Saturday, December 22, 2012

chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons.

Holiday cookies will for now and forever be a big deal to my family (and specific cookies will forever be embedded in my mind as a reminder of Christmas).  Delivering boxes to friends and family on Christmas Eve (while wearing the ever present Santa hats) will always signify to me that we've reached the apex of the holiday and that running downstairs to open presents just as the sun begins to rise, is just around the corner (I will for now and forever be a child when it comes to the holidays, you always need someone in your family to be the kid).  The Christmas cookies present a  a continuum every year - it's always tough to decide which new ones to try and which old ones will live to survive another year.  I'm a sucker for keeping tradition alive, I like knowing that once a year I will be reminded of certain flavors, it's a comforting thing.  My mom has a plethora of cookies she makes every year (which is probably why I decided it was a smart idea to make 12 cookies in a month) and I wont share all of her cookie secrets but I figured I could get away with sharing the coconut macaroon. I find these irresistible - the combination of sweet coconut with bittersweet chocolate has always been a favorite of mine.  These are like a sophisticated Mounds bar - a little more elegant and sophisticated which seems utterly appropriate around the holidays.  

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons
Recipe via Gourmet Magazine

4 large egg whites
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups sweetned flaked coconut
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
8 ounces quality bittersweet chocolate

In a heavy saucepan stir together the egg whites, the sugar, the salt, the vanilla, and the coconut, sift in the flour, and stir the mixture until it is combined well. Cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, increase the heat to moderately high, and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes more, or until it is thickened and begins to pull away from the bottom and side of the pan. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, let it cool slightly, and chill it, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until it is just cold. Drop heaping teaspoons of the dough 2 inches apart onto buttered baking sheets and bake the macaroons in batches in the middle of a preheated 300°F. oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are pale golden. Transfer the macaroons to a rack and let them cool.

In a small metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water melt the chocolate, stirring until it is smooth, remove the bowl from the heat, and dip the macaroons, 1 at a time, into the chocolate, coating them halfway and letting any excess drip off. Transfer the macaroons as they are dipped to a foil-lined tray and chill them for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until the chocolate is set. The macaroons keep, chilled and separated by layers of wax paper, in an airtight container for 3 days. (If the macaroons are made in advance, let them stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.)

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