July 21, 2009

Coconut Macaroons

I'm really good at justifying the baked goods I eat.  I think I learned it from my mom who eats two cookies for breakfast after her daily run.  She also eats a big bowl of fruit, which cancels out the cookies, right?  

I made macaroons on Sunday, but I ran 18 miles on Saturday, so I kind of earned my right to eat them.  Let's just not worry about the fact that I also ate a giant carnitas burrito and half of a vanilla milkshake to reward myself for the run.  Oh, and a big cup of root beer.  Ooooooh do I love root beer.  The thing is I never really had any dessert on Saturday, save that half of a milkshake, but that was more like a snack.  Or maybe I'll consider it dessert after lunch, and I didn't eat dessert after dinner.  And I ran 18 miles!  And I walked at least a mile after that, wanting to cry with every step and trying hard to refrain from asking every passerby if they had any ibuprofen.  That's got to count for something.  Then on Sunday I went to Mall of America, and spending time in any shopping mall, let alone an enormous one, earns me a macaroon.  Don't even get me started on the Renaissance Fair people who were holding court at the mall.  The payoff for having to witness that is at least four macaroons.  I guess this logic explains why obesity is such a problem in America, but I ran 18 miles!  I've earned myself a macaroon or two.  
The macaroon recipe I used comes from a wonderful book that I just finished reading and highly recommend: A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg.  You should read the book and check out her blog.  Then you should make macaroons.  

Coconut Macaroons
Adapted from Orangette

3 cups sweetened, flaked coconut
3/4 cup egg whites 
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Handful of chocolate chips (optional)

Combine the coconut, the egg whites, and the sugar in a heavy saucepan.  It takes about 5 large eggs to get 3/4 cup egg whites, unless a couple of your eggs are frozen, in which case you'll need 6 or 7 eggs.  

Cook the coconut mixture over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.  It will initially become kind of creamy and look like the mixture in the picture below.  

After maybe 10 or 15 minutes it will start to dry out a little and the individual flakes will emerge.  At that point, remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla. 

Spread the mixture out into a baking dish or pan of some sort, then stick it in the refrigerator to cool for about 30 minutes.  

Preheat the oven to 300, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  If you don't have parchment paper, just grease the cookie sheet.  Use your hands or an ice cream scoop to form balls of coconut a little larger than a golf ball.  

They remind me of little Muppets or Fraggle Rock guys.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until they're browned.  Eat immediately or...

...drizzle them with chocolate.  I recommend option 2.  

The original recipe calls for a mixture of chocolate and cream, but I didn't have any cream so I stuck with straight chocolate.  And I didn't feel like waiting for water to simmer to use the double boiler, so I melted a handful of chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave.  Sue me. 

Use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over the tops of the macroons, or if you have more chocolate to work with you could dunk each one in the bowl of chocolate.  Send me an email if you need help justifying that kind of behavior.  I'd be happy to help. 

How good do those look?  

This one is the Denise, the most chocolately one of the bunch.  I stuck it in the freezer so my mom can eat it the next time she visits.  

The more I look at this picture, the more convinced I am of the chocolate-dunking method.  

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