Saturday, April 7, 2012

Coconut Macaroons

One of my mother's favorite cookies is a coconut macaroon. They are a soft, chewy cookie with a crunchy exterior, made from egg whites and coconut.  When I lived up in Mammoth we used to frequent Shats bakery.  It has wonderful breads, pastries and confections. We prefered the dark chocolate macaroons from the bakery in Bishop, CA but both places (Mammoth and Bishop) are really good. Eventhough we don't live up there anymore, I often think about their macaroons. I haven't been able to find one that comes close anywhere else.  I did, however come up with a pretty good substitute today. :)

     I had 3 egg whites left over from when I made my Nectarine Tart, so I decided to throw together a macaroon recipe. It's really easy to put together. I think the hardest part about this cookie has nothing with the ingredients; it is making sure the batter is cold, your oven temperature is good, and having the right kitchen tools.

Here's what you need:
1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1 14 oz bag of sweetened flaked coconut, salt, egg whites, *cream of tartar, *hand held or stand mixer, *cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or no-stick liner, chocolate for decorating (optional)
 Start by putting 3 room temperature egg whites into a large bowl with 1/4 tsp cream of tartar and 1/4 tsp salt. Whisk on high speed until firm peeks are formed. (I use my stand mixer for this, so that I can be getting everything else ready while it whips by itself.) If you use extra large egg whites (or 4 large egg whites) the cookies will hold their shape better in the end.

In a large mixing bowl, pour in 1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free, but any type will work.) . . .
 1 tsp of any extract you like - I used vanilla today. . . .
 and one 14 oz bag of sweetened flaked coconut.
 Stir it all together. It becomes one big sticky mound.

 When the egg whites have reached stiff peaks (a peak holds its shape at the end of the whisk and doesn't fall) they are done.

 Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the coconut mixture.
 Fold the egg whites in gently, to not deflate them. (Gingerly use your spatula to come down and through the middle of the mixture and rotate to bring the bottom of the mixture to the top. Rotate the bowl and repeat.)
 When the first 1/3 of the egg whites are folded in, then do another 1/3. When the second third is folded in, then do the last 1/3.  When it's finished,  it should look like this.

Chill the batter in the fridge for at least 1 hour before baking.

When you're ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 (if you have a convection oven this works best).

 Use an ice-cream scoop (1 1/2 inch disher) to scoop out 6 cookies per cookie sheet. - My favorite macaroons were piped using a star tip. It makes for more crunchy edges (always a plus in my book), but I'm all about easy clean up so I used a disher.
MAKE SURE YOU LINE THE COOKIE SHEETS! Macaroons are very sticky!! I used a silpat, silicone liner but parchment paper works well too (and you don't have to wash it afterwards.)

Return the unused batter to the fridge until you're ready for another batch.
Put the cookies in the oven and turn down the temperature to 325. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
 Let them cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes. Then you can transfer them to a wire rack (or just slide the silpat or parchment paper onto the counter with the cookies still on it).

Now you have beautiful macaroons perfect for eating right away (as I did, while I took these other pictures). Or you can melt some chocolate and decorate your cookies.
I melted semi-sweet and white chocolate.

There is no wrong way to decorate them. You can dip the bottoms in the chocolate. You can dip half the cookie. Or you can go Jackson Pollock on them and make a random design on top, using a fork.  Use your imagination. The sky's the limit.
They can be enjoyed by themselves or with a warm beverage. Absolutely delicious. I dare you to eat just one. ;)

Here's the recipe:

Coconut Macaroons

3 extra large room temperature egg whites (or 4 large)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 14 oz bag of sweetened flaked coconut

Whip egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until stiff peaks form. In a seperate bowl, add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and coconut and stir to combine. Fold in whipped egg whites, 1/3 at a time, until they are all folded in. Chill for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350. Scoop out macaroons onto silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheets, 6 at a time. (Chill unused batter.) Put the cookies in the oven, turn down to 325 and cook for 20-25 minutes, until they are golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transfering to a cooling rack.

No comments:

Post a Comment