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Friday, August 1, 2014

Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

These are so easy to make, I'm ashamed I don't make them more often. They receive favorable ratings from nearly everyone I've made them for.


Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

Source:  Baking Illustrated: The Practical Kitchen Companion for the Home Baker from Cook's Illustrated
Makes about 40

1 c cream of coconut (NOT coconut milk, but rather the sweetened, thickened juice sometimes used in cocktails--can be found in cans or in plastic bottles
2 T light corn syrup
4 large egg whites
1 teas vanilla extract
1/2 teas salt
3 c unsweetened shredded coconut (you can use dessicated coconut, although results can be a bit crumbly)
3 c sweetened flaked or shredded coconut

Set two oven racks to the upper and low-middle positions and heat the oven to 375F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking spray.

Whisk together the cream of coconut, corn syrup, egg whites, vanilla, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the two kinds of coconut in a large bowl. Break up any large clumps of coconut with your fingertips. Pour the liquid ingredients into the coconut and mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until evenly moistened.

Drop heaping tablespoons of the mixture onto the baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Form the cookies into loos haystacks with your fingertips. If you get too sticky, moisten your fingers with water and keep forming. Bake until the cookies are light golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating the sheets front to back and from rack to rack at the midway point.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets until slightly set, about 2 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

To dip in chocolate:

Chop 10 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate and melt 8 oz. in a microwaveable bowl on medium power for a minute or two. Stir the chocolate and, if needed, microwave for another 30 seconds, also at medium power. Stir to ensure it is all melted. Add the additional 2 oz. chocolate and stir until smooth.

Hold the macaroons by their pointed top and dip into the chocolate, up the base about a quarter inch. (Because mine were a bit crumbly last time, I used a skewer to help me hang on to them.) You may scrape some of the excess chocolate with your finger, if you wish (I didn't do this step much since I like plenty of chocolate with my macaroon). Refrigerate the macaroons to help the chocolate harden. They don't need to be stored in the fridge unless room temperatures are high.

Note: The last time I made these, I decided to try out a couple of variations. I salted a few of them by sprinkling coarse salt over the chocolate right after dipping (the salt was on the bottom of the cookie and although it melded with the chocolate, it didn't entirely dissolve). All my tasters wished I'd done more of these. On a few I also tucked a toasted whole almond into the macaroon before baking. I think I will make some with toasted, slivered almonds next time because the flavor was good but the big hunk of almond made for an odd texture and it would be nice to have the almond flavor throughout.

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