>> Sunday, May 16, 2010

So: I ended up making coconut macaroons. And they were wonderful.

I feel a bit traitorous saying this because they were so lovely (and if I could, I'd eat about three in a row!) but to tell the truth, I was hoping for something slightly different to what emerged from my oven. I had visions of those beautiful golden brown coconut rochers (rochers à la noix de coco or congolais) that they sell in french pâtisseries: dense and heavy with soft and chewy centres. Do you know the ones? Somehow I ended up with a different kind. Mine were cream coloured, flushed with a pinky golden hue, softer and more like meringue. Beautiful. But not quite what I was expecting.

I think I was a bit reckless with my recipe choice. I consulted a couple of the books on my shelf and Nigella's website, found photographs of delicate looking pale macaroons and thought to myself, ok, well, maybe they'll look different when I bake them; you must just have to cook them for longer to achieve that caramelly golden shell. I'd give it a go. Not so. After a little more research I discovered there are several ways to make macaroons...

The biggest difference is in the preparation of the egg. You either make a meringue mixture with sugar and egg whites into which you stir the coconut and other ingredients, or; you add the egg whites (or whole eggs) to the rest of the ingredients with little or no whisking. Some people only use egg whites, others add the yolks. Some use condensed milk and others use flour. The variations are apparently endless... So little wonder I didn't find the exact ones I was looking for on my first shot. Who knew there were so many different ways to make a simple macaroon?!

Anyway, while I didn't find my perfect coconut macaroon, I did find a perfectly lovely alternative. These macaroons are light and delicate but have a soft and moist interior with a wonderful coconut flavour. Chris declared them incredible and suggested they might be even better if dipped in some melted dark chocolate (something to try next time!).

So I guess that proves that sometimes it's good to make mistakes - you might just find something delicious which you would never have otherwise tried.

(adapted from Nigella Lawson's website)

2 large egg whites (1/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
100g caster sugar (1/2 cup)
30g ground almonds (1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (or coconut essence if available)
250g shredded or desiccated coconut (3 cups)
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas mark 3.

Beat the egg whites until frothy – no more – then add the cream of tartar and carry on beating until soft peaks are formed.

Add the sugar a teaspoon at a time and whisk until the mixture is very thick and glossy.

Fold in the almonds, salt, vanilla and coconut. The mixture will be sticky but should hold its shape when spooned together.

On a lined baking tray, form into 4cm diameter sized domes. Make sure to pile the mixture up as high as you can to maintain a nicely rounded cookie - they tend to flatten out as they cook.

Cook for 20 minutes or until they've just turned an even golden brown.


m.fay August 19, 2010 at 12:37 AM  

your blog is darling...happy to find it. hope you stop by mine and say hello. x


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