Thursday, February 02, 2006

Coconut Macaroons

I have daydreams sometimes about making French macarons, in the style of Laduree or Fauchon. These delicate cookies are a work of art, combining airy, crispy macarons with voluptuous ganache or jam fillings. But, alas, I only have to take one look at the recipe sent by my friend Lisa (she is an apprentice pastry chef and says they can be a complete pain to make), and my hopes are dashed.

While the macaron is indeed delectable, I find a lot of satisfaction in a good old coconut macaroon as well. I have been asked to make Ina Garten's fabulous coconut cupcakes this weekend, and the craving for coconut is getting intense. So, I decided to whip up a batch of macaroons to quell the voices in my stomache.

I dug around for recipes and ultimately crafted one out of several offerings, a dangerous endeavor but I was feeling risky. Unfortunately, I quickly found out that a good macaroon is not something you can just "whip up". The best recipes all seem to call for chilling the batter for anywhere from 6 hours to overnight. But, I figured my craving would still be around by 9 o'clock this evening, so I made the batter.

My impatience got the better of me and I decided to try baking up just two cookies after only an hour of chilling. It was an experiment, yes, an experiment! Not gluttony! To my surprise and delight the cookies were wonderful, a little flatter than the small domes that I would have gotten had they chilled longer, but delicate and very tasty. So, I waited one more hour and baked a cookie sheet's worth. Delicious! And pretty to boot. So, I may have gotten lucky, but I didn't find the prolonged chilling necessary, but to be absolutely sure, you should follow the directions to the letter. These are the lightest, most wonderful little cookies, like a union between meringue and coconut--perfect with coffee or tea, or even a glass of wine. They only keep for a day or two after they are baked, but you can keep them frozen for up to two weeks. If they last that long in your house I am going to have to seriously question you, though.

Coconut Macaroons
makes roughly 2 dozen cookies

2 large egg whites
pinch salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2.25 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Beat egg whites and salt (using the whisk attachment on your mixer) until they hold very stiff peaks. With the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar, then keep beating for a minute or two, until glossy and smooth. Add flour and vanilla, beat to just combine. Scrape down the sides and pulse a little more, if necessary.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the coconut. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6-8 hours, or overnight. However, keep in mind that the tasty macaroon pictured chilled for about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Sil-pat silicone liner, or parchment paper. If using parchment paper, spray lightly with cooking spray. Fill a small bowl with hot water. Using a small ice cream scoop (one of my favorite tools for making cookies, if you don't have one, use a rounded tablespoon), scoop mounds of batter onto the sheet, 2 inches apart. Do not flatten the scoops, you want high mounds. After each scoop, swirl the spoon or scooper in the hot water to rinse and prevent sticking.

Bake 16-18 minutes, until a light golden brown. Cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. They will burn your fingers if you try to eat them hot, but oh, it may be worth it. Enjoy!


Jenny said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I think I'l going to make these tonight.

Marianne said...

They are wonderful, and aside from the coconut, a pretty light treat. Let me know how it goes!

amy corinne said...

I need to stop looking at your blog when I feel like snacking.

Marianne said...

I need to stop making all of this stuff! I am rapidly expanding.