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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Feeling the Heat

Rápida Paletas de Coco

For months, we have roasted under a brutal sun in Texas, and although the calendar proclaims an end to August, it will be a while before we receive relief.  In the last week of summer, the heat has made Texans a bit flaky, so it seemed that coconut paletas would be in order!

The most important step in creating this paleta is toasting the coconut.  When the unsweetened flakes are exposed to heat, they change from an almost tasteless ingredient to a complex delight!  A rich, nutty flavor is produced and blandness is banished.

In my recent journey, I have attempted to exhibit grace under fire.  I often feel, like my white, flaky friend, the coconut, I have been shredded and exposed to flame.  In the tempering, I hope to gather strength and be the richer for it with joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, and goodness ultimately gained.  Thinking of this recipe, I must believe there is purpose found amidst the heat in trials of faith, hope and love.  

Quick Coconut Paletas
adapted from Paletas by Fanny Gerson

1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup half-and-half
1/4 t salt
1/4-1/2 t pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted

Toast coconut in an oven preheated to 325 degrees by spreading in a thin layer on a cookie sheet.  Using a spoon or spatula, move the coconut every few minutes to produce even toasting.  Toast 8-12 minutes or until evenly browned.  Watch carefully, as it burns easily.  
Put the coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, half-and-half, salt and vanilla in mixer and stir until smooth.  Stir in toasted coconut.  Pour mixture in molds, add sticks.  Freeze 4-6 hours.  Light coconut milk and/or light sweetened condensed milk may be substituted in this recipe for a lower calorie count.   

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