On any given day, if I have a choice between a macaron or a macaroon, I will always pick the macaron. Other than the near identical spelling of their names, however, there are virtually no comparisons to be made between a macaron or a macaroon... except to say that they are both gluten free. And that's it. I am partial to French macarons that offer endless possibilities for colors, flavors, and fillings. A macaron is considered by some to be a "fussy" cookie that involves piping the almond-meringue batter, often vividly colored, into identical-sized rounds. Then, after baking, a buttercream, chocolate, or fruit preserve (for starters) is sandwiched between two of the crisp meringue disks. Fussy perhaps, but the end result rewards you with an amazing little cookie.
above... Patisserie Ladurée cart at Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris
in Paris above... Grégory Renard – Cacao et Macarons
But let's get back to the Macaroon... It is made with coconut and sweetened condensed milk; a very few ingredients that are shaped into small balls, then baked. There is absolutely no confusing macaroons with the French meringue sandwich cookies -- in looks or taste. The other day I saw Dan Cohen's recipe and accompanying photo for Chocolate Dipped Macaroons and suddenly, for the first time ever, I had a craving for sweet, toasted coconut dipped in melted bittersweet chocolate. These cookies go together quickly and you can have them baked and dipped in chocolate in no time. I can't believe I haven't made these before. Certainly a nice little (gluten-free) cookie to serve after an Easter brunch.
+ recipe from Dan Cohen
• 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 14 ounce package of sweetened shredded coconut
• 1 large egg whites
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 6 ounces finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F and position oven racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Stir in the shredded coconut and mix thoroughly.
3. Using a whisk or a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until firm peaks form. Using a spatula, fold the whites into the coconut mixture and finish by pushing mixture together in a mound.
4. Fill a small bowl with cold water and wet your hands. Gently form spoonfuls of the coconut mixture into small balls, around 1 1/4-inches in diameter and place on prepared baking sheets, spacing 2-inches apart.
5. Transfer baking sheets to the oven and bake, rotating and changing out position of pans halfway through, about 25 minutes. Macaroons should be golden brown in spots on top and underside.
6. Cool briefly on the baking sheets, then transfer macaroons to racks to cool completely.
7. In the meantime, melt the bittersweet chocolate either in a double boiler on the stove, or in a small bowl in the microwave. Dip half of the macaroon into the chocolate and place on a piece of waxed paper until set.
8. The macaroons will keep, uncovered at room temperature, for up to 3 days, or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks. They can also be frozen for up to 6 months.
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