Monday, July 11, 2011

Coconut Macaroon Recipe

It is official... I am crazy.  I had always thought so, but this makes it real;  I chose one of the hottest days of year on which to bake cookies. 

I found some organic, unsweetened coconut at our local bulk food store and had to buy it because I had seen a recipe for macaroons in my library book,
"Baking at Home" from the Culinary Arts Institute.   It really is a nicely written book and helps even the most basic baker with the most basic baking methods. 

So, I set out to make the coconut macaroons today, which is 84 degrees F, but feels like 95 with the humidity.  Luckily, the recipe only takes about 20 minutes to make and the dough comes together relatively quickly. 

The thing I like about this recipe is that there is none of that overly sweet sweetened-condensed milk in them.  The recipe is pretty simple if you have coconut and an orange, you probably have everything else needed to make them.  I may dip them in chocolate next time, but this time, we are enjoying the nice citrus flavor with the coconut.

So, here is the recipe as I have adapted it from the CIA cookbook.  The first batch I made was a bit too hard for my liking.  I enjoy the center soft and the outside chewy.

1 cup sugar (divided)
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 1/2 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
6 large egg whites
2 tsp grated orange zest
2 tsp vanilla extract

Makes about {25 macaroons} {This was my change.  I made them bigger so they would stay softer inside.  The CIA says you should make about 32}

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line cookie sheet with {silpat} or parchment paper.  Combine 1/3 cup of the sugar with the flour and set aside.

Combine the remaining 2/3 cup sugar, the coconut, and the egg whites on the top of a double boiler and stir for 3 minutes.  {I just put them in a pot and stirred constantly over low heat until the ingredients came together.  A double boiler is not necessary if you are sure to use really low heat} Remove from heat.  Fold in the flour mixture, orange zest and vanilla extract.

Drop tablespoonfuls of batter {I liked them on the bigger side (1 1/2 Tbsp) because they stayed softer} onto the cookie sheets spacing them 2-inches apart and shaping into neat mounds. {I didn't space them two inches apart.  I put them about 1/2 an inch from each other and they cooked just fine and didn't spread at all.  This way, I could bake them quicker on a hot day by fitting them all on one cookie sheet} 

In batches, bake until the macaroons are a light golden brown on the outside, but still soft enough to give slightly when you press on them with your fingertip, 20-25 minutes. {start checking at 15 minutes because if you make them on the smaller side, they will be done quickly.} Transfer macaroons to a wire rack to cool completely.

{Enjoy one while they are still warm!}

If you are interested in the book, you can check your library or buy it here.  I have enjoyed everything I've made from it so far.
Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of AmericaBaking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America
Bob's Red Mill Shredded Coconut Unsweetended, 12-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4)Bob's Red Mill Shredded Coconut Unsweetended, 12-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4)


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Magnolia Bakery in NY City - SoHo

My family and I took a day trip to the Soho and Tribeca neighborhoods of NY City yesterday.  It was a humid and rainy day, but that didn't stop us! We walked the neighborhoods like troopers with umbrellas and rain ponchos.  Some of our stops were Peep for Thai food for lunch (awesome bathroom!), Macbar for dinner (perfect with kids!)

and we trekked up to Magnolia Bakery which is on the corner of Bleecker Street and West 11th. 

My husband was completely amazed that there was a huge line around the corner in the rain, just for cupcakes!  He was also amazed that they had the cupcake bouncer; a woman, wearing what could have easily been interpreted as a referee shirt, whom was keeping the line and making sure nobody cut in front of the line.  He thought the women  (and he himself) waiting in line must be crazy. 

We finally got inside and were able to make it inside and amid the chaos. I could barely take a picture due to the crowd.  There were probably 15 people at a time in the store and it was basically standing-room only.  I'm thinking there must be some seriously good cupcakes or perhaps just a lot of hype.  We squeezed to the boxes and chose 2 cupcakes (pistachio and vanilla with chocolate buttercream) and an apple crisp and a flourless cake for me.  They put them in a pretty white shopping bag with their logo on it and we were off.  
This is the only picture I could get from the cash register.  LOL!  Cute t-shirts though, right?
Unfortunately it was so rainy that we couldn't stop anywhere and eat our cupcakes after we got them, so we decided to bring them home.  Well, even with an umbrella, the shopping bag was ruined from the rain and the cupcakes had to be shoved into a Macbar plastic bag so they wouldn't get ruined too. 

We carried them onto the subway, onto the train back to NJ and home 3 hours.  They were a but smushed by the time we got home.

  This morning, my boys and I cut the vanilla with chocolate buttercream and the pistachio into 3rds so we could all try them.  The cake is wonderfully heavy and "wedding cakey" and the icing... omg... so good!  The pistachio icing was more like an Italian buttercream I recently made.  Thick and buttery and less sweet than you would think.   The chocolate was fudgy and thick and ganache-like.  Mmmm!  We haven't tried flourless cake and apple crisp yet.... I'll let you know.  You should really try this place if you get a chance!

Update:  We also tried the apple crisp and the flourless chocolate cake.  While the apple crisp had much more crumble than I like, my son devoured the whole thing minus the bite I took.  He loved it.  The flourless cake was also sugarless, I think.  If you love a dark chocolate with a low amount of sugar in it, you are sure to like this.  The % of sugar was a low for me and I love dark chocolate...  it was much like eating a cocoa cake.  My husband LOVED it and enjoyed most of it himself.  I'm sure he would get it again!

Monday, July 4, 2011

I posted this on my crafty blog, but I thought you might like to see the INSIDE of the cake I posted about here.  I found the tutorial at Glorious Treats.  Be sure to stop by to see how it is assembled!  Very neat!

I hid the baking and assembling part from my boys.  They didn't see it until the white, whipped cream icing was on it.  Under the whipped cream icing, I made and Italian buttercream and layered and crumb coated with that.  Yum!  My red is a bit pink, but I love pink, so I didn't mind!

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