So in my kitchen adventures, I frequently have some leftover odd item that I have to figure out how to use. Which starts another adventure, right? Or ends up in the freezer in one of those mysterious ziploc bags my husband is always dropping on his foot.
So in my Meyer lemon adventure, I made lemon curd with four egg yolks, leaving me with four egg whites. Egg WHITES? As you can tell from my pic, I don’t generally eat egg white omelettes for breakfast. Pie with meringue just isn’t practical for a household of 2. Puffy meringue cookies were just too precious. And tedious. So I did a little googling (side note: per Wiki, Google would prefer I didn’t use this word as a synonym for general web searching) and saw several variations on macaroons. Ding Ding Ding! I’ve never made them before, and I don’t know if I’ve ever had a GOOD macaroon. I’ve had some really lame storebought ones (comes in a canister once a year not naming brands). I’ve had some from bakeries that were awfully pretty to look at, but heavy and dense and light on flavor. But the idea of a macaroon grew on me — and I felt myself rising to this self-perpetuated challenge.
Think about Mounds. And Almond Joys. Coconut is the dominant flavor. Truly moist interiors, but not gooey. Firm but not dense. So in my mind, a macaroon should be a cookie version of those. As I compared and contrasted the recipes and techniques and photos (sorry, it’s the analyst in me), it became clearer that the fewer ingredients the better, oven temperature was uber important, and the ingredients needed to be handled very gently (forget about whipping anything to peaks).
The step-step version pictured used classic semi-sweet chocolate chips, roasted/salted pistachios, and a little Key Lime zest (’cause I had some leftover from here). I’ve also made a version with toasted hazelnuts and DARK chocolate chips (see left) that made me swoon. Literally. I gave a dozen of them to a dear friend (because I wouldn’t be able to control myself if they were in my house), and she swears she ate all of them herself. That good.
So this might be my new favorite cookie. It’s definitely a coconut cookie. Moist and not too sweet on the inside, and that amazing toasted coconut on the outside. Just enough chocolate and nuttiness to make it interesting. The lime zest is subtle — and intriguing.
Michelle’s Mahvelous Macaroons
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Yield: About 30 cookies
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt [optional]
A bag of sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped nuts
~ 1 teaspoon lime zest [optional]
Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a sheet pan with a silicon baking sheet (“silpat”). I did NOT test with parchment, but I bet that would work. You’d probably need a fresh sheet for each batch, since these are REALLY sticky. I would NOT recommend baking spray or butter/shortening on the bare cookie sheet.
In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, whisk the egg whites, sugar, vanilla, and salt [skip the salt if your nuts are already salted] until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is frothy, about 2 or 3 minutes. Start on low and then crank it up a bit! Mix in the coconut by hand with a wooden spoon or spatula, ensuring every coconut strand is evently coated with the eggy liquid. Gently stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Scoop onto the silpat with a medium-sized cookie scoop — eight scoops per pan. You’ll note that I have two pans — but only ONE goes in the oven at a time! In my 40 years of baking, I have never been happy when I baked two pans of cookies at a time, even if I rotated and flipped racks halfway through. For cookie perfection, ONE pan at a time!
Bake a single pan at 325F for 10 minutes. Rotate. Cook another 10 minutes. Remove to the counter and allow to cool about 5 minutes before removing with a spatula to waxed paper or cooling racks to fully cool. Makes about 30 cookies.
- Don’t scoop until JUST before you are putting a pan in the oven — otherwise they slump :(.
- You will want to stir the batter once or twice while pans are cooking so the last couple of cookies, from the very bottom of the mixing bowl, aren’t too wet and eggy.
- I use dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips, but feel free to use milk chocolate if that’s what you prefer.
- If using hazelnuts, you’ll want to toast the raw hazelnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat. Remove from hot pan and set aside to cool. Most nuts benefit from this treatment.