Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Beautiful People!  We just came back after watching the fireworks on Ocean Drive among a huge crowd of happy people. I am repeating my Fireworks on the Beach post (originally done on 4th of July) and wishing everybody a very happy year full of joy and special blessings! Love and peace!

miami_fireworks_03

When I was still running the school, every summer in camp I did weekly International Food events. They were thinly disguised group therapy / team building sessions, but kids enjoyed themselves playing with food (I did mostly desserts!), in the process learning appropriate interactive social skills. Eventually they got to take some goodies home, if they haven’t eaten them before the end of the day. For Independence Day, we did Very Berry Fireworks, which were nothing much but skewered cut up strawberries, marshmallows, and blueberries – red, white, and blue – stuck in paper cups decorated with sticker stars and stripes. I have never pretended to be as good at arts and crafts, as Jessica of thishappymommy, who is simply amazing.  Whatever I came up with, was mainly designed to train asocial kids to join a social milieu. Obviously, it was not enough for home. I needed something more substantial, while preserving the red, white, and blue motif.

Fireworks 1c

I had some egg whites saved, so I thought, meringue is white – that’s a start! The next idea was, since tomorrow night we are walking to the beach (Ocean Drive is two short blocks from our house) to watch fireworks, I can make those meringue cookies look like ocean foam, to give them some local ambiance.

Fireworks 1b.jpg

I whipped my egg whites until stiff, then gradually added sugar and vanilla. You can use xylitol, if you want. Make sure you add sugar little by little and keep whipping at high speed until all sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, I got my oven preheated to 220.

Fireworks 1a.jpg

Using a rounded ice cream spoon, I dropped spoonfuls of the stiff white sugary mass onto a lightly misted with oil baking sheet and popped it in the oven. As I wanted to achieve the effect of ocean foam, I purposely kept random shapes.

While meringue cookies were baking, I worked on the foundation. Yes, I have realized from the beginning that some kind of a firm foundation was needed for what I intended to do later. So following My Own Rule of Desserts #1 (It’s not a dessert without chocolate), I dug up an old favorite recipe for whole wheat chocolate chip cookies.

Fireworks 2.jpg

Pretty basic stuff: whole wheat flour, sugar free chocolate chips or carob chips (whatever you prefer), a bit of baking powder. As usual, you would mix the dry ingredients first and put them aside.

Fireworks 1.jpg

Then I whisked the egg, oil, Smart Balance, vanilla extract, and brown sugar together. When all wet ingredients were well blended, I gradually introduced the dry ingredients. Chocolate chips came last.

Fireworks 3a.jpg

When everything blended well,  I used the same rounded ice cream spoon to drop cookie dough on a dry baking sheet. I remember just in time that these cookies are like old-times Odessa ladies; they tend to grow sideways, so I had to leave about 1 inch (2,5 cm) between them.

Fireworks 4.jpg

At this point my meringue cookies were jumping off the baking sheet, which meant that they were ready. I raised the temperature of the oven to 375 and popped the chocolate chip cookies in. These guys bake fast, about 10 – 12 minutes, until golden brown and hardened at the edges. A word of caution: the middle will still be soft, but not wet. It will harden while cooling.

Fireworks 9.jpg

While both sets of cookies were cooling, I prepared the rest of my supplies: raspberries, blueberries, and a bunch of toothpicks that I had painted red and blue (I know this is crazy, you don’t have to tell me!). Following My Own Rule of Desserts #2 (the more chocolate, the better!), I decided to use chocolate fudge frosting to hold this whole construction together. I think you can use peanut butter, if you like, but my husband is not a peanut butter guy. Chocolate is the word!

Fireworks 10.jpg

To assemble the pastry, you first need to connect “the foam” to the foundation. Spread just enough frosting on top of the chocolate chip cookie to keep them together and gently press the meringue cookie down on top of the frosting.

Fireworks 11.jpg

The time has come for starts and stripes, and for getting your kids involved, if you have any, of course. You can keep them occupied for a while by skewering blueberries and raspberries onto the painted toothpicks, one each on each toothpick, with raspberries as tips. Meanwhile, they might pop some berries into their mouths which is also not a bad idea!

Fireworks 12

Five berry skewers inserted into the frosting between two cookies form a star. Blue and red toothpicks are stripes. They burst from the cookies as fireworks burst in the sky. White ocean foam tops it all, and there you have it, beautiful people –  scrumptious Fireworks  on the Beach.

Fireworks 13.jpg

The weather was great, and we just came back from watching – among a huge crowd! – fireworks on the beach. Steamy ocean, silky sand, palm trees, distant rhythms of salsa from Ocean Drive, and a spectacular fireworks display! That’s why we live on South Beach, beautiful people!

