Friday, April 17, 2009

Coconut Macaroons – Again!


This is the third post for these recipes - I don't know why the ingredients and most of the instructions were missing from the first and second post - something to do with the code for truncating the post. Hopefully, this try will work .

I'm going to repeat a lot of the information that was in the Passover Macaroon post, assuming that you might not have read that one if you aren't particularly interested in Passover.

For this portion of my series on macaroons, I tested macaroons made with sweetened condensed milk, fat-free condensed milk, Coco Lopez™, and egg whites. I also made one with sweetened condensed milk and beaten egg whites (no flour), and this one was not liked because it was too soft with no "bite". That's good news, because beating egg whites to stiff peak isn't the easiest technique and it made this simple cookie a pain to make. My taste-testers were the members of my mah jong group: Stacy Doline, Nathalie Malter, Ann Del Vecchio and Annette Telljohann, the Telljohann family and the Malter family. The clear cut winner of this batch of macaroons was the one made with condensed milk. Interestingly, those made with Coco Lopez, which were very good when made without flour, were not liked when made with flour – which is fine, because the results from them were very inconsistent anyway (the coconut oil sometimes leaked out).

The recipe most liked by tasters was given to me by Annette Telljohann. When I first researched the recipe, I found almost the exact recipe on the Internet listed as a State Fair winner, but when I went back to see if I could find out the name of the winner, I didn't find the recipe at all! In any case, I've changed the recipe a little so maybe now I can call it mine! The first change I made was to add a little more coconut to the recipe. They were plenty moist, so I knew that the cookie could take it. Why measure out the coconut, when by adding just a tad more, you can use a whole bag. Secondly, I've given instructions on how to make them "kiss-shaped", the traditional shape for macaroons. Then, I changed the baking temperature, or given some leeway in the temperature depending on what you'd like them to be like (I didn't try baking them at 375- a project for next year!). Lastly, the instructions have been fleshed out, so that you have the best possible chance for success. The second favorite is a non-dairy version and was adapted from one of my own recipes. And now, on with the recipes!

Coconut Macaroons
7-ounce bag (2-5/8 cup) sweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup unbleached flour, measured by fluffing, scooping and leveling
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla (very important to use good quality)
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (fat-free was acceptable, but not preferred)
Semi - or bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
(or 350 if you like them toastier and chewier). Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. In a bowl, combine the coconut, flour and salt. Stir the vanilla into the condensed milk. Add this to the coconut mixture and stir to combine well.

Drop the mixture by well-rounded tablespoon onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Using slightly damp hands shape the dough into a tear-drop or “kiss” shape.

macaroons

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the macaroons tops are beginning to brown and the cookies are barely firm to the touch.

Slide the parchment onto a cooling rack and let the macaroons cool completely.
If desired, garnish the macaroons with melted chocolate (quick-tempering directions will be in another post – find it under the label "techniques"), either drizzled over them or the bottoms dipped into the chocolate (I like to set them in an egg-crate upside down until dry).

macaroons8


Place the macaroons in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to firm up the chocolate. After the cookies are cool and decorated, place them in a plastic bag (at room temperature) until ready to serve. You can make them 1 day ahead. You can freeze them for 3 months. Freeze them in a single layer until solid and then you can transfer them to a bag or container.
Makes 10-12 macaroons
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Dairy-free Coconut Macaroons

Macaroons made with egg whites are a bit easier to make because they brown up better and it is easy to tell when they are done. They didn't come in first on taste tests but I think with the changes I've made, they would be neck-and-neck with the dairy macaroons. Vanilla is a critical ingredient, even more so than with the dairy ones, so use the best vanilla you can find. I use Niellsen-Massy. It's very expensive, but so worth it.

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup unbleached flour, measured by fluffing, scooping and leveling
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey
7 ounce bag (2-5/8 cups) sweetened coconut

1. PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 350°F, with an oven shelf in the middle of the oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Put the sugar and flour in a food processor bowl. Pulse-process for 10 seconds to grind the sugar a little more finely. Add the egg whites, vanilla, and honey. Process until everything is well mixed. Place the coconut in a bowl and stir in the egg mixture.

3. Drop the mixture by well-rounded tablespoon onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Using slightly damp hands, shape the dough into a tear-drop or “kiss” shape.

4. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the macaroons tops are beginning to brown and the cookies are barely firm to the touch. Slide the parchment onto a cooling rack. Decorate with chocolate, if desired, using the directions above.

Store as directed above

8 comments:

duodishes.com said...

There are never enough macaroons.

Lori Lynn said...

Hi Penny - I came by to say thanks for contributing to the Passover Round-up. For most entries I linked to the dish, but since you had so many great desserts linked to your blog in general. I am certain that when the folks come over to check it out they will have a great time exploring all your wonderful recipes.
Thanks again, Lori Lynn

Kim - Easy French Food said...

Penny - You are obvously one talented cook. I want to come to your house for dessert. Love how you presented different macaroons all together. Something about having a choice makes things look all the more luscious, doesn't it? Happy creating (and eating)!

Penny Wantuck Eisenberg said...

Thanks, Kim. My basic training was in French cooking and I've brought that sensibility to my desserts.

Alisa@Foodista said...

What a great blog you have here and these pretties are just too hard to resist!Hope you wont mind but I'd love to guide Foodista readers to your site, just add this little widget here to this post and it's all set to go, Thanks!

Anonymous said...

hi penny, these look great! do they hold together well and are they chewy like the store bought Manischewitz brand? that's what i'm aiming for.

i really like your blog! do you weigh your ingredients? if so, how much do you assume for 1c ap flour?

i'd LOVE to see what you test out when it comes to rugelach!!!!!! could you post a recipe please? thanks!

Penny Wantuck Eisenberg said...

The macaroons are a bit chewy. They have a different flavor than the canned ones. Most of the people I know prefer them to Maneschewitz. I always weigh my flour as you get more consistency when you do that. I use 130 grams for a cup of all-purpose flour. That's light compared to some authors. If you fluff, scoop and then level, you should get approximately 130 grams per cup. That's about 4.6 ounces per cup. I usually use grams because it's easier for me to do that math if I have to divide or multipy the recipe. I don't have to test my rugelach - I've been making them for 20 years and by now have perfectly them exactly the way we like them. I can post my recipe sometime after the engagement party we are throwing on June 20th. Thanks for reading my blog!

Vanessa LaBranche said...

I really enjoy reading all of the wonderful recipes and posts you have with desserts. Very helpful tips and detailed instructions. I love making macaroons and eating them. Will have to try the dairy free macaroons as I love the taste of condensed milk. Thanks!