Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Coconut macaroons

I was catching up today on the food blogs I enjoy and ran across Clotilde's lovely macaroons at Chocolate & Zucchini. Very pretty! And such an intriguing shape. Since I just happened to have a bag of shredded coconut (purchased on a whim a few weeks ago) and the night off work (yay!), I decided to give them a try.

First I checked around to see how others make macaroons, since I didn't have quite as much coconut as her recipe called for. There's a lot of variation out there, both in ingredients and prep, so I figured I had a fair amount of latitude.
I used 3 egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar, a pinch of salt, a splash of pure vanilla extract (from my vanilla winnings; thanks, Jaden!) and an 8 oz. bag of shredded, unsweetened coconut. The oven was preheated to 350 and I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Some recipes called for using an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until fluffy, while Clotilde doesn't beat them at all. I split the difference and beat them by hand a bit, then added the vanilla and folded in the dry ingredients, which I'd mixed in a separate bowl.
I shaped the pyramids by hand, about a tablespoon per cookie. As I read in other recipes, it does help to moisten your hands for this. The shaping is fussy but satisfying. Into the oven they went.
The recipe says about 12 minutes, but at 10, I noticed the bottoms were browning much faster than the other sides, so I quickly reached in and flipped them with a small spatula. And discovered how very asymmetrical I'd made them. But that was OK. A few minutes more and they were done. Not as pretty as Clotilde's but a fair first effort. And tasty! Nice and crusty-crunchy on the outside, but still chewy and soft inside.

To tweak this recipe, I think I could reduce the sugar to a heaping half a cup, and I would use medium-shredded coconut rather than fine, for a more textured cookie.

I've got a second sheet of this batch in the oven now, this time on a silpat, and I made them a little smaller, which I think I will like better. Stand by ...

Well, the silpat didn't seem to make much of a difference in the bottom browning. Then again, I'm using a pretty cheap cookie sheet. I'll add a better one to my mental "allowed to buy on my next restaurant supply outing" list. But I do like the smaller cookie, more like half a tablespoon's worth. I prefer an equal proportion of chewy to crunchy.

(Eating another one) Mmmmm .... yeah.

P.S. from April 5: Made another batch of these with demerara sugar and they came out delicious! Click here for pictures.

10 comments:

Lisa said...

Mmmm macaroons... I haven't made those in years. I always like a little bit of chocolate in mine, either chips or dipped, but I'm no purist. And plain is awfully good too.

Alecto said...

Those are beautiful. I am inspired despite swearing off sugar for the next month!

kris said...

Yummy!! Well, obviously I haven't been here in forever. First, Happy Birthday!!!! I'm so sorry I missed telling you on the day - hope it was wonderful! It looks like you and Sophie had a nice Christmas and New Year's. All of your food photos look too good.

Best wishes for the new year, Kitt!!

Kitt said...

Thanks, Kris! It's been a nice holiday season. (And I include my birthday in that.)

Happy New Year!

Kitt said...

Oh, and I made another batch today. They turned out quite different because I had to use sweetened coconut (Safeway doesn't sell unsweetened), and I used too much egg white. I went up to four eggs, thinking I'd need it with a 14 oz. bag of coconut, but the cookies came out more like macaroon meringues. I also cut the sugar to less than half a cup. They were still good, but different.

You can do a lot of interesting variations with this recipe, I suspect, and use alternative sweeteners, too, Alecto.

jen f. said...

Wow, those look great - I'm inspired too! (I thought I'd be done with baking for a little while after the holidays, but maybe not quite yet...)

Kitt said...

They're super-easy, Jen, and even faster if you don't fuss too much about the shape.

Anonymous said...

I made the infamous Clotilde-inspired pyramid macaroons as well this January... and I used the same coconut... with equally as delicious-looking results! My first go at macaroons - definitely not to be my last... exquisite.

Cheers,

*heather*

Kitt said...

Hi Heather! Aren't they delicious? And really quite easy.

I offered some to my French carpenter and he made me hide the rest of them.

nbm said...

Mmm! Biting into a warm one. A rather different experience than the ones that come in those cylindrical cans.