Coconut Macaroons

The other day my aunt Cheryl asked me if I had any coconut Macaroon recipes.  I had two, and I did not know which one was better. I decided to do another bake-off like I did with the Madeleine cookies.  One recipe used unsweetened coconut (Martha Stewart) and the other used sweetened coconut (America’s Test Kitchen).  There was no clear winner in this contest.  There were good things about each.  I had three cookie testers, and all three thought the sweetened had a slight edge, and I remain undecided.  The sweetened did have a more pleasant texture.  Those cookies were a little softer and fluffier seeming.  The unsweetened I thought had a slight advantage in taste, but it was minimal.  Both are good cookie recipes, and I think you would be happy with either one.  Plus, if you save egg whites (I had 14 in the freezer–all the shortbread tart shells) this is a great way to use some of those up.  Another benefit of these cookies: they are very quick and easy to make.

Left: sweetened coconut; Right: unsweetened coconut

Unsweetened Coconut Macaroon Cookies

3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut (you can find this either in the bulk section of your grocery store or in more natural stores like co-ops or Whole Foods)

2 large egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of kosher salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment

Mix all the ingredients together–by hand works best.  Roll them into little haystacks or little balls, about 1 1/2 inches.  Place on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 15 minutes.

Transfer (while still on the parchment) to a wire wrack to cool.

Sweetened Coconut Macaroon Cookies

5 cups shredded sweetened coconut

6 egg whites

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (could substitute vanilla if you don’t have almond)

Put the coconut in the food processor and pulse until the  texture is fine.

Coconut after processing

Take out the coconut and put in a large bowl.

Put all the other ingredients into the food processor and pulse until frothy.  Add the egg mixture to the coconut and mix until combined. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Roll the coconut mixture into little balls or haystack shapes.  I did bigger cookies and smaller cookies the next batch, and the smaller ones baked up better.  So I would stick to 1″ cookies.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the macaroons look slightly golden brown.

Let them cool before serving.

In the above picture the unsweetened macaroon is on the far left.  The larger sweetened macaroon is in the middle, and the small sweetened macaroon is on the right.

To fancy these up a little, you could melt some chocolate and dip the bottom of the cookies into the chocolate and let them cool completely on some wax paper.  Though, these cookies are plenty sweet without the additional of chocolate.

I was a little disappointed, I originally was going to have a recipe for a Caribbean Chicken recipe and fried plantains too.  But when I went to make it yesterday, my chicken was bad, so we went out for some Indian food instead.  I promise I will put some cooking up again.  One cannot survive on baked goods alone.\

Note: if anyone has any recipes they would like me to try and blog about, feel free to email them to me at jennie.hornyak@gmail.com.  I am always looking for new ideas.

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Madeleine Cookies

I have been wanting to make some madeleine cookies since I had them in Paris last summer.  I recently got the pan for them and started looking for recipes.  I found two different recipes, one in my Dorie Greenspan book and the other in America’s Test Kitchen Baking book.  The recipes were so different I made both to see which one was better.  Both had very good taste, but the ones from Dorie were much prettier.

You can see the difference in the two cookies in the above picture.  Where the one from Dorie is plump and golden brown (left), the one from the America’s Test Kitchen (right) is a little lighter, and it did not puff up as much.  The taste is very different as well.  Both were basic madeleine cookies, but Dorie’s has a lemon flavor, and the other has a rich vanilla/almond flavor.

All in all, I prefer the ones from Dorie Greenspan.  However, they are both good cookies. Plus the America’s Test Kitchen madeleine is much quicker to make, which is nice if you don’t have about 4 hours to wait until the cookies are done.

The America’s Test Kitchen Madeleine Cookie:

1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract (if you prefer, skip this and add an additional teaspoon of vanilla; I personally like the almond flavor so I tend to add it)

10 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and cooled)

Method:

Heat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 12-cookie madeleine cooke mold.  Whisk the flour and the salt together in a small bowl.

The madeleine mold

With a stand mixer or an electric mixer, beat the eggs until frothy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Beat in the sugar and vanilla until very thick.  With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture, followed by the melted butter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared mold, filling to the rim.  Bake the cookies for 10 minutes (I found that they actually needed to be baked more like 12-13 minutes, but it will vary depending on your oven).

Let the cookies cool in the mold for 10 minutes then move them to a cooling wrack.

cooling in the moldsAbove: Cookies cooling in the molds

Below: Cookies cooling on the wrack

Makes 24 cookies (although it actually make about 20 cookies for me)

Dorie Greenspan’s Traditional Madeleines

2/3 cup all-purpose

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 cup sugar

zest of one lemon

2 large eggs at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Method:

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Working in a mixer bowl, rub the sugar and the zest together until sugar is moist and fragrant.  Add the eggs to the bowl.  Working with the whisk attachement, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla.  With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingrediants, followed by the melted butter.  Cover and refridgerate for at least 3 hours.

After the 3 hours, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 12-cookie madeleine mold (I used Baker’s Joy which works great).  Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top.  Bake for 11-13 minutes.  To remove the cookies knock the mold on the counter and they will slip out.  You can use your fingers for the ones that don’t want to cooperate.

Cool before serving.

Makes 12 cookies

Other comments on the cookies:

Both types of madeleines are best eaten the day they are made.  Because of this fact my friends Katie and Anna both got cookies today (Alec and I weren’t about to eat 36 cookies today).  Many people have not had madeleines before, so I will describe what you are looking for in a end product.  They are almost like tiny shell-shaped cakes.  The best way to describe them is kinda like a lighter pound cake with a crisp outside.  They are a wonderful little snack on their own or with some tea or coffee.