10 years, friendships have become settled and comfortable. I know who my close confidants are; I know where my relationships with acquaintances stand.
Now, however, while we spend the next few months living in a new place that happens to be a large ocean away from the familiar, we find ourselves in the new friend search. Even though it might be more difficult to make friends in our thirties according to this recent New York Times article, I am hopeful that with some effort, we will develop some friendships soon enough.
This past weekend, we had an opportunity to meet some new people. We were invited to a potluck dinner with about a dozen people from our church, all complete strangers to us.
Now what does one do when attending a potluck with potential new friends? You bring some kick-ass dessert, of course. Win friends with food, I say.
I took a cue from dessert deity David Lebovitz, and made his coconut macaroons. These macaroons are browned to a toasty crisp on the outside, with a soft and sweet inside. By themselves they are great, but dipped in semi-sweet chocolate, they are even better.
The potluck dinner was a blast. Our coconut macaroons were a hit with both adults and kids. We ended the night with a few more friends than before, including some young children for Aaron to hang out with.
I'd like to think I make friends with my winning personality and relatively high social IQ, but arming myself with these coconut & chocolate macaroons can't hurt either.
Coconut & Chocolate Macaroons (adapted from David Lebovitz)
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4 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
In a large skillet, mix together the egg whites, sugar, salt, honey, coconut and flour. Heat over low-to-moderate heat on the stovetop, stirring constantly, scraping the bottom as you stir. When the mixture just begins to scorch at the bottom, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature (at this point, the mixture can be chilled for up to one week, or frozen for up to two months). When ready to bake, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Form the dough into 1 1/2-inch mounds with your fingers evenly spaced on the baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until deep golden brown. Cool completely. To dip the macaroons in chocolate, melt the chocolate in a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a microwave). Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Dip the bottoms of each cookie in the chocolate and set the cookies on the baking sheet. Refrigerate 5-10 minutes, until the chocolate is set. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Makes 25-30 cookies.