9/26/08

Coconut Macaroons. Oh, Mother of Science, what'll they think of next?

Okay, so how many of you knew coconut was so incredibly healthy? Let's see a show of hands. One . . . two?
Apparently this tropical wonder is highly valued for its amazing healing powers. Why, coconut water alone (which I drink like a lonely sailor on leave), provides our bodies with antioxidants, and it's loaded with vitamins and minerals. And, studies have confirmed coconut's use in treating some of the following conditions: Nausea, Ulcers, Baldness (would I make this up? ;-), jaundice, sore throat, skin infections, and the list goes on.
Which brings me to the health benefits of these Coconut Macaroons. Are there any?

Well, no.

But, if you're a coconut head like me, and happen to be in the mood for a real treat, then these, lighter-than-air macaroons will (temporarily) fix whatever ails you. These macaroons are not like the ones most of us grew up with. Remember those? Made with sweetened condensed milk and sweetened shredded coconut. Truth is, I still like those cloyingly-sweet delicacies. But these, I shamelessly confess, are quite a bit better.

The following technique combines unsweetened coconut folded into an Italian meringue, resulting in the lightest little puffs of coconut, which will instantly dissolve in your mouth, causing your eyes to roll into the back of your head.

You may be tempted to enhance the meringue by adding flavorings, and extracts, but resist the temptation. These innocent looking clouds pack a wallop of coconut flavor with very few ingredients.



Coconut Macaroons

1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
3 large egg whites at room temperature
3 cups (8 ounces) finely grated, unsweetened (desiccated) coconut

Special equipment: a standing electric mixer, a candy thermometer

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cook sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Boil syrup, without stirring, until it reaches soft-ball stage (or registers 238°F on a candy thermometer). While syrup boils, beat whites in standing mixer on low speed until stiff peaks form.

Gradually pour hot syrup in a thin stream down the side of the bowl into the whites, beating constantly on high speed (be careful not to let syrup touch beaters when pouring, or it will spatter and harden). Continue beating until meringue is room temperature. It will resemble a very thick, marshmallow creme. Stir in coconut. The following may be too intense for some viewers ;-)

But, seriously, don't you just want to dive right in and roll in it? Yeah, me neither.



Put mixture in a large pastry bag, with a large, round pastry tip * (I used a 1A tip). And pipe mixture onto prepared baking sheets.



Bake macaroons 1 sheet at a time, in middle of oven for 12 minutes, or until just firm enough to be removed from the baking sheet without losing their shape. But try not to let them take on color.
Carefully transfer to a rack to cool. Macaroons are fragile when they emerge from the oven, but will set as they cool.
Recipe adapted from a 2000 issue of Bon Appetít. This is why I won't part with some of those old magazines, and don't even think you can make me.

*Note: If you don't have a pastry tip, don't fret. You could also drop these from a rounded tablespoon, and -with slightly damp fingers- shape them into cones or pyramids. Or, make mini pavlovas, and top them off with any fresh fruit in season, or sorbets. I topped mine with Papaya/Mango Sorbet . . . but, Coconut Ice Cream would be fantastic. OMG. WHY do I always have these AH-HAH moments after the fact?

26 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Oh, how pretty! I love the shape of those Macaroons! I bet they also taste great! Nice sorbet too!

Cheers,

Rosa

joey said...

Still on the road but smelled somethin' cookin' permeating from your fingers through your last comment. Count me in for another of your delectable treats, one of my favorites (one sinful indulgence I might find hard to share). I chuckled regarding your old stashes of Bon Appetit ... I have treasured issues dating back to the late 60s. Hugs dear kitchen soulmate!

Alexa said...

Marysol,
Those macaroons are so pretty and very artistic. I really enjoyed your post and the gorgeous pictures.

Anonymous said...

what do you do with the coconut?

Maggie said...

I love the shape of your coconut meringue cookies. I agree that sometimes it's good to keep the ingredient list short and focus on a single flavor so it can really sing.

once in a blue moon... said...

oh yum, they are as full of fluff as you! but that mango pic shows me how truly grounded you are, SUPERB!
PQ

Shazza said...

These look divine, but I don't see where the coconut is added in the recipe. I assume it's folded in before piping onto the sheets?

Once Upon a Plate said...

