Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Skinny & Skinnier Golden Macaroons

It was the best of times, the worst of times-- there has been a glaring absence of sweets on this here blog!  Let's remedy that straight away and talk macaroons.  Coconut is divine.  Even better is when coconut is baked into golden, crisp morsels and drizzled with chocolate.

First, the back story (isn't there always one?):  I decided to make macaroons because 1) I had shredded coconut in my freezer and 2) I've never made macaroons before.  I don't make many cookies these day for health reasons but these turned out great...not the worst thing one could eat--coconut, egg whites, sugar, salt, vanilla--pretty simple stuff.

But (light bulb moment!), what if I tweaked the recipe further and used unsweetened shredded coconut? Would they turn out?  As a matter of a fact, they did!  I actually preferred the unsweetened coconut version vs. the sweetened flakes.  Now this recipe does have egg whites so not technically plant-strong or vegan.  But we'll call it a transition food (following the 90% rule--eat healthy 90% of the time, the other 10% just try not to do something dumb like eat an entire bag of Cheetos.  Yes, guilty as charged.)

Let's begin, shall we?  My sweet tooth is impatient.  First we want to toast the coconut (the pictures you see are of the unsweetened shredded variety).  Once you slide your cookie sheet in the oven, stand guard! This is not the time to fold a load of laundry.  This is the time to rearrange your refrigerator magnets or wonder why there is no oregano in the spice rack.  We don't want the coconut to get too done.  Just nice and golden brown.  If you want a paler macaroon, you can totally skip the toasting of the coconut.  But, I think it really takes these cookies up a notch.

While the coconut is cooling, we mix up egg whites, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt.  Then fold in the coconut until everything is combined and friends with each other.

Next,  spoon big tablespoons of the...mixture (it's not a dough so I'm at a loss what to call it) onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Once you've  done that, dip your fingertips in a bit of water and gingerly form the cookies into tidier little mounds...just so they are extra pretty.  I didn't do this step with the first batch of the less healthy ones and they spread a bit too much at the bottom for my liking.  Lesson learned--wet fingertip technique!

Hi there lil' golden macaroons!
Whilst these are cooling, melt some chocolate in a ramekin in the microwave until it's melted.  Drizzle the chocolate with a spoon over the sheet of macaroons and step back and admire your handiwork.

Chocolate and coconut how I love thee

The two recipes standing side by side below.  They are definitely kinfolk, but one is watching it's figure.  I also made the skinnier ones a bit smaller than the skinny variety so I could tell the difference.  {Whoa, adjective and adverb overload!}

Skinny & Skinnier Golden Macaroons
*Makes 12-16 cookies
*Prep time: 10 minutes
*Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
*Kitchen gear required:  Bowl, spoon, cookie sheet, parchment paper, small microwave-proof ramekin

Ingredients (only difference between the skinny vs. skinnier is the coconut)
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut (unsweetened shredded coconut if making the skinnier variety)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. chocolate chips

Ready, set, go!
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Spread coconut flakes on cookie sheet and toast for 5 minutes, watching very carefully to make sure it doesn't burn!
3.  Mix vanilla, egg whites, salt and sugar together in a bowl until totally combined.
4.  Add slightly cooled coconut to the mixture.  Don't put in hot coconut flakes or you will make coconut scrambled eggs--yuck.  Gently mix until everything is combined.
5.  Drop mixture by heaping tablespoon onto parchment-lined cookie sheet.
6.  Use wet fingertips to gently mold each cookie into a shapely little mount;.
7.  Bake cookies for 15-20 minutes until golden.  Remove from oven.
8.  While cookies are cooling, melt chocolate chips in small ramekin/bowl in the microwave at 10-15 second intervals or until chocolate is melted and glossy.
9.  Drizzle chocolate with a spoon over cookies while still on a cookie sheet or cooling rack.
10.  Enjoy!


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