Monday, August 11, 2014

Toasty Coconut Macaroons

When I was a kid I hated coconut. I remember my great grandmother who we called Gigi, used to always have coconut macaroons in her house. They were Kosher from the deli down the street and they were dry and tasteless. They were the only cookies in her pantry so I’d force myself to eat them hoping each time to like them, but alas, they just weren't good.

It wasn't until years later that I tried a coconut macaroon at my college’s dining hall and much to my surprise it was soft, chewy, sweet, gooey, toasty  perfection. Nothing like dear Gigi’s dry store bought rock hard nuggets. I was impressed. These  cookies were so good I had to ask the head of food services what his recipe was. The secret to their yumminess? Sweetened condensed milk! 

So, over the years, I developed my own recipe with the help of Ina Garten and Joan Nathan. I tweaked the process a bit and the measurements. All in all, this is a darn good coconut macaroon. Sweet, chewy, toasty, gooey, moist, and loaded with juicy coconut flavor.

Ande’s Toasty Coconut Macaroons
1 large (14 oz) bag sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces (small can) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 extra-large egg whites at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl mix the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make thick peaks. switch to the paddle attachment and add the coconut mixture to the egg whites and mix vigorously until completely mixed. scrape down the bowl as needed and continue mixing until the batter is cohesive.

Use an mini scoop to form rounded balls of batter and using your hands roll them into the most perfect ball you can. bake them on sheet pans lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.

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