June 2021

Mt. Hood Macaroons

It’s an impressive sight to view Mt. Hood from sea level when it emerges from behind the clouds in all its glory.

Yet, when I was living in Oregon, a fond memory was viewing Mt. Hood from a plane on a clear, moonlit night while on a westward descent into Portland International Airport.  There was something magical about seeing this volcanic peak, under these perfect conditions, totally bathed in moonlight as we went soaring by at eye level.

When I was looking for a cookie recipe a number of years ago on allrecipes.com I had this image of this snowcapped volcanic sentinel in mind. Not the popular smooth French-style macaron that come in a gorgeous rainbow of colors, but the wonderfully traditional American coconut macaroon version.

Here’s my modified macaroon recipe, with a Northwest “volcanic” twist. 😊

Portland Oregon skyline with Mt. Hood in the background. Wikipedia Photos


  • 3 egg whites, separated and at room temperature
  • 14 ounces organic and unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. of your favorite dipping chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet or use parchment paper.
  1. Beat together the egg whites in a small bowl until it forms soft peaks- no pun intended!
  1. Add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, while continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Continue to beat until glossy.
  1. Add the salt and vanilla extract to the coconut and mix well.
  1. Fold the coconut into the meringue.
  1. Drop mixture by the teaspoonful onto the prepared sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart. Pinche the top of the mounds to shape them into a volcanic peak.
  1. Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 minutes.

Now comes the fun part. While the cookies are baking, melt your chocolate of choice in the microwave in 10-15 second increments. Be sure to stir between each heating until the chocolate is velvety smooth.

I chose to use E. Guittard’s L’Etoile du Nord” 64% Blended Dark Chocolate Wafers. I absolutely love the taste of Guittard’s “North Star,” which was apparent as I ate about as many wafers (discs) as I melted for the recipe! This chocolate is not too sweet, yet has warm, rich chocolate and spice notes which lend itself beautifully to baked desserts and confections. Here’s my favorite place to purchase chocolate online.


Dip each cookie, after they have completely cooled, into the melted chocolate while holding the tip of the “peak”. BE sure to get a firm grip. True, there may be a few “casualties” until you get the hang of it. Yet I believe the crunchy chocolate covered edges of “mountain base” makes this technique well worth the extra effort.

My first batch was dipped in pure melted chocolate. In the second batch I added one to two teaspoon of canola oil to make it the melted chocolate less viscous. The latter batch revealed the “terrain” of the slopes better and the individual cookies were easier to lift off the dish after they cooled in the fridge.

Maybe this will inspire you to create some of these macaroon mountain morsels for yourself. Or at least go out and buy some already made ready to be dipped into the chocolate of your choosing. Either way, have a “peak” experience and enjoy your choco-creations!

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“Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light”

At first, I was very resistant. Years ago, for some reason, I had heard about Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light by Mort Rosenblum but never read it. I somehow thought it was one of those many fictional reads. You know, the ones that give the impression of starring our favorite food group. Yet only using the word chocolate as a marketing lure.

Was I ever wrong!

Matt is a former Associated Press correspondence and author of “Olives: The Life and Lore of a Noble Fruit.” He admits that prior to his research for this book, he was “a chocolate ignoramus.” Yet 292 pages later, he presents the reader with his in-depth polished, research notes. An intellectual “voyage de cacao”, so to speak.

From Amazon.com

Rosenblum takes the reader under his investigative wings to discover the origin and history of chocolate. From a tiny Mexican village at the base of a volcano to learn the secrets of authentic mole. To the struggles of cacao plantations in West Africa. Together, you’ll find tiny Parisian chocolate shops tucked away along cobble-stone streets-you smell them before you see them! Venture through the intimidating doors of Valrhona in the Rhone Valley of France. Experience the difference between Swiss, Belgium, and British choco-philosophies. Closer to home, you explore the land of Hershey and a number of West Coat chocolatiers.

One is taken on an intriguing journey around the world. From some of the world’s largest urban centers to some of the most remote areas of the globe. Together, you both discover the history, biology, politics and challenges of Theobroma, “the food of the gods.”

Matt connects with some fascinating and passionate folks along the way, including Steve DeVries, Claudio Corallo and Chloe Doutre-Roussel- all important powerhouses in the chocolate industry.

The book ends in France aboard his boat on the Seine with these chocolate mentors, celebrating the end of his trail. You feel as if you are right there listening to their conversations as you all float along the river.

Mort Rosenblum,
From The University of Arizona at Tucson

There are benefits of waiting to read this book years after its publication. One can realize what a cacao “psychic” Matt was in predicting some important developments in the chocolate world scene. I’d love Matt to do a follow-up book on new developments along the global chocolate trail. It would be interesting to read some new predictions he’d make in the world of chocolate. We’d all be in for another delicious treat.

Lessons Learned: Don’t judge a book by its title. Don’t discount a book because it was written back in 2005.

I’ve added his book on olives to my list for future reading!

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