Friday, April 3, 2009

Macaroons - The Final Story on Passover Coconut Macaroons

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I've now made 16 batches of macaroons and have consumed 6 bites and 8 Benydryl. But I have a conclusion! Well, several actually. You'll want to discard the recipes I originally posted - the new ones are much better than the first batches. I'll post Passover recipes here, and will follow up with the flour macaroons after Passover. This way you'll be able to find the recipe you need without having to scroll through too many pages. There were basically 5 recipes that I tested: a dairy version, using sweetened condensed milk, or fat-free condensed milk, another dairy recipe using half condensed mik and half Coco Lopez and two pareve versions using egg white and honey. This time around, I decorated all of the macaroons by dipping the bottoms in melted chocolate, to ensure that it wasn't the chocolate that was skewing the previous results.

Thank you to my taste-testers, Hadassah of Charlotte, my mah jong group: Stacy Doline, Nathalie Malter, Ann Del Vecchio and Annette Telljohann and also the Telljohann family. The recipe that got top marks from everyone was the one using the Coco Lopez, HOWEVER, I made this recipe 4 times, and 2 out of the four times, the coconut oil seeped out of the cookies making for a big puddle around each cookie and causing the cookies to spread out and flatten. I suspect that either the cans are not consistent in fat/liquid ratio, or the manner in which the coconut is stirred/whisked affected the way the Coco Lopez was incorporated into the batter. I find it sad to say that you should not use this recipe, but failures are demoralizing, and I don't wish that on anyone. The ones made using half condensed milk and half Coco Lopez were the only ones that tasters hated - in fact they spit them out! And now, on to the recipes!

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 adapted it for Passover by using matzo cake meal and potato starch instead of flour. I also added 2 tablespoons more coconut so that you can use a 7-ounce bag of coconut, instead of having to measure it out. I shaped mine into large kisses - the typical shape for macaroons, and I've fleshed out the directions to ensure your success.

Kosher-style Passover Dairy Macaroons
7-ounce bag (2-5/8 cup) sweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup matzo cake meal (DO NOT USE MATZO MEAL)
1 tablespoon potato starch
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

Semi- or bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely

First let me show you why you should use matzo cake meal and NOT matzo meal:
The left side is the matzo meal, which is like crushed crackers, and the right side is the matzo cake meal - looking and acting more like flour.

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1. 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.

2. In a bowl, combine the coconut, matzo cake meal, potato starch and salt. Stir the vanilla into the condensed milk . Add this to the coconut mixture and stir to combine well.
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.

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

5. Slide the parchment onto a cooling rack and let the macaroons cool completely.
6. If desired, garnish the macaroons with melted chocolate(quick-tempering directions will be in a new post - Tempering Chocolate), either drizzled over them or the bottoms dipped into the chocolate (I like to set them in an egg-crate to dry).
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6. 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 on a tray first so that each one is frozen individually, and then you can put them in a bag or container in the freezer. This way you can take out however many you want to defrost and they won't all be stuck together. Makes 10-12 macaroons

Penny’s Passover Vanilla Macaroons (Pareve-non-dairy)
I adapted this recipe from my Cocoa Macaroon recipe in Amazing Passover Desserts. On the first run-through (previously posted) it was my least favorite version, but it came in second with taste-testers. After several more rounds of changing and testing, it ran neck-and-neck with the dairy version, above. In addition, I think it's easier to tell when these are done baking. They come out nicely shaped with bits of toasted coconut. You DO need vanilla, so if you don't use regular vanilla and cannot find Passover vanilla, use vanilla sugar or vanilla bean. Some packaged vanilla sugar is extra-strength, so check the package for the amount to use. 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons matzo cake meal
2 tablespoons potato starch
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon Passover 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, coconut, matzo meal and potato starch 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.

Fudgy Coconut Macaroons (Pareve-non-dairy)
Since doing all of the work on the vanilla macaroons, I'm wondering if the technique employed in the recipe above, might make an even better Cocoa macaroon. I think I'm done for this year, but maybe next year I'll have to try that out...
The following recipe is from my CD-rom, Amazing Passover Desserts. While experimenting with lower fat recipes, I developed this one which I think is more fudgy and delicious than my recipe originally published in Passover Desserts.

Coconut has a tendency to either fluff, or pack when it is measured in cups. Because of this, the moistness of the cookies will change every time you make them, unless the coconut is weighed and remains constant. I like these macaroons on the underdone side so that they are slightly fudgy in the middle. The timing is crucial, and you will have to experiment to see how long to cook them in your oven. Macaroons can be made with or without potato starch or matzo cake meal. Those made with neither will be moist and soft, but it will be easier to either under or over-bake them. Those with potato starch will be slightly firmer, and those with matzo cake meal will be slightly chewier, my personal preference. If you’d like to make them with sweetened coconut use the above recipe, substituting cocoa for the potato starch.

9 ounces unsweetened coconut (about 3-1/2 cups, lightly packed)(if using sweet coconut, see the recipe above using cocoa instead of potato starch)
1/4 cup Passover cocoa (Dutch-process if you can find it)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons matzo cake meal, or potato starch, optional

4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon Passover vanilla extract or water
1/4 cup honey

1. PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 325°F, with oven shelves in the middle and lower third of the oven. Place parchment paper on 2 cookie sheets.

2. Put the coconut, cocoa, sugar, and matzo meal (if using), in a food processor bowl. Pulse-process until the coconut is finely ground, about 10 to 20 seconds. Add the egg whites, vanilla, and honey. Process until everything is well mixed, 10 to 20 seconds.

3. Use a pastry bag with an extra large star tip (6-8B) or cut a 1-inch hole in the end of a pastry bag. Onto the parchment lined sheets, pipe out mounds that are 1-1/2-inches in diameter and 1-1/2-inches high. With your fingers, shape the tip to a point to make the traditional "kiss" shaped macaroon. Alternatively the batter can be spooned onto the sheets using a tablespoon.

4. BAKE for 13-15 minutes or until the crust dulls, switching the positions of the cookie sheets after 7 minutes.

TIPS
Buy coconut and Passover extracts at:
http://www.kosher.com/
Buy Passover cocoa at:
http://www.aviglatt.com/



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5 comments:

Everything's Herbed said...

great idea garnishing the macaroons with chocolate.... love your recipes...

Lori Lynn said...

We've got a lot of macaroons here, too.
This post is so full of good information.
Happy Pesach Penny!
LL

Penny Wantuck Eisenberg said...

Happy Pesach. I'm having 18 and am making brisket for the first time in 25 years!

sandla said...

nice recipe

sandla said...

great recipe for enjoying any occassion