This holiday season was kind of a crapshoot for me when it came to DIY. It seems like every recipe or handicraft I tried went wildly wrong on my first attempt, so I found myself having to go back and try things over and over to get them right. I'm not really the most patient person, so when my first batch of coconut macaroons came out of the oven with puddles of condensed milk leaking from the bottoms I was ready to chuck them out the window.
But then Scott came over and popped one into his mouth, declaring them fit for eating. Still slightly annoyed and utterly baffled by my macaroon mishap I went ahead with the rest of my recipe – drizzling dark chocolate over the sweet sticky nests of coconut. Then I sprinkled chopped almonds, sea salt, and cayenne powder over them and was pleased to see that despite their gooey beginnings the cookies had actually become quite pretty.
Of course I still have to solve the mysterious melting issue before sharing a macaroon recipe with you all. For now, I'm going to point you toward my friend Rachelle's recipe over at Blinded by the Bite instead. She swears by this recipe and I can tell just by looking at it that it is bound to work out better than the one I started out with.
So, if you'd like to make some of these killer confections, start off by whipping up a batch of Rachelle's macaroons (click here for the recipe).
Once you are finished, melt about half a bag (6 ounces) of dark chocolate in a double boiler. I like to heat the chocolate until about half of the chips are melted, then remove it from heat and stir until the remaining chocolate melts. It's kind of a cheater method for tempering, which is a bigger deal in fancier, more advanced chocolate making.
Chop about 1 cup of almonds, then toss them in a frying pan over medium heat until you can just begin to smell them. Don't stop moving them or they will burn – and burnt nuts are just about as bad as they sound. Yucko.
Next, lay down a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper to protect your countertop, (or put a baking sheet or silpat down – that works too), then set up some cooling racks over it. Place your macaroons on the cooling racks, then use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate all over the cookies. Don't be shy. The more chocolate the better.
Now place a small cluster of chopped almonds atop each macaroon. You can either be dainty or clumsy with this part. It doesn't much matter so long as the nuts stick to the chocolate. If you make too big a mess, just drizzle a little more chocolate across the cookies. Then noone will care.
Now it's time to sprinkle salt over them. Use the fanciest salt you have handy. Sea Salt is just fine, but something like Fleur de Sal or Himalayan Pink Salt would be even better. If you only have plain salt or kosher salt on hand, that's OK too – but would be my last choice.
Finally, dust the cookies with a very tiny amount of cayenne pepper. A little bit will taste amazing, but too much might upset eaters with too delicate a sensibility. (IE: Grandma)
That's it! I hope you'll have more luck with your version than I did with mine. Since the gooey, misshapen batch I made tasted pretty killer I imagine this would do even better on pretty macaroons!
Behold, the goop! By the way, if you are wondering what on earth would have caused my macaroons to melt into crud-puddles, I think I figured it out. The recipe I used to start off with didn't include sugar or butter – two ingredients which seem to be present in every macaroon recipe that comes well recommended. These kinds of mishaps didn't used to make it onto the blog but these days I don't have much time for do-overs. So there you have it. My family eats goopey macaroons and you lucky people get to read all about it.
By the way, Happy New Year! We rang in the season by trying to drown out the sound of neighborhood fireworks with white noise. I also made it through half a beer. Better than nothing, right? It was Shiner's new Birthday beer, their take on Chocolate Stout. It's pretty good but I wish it was a little less sweet and a little more heavy. In fact, I think I just wish it was a porter – or a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. That shiz is the shizzzzz. Anyway, cheers and best wishes in 2015!