bittersweet chocolate dipped macaroons

bittersweet chocolate dipped macaroons

Snow days. You probably heard all about it on the news: massive snowstorm batters the east coast, end of the world as we know it, we’ll never be able to leave our houses again, Fox News makes outrageously irresponsible and and misinformed statements about global warming, yadda yadda yadda. What it meant for me was that I got to leave work at 1 p.m. on a Wednesday. It was amazing; it felt like skipping out of school at recess. And what was even better than the coming home early was that there was ample time to bake. So I pulled out Elinor Klivans’ wonderful Big Fat Cookies, looking for an inspiring idea for cookies. I’ve made many of the recipes from Klivans’ book before, but not in recent years, as my copy lives at my mom’s house. But I was wanting to make some of those recipes again, so a few weeks ago, I went out and bought a new copy, and I’ve since spent a bit of time reacquainting myself with the aforementioned big, fat cookies. And so, on that snowy, blustery afternoon, I chose a recipe for chocolate-dipped macaroons, because, well, macaroons are awesome. Let’s get to it, shall we?

oh, macaroons.

shredded coconut

I made a quick list of ingredients and went, perhaps foolishly, back out into the snow to the grocery store (luckily, I had Kenan at my side, for moral support and also to make sure I didn’t disappear under a snowdrift). Somehow, we survived the muck and arrived back at the apartment, armed with baking supplies and treats from Champion, ready for some snow day baking time.

These coconut-chocolate babies are lovely and simple. First, I mixed together some sweetened shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, salt, and vanilla and almond extracts. Ms. Klivans’ recipe calls for a surprising amount of almond extract (1 1/2 teaspoons), which, even as someone who adores the stuff and uses it every chance she can get, I found a bit excessive. But I decided to trust the lady’s tastebuds and adjust things later if need be. In any case, then I whipped a large egg white with cream of tartar until it formed soft peaks, added some sugar, and whipped again until it formed those oh-so-desirable shiny, stiff peaks. Then I folded the whites into the coconut and we were ready for business. I dropped the cookies in large spoonfuls onto a lined baking sheet and popped them in the oven. Roughly 20 minutes later, they had puffed up a bit and gotten ever so slightly golden brown. I let them cool completely and then did the chocolate dip thing, melting bittersweet chocolate with a tiny bit of oil to make it shiny and then allowing it to cool just enough to thicken slightly. Then I dipped the bottoms of my cookie friends into the chocolate and flipped them upside down, allowing the chocolate to set completely.

holding hands, eating macaroons.

mounds of coconut

Even though we wanted to keep our little mounds of coconut happiness to ourselves, we decided it would be more neighborly (and better, in the end, for the well-being of our stomachs) if we brought them downstairs to share with Coach n’ Boots. And they were spectacular: chewy, a bit crispy on the outside, moist, and just generally delectable. I think my doubts about the amount of almond were correct, however: the macaroons were delicious, but the taste of almond was just a bit overwhelming. My other concern about these guys is the amount of processed stuff that goes into them. I have no desire to know what sweetened shredded coconut actually is, but I’m sure making it involves lots of chemicals and processing and other generally icky stuff. And I have similar concerns with sweetened condensed milk. All of this is not to denigrate the recipe; it’s fantastic, and they’re probably the best macaroons I’ve ever had. I’m just saying that I’ll probably want to return to the macaroon, to see if I can’t make something just as moist and incredible with regular, unsweetened, unprocessed shredded coconut and, you know, without the canned milk.

But for now, throw caution to the wind and luxuriate in some awesome macaroons. I mean, it’s certainly still winter outside, and how else are we all going to keep our winter padding on?


baked macaroons

bittersweet chocolate dipped macaroons.
(adapted from Elinor Klivans)

sweetened shredded coconut 2 2/3 cups (one 7-ounce package)
sweetened condensed milk 1/2 cup
salt 1/2 teaspoon
almond extract 1 teaspoon (or up to 1/2 teaspoon more, if desired)
vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon
extra-large egg white, at room temperature 1

cream of tartar pinch (about 1/8 teaspoon)
chocolate dip.
bittersweet chocolate, chopped 9 ounces
canola or safflower oil 1 tablespoon

for the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the coconut, condensed milk, salt and vanilla and almond extracts. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the egg white and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until the whites start to hold soft peaks. Add the sugar and continue to whisk on medium-high speed until the mixture holds medium-stiff, glossy peaks. Add half of the whites to the coconut mixture and stir to combine, then add the rest of the whites to the coconut, folding gently, being careful not to overmix.

Using an ice cream scoop or quarter-cup measure, drop the batter onto the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space around each cookie. Bake for about 17 minutes, or until the cookies turn a light golden brown.

Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

for the chocolate: In a medium heavy-bottomed sauce pan, melt the chocolate with the oil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a small bowl and allow to set for about 10 minutes.

Dip the bottom of each cookie in the chocolate and place upside down on a wire rack to set for at least one hour.

consulting the recipe

photographs by the wonderful kenan.

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