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Sunday, April 4, 2010

What's better than a coconut treat? Chocolate dipped coconut!





Happy Easter! Where has the year gone!? And why is coconut so closely associated with Easter? I am not an expert by any means, but I believe it's more the time of year rather than the holiday itself. Passover is typically around the same time of year as Easter and there are specific food restrictions in Orthodox Judiasm. Leavened products are prohibited during the festival. Macaroons are a sweet treat that can be made without any flour...so perhaps that is why we see more coconut treats in the spring? That being said, these macaroons actually do contain some flour and therefore, would not fall into the unleavened category.....
Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macarooms (from Sunset Magazine Best Ever Cookies Dec 2008)
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
3 1/2 cup lightly packed sweetened flaked dried coconut
4 ounces of semisweet chocolate, chopped

1. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites until frothy. Beat in vanilla, sugar and flour until well blended. Stir in coconut.

2. Drop dough in 1 tbsp portions, about 2 inches apart, onto parchment paper lined baking sheets.

3. Bake in 325 degree oven until macaroons are golden, about 20 minutes. If baking more than one pan at a time, switch pan positions halfway through baking. With a wide spatula, transfer macaroons to racks to cool immediately.

4. In a heat proof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (bottom of bowl should not touch water), stir chopped chocolate until melted. To temper the chocolate, do not heat above 110 degrees (use candy thermometer if you have one). Remove chocolate from heat when it reaches 110 degrees. Hold a macaroon on one edge and dip other side into the melted chocolate to coat 1/2 of the cookie. Shake off excess chocolate and set macaroon on wax paper lined baking sheet. Repeat on all cookies.

The chocolate should harden back to a "dry" or solid state if the chocolate was tempered properly. In the above photos, the bottom photo shows the cookies right after they were dipped (chocolate appears wet) and the top photo shows the same cookies about an hour or so later...you can see that the chocolate has hardened back to a "dry" state.

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