The prettiest I've ever seen M~ ethereal as always.

The mango photo is perfection, too! Very nice.

noobcook said...

omg these meringues are absolutely gorgeous. Love your photos, all the time.

Marysol said...

Hi there Rosa, and thank you! These treats do have a knack for disappearing quickly.

Joey, I have a few BA issues from the late 70s. I love perusing through them, and seeing how certain foods and cooking styles (highly popular back then) have fallen out of favor since.
I'm a little jealous though, that you have magazines dating back to the 60s. Joey, the undefeated champion! Hugs right back at ya, my friend.


Hi Alexa! And thank you very kindly. I thoroughly enjoy your blog as well.


Well, Anonymous, it's not like I have an alibi[G]. This is like a riddle wrapped up in an enigma, but, one theory may be the coconut and your name ran off together somewhere. Infidels.


Amen to that Maggie! Sometimes simple is best.


Jain, I'll take that as a compliment ;-)


Shazza, my apologies. And yes, you nailed it. Thank you. Unfortunately, I left out 4 little words: "stir in the coconut."
Which makes me wonder if coconut cures Alzheimers.

Thank you Mari! Your words have a way of making me blush, always.


Noobcook, it would certainly be nice if you lived closer, because swapping would not only be fun, but a regular ritual.

Thanks again, everyone! Your comments always bring a smile to my face. And it's a wonderful way to start a Monday.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Marysol, I'm a complete sucker for coconut water, too. And when someone is sick, the water is wonderful to avoid dehydration. I love it.
These meringues are so adorable! And that ice cream?? Brazilians love coconut and your desserts would be a hit here.

Marysol said...

Thank you Patricia!
We're crazy for coconut water, and every time we bring a coconut home, a fight always breaks out over who gets the coconut water. But the loser (me) will often take out her frustrations hammmering the poor coconut to submission. So the peace is quickly restored ;-)

Anonymous said...

Aunt Mary: Sounds wonderful. I love coconut. Love, Kathy

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Beautiful, I was admiring them before on Tastespotting... and they sound quite easy to make, great recipe!! :)

Margot

Marysol said...

Kathy! I didn't know you loved coconut. There's another reason why I love you.


Margot, thank you! They are easy to make, not to mention, a little dangerous to have around.

RecipeGirl said...

These are perfectly dreamy looking. And how wonderful would they be for Christmas with that shape too?!

farida said...

Marysol, these look so pretty!! I have never seen macaroons in this shape:) How cute! I am saving the recipe!!! Yum!

Marysol said...

Recipegirl, it hadn't really occurred to me how much they resembled tiny Christmas trees. Cute idea!


Fari, they're supposed to be shaped by hand, to look like pyramids, but any time I can get away with using a pastry bag, I'm there.

Thank you Pastrygirl and Farida!

Just the Right Size said...

Beautiful Sol!
I have to admit I LOVE those heavy, cloyingly sweet, old-timey macaroons! Especially when they're dipped in dark chocolate!

I think I read somewhere that if you can't find unsweetened coconut, you can rinse & pat dry the sweetened kind.

I tried taking a spoonful of coconut oil once a day and only make it three days! GACK! I couldn't go near anything coconut for 6 months!

dishesdone said...

I missed a few days of checking in, and now I'm on cloud nine, Sol! Those are amazing! I wish I lived next door, I'd borrow a cup of sugar and a plate of macaroons.

Outstanding as always :)

Marysol said...

Kathy, you're a valiant soul. I had the same intention when I bought coconut oil over a year ago, and that stuff is still sitting in the back of my pantry. Would it work as furniture polish? ;-Þ


Carol, you come down from that cloud right now so I can give you a hug. As always, it's good to see you here.

nicisme said...

Great piping skills you've got! I'll have to try that - they'll probably turn out like mini leaning towers of Pisa!

Jaime said...

wow, those are stunning. i've never seen them shaped like that before :)

Leslie said...

One word.....DREAMY!!!

chriesi said...

These are beautiful!

Maureen said...

Oh Sol...I cannot imagine that these are better than the chewy dense macaroons (and yes, even better dipped in chocolate)even if you say so. Pretty yes, but As Good As???

I think you need to send me some to prove your point, or get thee to Grand Rapids on Wednesday to give me some!!!