I'm not a sweets guy - or a sweet guy - or an overly sentimental guy - but I am a traditions guy.
I've rambled on before about the joy of nailing a recipe that hits home with you - like the first time you get just the right crunch, tingle, and burn from those buffalo bites, or recreating that banana bread that only your grandmother or that motherly neighbor could ever get right (ok, I guess I'm a little sentimental). This was a slightly richer experience than normal, though - and not just because of the chocolate.
To me, macaroons are a necessary Passover treat - a coconutty ball of sweet my parents bought every year when I was kid, that I went out of my way to find while I was in college, and that I'll search every grocery store in the area for until I find one. In fact, a couple years back, my girlfriend decided she was in the mood for a Manischewitz chocolate chip macaroon, and we searched 6 grocery stores until we finally found that holy grail.
You see - she felt the same way I did. That chocolate macaroon wasn't a cookie - it was an institution. The rocky road-style "cookie" wouldn't satisfy our craving. "High-end" or off-brand imitations wouldn't do the trick. In fact, if you think about it, she didn't really want a "macaroon." She wanted her sense of taste to do what senses do - remind her of times gone by, tie those into her new experiences and make new memories - to do what good food was supposed to do: to be more than a meal, and create an experience.
When I bit into one of these homemade dark chocolate macaroons - I wasn't left wanting. It unearthed Passover memories. It satisfied an urge that went deeper than hunger and taste. In short, I rediscovered that experience.
And it was delicious.
One quick editorial note: SORRY for the lack of step-by-step pictures here. I made these so early in the morning I could barely walk, nevermind use a camera. If you get up early enough, there are enough hours in a day to do just about anything - just not before coffee.
Dark Chocolate-Dipped Macaroon Recipe
2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 tbsp corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 large egg whites2 tsp vanilla
11 oz. dark chocolate
1. Toss the coconut, starch, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir with a fork - or a spork, if you have one - until well blended
2. Over a separate bowl, break the eggs in half and toss the egg yolk back and forth between the two shells until the egg whites drain completely into the bowl - add the vanilla, and whisk until frothy
3. Combine the coconut mixture and the egg white mixture in one of the bowls, and mix until completely combined
4. Let the mixture rest for about a half hour - at some point in there you'll want to preheat the oven to about 325
5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and using a spoon, scoop up the mixture and place them evenly. Don't be afraid to use your fingers, but don't pack the balls'o'deliciousness too tight - you want some air in there to keep these light and fluffy-ish
6. Bake the macaroons until the wee pieces sticking out on the bottom turn a golden brown. DON'T leave them in too long, they'll dry out!
7. Take them out, let them sit and cool COMPLETELY
8. Using a double boiler - or in my case, boil a pot of water then stick another pot on top of it - melt the dark chocolate until smooth
9. Once the chocolate is melted, dip the macaroons in one at a time, give them a quick twirl while they're in there, then remove and place back on the parchment
10. If you wanna decorate them - as you see, I gave it a shot - spoon some of the chocolate in a medium Ziplock bag, seal, then cut a TINY piece of the bottom corner of the bag
11. Don't squeeze TOO hard, but using a decent about of squeeze force, zigzag over the macaroons - see the image above.
12. Let them sit for 3-5 hours - it all depends on humidity and temp in your house. These were ready within about 3 hours.
AND YOUR DONE - you have a scrumptious Passover (or not) ready treat you can show off to your friends and family! As you can see, I took the left over dark chocolate and threw in a bunch of peanuts - waste-not-want-not, right?
As always, if you try these, I hope you'll send me some pics to share. Food is fun, but nothing beats food with friends! Email them along, or post them on www.facebook.com/cutseveryday!