Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Coconut Macaroons

Macaroons are one of the first things I ever learned to bake and a recipe I always recommend if you are venturing into the wonderful world of baking for the first time. But don't let their simplicity deceive, for as modest as they may be they are absolutely delicious and a perfect tea time treat. Crisp and biscuity on the outside with a soft and chewy centre, they are sweet, satisfying and entirely charming. I've kept the base recipe relatively straightforward, but by no means should that be the end of the tale. You have my full permission to freestyle until you heart is content!

Prep time: 15 Minutes
Baking time: 15 Minutes
2 large egg whites
125g caster sugar
100g desiccated coconut
100g ground almonds
A dash of Vanilla Extract
A dash of Almond Extract

Let us retire to the kitchen once more. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a large flat baking sheet with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl whisk the egg whites by hand until frothy, then add the sugar and gently whisk to combine. You don't want a meringue here, so be gentle with your whisking action. Add the coconut and almonds, along with the extracts then fold through with a flat bladed spoon or spatula until you are left with a consistent, sticky mixture. With damp hands take a small amount of the mixture, roll into a little ball then flatten slightly between your palms. Place on your prepared baking sheet and repeat for the rest of the mixture, evenly spaced apart (although they shouldn't spread during baking), then bake in the centre of the oven for around 13-15 minutes until firm to the touch and a light golden brown in colour. When you are happy they are baked remove them from the oven, leave on the sheet for 10 minutes, then carefully peel each macaroon from the paper and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. I like to finish mine with a little drizzle of melted dark chocolate, but as I mentioned previously you are free to adorn as you see fit!

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