Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gluten-Free Coconut Macaroons

 Today I’m cleaning out the crumbs of sweets left from the holidays. Tossing the dried out coffee cake from Christmas morning, the shortbread is in the freezer, and I’m undecided about the coconut macaroons. Maybe I’ll just let them be in the refrigerator a little longer. I may need a teeny little sugar high.

One of the candies I forced my children to tithe after Halloween was Mounds Bars. Mounds Bars always get me with their creamy milk chocolate covering that sinks under your teeth and mashes into the soft white inside. Bits of it stick in your teeth for hours waiting to be horsed out for further enjoyment. It’s never clicked that I could make coconut macaroons myself. Maybe because most homemade or purchased macaroons are like choking down cattail fuzz with dried broom grass. So it was only this year that I decided to research and try them, mostly because (she says) it’s a treat that can be given to friends who need to stay gluten-free.

I know we’re all probably sick to death of Christmas cookies and candies. I pretty much am. But if I don’t post this now, I’ll forget. And who knows? You may need something for a New Year’s Eve party.

I fell in love with this dangerous recipe from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg, because it is very easy and tastes way better than any I’ve ever had. The coconut base is moist and tender, crispy on the outside and you can either drizzle or dip them in a perfect coat of chocolate. Her way of making chocolate glaze is genius: another no-fail idea to use for other recipes that require a chocolate glaze.

Chocolate-Covered Coconut Macaroons
Adapted from Bon Appétit (September 2002) and the Marigold Kitchen of Madison, Wisconsin

3 cups (lightly packed) sweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup egg whites (about 5 or 6 large)
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract (I leave this out. Not a fan of almond extract.)
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream

Place the first three ingredients in a heavy saucepan, and stir to combine well. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring regularly, about 10-12 minutes, until the mixture is pasty but not dry. (It will look sort of granular at first, then creamy as it heats, and then it will slowly get drier and drier. Stop cooking when it no longer looks creamy but is still quite gluey and sticky, not dry.) Remove from heat. Mix in vanilla and almond extracts. Spread out the coconut mixture on a large baking sheet. Refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes. (Don’t skip this step – it makes it so much easier to handle.)

Line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a ¼-cup measuring scoop, scoop and pack the coconut mixture into domes, and place them on the baking sheet. (I use my hands. You  can also make them smaller.) You should wind up with about a dozen. Bake at 300 degrees until the macaroons until golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool. You can even bake them a little longer if you like them a little more crisp on the outside.

Set cookies on rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until it is very hot and steamy (not boiling), remove from the heat, and pour it over the chocolate. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is thoroughly melted. Spoon the glaze over the macaroons, covering them almost completely and allowing the chocolate to drip down the sides. [You will have leftover glaze, which can be refrigerated or frozen.] Refrigerate the macaroons until the glaze sets, at least 2 hours. Transfer the macaroons to an airtight container, and refrigerate or freeze.


Micah said...

these are delish!! I allowed jerem one on the way home so he could say he tried them, I ate the other 5 :)

rodentlover said...

John LOVES almond extract. So much that it caused a problem in our marriage in the early days. He put it in scrambled eggs, in hamburgers, you name it.

So now he has ANOTHER thing to not like about you.

Margie Haack said...

That's okay. I don't need his love, being such a better person.