Monday, November 10, 2008

The Quest


I'm on a quest. Is it a heroic quest involving dragons and magical weasels? Alas, nothing that exciting. It's a search for a recipe. Or rather, a quest to recreate a recipe.

About ten years ago our church hosted a Passover Seder and I volunteered to be one of the servers. I missed the presentation of the Seder, but I had fun hanging out in the other room with the caterers and other servers, staging the meal, making sure everyone got hot plates at approximately the same time. We got to eat our dinner after everyone had been served and then hustle to plate up the dessert.

Part of the dessert, the part that has stayed in my memory all these years, was a cookie. I know that coconut macaroons are traditional for Passover, but these were above and beyond mere macaroons. They were about the size of tangerine, although memory might have inflated the size. The outside was a chocolate cookie, like a thick chocolate peel covering up a middle of moist, delicious coconut macaroon. A cookie wrapped around a cookie. They were heavenly and I'm embarrassed to admit that I ate more than one. I won't confess to an exact number, though.


At the time I didn't even think to ask for the recipe, assuming it was just a cookie, but the cookie has niggled into my brain and assumed mythic proportions so that I must recreate it.

If any of you are reading this, nodding your head as you know exactly what cookie I'm talking about, please email me the recipe. I can't offer you my first-born child (he'd be irritated), but I can offer my unending gratitude and a batch of cookies. I do best on quests if I have a roadmap. If not, I'll just have to set off across the hills, taking whatever bend in the road looks best at the time, and see where it leads me.

The first step in my journey is to try different macaroon recipes to get a feel for the consistency. This one isn't right. It's a very good macaroon, but it's not right for a filling. It's a bit soupy and drippy, which makes the part that I enjoy "trimming" from the baked cookies. It is ridiculously easy, though, and if you like a simple, tasty coconut macaroon, you can't go wrong with this recipe from Ina Garten. It's almost foolproof.

Coconut Macaroons
- adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten

14 oz sweetened shredded coconut
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp kosher salt

1- Preheat the oven the 325 deg. F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2- Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl and set aside.

3- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and salt on high speed until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

4- Drop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets using a 1-3/4 inch scoop (about 2 tsp). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.

24 comments:

Sean said...

Yeah, I'm almost done with my degree, so being sold for a cookie recipe might be a little irksome. Still, if they cook as well as you do...

Lisa said...

My Dad loves macaroons. My husband loves macaroons. I love macaroons. Why haven't I made them yet???

I have the cookbook they are in too! No excuses!

Bunny Trails said...

I can't imagine being your child and growing up eating the food you post!! Everything makes me drool! This recipe just looks amazing.

VeggieGirl said...

Such a fun quest - good luck with the macaroon recipes!!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh Lynn a quest how very normal for you and me. This macaroon looks really happy but covered in chocolate has the sound of divine.

Maria said...

I always forget about these cookies. I love them though. I will have to make them soon!

Lien said...

Coconut? ssst, my husband wants to marry you if you bake that too many times. I'd better stay on the look out for al those recipes, to keep him down...hehe. I hope your quest succeeds.... no I'm sure you will succeed, if anyone can it's you. In the meantime I fell in love with your amazing beautiful blue bowl (Yes I love my blue!)it's just WOW!

TrulyBookworm said...

I think you want a recipe without sweetened condensed milk. There's one in my old Farm Journal cookbook. I'll look it up if you want.

Peabody said...

Good luck finding your cookie. Though if you find a magical weasel, send it my way, I've been looking for one. ;)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Lynn, I can relate a little to what you are going through. There's a dessert my mom used to make that was delicious but no one knows the recipe... I wish I could recreate it at home!

These macaroons look delicious and I do love anything coconut. Tell the little one to save some for me! :D

Bellini Valli said...

Macaroons are of my favourite cookies of all time. If you find that recipe...so please email it that certain someone....I hope you will share:D

Sarah said...

Well see, you just ate my share that night of cookies. That's all. You said "Ahh, Sarah will vomit if she eats this, so I'll serve her by eating it for her". That's all there is to it.

Melinda said...

I've looked through all my baking books, and I even have a Jewish baked goods book.
Nothing sounds like what you describe. I wish I could say, Eureka! Lynn, I found it for you! But alas, no.
(I wrote this comment out last night and it was eaten up. How did that happen? Poof, it disappeared. I swear, I did everything correctly!)

giz said...

When I first saw the picture I was going to say Ina Garten ... duh... check anything Noreen Gilletz - she's the queen of passover anything.

Gigi said...

Good luck with the cookie search. I love coconut macaroons, I only seem to make them around the holidays. Time to whip up a batch. Yummy!

Debbie said...

Those macaroons look delicious...could I please have one now!!!

t said...

This is one of the things I like best about you. You always spend time to discover the perfect recipe. I love macaroons!

elizabeth said...

I have to say good luck to you too and that I unfortunately don't have the magic recipe either. What an adorable picture though!

Anonymous said...

Whole foods in Roosevelt square (about ten blocks up from UW) makes a macaroon with a similar consistency like you describe. Some are dipped in chocolate, but not with a chocolate cookie. Good luck!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

I LOVE these kind of macaroons! I'm bookmarking the recipe NOW. Thank you so much for sharing.

Baking Soda said...

http://bakemyday.blogspot.com/2006/01/macaroons-or-macarons.html

this is our Dutch recipe for macaroons, almost similar to yours but no chocolate wrap-around alas. I know they are dipped in chocolate sometimes...

eatme_delicious said...

Good luck on your quest!! I'll keep my eyes and ears alert for that cookie.

Elle said...

Lynn, Maida Heatter has a cookie sshe calls a Black & White Coconut Macaroon in her book Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts 1978, 1980. It has a chocolate macaroon that you put a divot into (sort of like thumbprint cookies) and fill with a white coconut mixture. I can e-mail you the recipe if that sounds right. She also has a crescent cookie in another book that has a chocolate cookie dough surrounding a peanut butter filling, shaped into a crescent shape. The two recipes could be combined so that the chocolate cookie dough could surround a white coconut macaroon dough??

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Elle - Ooh, thanks for the tip! I have that book so I'll go look up that recipe.