I know that these days, French macaroons are getting all the attention- and they totally deserve it. Gorgeous colors, inventive flavors, an adorable little shape- and serious technique. Look, your average person is not going to attempt to whip up those French delicacies- they take a lot of time and a lot of skill. But what ever happened to the old fashioned, crunchy on the outside, soft and cloudy on the inside original version? I'm not talking about the Passover, hard-as-rock- potent with artificial flavors ones. I am referring to the old-school coconut, flaky dreamy ones. The ones you can make at home. The ones that make your place smell like heaven. The ones that make you feel like crying of joy as you first bite in. (OK- maybe that's only me.)
I found an easy, straightforward recipe for these beauties. As long as you own an electric mixer (handheld or on a stand), you are good to go. So, give them a try. You will be so glad that you did. I know I was.
recipe adapted from Nancy Baggett's 'All-American Cookie Book'
2 1/2 bags (35 ounces total) sweetened coconut flakes
3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
5 egg whites at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces of your favorite chocolate, melted, for drizzling
Preheat the oven 325. Place the coconut on a baking tray in an even layer. Place in the oven and toast up slightly until really fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool. Stir the condensed milk into the toated coconut, and use your hands to combine. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggwhites and cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat on medium-high until opaque and soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, and beat on high until stiff, glossy peaks form, another 2 minutes or so. Use a spatula to fold the coconut mixture into the eggwhites.
Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop the mixture onto the baking sheets using a 1/4 cup measure, about 2 inches apart. The should be tall mounds rather than wide. Bake, one sheet at a time for 15- 20 minutes. The tops and bottoms of the macaroons should be browned while the inside will be a little soft- they will harden as they set. Cool completely on baking sheets. Turn your oven off. Once your oven has cooled down a bit, return the baking sheets into the oven and let them stay there overnight. The next day, peel the macaroons off the parchment paper and drizzle with your favorite melted chocolate.
These macaroons can be stored in an air-tight container for a few days or frozen for up to a month!