Saturday, May 29, 2010

52 Cookies - Chapter 21

When I was a kid, I never liked coconut.  Now, I do.  I try not to eat coconut-related foods very often.  It's high in fat.  And, not the good kind of fat either.  Coconut seems to be one of those love/hate things with most people.  I used to hate it.  Now I love it.  I've been told a story by my mother-in-law, that my husband was once caught, as a little boy, eating coconut straight from the bag! 

I've never been big on macaroons.  The ones I have sampled before seemed so dry or artificial tasting.  I have always wanted to try making coconut macaroons.  So, I gave it my best effort this week.  Settling on a recipe was rather difficult.  There are so many variations on just a simple coconut macaroon.  I didn't know which one to go with.  In the end, I was swayed by the simplicity of Alton Brown's video on the Food Network's website.  If you remember, Alton is the one who gave me my very favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  How could I go wrong this time?

I have another recipe from Ina Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa, that I will probably use the next time I make Coconut Macaroons.  That likely will not be until the holidays.  These things are almost like candy and I just can't eat them this time of year...swimsuit season and all.  Another downer about making macaroons in the summer...I really think today's humidity did a number on my whipped egg whites.  I'm not one to make excuses over less than perfect baking, but sometimes even the best baker has no control over the end-result when the weather isn't cooperating. 

Coconut Macaroons

Here's What You'll Need:
14 oz. package sweetened shredded coconut
2 oz. sweetened condensed milk
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 large egg whites, room temperature
5 oz. granulated sugar
semi sweet chocolate chips

Here's What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, coconut and salt.  Give it a good mix.  I apologize that the ingredients are listed in ounces rather than measurements of cups, etc.  This is how I found it.  I do know that the 2 oz. of sweetened condensed milk measures to be slightly less than 1/4 measuring cup.  Go with that.  I had good results doing the same.  You then, unfortunately, are left with nearly a whole can of sweetened condensed milk.  What to do.  What to do.  Aha!  Make fudge!  And so now, we have a container of very rich, chocolatey fudge in the house and Christmas is a long way off.  What on earth am I going to do with this stuff so I don't eat it?!  I digress...Another reason I will try out Ina Garten's recipe, which I realized too late, her recipe for coconut macaroons uses a whole 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk.  I am interested to learn how different the end result will be. 

Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the room temp. egg whites until foamy on medium speed.  Gradually add the sugar while still whisking.  Continue to whisk for approximately 7 minutes.  I found that my egg whites didn't have the "medium peaks" Alton describes in his video after 7 minutes.  So, I kicked up the speed one notch for another minute and I was in business. 

Gently fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.  Do not over mix.  Be sure to fold it in.  You don't want to deflate the air that you just whipped into the egg whites.  If you are fortunate enough to have invested in a small cookie dough scoop, pull that baby out and scoop away onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  My macaroons spread a little.  Again, I think my egg whites deflated some due to the humidity and therefore produced a cookie dough that was a little "wetter" than it should have been.  But still, you can place your little coconut lumps closer together than regular cookie dough.  There shouldn't be a lot of spread. 

The recipe called for 20-25 minutes in the oven.  I started with 20 minutes and it was usually somewhere around there when they were done.  Error on the side of caution.  Only you know your oven.

I let my macaroons cool a bit on the cookie sheet before removing.  They wanted to stick a bit, even on the parchment paper.  I got about 3 dozen macaroons from this recipe.  Some of them were too big, so you might be able to get more.  In Alton's video, he dips the tops in melted chocolate and then sprinkles the tops with crushed macadamia nuts.  I just melted some chocolate, poured it into a zip seal baggy, trimmed a small corner and then squeezed lines of chocolate back and forth.  Much quicker.  And I thought, a lot less messy, until...Wait!  Zoom in!  What is that?!

Ah, yes.  I can see it much clearer now.  The zipper bag burst open and glugged warm, melted chocolate all over roughly 4 macaroons, and my hands.  Let me tell you, it is an odd and yet pleasant sensation all at the same time to have warm, thick, melted chocolate in your hands.


For the holidays, it might be nice to go a step further and place a whole almond on top and then dip them in chocolate or place a dollop of chocolate on top to make something of an Almond Joy candy bar bite.  Mmmm - I can taste it now!  I'll definately make these again.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment on my blog! I enjoy hearing from my readers!