(i hope conan o’brien would be like these because i named this post after him.)
to say i’ve been busy over the past week or two would be the understatement of the century. i thought about writing an open letter to my family and best friends here on my blog explaining that my lack of communication was in no way a reflection of my love for them. but… not surprisingly, i didn’t have enough time. one of the things i missed most about being so busy was not being able to cook, bake nor blog. but i’ve come out alive and i’m back in the kitchen. so without further ado… i give you: coconut macaroons.
so… i like coconut. a lot. coconut ice cream makes me think of dessert at my favorite chinese restaurant at home. coconut cake reminds me of my best friend growing up, morgan, who made the greatest coconut cake for my surprise 18th birthday party. and the almond joy/mounds tagline of “sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don’t,” makes me think of my long-lost jason.
about a month ago, i bought a bag on a whim because it was on sale for $1.74. seemed like a pretty small commitment to have the delicious ingredient on hand. i didn’t know what to do with it right off the bat, but it got me craving macaroons. i decided to experiment and make some, spinning off a recipe from martha.
they were super easy and so far my reviews seem to indicate i hit it out of the park. but really, how can you go wrong with the cookie version of an almond joy (yes, there’s almond extract in it. it counts). i only drizzled chocolate on half the batch because i mistakenly thought some people would prefer plain to chocolate — apparently i was wrong.
two large egg whites
pinch of salt
one can (14 oz.) fat-free, sweetened condensed milk
two teaspoons vanilla extract
one teaspoon almond extract
two bags (14 oz. each) shredded sweetened coconut
now you’re done with the COLLECTING. onto the DOING.
get ready by preheating your oven to 300 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
in a large bowl (mine wasn’t nearly large enough for all the coconut!), whisk the egg whites and salt together until it’s foamy and bubbly and increases in volume. it’s a good arm workout when you whisk them for a couple of minutes. when you feel the burn, you know you’ve done your job. (as you can see from the picture, i accidentally let a teency bit of yolk into my egg whites. i suck at cracking eggs. but my recipe still worked, so i’m not panicked.)
next, stir in the condensed milk, vanilla and almond extracts. it should take on the consistency of a thin pudding, almost.
fold in the coconut in a few batches until everything is well coated and combined. i was an idiot and dumped both bags in at once in a bowl that couldn’t really handle it. it involved lots of overflow, some coconut on the floor and a very slow folding-in process. but in the end, it was fine. oh, also, it looks like a gigantic bowl of coleslaw.
using a spoon and your fingers, scoop and pack together drops of the coconut mixture onto the baking sheets. you can put them fairly close together because they don’t really spread or grow like cookies.
bake for 20 minutes or until they’re golden brown along the bottom edges and the top. don’t try to take them off the baking sheet right away, but get them on a cooling rack when possible - they’ll harden more the cooler they get.
they’re just perfect the way they are, but if you want, but some dark chocolate chips in a double boiler and melt until smooth. then take a fork and scoop up some of the melted chocolate and drizzle it over the cooled macaroons. of course you could always melt the chocolate in the microwave, but mine decided to start sparking and smell like fire. so… double boiler it was. i think the chocolate makes them look fancier and people seem to favor them by far.
as always, enjoy, share and make people smile :)
click here for a printable version of the recipe!