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Classic Macaroon

December 2, 2010

I picked this next cookie because my husband adores macaroons.  I figured if I was baking close to 30 dozen cookies, at least one or two dozen should be his favorite.  I scoured my favorite cookbooks looking for the quintessential macaroon recipe and settled on the one I am sharing with you today, but as I went to prepare the little morsels my husband was utterly confused.  “You only use egg whites?  Are you sure you are following the recipe correctly?  I think you are making meringues, not macaroons.”  Needless to say I got a little nervous about my choice, but turns out I was right on track!

The classic macaroon features three main ingredients: eggs whites, sugar and coconut.  Mine has an added twist by including almond extract.   Other recipes will feature condensed milk, vanilla, salt, honey, you name it.  No one can seem to agree on what makes the perfect macaroon, including my husband.  Turns out he is a fan of French macaroons which use powdered sugar and thus create a different texture than using granulated sugar alone with coconut.  Thankfully he still thinks they are tasty!  It doesn’t hurt that they are incredibly light and fluffy, like little tiny snowflakes (I know, I couldn’t help myself).

Classic Macaroon
Yields: 18 Servings

2 large Egg white (room temperature)
5 tablespoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Almond extract
3/4 cup Shredded sweetened coconut (tightly packed)
Unsalted butter (for the pan)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed, adding the sugar in a slow stream. Continue beating until the whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Beat in the almond extract. Gently fold in the coconut with a large spoon or spatula.
3. Cover a baking sheet in a parchment paper, and spread the parchment with plenty of butter. Drop the batter by teaspoon-sized dollops, 1 inch apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes until very lightly browned. Do not over bake: the macaroons should be no darker than light tan.
4. Transfer to rack and cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Kate’s Tips:

It is easier to separate eggs when they are cold, but the egg whites need to be at room temperature.  Simply separate the eggs right out of the refrigerator and then allow the whites to come up to room temperature.  Be sure to follow the recipe closely and beat the egg whites on medium speed.  This will take a little longer but it allows the sugar to incorporate into the egg whites perfectly and brings just enough air into the egg whites.

The recipe indicates using teaspoon size dollops to make the cookies, but I would recommend at least tablespoon size dollops.  Teaspoons are much too tiny!

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