Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Coconut Macaroons

Well, my guys really spoiled me for Christmas, and I am now the proud owner of almost every cookbook on my wish list, plus a plethora of new cooking utensils, so, I am officially one happy cook.  To celebrate my new kitchen additions,I figured I would bake something from “Once Upon a Tart”, which I have read so many good things about, both the bakery and the cookbook.  If I ever end up in New York city, this cafe will be tops on my list of places to visit.  The cookbook is divine.  I want to cook everything in it.  I figured I would settle for the “Classic Coconut Macaroons”, being as they are a favourite.   I have made macaroons in the past, with acceptable results, but have never achieved macaroon nirvana.  This recipe just may be the one. Alot of macaroons are either too dry, or too sweet.  This one seems to be the best of both worlds, not sweet, moist inside, and oh so yummy.   I dipped 1/2 of the batch in chocolate, and cannot decide whether they are better with or without.  You will just have to make them, and decide for yourself!

Classic Coconut Macaroons, original recipe from “Once Upon a Tart”, by Frank Mentesana, and Jerome Audureau.

4 Large egg whites, at room temperature (they separate and whip better than cold eggs)
½ cup white sugar
4 cups Unsweetened shredded coconut (I used medium)
½ cup all purpose flour (always unbleached!!)
½ tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp honey
½ cup chocolate chips (optional, for dipping when cooked and cooled)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with one rack in the middle of the oven.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites in a large bowl, using the whisk attachment of your electric mixer.   Whisk until peaks form, 2-3 minutes approximately.  

 Slowly add the sugar, and mix for a couple more minutes. The result should be nice and thick and shiny!

In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut and the flour.  Add this to the egg whites, and mix with a wooden spoon. 

Add the vanilla, almond extract, and honey, and mix till combined. (note my shiny new measuring cups, thanks to my wonderful Mother in law Sheila...they are great! I love them!!)

Using a teaspoon dipped in water, or your 1 tbsp measure if it is an appropriate shape,

scoop dough and place on parchment paper, leaving 1 ½ inches between cookies. 
Dipping the scoop into hot water between each cookie helps to release it from the scoop.  (I left mine rounded, they suggest pinching the tops of each cookie into a kiss shape, with moistened fingers)

Bake in the center of the oven for 8-12 minutes.  My tablespoon sized cookies took just over 11 minutes to start to brown on the bottom edges.

Place baking sheet on wire racks to cool a bit, then slide the parchment and cookies off onto the wire racks, and cool completely. 

My tablespoon sized scoop yielded 46 macaroons.

Optional step: Melt chocolate chips in a bowl over simmering water, and dip the tops of the cooked and cooled macaroons. Let cool completely, or chill in fridge to set chocolate quickly.

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