It has been so hot lately (above usual temperatures for Johannesburg) that baking has been a slight challenge, basically because my “vintage” gas oven also doubles as a furnace. Not optimal in 35 degrees plus! But with macaroons being so quick to make and bake, the quest was on for a chocolate macaroon variation, and thanks to Martha Stewart, the gluten-free chocolate coconut macaroon search did not take long. You can find the original recipe here.
- 115 grams semisweet chocolate
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. Break chocolate into small pieces, and then transfer to a medium heatproof bowl.
Set the bowl with chocolate over a pan of simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted. Let this cool slightly. Pour the melted chocolate into a large bowl; add the cocoa, sugar, coconut, egg whites, vanilla, and salt. Mix with your hands until well combined.
Dampen clean hands with cold water. Mound about 1½ tablespoons of the mixture into a loose haystack shape, and transfer to lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture, arranging macaroons 1 inch apart.
Bake until just firm to the touch but still soft in the middle, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheet on a wire rack. Store in airtight containers at room temperature, up to 3 days.
The first batch of these macaroons mysteriously disappeared before a photo could be taken (yes, they were eaten). The second batch lasted only slightly longer. If you are a chocolate person then these macaroons are for you. Thanks Martha, I owe you one!
I keep the nom nom chocolate bakes for the weekend/special events (everything in moderation!), and finding something that I can nibble on during the week seems to have fueled a continuing interest in macaroons. They are simple to make, let’s admit it baking a macaroon is very untaxing, and moreish to eat. And my book of the moment “Flourless”* has given me a new recipe, gluten-free coconut lemon macaroons.
- 2 egg whites
- Grated zest of 1 organic lemon
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons/130 grams honey
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2½ cups/180 grams shredded, unsweetened coconut
Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 150 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites for about 30 seconds to lighten them up a bit. Whisk in the lemon zest, honey, and vanilla. Add the shredded coconut and stir well to combine.
Scoop out 1 tablespoon portions of the coconut mixture. Using your hands, squeeze to compress the mixture and roll each into a small ball. Place them onto the prepared baking sheet about 2.5 cm apart.
Bake until the bottom and edges are just starting to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the baking sheet. When fully cooled, peel the cookies from the paper before serving.
I melted some dark chocolate in a double boiler and dipped the bottom of each macaroon just to add a little something extra. The key to making these is the squeezing of the mixture. Don’t be shy, as this really helps the macaroons stay together. I have as of yet been unable to find shredded coconut, so I have just used the least fine desiccated coconut so that it still has some texture.
So of course I like these, and the addition of the lemon zest does give quite a fresh taste and little hit of the unexpected. But I must confess, Siba’s macaroons (see previous post) are winning the macaroon race at the moment!
*(“Flourless” by Nicole Spiridakis, a book of 75 recipes all naturally gluten-free).
Oh dear! It seems that I have already been distracted from the Great South African Bake Off. Maybe it was the episode on bread… but never fear I am still mentally preparing to take on the macaron challenge. But for now, the new series of Siba’s Table has caught my eye, and we move from the macaron to the macaroon. I was inspired by these delightfully pretty (and simple) gluten-free coconut macaroons with jam as seen in episode 1. You can find the original recipe here.
- 2 large free-range egg whites
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- ⅓ cup/80 ml ground almonds
- Guava jam (or jam of your choice if guava is not your thing)
- Icing sugar, to dust
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Whisk the egg whites in a mixer using the whisk attachment until frothy, then add the cream of tartar and salt. Continue whisking until soft peaks form, then add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until thick and glossy. Fold in the coconut and then the ground almonds.
Scoop a heaped spoonful of the mixture and gently shape in your hands into balls (being careful not to squeeze out the air that was incorporated by whisking) then make a small indent in the centre with your forefinger. (In her programme, Siba dips her hands in water before rolling the mixture as the water helps it not to stick to your hands).
Place on a baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes until puffed and golden. Remove from the oven, cool slightly and place on a wire rack. If some macaroons are cracked after baking, just push the sides up while still warm to create a more pronounced indentation and shape. Spoon the preserve filling into the macaroons and lightly dust with icing sugar just before serving.
As mentioned these are pretty easy to put together; the jam is a delightfully sweet addition, and makes them look pretty fabulous as well. I have made these twice in the last week, and although mine are not as perfectly shaped as in the TV programme (sometimes I lack a little patience in certain areas) I am sure they taste just as good!
(And I must say thank you for the Le Creuset preserve jar that some very kind Burgers gave me for my birthday – it fits right in).