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).
I have to admit that I am not 100% sure where I found this recipe. I am a habitual recipe scribbler when I come across something that I like, and these gluten-free coconut macaroons fall into that category. The chocolate decoration should probably be a little less Jackson Pollock esque, but hey, whatever you feel like in the moment will work especially when it comes to chocolate!
- 6 cups shredded coconut flakes
- 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup chocolate chips*
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
In a large bowl, stir together the coconut, condensed milk and vanilla until well combined (this takes some work but keep going until it is completely mixed together).
Use a spoon to scoop out the mixture and form small rounds. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 12 to 18 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the macaroons are crisp.
Allow macaroons to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Melt the chocolate chips and oil together in a double boiler. Drizzle over the cooled macaroons.
*Usually I use “safe” dark chocolate that I chop into small pieces, but for convenience I used Staffords choc chips as they are marked gluten-free.
Recently I was watching an episode of Billl’s Kitchen: Notting Hill (Bill Granger) when I became mesmerized as he made Rocky Road. I have never made Rocky Road or really eaten it, but watching chocolate and butter slowly melt with some maple syrup thrown in for good measure was motivation enough for me to start! I have not been able to find Bill’s exact recipe so I have taken bits from recipes online (there are many) and modified to suit my tastes to make gluten-free rocky road.
- 176 grams chocolate – I only use dark chocolate
- 100 grams unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 50 gram marshmallows (I use gluten-free marshmallows*)
- 100 g biscuits – I use Schar Maria Biscuits*
- 50 grams nuts and dried cranberries
Melt chocolate, butter and maple syrup in a double boiler. Try not to eat it all at this point as is rather good.
Break up biscuits into small pieces. Cut up marshmallows into bite size pieces.Mix biscuits, marshmallows, nuts and cranberries in a bowl. Pour over the chocolate and mix well. A hint I picked up from Bill Granger was to keep some of the chocolate back at this point.
Line a square baking tray with grease proof paper and pour in your mixture gently pushing it down and to the sides. Then pour over the chocolate you have kept in reserve.
Refrigerate. Once set cut into squares and enjoy. How easy is this?
I do eyeball the amount of cranberries and nuts I use and see what looks right, you can of course leave out the cranberries but I think they bring a great splash of colour. Originally I used 125 grams of biscuits but I felt that was a little too much for this ratio of chocolate and dropped it down to 100 grams.
I have made this now three times for work and I even take requests now for this as a birthday gift, so this seems to be something that everyone is keen to enjoy. Great rewards for not much effort – and it contains nuts and fruit so cannot be all bad!
* Purchased at Dischem
So the time has come to start experimenting with some gluten-free flourless cookies/biscuit recipes. So this is the first of possibly many posts to come… original recipe found at errenskitchen.
• 2½ cups powdered sugar
• ¾ cup cocoa powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• ⅛ tsp baking soda
• 2 egg whites, at room temperature (more if needed)
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• ½ teaspoon of vinegar
• Red food coloring
• 1 cup/150g bittersweet chocolate chips
I did not use the food colouring as it is just one more product for me to scrutinize the label of, and I am quite happy with good old chocolate!
Preheat oven to 350f/175c.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper lightly with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, cornstarch & baking soda
Beat in two egg whites and the vanilla extract and vinegar (and food coloring if using) until the batter is moistened.
The consistency should be a thick and fudgy batter. As all eggs are not created equal, if the batter seems too thick, add another egg white or two.
Spoon batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 2 inches apart.
Bake about 12 – 14 minutes, until the tops are shiny and lightly cracked.
Slide cookies on the parchment paper onto wire racks and let cool completely.
I must confess that on my first attempt I thought the batter was too thick and all the ingredients were not being incorporated, so I added another egg white. I was slightly horrified then when I ended up with one giant cooked cookie as the batter had expanded as it cooked rather more than anticipated! So if you think it is too thick wait until you have given it a good chance to mix… not that one giant cookie is a bad thing of course!