Thursday, August 13, 2009

Baking Challenge #2: Macaroons

I have always loved macaroons but have never made them before. There is something to be said about a cookie that is almost entirely made of coconut. This weeks recipe comes from Sweet Serendipity. Serendipity 3 is this magical little restaurant filled with hanging Tiffany lamps on the upper east side on 60th Street in NYC. I can not leave New York without stopping at this restaurant for a bite to eat or devouring one of their many enticing desserts. The sundaes are amazing!

Aunt Buba's Macaroons
I'm going to start this recipe off with the beginning excerpt from the book because it's a cute little story. Every recipe should have a story right?

"Patch's Aunt Buba was a typical Southern lady who lived a very atypical life. Not only did she divorce her first husband, which was a major sin in the Arkansas delta in those days, but she and her second husband lived right next door to her first husband, and she looked after both of them like one big happy family. Each husband had his favorite version of her recipes, including her famous macaroons–one liked chocolate and the other liked plain. Here, Aunt Buba's first husband's favorite macaroons."

2 large egg whites, room temperature
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup tightly packed shredded sweetened coconut
unsalted butter for the pan

makes about 12 cookies

Preheat oven to 325.
Use clean bowls and beaters so that the egg whites will whip up properly. With the electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed, adding the sugar in a slow stream. Continue beating until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Beat in the almond extract. Gently fold in coconut with a large spoon or spatula.

Cover a baking sheet in parchment paper and spread the parchment with plenty of butter. Drop the batter by teaspoon-sized dollops, 1 inch apart. (I made mine a little bit bigger, see Ex. 1)

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until very lightly browned. Do not over bake: the macaroons should be no darker than light tan.

Transfer to rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

These macaroons aren't your typical grocery store types. They definitely weren't as dense, instead they were light and airy and tasted a little like angel food cake with coconut. This cookie was extremely easy to make and low in fat! Hooray for that! I dipped a couple of mine in melted chocolate as well.

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