Homemade Macaroons

On a trip last year to Paris, lucky for me, our hotel was located right around the block from Ladurée, perhaps the most famous Paris pastry shop and the birthplace of macarons. Apparently they sell more than 15,000 macarons every day! It’s hard not to get excited looking at the vast colors and range of macarons available in a multitude of flavors.  While I knew I wouldn’t be able to recreate the French masterpieces, as a macaroon-lover, I was eager to at least try the basic recipe in my own kitchen.

Like most recipes, just the idea of baking macaroons seemed intimidating. But, after a thorough review, I realized they’re probably easier to bake than Mom’s Earthquake Cookies or her Black  Bottoms Cupcakes (both of which I can now make with my eyes closed).

It’s hard to argue with a recipe containing only a couple ingredients:  coconut chips, egg whites, vanilla and sugar. I found one of Mom’s half-completed recipes in her “Jewish” section with which I integrated a macaroon recipe from Food 52. Both recipes lack flour (and therefore a signature dessert during Passover) so the egg whites and the sugar aare the mortar for the coconut.  While Mom’s recipe features sweetened angel flake coconut, I opted to try out coconut chips – unsweetened dessicated shavings that aren’t riddled with corn syrup.  (You can find them in any health food store).

Coconut Chips with egg whites

Coconut chips cooking on stove top

If you’re a coconut lover, this cookie was made for you.  As you’re stirring all the ingredients together over simmering water on the stove, your kitchen will reek of coconut.  Once the ingredients are  properly mixed, you’ll need to let them settle for about 30 minutes before placing spoonfuls on a sheet and into the oven.

Macaroons ready to bake

The sweet coconut smells wafting from the oven door lured me to observe the cookies.  When the coconut flakes turned brown on the edges and curled up, I felt like I was watching my kid’s shrinky dink project.

While my final macaroons didn’t resemble any of Ladure’s fine works of macaroon art, I proudly displayed my crude version on the table. Like a seasoned pastry chef, I then decorated them with tiny pieces of dark chocolate.

Macaroons cooling

The chocolate quickly melted in the center of the cookies and I knew, right then and there, I could NEVER purchase store-bought macaroons again.

Unless, of course, they’re from Laduree…



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