Coconut Macaroons

April 22, 2013

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Well, this is it.  Coconut macaroons.  Let’s talk about this for a minute.  Even though white chocolate cheesecake was the first recipe I had ever tried on my own, and adding chocolate chips to a cake mix was the first time I had ever been “inventive,” (no, really), coconut macaroons was the first recipe I had ever really experimented with.  I tried them with egg whites, condensed milk, egg whites and condensed milk, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, sweetened and unsweetened coconut, with and without chocolate chips, coconut milk, regular milk.  I mean, I really spent some quality time with these little soft cookie-confectionary items.

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And then finally, eventually, I came up with a recipe that I really, truly loved.  It’s saved on my computer as “top secret coconut macaroon recipe.”  It’s one of those recipes that I was positive that I would include in my future baking career’s repertoire.  It is just the right amount of involved that you felt like you accomplished something, but easy enough that you  never feel defeated.  It was, in my eyes, the perfect coconut macaroon.  I was done.  Move on to the next recipe!

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I think we all know that this isn’t that recipe.  Because, people, this one that I’m posting here is better.  This is what I both love and hate about the art of cooking.  You are never really done.  You can never really check any recipe off of any master list.  Recipes are always evolving, well, my work was a waste and I’m sad.  Sigh.  It’s a mix of emotions, really.

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But this recipe is nothing short of genius.  It uses pastry cream (!!) as the binder.  Which is exactly what makes them perfectly soft and chewy on the inside with crispy, toasty coconut on the outside.  It really is art.  Good work, recipe.

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Coconut Macaroons (slightly adapted from Flour)

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 (14 oz) bags of sweetened shredded coconut
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  1. Make the pastry cream: Pour the milk into a small saucepan, and scald it over medium-high heat until you see bubbles forming around the edge of the pan.  Be sure that the milk does not boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt.  In another small bowl, whisk together egg yolks until smooth and then slowly add to the flour mixture, and whisk until well incorporated.
  3. Remove the milk from the heat, and very slowly drizzle it to the egg-flour mixture, a little at a time, whisking constantly.
  4. When all of the milk has been added, pour the mixture back into the saucepan, and place over medium-low heat. Whisk continuously and vigorously for  about 1 minute, or until the mixture thickens.  It will happen very suddenly, so keep an eye on it.
  5. Remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla.
  6. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, placing it directly on the surface of the pastry cream, and let it cool completely.
  7. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. In a (very) large bowl, combine the coconut, egg whites, sugar, salt, and pastry cream. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.  If you feel like it it, toss in 1 to 1 1/2 cups of mini chocolate chips!  And then stir until well combined.
  9. Using a 1 tablespoon measure, scoop the dough in rounded mounds onto your prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown all over. Let them cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.

 

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