INGREDIENTS

Meringue:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar or xylitol
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from Betty Crocker Recipes):

  • 1 ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup Smart Balance, softened
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash of salt
  • ¾ cup sugar free chocolate chips

Fireworks:

  • 1/2 pint raspberries
  • 1/2 pint blueberries
  • Chocolate fudge frosting
  • Alternative: peanut butter

PROCEDURE

Make meringue first. 

  • Preheat oven to 220 F.
  • Beat egg whites until very stiff.
  • Gradually add xylitol and keep beating until mixture forms peaks.
  • Lightly mist baking sheet with oil, place round spoonfuls (ice cream spoon) on baking sheet about 1/2 inch (1 cm)  apart.
  • Bake on middle rack for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Check for doneness by gently pressing the middle. It should be dry to touch.
  • Remove from oven and from baking sheet; cookies should come off easily. Cool them off completely before frosting.

Next, make chocolate chip cookies.

  • Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, beat sugar, Smart Balance, olive oil, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on low speed until blended. Beat in flour, baking powder and salt until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
  • On ungreased baking sheet, drop dough by rounded  ice cream spoonfuls about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart.
  • Bake 10 – 12 minutes or until very light golden brown (centers will be soft). Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

Assembling the pastry:

  • Prepare mini-skewers by either selecting blue and red toothpicks from among colored ones or painting plain toothpicks red and blue.
  • Skewer one blueberry and one raspberry on each toothpick with raspberry as a tip.
  • Insert five skewers into frosting between foundation and “foam” of each pastry, forming a “starburst” Make sure they are firmly embedded.

Enjoy!

 

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54 Comments Add yours

  1. shreyovi says:

    Have a gorment full journey ahead this year.as I always write I love the little story revolve around ur recipe .

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you dear! Happy New Year to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish you be a Success and Happy this New Year and have a wonderful 2017!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much, Ramesh! Happy New Year to you!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Happy New Year, we live in Deerfield Beach :o)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Happy New Year, fellow Floridian!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. This look so delicious, Dolly 🙂
    Happy New Year.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Same to you, dear Irene!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you Dolly 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Jen Li says:

    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Same to you, dear Jen!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. cookingflip says:

    Is the 220F for meringue on a regular or a fan oven?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. cookingflip says:

        Thank you. ‘Will let you know if I get to make meringue (‘never done it before). Blessings and Happy New Year 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, same to you! Good luck making meringue – it’s not that difficult!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. leebakers says:

    Happy New Year to you!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, same to you!

      Like

    1. Thank you dear, same to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear! Same to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome and thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. lghiggins says:

    I can definitely relate to what you did with your students/campers with food. Almost everyone can get excited about food and enjoy food projects. As to your own themed creation at home, that desert is fantastic. You really put a lot of work into it and they are so cute. Happy 2017!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Actually, there was more fun than work, and the result was definitely worth the effort.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Love the combination of the cookies and meringue and all the other additions!
    Happy New Year to you too! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. B says:

    I missed this post back in the summer, so thanks for re-sharing it! It’s such a festive dessert, no matter what time of year! Wishing you all of the best for 2017. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, dear! Happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. How adorable, you’re so creative. Happy New Year Dolly.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Myra! You are creative, while I am just a funky cat with crazy ideas. Happy New Year to you and yours!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Funky cat, I love it your fire works.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Happy New Year to you and your family!😊 More blessings to come 😉👍

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, dear, Happy New Year to you, too!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear! Happy New Year to you, too!

      Like

  14. Timelesslady says:

    Your posts and beautiful photographs always make me hungry. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I wish I could send you something to taste!

      Like

  15. Wishing you a very happy New Year, Dolly with many more yummy recipes like the ones on this post! The pictures look delicious enough to eat!
    Sending you prayers and wishes that you enjoy all the sweetness that life has to offer this year!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and generous wishes! Happy New Year and many blessings to you and yours!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Sumith says:

    Loved the story! This looks so delicious and wishing you a Happy New year!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you dear Sumith! Blessings and best wishes to you and your family!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. OH MY GOSH this looks so amazing! I’m now officially hungry. Very much so.
    -Amy

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Amy! I wish I could send you something!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, you have a standing invitation. Any time you visit Miami, just give me a shout!

        Liked by 1 person

  18. reocochran says:

    Happy New beginnings to you and yours! Along with happy moments and healthy lifestyle! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear, same to you and yours!

      Like

  19. Reblogged this on The Life & Times of Zoe the Fabulous Feline and commented:
    Very creative – sounds and looks yummy too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reblogging!

      Like

  20. This looks so delicious and wishing you a Happy New year! Thank you so much, dear, same to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, and the same to you, dear! Thank you for stopping by!

      Like

  21. Harold's says:

    Thank you so much for reblogging! Thank you so much, dear, same to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

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