Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coconut Macaroons

Not too long ago, I attempted to bake Ina Garten's macaroon recipe, which seemed simple enough: sweetened condensed milk, coconut, egg whites..... I was pretty sure I had that one in the sack.

Then, I removed the pan from the oven and instead of having lovely little cookies, I had a horrible mess of cookies that never took shape, let alone volume and my sad little cookie sheet had nothing more than blotches of coconut puddles all over. Alas, my ability to make these little macaroons (not be confused with the French "macaron"), got shot down the drain and my confidence needed a year or so to recover (although I think I'm ready to tackle that recipe once again! Defeat never!).

In my fortunate possession is a cookbook native to Utah, entitled, "Always in Season: A Collection of Recipes from the Jr. League of Salt Lake City". I tell you, it's my favorite cookbook yet. Everything, and I mean, every single recipe I have ever tried has been studded with 5 star reviews in my opinion. If you need to impress, this cookbook has it. Recipes such as asparagus risotto with saffron(still dreaming about this one), roasted corn salsa (oh yes), cucumber and lobster soup(if we lived in Maine), easy chocolate cake (absolutely mind-blowing), wild berry soup (slobber), chicken in triple-mustard marinade (different and unpredictable), pulled pork with peaches (our favorite summer meal ever), or cherry cobbler (my to-do this summer).....disappointment will not be a buyer's emotion after this purchase. My utter most promises too, that I'm not trying to square off an undercover marketing/promotion on their behalf:). It's just, when you meet a solid, good, reliable cookbook that has contemporary and seasonal recipes in it, all of which have gotten you through the ups and downs of life, you gotta brag it up.

And for some time (that is, after my first macaroon tragedy) I saw that this cookbook had the audacious recipe for "Picture-Perfect Macaroons". Well, I thought. This is just what I need.

I'm not sure if they are the creme de le creme of picture perfection, but they sure tasted delicious, didn't puddle like the other recipe, and stood up wonderfully for days after. They are a real, real winner- a little more elbow grease in the process, but nothing you can't handle!

Picture Perfect Macaroons

½ cup light corn syrup

2/3 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

¾ cup egg whites (about 5 large eggs), at room temperature

5 1/3 cups packed, sweetened, shredded coconut

1/3 cup cake flour, sifted

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

1 tsp oil

Bring the corn syrup to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Swirl the saucepan just above the heat source until bubbles in the liquid are uniform; remove from the heat, and stir in the sugar with a wooden spoon.

Cook until the sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly; mixture will appear grainy and white. Remove from the heat and let stand for 4 minutes. Add vanilla. Stir in the egg whites with VIGOR (yes, seriously- you don’t want them scrambling!). Add the coconut and cake flour and mix JUST until it’s combined.

Drop by generous tablespoons several inches apart on a nonstick cooking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove immediately to wire racks to cool.

Heat the chocolate with the oil in a double broiler until most the chocolate is melted. Let it stand for 5 minutes, stir to blend. Dip each macaroon into the chocolate, coating 1/3 of the cookie and place onto waxed paper until the chocolate is firm.

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