Happy New Year! May your 2007 be filled with delicious eating.
My mother gave us Borders gift certificates for Christmas, and it seemed the perfect opportunity to pick up a few new cookbooks that I've been wanting. The New Best Recipe (2nd edition) is a giant tome of a book with lots of testing notes explaining the hows and whys of each recipe. I wanted to try some new recipes for New Year's party treats. I'm dying to try their recipe for chicken stock because it sounds really really good, but since chicken stock doesn't make a good party treat I'm saving that for another day and instead gave their coconut macaroons a go.
I first made coconut macaroons a few years back. I was amazed at how easy they actually were. Messy yes, but difficult no. Other coconut macaroon recipes I've tried usually use sweetened condensed milk. Not these. This recipe uses cream of coconut instead. You know, that sweet coconut syrup used for piña coladas. They don't taste like piña coladas (though piña colada macaroons, what an idea!). They are just some of the coconut-y-est macaroons I've ever tried. They were so tasty that I even decided to not dip them in chocolate and simply enjoy the coconut.
Recipe adapted slightly from The New Best Recipe
1 C cream of coconut. NOTE: This is not coconut cream, like you'd use in a Thai curry. This is "cream of coconut," that sweet stuff used in pina coladas. The best known brand is Coco Lopez.
2 Tbs light corn syrup
4 large egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
3 C unsweetened shredded coconut (available in Asian grocery stores)
3 C sweetened flaked or shredded coconut
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray or lightly grease with vegetable oil.
The cream of coconut will separate over time. I found shaking wasn't enough. I had to empty the can and whisk it all back together. One 15 oz can gives just over 1 liquid cup.
In a large bowl whisk together cream of coconut, corn syrup, egg whites, vanilla, and salt.
In another large bowl, mix the two types of shredded coconut, breaking up lumps by hand.
Pour liquid over coconut and mix with rubber spatula until evenly coated.
Drop heaping tablespoons of batter on baking sheets. (I used a 1/8 cup measure to make slightly larger ones. Use 1/4 cup measure to make truly immense macaroons.) Form cookies into haystacks using your fingers. Moisten your hands with water as necessary to prevent sticking.
Bake about 15 minutes, rotating sheets top to bottom and front to back about half-way through. (My bottom rack is very hot, so I used the middle and top racks.)
Cool cookies until slightly set (5 minutes or so) and remove carefully to a wire rack.
Kitchen Chick notes: I tried baking these on my silpat sheets and some on parchment. This is one of those uncommon cases where parchment is better than a silpat. The macaroons baked on the silpat did not brown as well on their bottoms, which made them weaker and thus harder to remove in one piece.