by Debra on December 2, 2010

Musical pairing – Let It Snow by Ella Fitzgerald

I guess I was a weird kid because one of my favorite candy bars was Almond Joy – I love coconut – and coconut plus chocolate plus almonds? Uhm, yes please. I don’t eat candy bars anymore but I still love coconut – especially coconut macaroons.  But until a couple of years ago, I bought coconut macaroons from the store because I was terrified to try and make them at home . . . it was those dang terms that threw me: ‘medium-firm peaks’ in reference to whipped egg whites and the ever elusive ‘fold’. Now the way I see it, if you’ve never whipped an egg white, how the heck are you supposed to know what ‘medium-firm’ looks like as opposed to ‘soft’ or ‘stiff peaks’, whaaaa?  And ‘fold’?  Isn’t that something you do with the never-ending pile of laundry??  Sigh . . . so I bought macaroons from a box.
But Ina changed all that . . . Ina and her cookbooks.  And then my coconut macaroon world was turned upside down when I discovered that – GASP -there were only FOUR INGREDIENTS to coconut macaroons – hey Abby Dodge, did you hear that?!!!  Now I know what you’re thinking . . . you’re thinking, ‘Debra, I count six ingredients’ . . . and you’d be right except that the cookbook gods deem you don’t need to count things like salt or pepper . . . and I added the Nutella drizzle ‘cuz that’s how I roll.  So originally, these little gems can be made with four ingredients. And you basically dump, stir, scoop and bake – exactly my kinda baking!
And for whatever reason, I always make these for the holidays . . . which is why Nutella seemed appropriate . . . not that Nutella is reserved only for the holidays . . . nope . . . Nutella is an ‘all-season’ kinda ingredient!  So head to the kitchen and in about an hour you’ll have some of the best coconut macaroons you’ve ever eaten!
Barely adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style
Makes 20 to 22 cookies
14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Nutella for drizzling (about 1/4 cup or a little less)
SMITH BITES NOTE: I warmed the Nutella in the microwave for 30 seconds, gave it a stir, another 30 and then just drizzled with a fork.  It will not be liquid like a ganache so work quickly – and you may have to warm again to complete the macaroons.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Combine the coconut, condensed milk and vanilla in a large bowl.  Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks.  Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1-3/4 inch ice cream scoop or two teaspoons.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 325 degrees until golden brown.  Cool and serve.
The cookies will stay fresh for a few days if wrapped well and left at room temperature.
You might also like:
Decorating Cookies w/Kids – She Wears Many Hats
Peppermint Brownies – My Baking Addiction
Gluten-Free Cookie Roundup – Sensitive Pantry
Fruit Cake Cookies – Merry Gourmet