Chocolate-Covered Coconut Macaroons
I used to think that it was kind of pointless to have bloggers publish paper books based on their blogs. Then, while visiting Portland (the one in Oregon), I was browsing through Powell's Books and picked up one of the current Staff Picks, Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life. Her blog, Orangette, has been very popular for years now, yet I hadn't gotten around to checking it out, and so I turned into the person who went to read a blog after buying a paperback book with content mostly derived from said blog. As I read the book, I started mentally marking off recipes to try.
Mom inherited a bag of sweetened shredded coconut from a friend who was moving off-island, and that bag had been sitting in the fridge for a few months. I use unsweetened shredded coconut in several dishes, but I don't like sweetened shredded coconut and neither does Mom. The recipe for coconut macaroons looked like a great way to use it up.
They are a lovely combination of crispy and chewy (I baked them a little longer to get more crispy going), and the chocolate helps to cut the sweetness. I still find it to be too sweet for my taste, but I made major shifts in my diet last year and now that I generally use fruit to satisfy my sweet tooth, a lot of sugar-sweetened things are too sweet now.
The book recipe and the blog recipe for Chocolate-Coated Coconut Macaroons aren't exactly the same. The book recipe doesn't have almond extract in the cookies and uses less cream in the ganache. One of my SF-based friends has also been baking these macaroons, using the blog recipe, and we've been comparing notes as best we can (sure, we can talk about it all we like, but in the end, we aren't tasting them side-by-side).
Although I aimed for following the book recipe closely, I did make a few changes in addition to baking them longer. Both recipes call for using a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Having neither, I used aluminum foil. After the cookies cooled completely on the sheet, I could carefully peel the foil off, but I damaged several cookies in the process (trying to remove them while still warm) and think that using a Silpat would be much easier. The suggested size for the cookies looked too big to me, so I made them smaller, using a soup spoon to scoop up the dough and then squeezing and shaping it with my hands. I did not follow the ganache recipe, and took a risk using a microwave - sometimes that works just fine, but this time I let it get too hot. The ganache still tastes great but isn't smooth and glossy.
I'm not likely to make these from the recipe again - like I said, too sweet for my taste - but I'm thinking about how to do a coconut-almond macaroon that would be both less sweet and vegan. I think flax seed could stand in for the egg whites and contribute to the nutty flavor. If I try it, I'll keep you updated. If you like rich, sweet, chewy coconut macaroons, I recommend using either the book or blog recipe, and my SF-based friend is of the opinion that the 1/4 tsp. of almond extract (in the blog recipe) makes them better.
Next up is the Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cake, which will conveniently use up the egg yolks.