Monday, January 25, 2016

Vanilla Coconut Macaroons

Crispy, chewy, super coconut-y -- in my mind, that makes the perfect coconut macaroon.

In my younger days, I was all about chocolate, chocolate chocolate. Chocolate ice cream, double chocolate chip cookies, chocolate lava cake, yes please! And, to be clear, I do still LOVE chocolate.

But nowadays, sometimes I just want something a little lighter for dessert. Something that is just subtly sweet but loaded with great flavor. A lemon sorbet, perhaps, or a raspberry crumble bar. Or maybe, just maybe, a delicious Vanilla Coconut Macaroon.

Actually, there is no maybe. I DEFINITELY want one of these cookies...and then another and another. They are the ultimate trifecta of macaroon bliss (see above) with the added gourmet sweetness of two types of vanilla. I started this recipe by taking the caviar out of a vanilla bean and rubbing it into granulated sugar. This scents the sugar and permeates the vanilla flavor throughout the entire batter. Next, egg whites are whipped with the vanilla sugar to stiff peaks. This makes our macaroons a little more meringue-like. This is an optional step, but I think it really pumps up both the crispy outside and chewy gooey inside.

The recipe below can be easily adapted to suit you and your macaroon dreams! For a crunchier cookie, try toasting your coconut before mixing it into the egg whites. If you don't prefer that meringue-like exterior, just use a whisk to beat the egg whites until they are frothy and follow the rest of the recipe as written. I am also quite sure these are gluten free as long as you choose your ingredients accordingly - just check the labels!

Here's what you need for Vanilla Coconut Macaroons* (Print Recipe!)

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
4 egg whites, from large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4  teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

Here's what you do

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with silpat mat or parchment paper.

Place sugar in a small bowl. Split the vanilla bean with a very sharp knife, then use the back of the knife to scrape out the seeds. Place the seeds in the sugar bowl and use clean, dry finger tips to rub the vanilla into the sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the egg whites into soft peaks. Gradually add in the vanilla sugar until hard peaks form, about 4 minutes. Gently whisk in the extract and salt. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the coconut until thoroughly combined.

Use a medium cookie scoop to drop 1 1/2 inch mounds onto the baking sheets. These cookies won't spread much, so you need to only leave about an inch between each cookies. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until just golden. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies keep well-wrapped on the counter for about 5 days.

*Gas Stove Girl Original Recipe with guidance from The Kitchn

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