Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Macaroons



 


 


When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone. Whether we know it or not, none of us is. We bring fathers and mothers and kitchen tables, and every meal we have ever eaten. Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be.


Molly Wizenberg, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, 2009


The truth is I never used to like coconut. I never knew what all the fuss was about. Maybe it was my discovery of Thai and Vietnamese food that helped me overcome my aversion. Maybe it was the Mounds bar covered with dark chocolate that I took from my kid’s Halloween pumpkin a long time ago. (I didn’t think they’d miss it.) It was very good. Maybe it was my dislike of macaroons that came in a can.(But my husband loves those.)  Whatever. Coconut and I are now pals. I like it a lot. And I’ve been making macaroons for a lot of years now.

There are several ways to make macaroons but most incorporate egg whites and sugar. Some throw in almonds. In this family though we tend to have a coconut chocolate thing going on. I’ve tried many recipes and always seem to go back to the original. It is easy and quick and you can do lots of variations with it. I’ve seen recipes using unsweetened coconut and I’ve tried them. Frankly, I like the sticky sweetened coconut and using that saves me an extra trip to a different grocery. Some people like their coconut ground up a bit. Those remind me of what comes out of the can, but feel free, I’m not stopping you. And some people like to whip their egg whites first. No harm in that if you want an airier macaroon. Our family likes dense and chewy, kind of the same way we like our matzoh balls. We prefer the sinker variety, but don’t get me started as I really like any matzoh ball. But back to macaroons. I use the condensed milk recipe. I’ve tried many others but somehow I always come back to these. This is a good base to make any variety of macaroon you want. This recipe makes a lot so you can always scoop some into a different bowl and try a variation. A good tip is to always run your hands under cold water before you start making the coconut balls. And always use parchment paper or a Silpat liner on your cookie sheet.

Some variations:
1.  Chocolate Chips (the minis work best)
2.  Chocolate chunks (just push a piece of good chocolate into your macaroon when it comes out of the oven. It will melt.)
3.   Raspberry  Jam (or any favorite jam using the same technique as above except please use a spoon so you don’t burn your fingers)
4.  Lime Zest (stirred in to batter and maybe some cinnamon)
5.  Grated carrots, cinnamon, crushed drained pineapple (this makes carrot cake)
6.  Crushed Pineapple drained and rum extract (you know-Pina Colada)
7.  Cocoa (A couple tablespoons of this or melted dark chocolate and chocolate chips makes double chocolate macaroons)
8.   Plain
9.   You can dip the bottoms or top with melted chocolate.
10.  Easter people can add food coloring for cute little pastel macaroons.
11.  Add mini marshmallows and mini chips and have rocky road macaroons.
12.  Slivered almonds and almond extract

Well, I think you get the idea. And kids love to make these because, well, I guess because they are kids! So surprise someone. Bring them a real macaroon. You might even convert a non coconut lover. And the other thing is; well, people for some reason think these are so difficult to make. Let’s let it be our secret.


Macaroons

Makes about 48

2 large egg whites
1/4 t salt
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk (yes, you can use the non fat kind)
2 t vanilla
2 14 oz bags shredded sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl whisk the egg whites and salt until frothy. (Maybe 2 minutes) Add condensed milk, and vanilla and blend it up well. Fold in coconut using a rubber spatula.
On lined baking sheet make little balls with your wet hands. Pack tight! Place about 1 inch apart.
Bake about 20-30 minutes until they are golden to your liking. Let cool on rack. Store in an air tight container. These keep very well because they are so moist.

DO NOT GIVE AWAY OUR SECRET!

                                                             Raspberry Jam Macaroon

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2 comments:

  1. Nice quote up top - very true. And I love coconut, although not so much in savory dishes. I certainly tolerate it in curry, but it's not how I make it. Weird. Anyway, nice macaroons. I've never made these, and probably will someday (I love playing with egg whites!). Nice color choice on the plate & background in your photos, BTW. Fun post - thanks.

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  2. Yes, I think it is a good quote and it was a great book. Coconut is one of those defining foods. You either like it or you don't. And thanks for the encouraging advice with those photos. You keep me going!

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