Friday, November 16, 2012

Orange & Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

Coconut macaroons are an old standby, the gold standard sought out by coconut aficionados and found in countless bakeries just about anywhere.  They are more than satisfying to those who love their chewy richness.

This is a basic recipe for coconut macaroons with just a little bit more.  To add a note of citrus, I tossed in some orange zest along with lemon zest for backup.  I also spiced it up ever so slightly with a smidgeon of cardamom.  As the macaroons bake, the exterior gets toasty and caramelized and the interior remains moist and chewy.  And then to give it a necessary dose of luxury that serves the season, I dipped the bottoms in chocolate.

There are a few different methods to produce macaroons but I like to stick with the easiest.  Simply combine all the ingredients together in one heatproof bowl.  Then place the bowl on top of a pan of some barely simmering water.  The mixture is cooked for about 5 minutes or so until it's thickened and dried out a bit.  This cooking is to prevent the batter from slumping and forming puddles of liquid on the baking sheet, which burns and ruins the whole thing.

If you're a coconut lover or happen to know one who might enjoy this cookie, this is one of those pastries you can whip up in very short order without a lot of muss or fuss or lots of equipment and dirty dishes.  Although they're also good without the chocolate garnish, it balances the flavors and textures in an important and delicious way.

Bench notes:
- For this recipe, I use sweetened coconut because it's very easy for most people to find in their local grocery store.
- To measure the coconut, I scoop it into the cup without packing it.
- The standard weight for egg whites is 1 oz.  If you have a stash in your refrigerator, weigh out 4 oz for this recipe.
- I added just a pinch of cardamom, probably a very scant 1/8 teaspoon.  You want just a hint of spice.
- I used a small #40 cookie scoop to portion the batter.
- These cookies are gluten free.
- Also try  Pineapple Coconut Macaroons from David Lebovitz.

Orange & Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
Makes 2 dozen cookies

1/2 C + 2 T sugar
zest of 2 medium oranges
zest of 1 lemon
4 egg whites
3 C sweetened shredded coconut
1 t vanilla
pinch of salt
pinch of cardamom

3 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 oz (3 T) butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpats.

Place the sugar, orange and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until the zest is finely ground and releases its oils into the sugar.  It will look orange in color and smell like citrus.

Whisk together the sugar and citrus, egg whites, coconut, vanilla, salt and cardamom in a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan with a couple of inches of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water.  Stir the mixture with a spoon or heatproof spatula, scraping the entire bowl to prevent scorching.  Cook until thickened and the liquid has mostly been consolidated, about 5 - 6 minutes.  The goal is to dry it out so it will hold its shape without slumping or making a puddle of liquid on the baking sheet.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons into a ball and place 12 per cookie sheet.  Bake until the edges and bottoms are golden brown, 13 - 15 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  You may need a small spatula to assist in removing them if they stick.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces.  Place the butter in a heatproof bowl and add the chocolate on top.  Melt the butter and chocolate over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water.   Whisk to thoroughly combine.  Remove from heat and let it cool for a couple of minutes.

Dip the bottoms of the macaroons in the chocolate, scraping the excess off the bottom against the side of the bowl.  Set the macaroon on its side on a piece of parchment or a silpat to dry.  Store in an airtight container between sheets of parchment or wax paper.


Becky McNeer said...

what?! orange, chocolate and coconut? incredible!! Would love it if you could share this at Foodtastic Friday!

anno said...

another irresistible combination -- can't wait to try these!

Foodiewife said...

Well done. Orange, chocolate...and what...coconut? I'm in!

France said...

you have no idea how you are speakin' my language right now. if there was no other sweet on earth, as long as i have macaroons, i am A-OK.

pastry studio said...

Hello, Coconut Lovers!

I've learned that the world is divided into two distinct groups: those who love coconut and those who really don't. I was always somewhere in between. I hated the super sweet coconut pastries of my childhood but now every time I sample something with coconut that isn't super sweet, I find it interesting and very good. So I am very open to coconut as a rule these days. And I like what the orange and chocolate do when combined in this cookie.

This is the same sort of territory for raisins, figs, quince and dates. I happen to like all of them but there are some people who won't go near them. I guess this is what makes the world go 'round!

GothicBlack said...

so delicious.. in indonesian said Maknyusss...

pastry studio said...

Lovely! Thank you, GothicBlack.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Nothing says Christmas to me like chocolate and orange.

kamrul hasan said...

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charmcitycook said...

hi! i've linked your blog to mine in a post about macaroons vs macarons. i love your blog!

pastry studio said...

Thank you so much, charmcitycook. Love your blog! And thanks for providing the service of making the distinction between the two cookies!