12 May 2010

Lessons from Childhood - Chocolate Macaroons


The Virtues of Coconut?

To be honest, I didn’t think I liked Macaroons. In truth I have always avoided them. It was never even a challenge to say no to an offered tray of those nubby golden mounds. My aversion to flaked coconut was written in my mind as a child and taken to heart.

As I examined the recipe for Chocolate Macaroons on the back of my bag of Bob’s Red Mill Unsweetened Coconut I was skeptical. To get past my apprehension I had to ask myself - had Bob ever steered me wrong before? I have tried quite a few of his products and many have surprised me with how good they really are. Already this bag of coconut had convinced me of the virtues of an ingredient I once stubbornly refused to ingest. Already I had enjoyed the delicious flavor and texture of this coconut in a number of recipes, though it had never before been the main ingredient.

For someone who is skeptical of coconut, Macaroons are a leap of faith. You can’t get much closer to pure coconut indulgence than a Macaroon. In fact these cookies break it down to the bare gluten-free essentials calling only for egg whites, salt, sugar, flavoring and coconut……and then a good sized dose of chocolate for good measure. Maybe it was the chocolate that convinced me.

A Leap of Faith

Another thing ingrained in my mind as a child was not to let things go to waste. I still had several cups of coconut left in this bag that needed to be used before it went bad. In the interest of not wasting the remains of this worthy discovery I took the leap and made the Macaroons.

I altered the recipe just a little, and played around with the chocolate, but generally speaking this recipe was a great success. The cookies are delicious but not too sweet. They are small and gem-like and very simple to make; just whip egg whites into a meringue, stir in coconut and chocolate, and bake. In no time at all I had three slightly different kinds of macaroons.

Be sure to bake these until they are starting to brown or they will get soft and sticky when they are cool. I baked mine for 17 to 18 minutes or until the lighter colored ones browned slightly across the top. They were firm on the outside and the texture was fantastic.


Chocolate Macaroons
Adapted from the back of a Bob’s Red Mill package of Medium Shredded Unsweetened Coconut

2 egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Beat egg whites with salt until almost stiff.

Add sugar gradually, beating until stiff peaks form. Add almond extract.

Fold in coconut and melted chocolate.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until cookies are beginning to brown on top.

Cool slightly. Using a spatula transfer the cookies to a wire cooling wrack to cool completely.

Serve and enjoy!

Variations: Instead of melting and folding in the chocolate as directed, I tried a couple of variations. I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. I melted ½ cup of them as directed and set the remaining ¼ cup aside.

After folding in the coconut but before adding any chocolate I divided the batter into thirds. One third I left plain. To another third I folded in the ¼ cup of unmelted mini chocolate chips. To the last third I folded in about ¼ cup (or a little more) of the melted chocolate chips. Then I formed the cookies from all three and baked them as directed.

After the cookies cooled I placed the remaining melted chocolate in a Ziploc baggie, snipped ¼ inch from a bottom corner and piped the chocolate on top of the cookies in a zigzag pattern.

The macaroons without the chocolate were very light and slightly sticky. The ones with the chocolate chips were nice. The chocolate ones were my favorite with a slightly crisper texture and a nice chocolate edge.

8 comments:

Mary said...

These look wonderful. I've bookmarked the recipe to make when my family visits. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

the southern hostess said...

Yum! I love macaroons. I'll have to try this recipe.

grace said...

boy, chocolate's magical like that, isn't it! i, for one, have never had an issue with consuming copious amounts of coconut in its various forms, and this one is ideal. i like the variety, and i'm glad you've come around to enjoying the stuff. :)

Alanna Kellogg said...

I love that companies like Bob's Red Mill make it easy for grocers to stock some of the most useful ingredients ever -- since discovering unsweetened coconut a few years ago, there's no going back, not ever. Love your macaroons, Lis!

Cathy said...

Yum, I love a good chewy coconut macaroon and a chocolate one is even better.

Ivy said...

I love anything chocolate and coconut.
Are those white chocolate macaroons?
They are so pretty!

Erin said...

I am not much of a coconut person either but these look delicious! I think I'll have to give them a try.

theUngourmet said...

I've been hopping over to Bob's quite a bit lately. I'll have to look for this coconut. Your cookies look wonderful. I love chocolate and coconut together.