28 November 2012

Macaroon vs Macaron: Coconut Macaroons

Taste is such a truly individual thing that you will find for anything you are cooking there are an infinite number of variations out there. Only through trial and largely delicious error will you find out which one becomes your never fail, go to recipe. Coconut macaroons are no exception, they can be chewy, "meringuey", with a glacé cherry, dipped in chocolate, with desiccated coconut or moist shredded coconut … you may end up with several recipes that are just right depending on what mood you are in.
Scent can trigger strong memories but equally a photo, or for me a recipe book, can conjure the aromas of childhood transporting you to another time or place. For me food from my childhood is inextricably linked to sitting on our brown linoleum floor intently stirring a bowl of something to bake, then knowing it must almost be done when its wonderful aroma started to fill the house. When I think of coconut macaroons it evokes more of a warm sweet nutty smell than a real remembrance of actual flavour or texture.
This recipe is based on one of the three Coconut macaroon recipes from our family cookbooks all marked with **v. good** in my Mum’s signature left handed scrawl. One, from a wartime cookbook, is made with sweetened condensed milk, while the other two are of the meringue variety with varying amounts and textures of coconut. This is my favourite as I like a lot of meringue with a crisp just browned shell and a soft moist coconut interior! I use less sugar than the original recipe as I use a sweetened moist coconut flake, they are still very sweet though so pair it with a good cup of coffee or a glass of milk!
  • 2 egg whites
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups moist coconut flakes (I use McKenzie's in Australia)

  1. preheat oven to 160˚C
  2. beat egg whites with the salt and vanilla until you get soft peaks, then gradually add the sugar and continue beating until stiff
  3. fold in the coconut flakes (being careful not to flatten the mixture too much)
  4. drop heaped teaspoons of mixture onto lined baking trays
  5. bake for 20 minutes, or until set and just starting to go brown
  6. allow to cool on tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool fully while you resist the urge to pick off the golden toasted coconut bits!

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