Sunday, January 22, 2012

Guest Post 1:Peppermint Coconut Macaroons in White Chocolate (or Dark)

This year I wanted to try something new on this blog, so every month I am asking one or two of my friends to do a guest post.  They get to choose what ever they want to bake, savory or sweet, their favorite recipe or something all together new, to share with you and sometimes have a little fun in the kitchen with me.

Let me introduce you my friend Stephanie, guest blogger #1!  She is awesome and crazy fun!  She was my first official "DC" friend I didn't meet through work.  Her qualifications: excellent apple tree climber, donut maker and photo taker!  We might also have had the same first cookbook when we were kids.  She is a dairy-free girl an we most definitely first bonded over vegan baked goods.

Direct from Stephanie:

Before I begin, there are two things you should know about me:
1. I have three favorite flavours in the world - almond, coconut, and peppermint. 
2. I have absolutely no normal sense of how food flavours should be combined. I've been known to have a fried egg, banana oatmeal, and pot stickers for dinner, and still believe wholeheartedly that this is a sensible meal.

Keeping this in mind, it should not come as any surprise that this guest post began as a determined effort to create something that combines my favorite flavours and does not disgust the general public.  Enter peppermint macaroons.  These are the coconut haystack-type macaroons, not those french macarons you have seen all over foodgawker recently.  Those are macarons (missing an o), and not macaroons.  Foodgawker posters, please take note - I'm tired of running into those french ball-busters when I want coconut-y goodness!  

Moving on, I am pleased to say this particular combination of flavours came out perfectly.  They're just peppermint-y enough that the coconut still shines, and just coconut-y enough to let the peppermint come through.  (Add more peppermint extract if you want them to be SUPER peppermint-y!)  It's a match made in, well, if not heaven, then at least in a weird recess of my mind. Though I'm sure they would have been lovely on their own, it seemed to me that something was missing.  For that reason, these dudes have been dipped.  I meant to dip them all in white chocolate, but I ran out half-way through, so the other half were done in dark chocolate.  While I encourage experimentation, my initial instincts were right - the white chocolate version is definitely superior.  However, if you're not a big fan of white chocolate, go ahead and try the dark chocolate, though I'd suggest mixing dark and semi-sweet chocolate so as to avoid overwhelming the macaroon's taste. 

This recipe is made to be done in three steps, so don't expect macaroons in 30 minutes. The mixture needs to be properly cooled before baking, so while this isn't "active" baking time, it needs to be factored in to your planning.

The ingredients....

Ready to go in the oven...

Fresh out of the oven and ready to be dipped in the chocolates...

Peppermint Coconut Macaroons in White Chocolate (or Dark):
*makes approximately 14-18
3 cups very lightly packed shredded, sweetened coconut
3/4 cup egg whites (whites from 4 large eggs)2/3 cup sugar1 tsp vanilla1 tsp peppermint1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (if dipping all in white chocolate) OR1/2 - 3/4 cup white chocolate chips AND 1/2 - 3/4 cup dark and semi-sweet chocolate chips, mixed.

1.  In a large (2 to 3 quart) saucepan, heat the coconut, egg whites, and sugar over medium-LOW heat.  Stir occasionally until it starts getting warm, then stir constantly.  It should be creamy at first, and then it will start to get drier and stickier and super moist.  Make sure the egg isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan or cooking into EGG egg. Stop stirring and cooking when the mixture is sticking together, not creamy anymore but not dry either. It should take about 10 minutes. You'll notice the difference, and go with your gut. (I got slightly distracted (BAD baker!!) and ended up overcooking during this stage a bit, so some of the coconut wasn't sticking as much anymore.  It made for a crispier end product.)

2.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and peppermint.  

3. Spread the coconut mixture into a pie pan or a baking pan or something similar so that you can stick it in the fridge to cool quickly. (I used a pie pan since I had one on hand and the coconut mix all cooled in the fridge within half hour.)

4.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

5.  With an ice cream scoop, cookie-dough scooper, or even a tablespoon measure, scoop and firmly pack the coconut into dome-balls and place them on the baking sheets about 2 inches apart. (I ended up using my hands a LOT during this process, since I don't have an ice-cream or cookie-dough scooper, and had to use a tablespoon measure.  It worked, but it wasn't ideal.  Using my hands worked better and I used the tablespoon as a guide for size.)

6.  Bake the macaroons for about 30 minutes or until crispy golden brown on the edges. (My oven runs a bit warm, and 30 minutes ended up being exactly right for me. I'd suggest checking the cookies after 30 minutes and adding extra time as necessary.)

7.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets (no need to transfer to wire cooling racks or anything, which is good, since I don't have any) until they're completely cool.  Once they're cool, transfer all the macaroons onto one baking sheet. Don't discard the used parchment paper!

8.  Melt chocolate in a double-boiler (smarter, more delicious method!) or in the microwave (for lazy people!) until it's runny enough for dipping purposes.  Dip the bottom bit of a macaroon in chocolate and place it on the empty baking sheet still lined with used parchment paper, repeating until all the macaroons are dipped and have a home (on parchment).  Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes until the chocolate bottoms are completely solid. (Note: I noticed that the white chocolate solidified much, much faster than the dark chocolate.)

Enjoy! I ate both kinds at once so that I could compare - and I sincerely encourage you to do the same.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome first guest blogger!! What a way to kick off this adventure!