Years ago when I was working as a wedding planner, our crafty in-house letterpress guru, Jennifer, would bring the entire office weekly homemade treats. I had yet to venture into the world of baking, so I was often completely mesmerized by the complicated recipes she tackled. (Profiteroles au chocolat, anyone?!)
Chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons were her signature dish, and with good reason—they were absolutely heavenly. Let's just say she quickly figured out to make a double batch if I was going to be around. (Hey, I said I didn't know how to bake yet. I've always known how to eat!) Those angelic mounds were my afternoon ambrosia; my perfect escape from a hectic day.
It wasn't until this past week, while in San Francisco for Thanksgiving, that those scrumptious treats popped back in my head. At a quaint little bakeshop in Mill Valley, my fiancé Walt ordered a familiar sight. As he moaned with happiness upon first taste, I said, "You know I can make those from-scratch, right?" His eyes came alive with the very possibility. I just can't believe it had taken me this long!
So here's a delicious recipe for chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons, just in time for the gift-giving season. I researched countless ways to make these, some with flour and others with sweetened condensed milk. I'm sure all of them are well and good, but I find a certain delight in this version's simplicity. Because sometimes it's the simplest things in life that make us the happiest. I sure know that a little tin of these homemade macaroons would send me over the moon.
Coconut Macaroons Dipped in ChocolateMakes approximately 24 macaroons
4 egg whites (from large eggs)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups sweetened coconut flakes
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of standing mixer or with a hand-mixer, beat egg whites, vanilla, and salt on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form, another 3 minutes. Gently fold the coconut flakes into the egg white mixture. (If you want a more dense, less meringue-like macaroon, you can skip beating the whites altogether. Just whisk the egg whites, vanilla, salt, and sugar until frothy, then fold in the coconut.)
Using a small spring-form ice cream scoop, form mounds of batter and drop onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the macaroons are just turning golden. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
While the macaroons are cooling, melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from the burner and allow to cool slightly. Dip the flat bottom of each macaroon into the melted chocolate and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, chocolate side up. (You can also dunk the tops of the macaroons into the chocolate, leaving the bottoms plain, or just do a drizzle of chocolate over the top.)
Refrigerate the macaroons until chocolate is hardened, about 30 minutes. Bring to room temperature before serving. If gifting, layer them between wax paper in an airtight container and store in a cool place.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)