Thursday, April 17, 2014

coconut macaroons. (for passover!)

While I do not celebrate Passover, I can get behind the Passover related foods.  I have a slight obsession with matzo slathered in peanut butter.  I also adore a good Tex-Mex matzo brei scramble (don't knock it 'till you try it) and let's not forget chocolate-toffee matzo bark! But what I really love is macaroons.  Coconut macaroons dipped in deep dark chocolate (without a trace of flour!).  They are divine.  

I already had a coconut macaroon recipe and while I love it I find it to be a little well, finicky (stirring for 10 minutes straight starts to verge into arm work-out territory).  This one!  This one is so easy-peasy you could give the recipe to a small child and they would be able to give back to you a tray of perfect cookies.  While these are perfect for Passover, I think they would also be a pretty great addition to your upcoming Easter celebration.  Or really any random Tuesday that you deem a celebration.  

(Sorry for the lack of pictures.  Everyone ate them and all I was able to save was one!  I think that means they were good.)  

Coconut Macaroons
Recipe adapted from Leite's Culinaria

The only change I made to the recipe was the sugar.  The original recipe call for 2 CUPS which seemed ungodly high to me.  I cut it in half and the results are awesome.  Sweet but not cloyingly so.  

Makes about 48 cookies

8 lightly packed cups sweetened flaked coconut (two 14-ounce bags)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup egg whites (about 8 large whites)
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 cups dark chocolate (chopped if a bar or chips)

Position an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350˚F (176˚C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the coconut and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the egg whites and almond extract and mix by hand until the coconut is completely moistened.

Use a small ice cream scoop or a spoon to form the macaroons, about 1 rounded tablespoon each, and place them on the prepared sheets, leaving about 1 inch between the macaroons to allow for spreading. Slightly flatten each macaroon with the palm of your hand.

Bake the macaroons, 1 sheet at a time, for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden. (If you prefer your macaroons with an exceptionally crisp, browned outside in contrast to the moist, pale inside, bake for up to 18 minutes.) Cool the macaroons completely on wire racks.

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan filled with simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water), put the chocolate in the bowl, and let it melt, stirring occasionally. The end result ought to be exceptionally smooth.  (You can also do this in the microwave.  Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 15 second intervals.  Stir every 15 seconds.  Repeat until melted and smooth.)

Dip the cooled macaroons into the chocolate, coating each halfway, and place the dipped macaroons back on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Let the chocolate set. Store the macaroons in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature. (Hah! As if they’ll last….)

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