or, My Favorite Holiday Cookie!
For so many reasons, this cookie is my favorite during the holidays, and perhaps even all year-round. The very first time I made these delicious mounds of coconut and smooth, luscious dark chocolate, I was talking to my then 6- and 8-year-old girls about our decision to change the school they attended. While the cookies were baking in the oven, they wrote their questions about this big move right on the paper where the recipe is written. These questions were so insightful to my working mom sensibilities. Were they curious about the strength of the academic programs, about whether there would be music and drama, whether they would be able to make friends? It turns out, none of these items were on their list. Rather, “How many recesses a day?” (“We will ask,” I wrote in reply.) Also, “Can we wear our spring dresses?” (“Some days, yes.”) and, “Will our baby brother get to go?” (“When he’s 5.”) For me, this was a lesson in perspective, to get me out of my own head and understand their needs. Like many, this is a lesson we all need during the hectic Holidays as well.
Interestingly, I later made these cookies for our new school’s staff meeting. The next day, an email arrived – “Especially good were the coconut macaroons. Whoever made those, would you be willing to share the recipe?”
Of course! Here it is!
These little gems are so fabulous! They bake at a low temperature for quite a while. This makes the outside crispy and keeps the inside chewy and coconutty. The best of both worlds. And just try to decide whether you like the chocolate-dipped side better than the non-dipped. I dare you.
CHOCOLATE-DIPPED COCONUT MACAROONS
9 large egg whites
1 1/2 t salt
1 T vanilla
2 1/3 c sugar
14-oz. bag sweetened, flaked coconut (5 1/3 c)
3/4 c AP flour
12 oz good-quality bittersweet chocolate (72% best, but 60% is good, too), chopped
In a 3-quart saucepan, place the egg whites, salt, vanilla, sugar and coconut. Stir to combine. Sift in the flour, then stir until well mixed.
Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. The mixture will begin to get thinner.
Turn heat up to medium-high. Continue to stir until mixture begins to pull away and separate from the sides and bottom of pan. This takes about 4 minutes, give or take, depending upon how high your heat is. (At this point, you will be tired of stirring.)
Pour the mixture into a bowl. Cool 10 minutes, then cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until just cool. This takes a while. I admit I don’t wait quite this long. But I do give it a good 45-60 minutes in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 300F.
Using a 1T-sized scoop, scoop mixture onto buttered or parchment-covered sheet pans. Bake for 31-33 minutes, until macaroons are light golden brown. Cool a few minutes, then place on wire racks until completely cool. In the meantime, place chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips) into a metal bowl set atop a saucepan of simmering water. When chocolate is melted and shiny, dip cooled macaroons half-way into the chocolate.
Set dipped cookies onto a parchment covered sheetpan. When all cookies are dipped, place them in the refrigerator to chill for an hour.
I keep the cookies in the freezer and take them out for about 30 minutes before serving.