Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Quest Continues

One of my sisters lives in another state. On the all-too-rare occasions when we get together, we do goofy things. Do we go out for dinner? Go out for drinks? Go out to a movie? No, we bake together, go to thrift stores, and maybe a restaurant supply store. On my last visit she took me to her top secret chocolate supplier, where she buys bricks of chocolate. I didn't have a pressing need for chocolate, so I toured the aisles, chuckling at the cake toppers, wondering what those curlycue gadgets were for, and ending up with a bag of lollipop sticks and a 5 lb bag of macaroon coconut.

Macaroon coconut is much finer than regular shredded coconut, the kind you buy at the grocery store. With my dream macaroon cookie in mind, this seemed like a sensible purchase. 5 lbs to experiment with.

I received many helpful suggestions after my previous macaroon post (thank you so much, all who wrote!), but I found a recipe that looked just right in my new Cookies by Fine Cooking magazine. Beautiful little domes, slightly crunchy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside, and using the finer coconut gave them a better texture. I know the "chewing woodpulp" sensation is one of the big reasons that a lot of people avoid coconut. With the finer coconut, that's not an issue.

The macaroons were also less cloyingly sweet than most coconut macaroons. Even my non-coconut loving husband said they were pretty good. And, trust me, that is quite an endorsement from him for something with coconut in it.

This post is going to have to be a two-parter. Today you get the macaroons with a variation, and next time you get....well, you'll just have to wait and see. Yes, I'm a tease, but it'll be worth the wait, I promise. To take the cookies up a notch, you can drizzle them with chocolate ganache. I had some leftover chocolate filling from these cookies , so I warmed it up and poured it over the top. Plain or chocolate? Tough call. I think....both.

Coconut Macaroons
- adapted from Cookies by Fine Cooking magazine

3/4 cup egg whites (about 5 large eggs)
1-1/2 cups plus 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
12 oz. unsweetened finely shredded coconut

1- Position racks in the center and upper portions of the oven and heat the oven to 350 deg F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2- In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk the egg whites and sugar. Work the coconut into the egg mixture with a wooden spoon until it is completely incorporated.

3- Using a small cookie scoop (about a level Tbsp of dough), scoop the coconut mixture onto the baking sheets. The cookies don't spread much so they can be spaced fairly close together. To retain the round shape, bake them right away.

5- Bake until the cookies are an even golden color and look dry (not at all sticky or wet looking), about 20 to 25 minutes. Halfway through baking, switch the pans from top to bottom and rotate them from back to front for even baking.

6- Let the cookies sit on the baking pan for 2 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. They will keep well stored airtight at room temperature.

Makes about 4 dozen macaroons.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Can't wait for part 2!! :-)


Johanna B said...

I love chewy macaroons. Yours look scrumptious.

Happy baking in 2009. I look forward to seeing what you will create.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Look tasty! I have been trying to get my hands around the Peruvian version of these. Coconut lovers love them. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

That is very interesting about the 2 different types of coconut! It is little wonder recipes for coconut macaroons turn out so different.
Do you think that this is the secret difference?

I don't really like loose coconut on a cake frosting but I love a good coconut macaroon. There was a place in Portland, Oregon called Rose's. I think the area is called The Pearl now, and Rose's is no longer there, but they made excellent macaroons, besides the best pastrami on rye!
I look forward to part deux. I hope there is a car chase!
Hope you had a good celebration for the New Year.
The fire works in London went on for at least 10 minutes! I was sure the London Eye would keel over at the end! Of course, I was not silly enough to go stand down by the Thames and watch it (Louisa did) but right on the telly in the warmth of my front room!
As I write this, it has just turned 2009 in Seattle for you all!
Happy New Year Lynn!
(I am off to work now...bye.)

CookiePie said...

Oooh yum - those look delicious!

natalia said...

Ciao ! Happy new macaroon year ! Baci

grace said...

awesome find, lynn! i never knew such a form of coconut existed, but i'm sure i'd love it--makes it that much easier to increase my coconut intake. :)
happy 2009!

Aimée said...

Happy New Year from all of us, Lynn!


Elle said...

That coconut looks like the dissicated stuff, unsweetened, that I get at the health food store. This looks like a great recipe to try...and a way to use up the ganache from the DB challenge. Well, there is always just using a spoon, but I like the maccaroon idea better.
Happy New Year Lynn!

Karen Baking Soda said...

I love to see ingredients (and a good cookie recipe!) You know what? the stuff on the left side is what we get at our stores...

Totally understand you and yr sisters trips!

LyB said...

You are a tease! :)
Happy New Year, Lynn, all the best to you and your family!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I'm not sure why I hadn't realized how approachable these were--I need to make a batch this weekend! They look delicious and I approve of coconut in all its wonderful forms

Peabody said...

Now see I actually prefer this type than to the French ones that everyone goes ga-ga over.
Hope 2009 brings you much joy and good health.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Ooooh, one of my favourite things! 4 dozen of them would keep me going for an hour or two, I think...

Happy New Year!

kickpleat said...

happy new year! these look like the perfect cookie (and one of my personal favorites). yummy!

Nora B. said...

Hi Lynn,
These coconut macaroons looks perfect! My mom loves them, so I should make some for her when I see in next Sunday (will be back in Singapore for 2 weeks).

I hope that you had a fab start to 2009!

x nora

Debbie said...

They look great. Love their crunchy tops!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

These are one of my classic favourites Lynn.
May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons bring
the best to you and yours!

Unknown said...

I've never made macaroons before, but these looks SOOO good! I wonder if you could "make" this kind of coconut but processing the "normal" kind. Hmmmm...

Gigi said...

Great post Lynn! I can't wait for part two. Happy New Year!

Deborah said...

I love anything with coconut, so these are up my alley! I've never seen this finer coconut before - I'll have to check around here for it!

Carrie said...

Can I ask what "thoroughly whisk the egg whites and sugar" means specifically? I made these tonight and whisked until frothy but my macaroons ran pretty badly. It's possible I had a little too much eggwhite, but yours look so much prettier than mine that I figured I'd go to the source and ask. :) They taste great so that's all that matters, right?

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Carrie- Make sure you measure the egg whites, so that you don't have too much, and use the finer grade of coconut, being sure to weigh the amount. Those are my two thoughts on why your macaroons might have run. Hope this helps!

Carrie said...

I absolutely had that finer shred of unsweetened coconut, but I think my "approximately 5 eggwhites" may have equaled more than there should have been, so that's probably my error. I just wasn't sure if it was that or if I wasn't whisking enough with the sugar is all. Thanks for the tips! :) Love your blog!