It’s definitely the time of year to start baking Macaroon’s! I don’t have a sweet tooth but I do have a weakness for them, dense, moist, coconutty and not to mention chocolatey! I often see them in Christmas market’s around the country.
I’m not sure when I had my first Macaroon, I vaguely remember some friends of Mum’s who were Middle Eastern, making these whenever we’d go to their house for a meal, but they were incredibly light- GORGEOUS! I’ve had a love ever since and I’ve been making them for years! My Stepdad is a New Yorker and through my teen’s, I’d often bake him a tray of them!
Macaroon’s in Ireland are a complete horse of a different colour! If you were to ask someone what a Macaroon was, teenagers would bring up the French Macaron but most people would smile and mention the nostalgic Macaroon chocolate bar, really popular in the 80’s, they made a comeback recently with slightly better chocolate than when I was a kid. In the 80’s the Macaroon was greasy and made with cheap chocolate that had a slight bloom on it….. horrid to look at in it’s wax paper wrapper (this is only the late 80’s here, not the 50’s) but they were amazing, along with their partners in the trilogy, the Klipso (hard toffee covered in chocolate which were the cause of many kids cavities and fillings) and the Mint Crisp…
The next step in coconut heaven was the Snowball, not like the American one at all, with the gelatine sort of coating and the cake inside, oh no, the Caffrey’s Snowball came in a clear wrapper and was almost always bashed by the time you’d get it home, you’d have to squeeze it out of the wrapper and get a lap full of coconut pieces.. they were a little dome of gooey sticky marshmallow, covered in a really thin layer of chocolate, then sprinkled with dessicated coconut, bliss!!! You can still buy them thankfully! HOW could I forget…. Jacob’s cookies?!?!? You cannot call yourself Irish unless you’ve run your fingers down a Mikado, extracting the jam from between the marshmallow, tearing off the coconut marshmallow and then licking that cookie clean. The Mikado is a staple in the Irish diet and is as important to us as the Oreo is to the American’s, why can’t American’s associate us with wonders like these instead of the “potato”, haha!?
Let me share for those who have never heard of these:
|Jacobs Coconut Creme|
Yesterday, I just had an unmerciful craving for the old fashioned one, so I had to make them, using my blog as an excuse! Of course, it’s all for the blog! 😉
Most recipes, especially in Europe, here, the Macaroons are made with sugar, ground almond and egg whites but the one I use is the Condensed Milk variety, skipping the ground almond.
What you’ll need
- Preheat the oven to 140°C
- In a very large bowl, mix coconut with condensed milk and vanilla, mix well.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks hold their shape and then gently fold in into the coconut mixture.
- Using an ice cream scoop, scoop them onto a baking sheet, covered in parchment or a Silpat mat. You can roll them into a ball using your hands too, but don’t squeeze too hard.
- Bake for approx. 20 minutes until a light golden colour all over.
|Looking into my oven, these are what you should be looking for in colour.|
I love to top mine with toasted almonds, roast them on a baking tray before you make the macaroon’s and stick on with a little of the condensed milk left in the can, using the back of a spoon or your finger to apply, then bake the macaroons.
It’s a completely down to personal taste whether you want to use almond, you could add some almond extract if you wish, the same with chocolate, I used 85% Cocoa Lindt chocolate to dip the bases in and using a spoon, shake the spoon over the macaroons to get the drizzled look.
If you want to make coconut monsters for Halloween, just add a little green food colouring to the condensed milk before you add the coconut and beat it in with an electric handheld mixer, so you don’t get lumps. I personally would use a gel colour. You could use inverted chocolate chips as eyes to make a Ghostbusters ‘Slimer’, or of you’re into sugarcraft, make sugarpaste googly eyes with black and white pastes.
If you love jam, make a little well in the middle of your macaroon and put a dollop of jam in before you bake them.