I have been wanting to make cookies for the last few weeks, but just haven't had the time (okay, I was too busy sitting on the couch watching TV). This weekend, however, I had a perfect excuse to bake: Saturday Anna and I went over to Anna S's (aka the engaged Anna) and Nathan's for dinner with Wendy, and tonight Anna and I are going over to Cindy's for Hanukkah. I wanted to bring a fun dessert and found a recipe for Paradise Macaroons on Dragon's Kitchen blog. This recipe was adapted from Alton Brown, and I made further changes. The ingredient list and directions below are my adaptations of the recipe. Enjoy!
Macaroons with Dark Chocolate & Almonds
4 large egg whites at room temperature (very important not to use cold egg whites)
14 ounce package sweetened shredded coconut
2 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 pinch kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces granulated sugar
12 ounces dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup almond slivers, toasted
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. While continuing to beat the whites, gradually add sugar and continue to whip until the mixture turns glossy and you have medium white peaks (This took me about 8 minutes).
3. In a separate bowl combine coconut, condensed milk, salt and vanilla. Carefully add the coconut mixture into the egg white mixture and fold just till combined. Do not over-mix!
4. Using a spoon or an ice-cream scoop (Thanks, Anna!) make mini mounds on parchment paper. Turns out these cookies don't really expand much, so feel free to space them pretty close together. Bake the cookies in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. (I found it useful to rotate the baking sheets halfway through the process).
5. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips and the butter in a double boiler.
6. Once the cookies come out of the oven, cool them on wire racks completely before the next step.
7. Once the cookies are cooled, dip them into the dark chocolate mixture and sprinkle them with almonds. Let the cookies set before packing them or eating them :)
Thoughts: when I first tried these cookies, I thought they were incredibly sweet. Good thing I like dark chocolate, because the slight bitterness of the dark chocolate did a marvelous job of offsetting the sweetness from the coconut and condensed milk. However, as the cookies sat for a while, it almost seemed as if the sweetness diminished: magic! Anna thinks that if you are not into very sweet things, you could easily use unsweetened shredded coconut.
Overall, this was a fun and easy baking project with very satisfactory results!
P.S. I love sweetened condensed milk. In fact my mom made a cookie in a shape of a nut with a filling of condensed milk when I was little. Unfortunately, she no longer has the special molds for those cookies. The condensed milk is great in iced coffee, but be careful not to be too eager about getting every single drop of the milk from the metal can: I tried doing it and cut my finger in the proceess.