Sometimes you just need a cookie. After a long day of class or rough day of studying, my sweet tooth aches for a bite size treat that will give me a jolt of energy to revise that paper and finish that problem set. Sometimes, you need two dozen cookies. After a hard week or one too many tests, it’s a relief to get together with friends for an impromptu potluck with plenty of dessert. Sometimes you need four dozen cookies…
Regardless of the occasion, I’m not always inclined to slave over a complex, albeit delicious, new recipe. I want to look in my pantry knowing I have those few simple ingredients to satisfy my craving or indulge my friends. Now I am all for spending hours in the kitchen crossing items like homemade challah, bolognese, and pizzas off my to-cook list. But sometimes… you just need a cookie.
Time and time again I have turned to my dear friend Natalie’s coconut macaroons to simply fill the sweet void in my life. And they always do the trick. These macaroons are somewhat legendary among parts of Central Virginia, as they have a tendency to brighten everyone’s day. They have served as thank you presents to countless professors, and birthday presents for co-workers and friends. They have graced many a potluck dessert table, passover seder, and holiday cookie swap. But let’s be honest — who needs an excuse to make cookies?!
Juliana Barton is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia, who avoided the dining hall by playing lunch lady in her own kitchen complete with oodles of macaroons. Read more…
Natalie’s Every Occasion Macaroons
Adapted from “The Fannie Farmer Baking Book”
Makes about 20 macaroons
This recipe doubles (and triples) beautifully! And do not fear, they will get eaten.
For a gluten-free variation, replace flour with finely ground skinless blanched almonds.
2 egg whites
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, or 2 tablespoons finely ground skinless blanched almonds
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut (about half a bag)
½ cup chocolate chips/chunks, semi-sweet, dark, or a mixture (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites with hand mixer (high speed) or by hand until they form stiff peaks.
In small bowl, combine sugar, flour and salt. Add mixture to egg whites in thirds. Then beat in sugar, flour, and salt (on low speed) and add vanilla.
After dry ingredients are well incorporated, fold in the coconut with a rubber spatula. All the coconut flakes should be soggy, but the batter shouldn’t pool at the edges.
Form the batter into small 1 inch balls and place 1 ½ inches apart on baking sheet.
The liquid shouldn’t run into a muddle around the balls. Keep a small bowl of warm water to dip your finger in, because the batter won’t stick to wet hands.
Bake for 12-16 minutes in the middle of the oven until puffed slightly and very lightly browned at the tips. Let cool on rack until while you prepare chocolate! (Reserve foil/parchment lined cookie sheets for dipping).
If you opt for chocolate-dipped macaroons (and really, why wouldn’t you?), melt the chocolate on the stove in a double boiler, or in 30-second intervals in the microwave. See Cara and Phoebe’s Prep School video for tips!
Once chocolate is melted, dip the bottoms of the cooled cookies into the chocolate, wiping off a bit of the excess with a rubber spatula.
Place the dipped macaroons on foil/parchment lined baking sheets to harden. If in a rush or just that hungry, you can pop them in the fridge so the chocolate cools faster. But rumor has it that this ruins the texture. The verdict is still out…
Once the chocolate has hardened, enjoy!