pen rainbow

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tuesday's Cupboard—Coconut Macadamia Macaroons

Pair these with chai teas and hot holiday drinks
A mildly-flavored, light, sweet cookie made with coconut and macadamia nuts 

Every year, I try a new cookie recipe to go with my old favorite gingerbread cookie recipe from Fanny Farmer.  This recipe for coconut macadamia cookies popped up on this year, so I thought I'd give it a try.

First of all, this is an easy recipe without a lot of complicated ingredients, refrigeration, or steps.  The mild flavor reminds me of a cross between an English shortbread cookie and an Italian biscotti.  It is not a dense cookie, like most American coconut macaroons tend to be.  It is crunchy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside, like a good drop biscuit.  In fact, this might be a tasty accompaniment to a savory main dish like shoyu pork roast or some other kind of island cuisine.

You can substitute chopped almonds or pecans for the macadamias, but I like the buttery richness of the macadamias with the coconut.

These are a little bland if you eat them all by themselves.  But, they are fantastic with chai tea, hot chocolate, gingerbread latté, or peppermint mocha.  Hot flavored beverages accentuate the subtle flavors in this traditional macaroon.  I had mine with a hot cup of blended Chai tea and caffeine-free Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride holiday tea, both by Celestial Seasonings.

•  I used my Kitchenaid mixer to combine all of the ingredients, and I managed to incorporate all of the flour using my mixer.  I mixed in the coconut and nuts by hand.  The bicep workout was an added benefit!

•  The batter came out semi-sticky, and I baked each batch on a Silpat.  Each batch took about 12 minutes to bake.  If you bake them too long, they'll come out dry.  Expect them to be mostly light colored with tinged golden brown tips.  They will not be uniformly golden when they are done.  

•  I used a teaspoon to drop them onto the baking sheet, but they were more like tablespoon-sized when I got finished unsticking the doughy batter from the spoon.

•  Don't over-measure the flour.  No need to tap down the flour or compensate with a rounded amount.  Dip your measuring cup or spoon into the flour, then level off the top with a spatula or knife.

•  Use butter, not margarine.  I use salted, rather than unsalted butter in recipes that involve nuts.  I tend to use unsalted butter in baked pastries, but I think salted butter brings out the flavor of the nuts.

•  Fancy it up!  Try dipping the tops of these into melted white chocolate or messily drizzle the tops with melted dark chocolate.  For a fancy dessert plating, add a teaspoon of homemade apricot, peach, or strawberry jam to the side and shave curls of dark chocolate around the plate.

•  Store in a tightly closed container

•  Makes about 42 average-sized cookies

•  Allow 15 minutes prep; 45 minutes baking time for the whole batch

Helpful link:  Secrets to Making Perfect Cookies

Start with softened butter
Sour cream, baking soda, sugar, flour, macadamias, coconut, eggs
(I forgot to put the vanilla in this picture...)

Macadamia nuts available in the baking section at Safeway
(lightly salted & pre-chopped)
Buttery coconut macadamia cookies ready for the oven