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Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Goodness knows I've baked my share of macaroons! And, after many years of baking for my customers, I discovered that one either LOVES coconut or they heartily dislikes it! I have a special place in my heart for it since my grandmother was so fond of it. For such a simple cookie, it isn't one we see at bakeries very often. These make wonderful cookies for afternoon tea. Or, box them up for a delicious holiday gift for a friend. (Just make sure they like coconut first!)

INGREDIENTS:

1 14-oz bag sweetened flaked coconut*
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, best quality (use a chocolate bar, not chips)

*I use only Baker's Angel Flake coconut for best results and consistency

METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Position the oven racks near the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat.*

In a medium mixing bowl, place the coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla and almond extracts. Stir mixture until well combined, and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks begin to form. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Using a 1 tablespoon-sized small cookie scoop (or two spoons) scoop the mixture into mounds and place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing mounds about 1 inch apart. (Alternately, the mixture can be piped using a pastry bag and large star tip for a dressier cookie.)

Bake the cookies for 23 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans after 15 minutes in the oven, until the tops and edges are lightly golden. Let cool on the pans for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve them plain, or with a light dusting of powdered sugar. If you enjoy chocolate, they can be dipped into white or semisweet chocolate or drizzle a chocolate 'squiggle' over the tops. 

For chocolate dipped macaroons:
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. Dip the bottoms of the macaroons in the chocolate and return to the lined baking sheets. Place the macaroons in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.

*If you own silicone mats, use them for this recipe. I find that if the cookie cools too much on the parchment, it sticks to the paper and is very tedious to remove.  

YIELD: Makes about 24 macaroons

SOURCE: Adapted from recipe from Once Upon A Chef