28 June 2008

No DB for Me But I Did Make...

This month has just been really crazy so I wasn't able to do the DB challenge, but you should check out the blogroll to see everyone elses results. Though I didn't have time for the Danish Braid I did end up baking... My friend A--- and her husband J--- are moving this weekend and since I can't help with the boxes (thanks to my most annoying knee injury) I wanted to do something and since this is me, the best I could come up with is food. A--- can't eat gluten so I wanted to make a treat that she could eat, but I wasn't ready to delve into the world of gluten-free baking quite yet since I think it takes some getting used to and I figure my first attempt probably won't go that well.

Anyway, I wanted a dessert that was naturally gluten-free. I guess I could have made a pudding or a mousse or gotten ice-cream, but I wanted to bake so I decided to make macaroons.

Now macaroons as I know them are not those fancy French cookies that come in multiple colors and flavors. No, macaroons for me are chewy coconut cookies that we always had at Passover. We would get two cans of Maneschewitz brand macaroons which were strictly rationed out to my sister and me over the course of the holiday. They always had a certain mystique to me. I had never had a homemade one and somehow in my mind this meant that they were impossible to make at home. I could not have been more wrong.

I started to look online for a recipe and realized that these may really be the simplest cookie you will ever make. They have only four ingredients and all four are easily found in the grocery store (well I actually couldn't find plain shredded coconut so I adapted this recipe for sweetened shredded coconut which I think should be available everywhere in the US). The steps: beat, fold, drop and bake, involve little preparation and can be done in about 10 minutes. The cookies are even better then I remembered; just slightly golden brown and crisp on the outside and sweet and chewy on the inside. I even dipped a few in chocolate just because. Next time you are looking for a quick, homemade treat skip the tollhouse and try these instead.

Makes about 45 cookies, recipe easily halved or doubled

4 egg large egg whites
1/3 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
4 c. sweetened shredded coconut
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional

- Preheat oven to 350. Make sure there is some room between your oven racks.

- Beat egg whites with an electric beater until foamy. Add sugar and vanilla, continue beating until very still peaks form.

- Gently fold in coconut. The eggs will deflate quite a bit, but be as gentle as you can.

- Drop the batter by rounded teaspoonful onto a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake for 19-22 minutes or until just beginning to brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely on parchment.

- Optional choocolate step: Melt chocolate in a double boiler. When chocolate is melted, dip in the cookies. 3 oz. chocolate is enough to dip about half the cookies lightly.


glamah16 said...

Cooking for frioends is way more special. And a gluten free treat is a challenge.

kat said...

Funny I've never been a fan but yours look so good maybe I should try them again

Jen said...

Thanks for the comments--

Kat- I think you should definitely give macaroons a try again. You could even scale down the recipe to make just 12 cookies (just use 1 egg white and 1 cup of coconut)...