Thursday, September 3, 2015

Coconut macaroons (aka the other macaron)

Coconut macaroons where a dessert I grew up eating only at passover, store bought from a can; which is why I always call these the "jewish macaroons," as opposed to the french macaron that is so trendy right now.  (Though no one else seems to know what I'm referring to when I say that...).  While they were always great, but I never thought to make my own or to eat them the rest of the year, until a friend shared some of her homemade macaroons with me recently.

These are even better than the store bought ones of my childhood, the texture and taste comes out a bit like the inside of a mounds bar.  These are very chewy, delicious and addictive.   What's more, they only require 5 ingredients (2 of which are chocolate), they are gluten free, and they freeze well!

Coconut Macaroons

5 1/2 cups (14 ounce) bag shredded coconut (ideally unsweetened) **
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 cups mini chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate

1 ounce/30 grams dark chocolate for decoration (optional)

Make the macaroons:
  1. Preheat oven to 350f/176c.  Line two cookie sheets with silpat or parchment paper.
  2. Mix all ingredients coconut, condensed milk, vanilla and chocolate chips very well in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Use a 1 or 1.5 inch cookie scoop or spoon and firmly pack in plump balls of the mixture, squeezing out any excess "juice", and place them on prepared trays about one inch apart.  Use your hands to gently compress/compact the bits of coconut together so they are tightly packed (if you skip this step they may fall apart a little while baking).
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the edges just start getting brown.  Let cool on their trays so they have time to firm up and not fall apart.  Remove to wire racks.
  5. Melt the remaining dark chocolate in a small bowl, in 30 second increments in the microwave stirring in between.  Pour into a small zip lock bag, cut one tiny corner off, and drizzle chocolate across macaroons.
Store in an airtight container.  These freeze well!

**Note: I know the 14 ounce bags are only 5 1/3 cups.  This amount will work fine for the recipe, but a little of the liquid will fall down while baking - looking like little feet on the macaroons.  If you add a little more volume of coconut this doesn't happy, so if you happen to be scooping out of a bigger bag, then go for 5 1/2 cups.

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