Monday, December 6, 2010

(C)hanuk(k)ah: Chocolate Covered Coconut Macaroons

My Chanukah Troll, which I've had since the age of 9, oversees the Coconut Macaroons.

Back when I first started this blog--when my photos were atrocious and no one read a word I had to say--I tried to make those fancy French macarons. They were, without a doubt, a disaster. I hadn't yet figured out that a tall glass works wonders for getting batter into a pastry bag, and had no idea that over-beating would destroy any chance at lightness. Even a delicious center couldn't salvage those babies. And this is why I have foregone those airy almond confections in favor of another O--and I mean that it in the most G-Rated way possible.

Jews love themselves some macaroons. This has a lot to do with the fact that they contain no leavening agent and are thus perfect Passover treats. I agree with this assessment as long as we're not talking about those disgusting store bought Manischewitz macaroons. I get it--macaroons started out as almond meringue confections and slowly morphed into more substantial cookies with bits of coconut. But those almond-coconut macaroons have the weirdest consistency--dry and crumbly, but oddly sticky. The random bits of coconut flakes also give me the feeling that I'm chowing down on stray hairs. Granted, that's always a possibility, as a long-haired dog has been roaming my house for thirteen years, but it's not a quality I particularly look for or strive to create.

This is why I'm glad that coconut macaroons these days are usually 100% coconut with no almond to be found. And even though it isn't Passover, macaroons in this form have been co-opted by the Jewish masses as a way to celebrate all of our holidays, including Chanukah. Some recipes use egg whites to bind the coconut, but neither my Mom nor I have been able to get the cookies to stay together with those sorts of recipes. Instead, we've been making these macaroons for years because not only are they guaranteed to stick together, they're tasty and consist of three ingredients that always sit in our pantry. Sweetened condensed milk is our binding of choice, producing a perfect sweetness and a wonderfully chewy cookie. Because of the sugar content in the SCM and the coconut, the bottoms and tops of these macaroons also tend to caramelize, bringing another dimension to their taste. I could eat an entire batch of these plain, but decided to spruce them up a bit as they were being sent out to a few readers. If you cringe at the idea of tempering chocolate, throw some mini chocolate chips into the dough and you're good to go--it's what my mom did when I was a kid.

This recipe doesn't use the entire can of sweetened condensed milk, but the remainder is the perfect amount for a third of a recipe of Magic Cookie Bars if you don't feel like letting it go to waste.

Chocolate Dipped
Coconut Macaroons
Makes 24 Cookies

2 2/3 cups packed sweetened
flaked coconut
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

8 oz dark chocolate, tempered

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix coconut, condensed milk and vanilla in one bowl. Line a baking sheet with greased parchment or a Silpat (very, very important). Using a spoon or a small cookie scoop, drop 24 tightly packed cookies onto your baking sheet 1" apart. Grease the back of a spoon and use it to gently press any stray pieces of coconut back into the mound so they don't burn. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool on sheet until set. If you packed the dough tightly, they will retain their shape and any excess sweetened condensed milk will form a ring around the edge. Trim the edge with scissors or a knife if they get in the way of your dipping. These little pieces are delicious, so snack on them.

After tempering your chocolate, dip your chocolate and shake off any excess. Let dry on a rack. If your dipping skills are as atrocious as mine, use a small rubber spatula to "paint" on the chocolate.


lauren said...

AH! These!

Love these.
Love them almost as much as I love matzah bark.
Sometimes more.
I like roasted almonds in them too!

Luna's Recipes said...

These macaroons look delectable! And what a silly guy in the middle!! Luna

Lizzy said...

Mmmmmmm, I love coconut anything and your macaroons look fabulous!

TheChocolatePriestess said...

I'm not a fan of coconut but I think I have an Acolyte who would love these.

Roxan said...

Coconut macaroons always remind me of my sister who loves them, and now my mother in law who also loves them. Thanks for this recipe, I love that it only uses 4 ingredients. I plan to make some and ship them out to my sister and husbands mom!

sara @ CaffeIna said...

I know what you are talking about when you describe the Manischewitz! I don't think I've ever eaten this brand here but in Italy we have one that taste like the coconut macaroons you describe. They are disgusting. Home-made...muuuuch better! I've never tried to make fancy macaroons myself. I think I should try during the Xmas break

Liv Wan said...

This chocolate covered coconut macaroons looks amazing. I've never tried Manischewitz macaroons before but now after reading your post I certainly won't try it in the future lol. I will try your recipe instead if I want some coconut macaroons. :)

Daydreamer Desserts said...

Your coconut macaroons look lovely and that tiny dip in chocolate was a great touch! I have to say I've never tried Manischewitz macaroons before, and by the look of things I don't think any of them will be making their way into my shopping basket. PS: Don't give up on French Macs! ;)

tastesbetterwithfriends said...

One of the few things I look forward to on Passover are the macaroons, but you're right, it doesn't need to be an April-ish only thing!
These look great and the chocolate is a bonus:)

Anna's Table said...

They were one of my kids' favourite cookies growing up. My son especially, would be thrilled when I would make them for Christmas. Dipping them in chocolate addds a really nice touch.

Sommer J said...

Yum! They look perfect. Definitely will try this...soon. Its almost 3am and I am tempted...

Sandra said...

Wow a troll! My daughters had so many when they were younger. Awesone recipe thanks for sharing.

Andra@FrenchPressMemos said...

I have always consider making the French macarons and have always been too afraid of failure. From your experience, my fear has been well warranted. The coconut ones are very tasty anyway! Happy Channukah!

Jackie said...

These look awesome but y'know what my fave thing about this post is? Hannukah Troll. Bad. Ass.

Jax x

Monet said...

I adore coconut (much to Ryan's chagrin) and my mom used to make these every holiday season. I'm sending her this recipe in hopes that we'll have a big batch waiting for us when we get home for the holidays. Yum! Thank you for sharing, love!

The Duo Dishes said...

Let's not get started on macarons. We have not been too successful with them. Macaroons, on the other hand, that's feasible.

danny said...

followed the link from mandabear... love the writeup - and the macs look pretty good, too! ;)

funny how so many people think macaroons are kiiind of gross...until they eat delicious, home-made ones and realize just how awesome they can be.

Post a Comment

NOTE: I understand that Blogger is currently having issues with its commenting system. If the comment box or Captcha do not show up, or you experience other problems, please e-mail me with your browser version, whether your Java is up-to-date, and whether you are on a Mac or PC. Please feel free to send your comment my way as well--I appreciate them all and I'm sorry Blogger hates us right now.

Thank you for indulging my narcissistic tendencies and leaving a comment. My ego sincerely appreciates it. As a quick note before you leave me accolades and ask for my hand in marriage, if you need a question answered promptly, you're better off sending an e-mail or a tweet. My computer is all fancy-like and beeps at me when you do.