I was running late in final preparations for a party, so I recruited my teenage daughter to help finish decorating cookies. She learned quickly that dipping a cookie in chocolate can be more difficult than it seems. First, there has to be enough volume. Secondly, the baker cannot try to fix mistakes as chocolate is fairly unforgiving and will show the slightest smudge. Double-dipping can result in a gloopey finish.
In the end, we shrugged our shoulders, chalked it up to a learning experience, displayed the cookies on decorative plates and before we knew it every last one was gone. Lesson learned: don't worry when things look homemade. Flavor always wins and your guests will be impressed that you went the extra mile to make a confection from scratch.
Chocolate Dipped Macaroons
This recipe hails from the The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook (Clarkson/Potter Publishers, 2000). The cookie is noted for being an all-time reader favorite. I can assure you, these cookies live up to the hype. If you like Almond Joy candy bars, this is the cookie for you. Based upon our experience, we doubled the amount of melted chocolate originally called for in the recipe.
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
5-1/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
7 large egg whites
pinch sea salt
2 Tbsps unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp pure almond extract
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 tsp vegetable shortening
1. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, coconut, egg whites and salt. Add the butter and extracts, and combine well - preferably using your hands, the best mixing tools of all. Cover and refrigerate for an hour, or longer.
2. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F, with the rack adjusted to the center. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. The cookies will be easier to form, if you wet your palms with cold water. Roll 1 tablespoon of the coconut mixture in your palms, squeezing to form a compact ball. Place the balls on the prepared cookie sheets, spacing about 1 to 1-1/2 inches apart. Working quickly, use two small spatulas to flatten one side at a time to form a pyramid shape.
3. Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack until cooled to room temperature. Trim the edges as necessary to preserve the triangular appearance of the macaroons.
4. In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening; stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula until smooth. Dip the top 1/2 inch of each pyramid in the melted chocolate. Transfer each dipped macaroon to a plate and allow chocolate to harden. Store in an airtight container up to 3 days.
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