Friday, April 23, 2010

adventures in sweets, round 1: coconut macaroons

Friday, April 23, 2010

There are many things that I could ruminate on to express my bliss upon the stateside arrival of my soon-to-be sister-in-law C. She is an absolute gem, sweet and kind to the core and delightfully witty and intelligent too. I had forgotten in her tremendously long year's absence just how much fun it is to be together. We've already been getting into a pleasant routine of shopping trips, delicious lunches out, lots of wedding talk, and plans for various excursions and activities.

After our first venture, a lengthy but wonderful cross-country road trip with my beloved MIL, C and I decided to put into place our plan to prepare the plethora of recipes that are always catching our attention. I'll admit that for the most part, our list is made up of various sweets, though sundry breakfast items and Irish soda bread are included as well. We opted to begin with these coconut macaroons, otherwise known as MORSELS FROM HEAVEN.

Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate Ganache, adapted most lovingly from Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life

3 cups lightly packed sweetened shredded coconut We picked ours up at the last minute, and, most shockingly, could not find sweetened coconut. The recipe has just enough sugar to make this an acceptable substitute.
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup egg whites (from about 5 large eggs)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place the coconut, sugar, and egg whites in a heavy 2- to 3-quart saucepan and stir well. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, 10 to 15 minutes. The mixture will look very creamy as it heats, and then it will slowly get a bit drier, with individual flakes of coconut becoming discernable. Stop cooking when it no longer looks creamy but is still quite sticky and moist, not dry. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla. Scrape the mixture into a pie plate or small baking sheet, spread it out a bit to allow it to cook quickly, and refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350℉. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Using your hands or a small, spring-loaded ice cream scoop-I like to use one with a capacity of 2 tablespoons-scoop and firmly pack the coconut mixture into small domes. (If you're using an ice cream scoop, keep a bowl of warm water nearby. The scoop will need a quick swish every now and then to keep it from getting gummed up.) Space them evenly on the baking sheet.

Bake the macaroons until evenly golden, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on the pan on a wire rack. Then remove the macaroons from the baking sheet, and set them on the rack. Set the rack over the baking sheet.

Put the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until it is hot and steaming. Do not allow it to boil. Remove the pan from the heat, and pour the cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Spoon the warm ganache generously over the macaroons, shaking them gently, if needed, to coax the ganache down their sides.

Refrigerate the macaroons on the rack until the ganache sets, at least 2 hours. Transfer them to an airtight container, and refrigerate or freeze. The recipe produces approximately 12 macaroons. C and I lovingly divided them, with absolutely no resentment whatsoever.

As you'll notice, rather than reading my tedious textbook, I opted to focus my full attention on my last macaroon. They are so good it's practically impossible to concentrate on anything else whilst eating. You'll find yourself sitting in a buttery, toasty coconutty-induced reverie, attempting to imagine what other items in your house you might be able to coat in the silky bittersweet ganache. I'm serious.

Two side notes: 1-These were ridiculously easy to make. I would highly recommend them for dinner parties or holidays or any event at which you want to make a good impression. 2-READ MOLLY'S BOOK. It is absolutely wonderful, the very best food writing I've ever read, simultaneously comforting, funny, sweet, and inspiring. I've actually read it through two or three times, have given it as a gift (to C!), and even purchased it on my Kindle so that I would always have easy access.


Tyne said...

Love that book and I MUST try those macaroons! Will you please invite me next time your SIL visits? I think I would fit in just fine!

J&Co. said...

I don't know how I feel about this relationship! (In Monica's jealous-y voice!) Jk, I'm glad you two are gettingly along swimmingly. :)
Sounds like a great Mother's Day gift! Thanks, K! (In Phoebe sarcasm)

Katie Oh said...

I made these for a party and one of the guests actually stood and ate the remaining crumbs from the baking tray! So good!