Friday, 29 June 2012

Old School Coconut Macaroons.

One of my absolute favourites when taken to ‘Zonas’ the bakery in Tunbridge Wells, where I grew up, was a coconut macaroon.  The ones with dark chocolate drizzled all over and edible paper clinging to the bottom.  Those and cream horns and iced buns. Oh and Chelsea buns.  I digress.  As I had 3 egg whites in the fridge (thanks to the pear and almond tart) I thought I’d attempt my old favourites rather than be stuck with meringues again.

I read a couple of recipes, Mary Berry and Donna Hay and once I’d got to grips with the basics I invented my own version.  They turned out completely divine all soft and not too too sickly.  Although I’m a bit perplexed about the paper scenario.  As Mary Berry notes in her recipe, rice paper is pretty difficult to come by and so she uses baking paper instead.  But given macaroons are best when only just cooked, still soft and so are cooled on the tray, how do you stop the baking paper from sticking to the bottom? Cleary that was the aim when using rice paper.  Anyway I’ve taken to eating the paper as I cant be bothered to try and pull it off, and to be honest you’d never know it wasn’t the proper edible stuff.  I reckon Mary Berry does the same, as she is suspiciously silent on this point.  And anyway baking paper cant be toxic given its made for cooking... Tuck in I say, it would be a great shame not to.

(UPDATE - I've just realised that I use rice paper from a Thai shop for canapes...maybe that is the answer to my macaroon problems...)

Ingredients (makes 16)

3 eggs whites
150 g desiccated coconut
50 g ground almonds
250 g caster sugar
60 g dark chocolate


1. Preheat the oven to 160C and line a couple of baking trays with baking or rice paper.
2. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until they form soft peaks.
3. Fold in the coconut, almonds and sugar.

4. Take small handfuls of the mixture and roll into a ball, place on the prepared trays and then flatten slightly with your fingers. 

5. Cook for about 15 minutes or until just golden around the edges.   Remember, they are supposed to look slightly anaemic. Leave to cool on the trays.

6. Melt the chocolate over a pan of barely simmering water.
7. Remove the cooled macaroons from their paper and place on another piece of baking paper.  Now go all Jackson Pollack with the chocolate.

8. Allow the chocolate to set and then serve.  I am keeping these in the fridge, which seems to work jolly well.

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