Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Passover macaroons that actually taste good

For the past few years, every time I baked up a batch of homemade macaroons for my family during Passover, a precise -- and deeply disturbing -- description from Steve Almond's bestselling nonfiction book Candyfreak (a classic, by the way, if you haven't read it) would always come to mind. At one point in the text, he shudders at the "creepy dead-skin texture of shredded coconut." Every time I would bake up a batch, I would worry about their chitinous consistency. How could I serve authentic macaroons without subjecting loved ones to the 'dead skin' problem? Finally, I figured out that if you simply divide up parts of the wet and dry ingredients and place them separately in a food processor and whir the living daylights out of them, you will have a macaroon that tastes creamy, decadent, and nothing at all like dead skin.

So here's what you need:

three cups dried coconut, unsweetened
one teaspoon Tahitian vanilla
one cup of sugar
two egg whites
a few little crumbs of salt

preheat oven to 350 degrees

combine the sugar and the coconut, then scoop out a cup of the sugar/coconut mixture and set it aside

combine all remaining ingredients (remaining coconut/sugar combo, along with vanilla and egg whites), place them in a food processor and process the hell out of them for at least three minutes.

clean and dry food processor, and dump the set-aside sugar/coconut combination in the food processor until it is totally pulverized and has the consistency of flour

combine dry and wet ingredients in bowl, mix thoroughly with a spatula or large wooden spoon, then shape into thumb-sized balls with slightly pointed tops and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. It doesn't matter if you put them very close to one another. They pretty much hold their shape throughout the baking process. Bake for about 15 minutes until brown on the top. Let them set for at least 20 minutes. At this point you can turn some of them into 'black and white' macaroons by slathering them with a holiday-appropriate melted chocolate.

I suggest you try this. It's actually quite good, and infinitely better than those hideous macaroons that come in oversized cans.


Anonymous said...

And they are delicious! Especially when dripping with dark chocolate.

cactuseaters said...

Thank you, Anonymous. So it seems you've tried this recipe before? Did you notice the difference? Was it significantly less chitinous?