*Before Corporatisation. Back in the good old days, before McDonald’s in Paris sold them for .90€ cents, before temples of taste such as Laduree had made it to our shores and they were just a glimmer in MasterChef’s eye, Macarons were known as Macaroons. (click on the Laduree link to see what Paris is really all about – ooh la la!)
Macaroons are just your good old fashioned biscuit made from sugar, egg white and either almond meal, desiccated coconut of both. They are the type of treat you can whip up from items in your pantry. None of those pastel food colourings, flower essences or faddish flavours that abound in commercial Macarons. You’re likely to find them at fundraising cake stalls, on home economics lists and in my Christmas cooking repertoire. I visited St Emilion in southern France, famous for their Macarons and Canelles. Just to confuse things, their version of Macarons are simple, chewy almond meal cookies that bear more of a resemblance to CWA macaroons than fancy, schmancy pastel French Macarons.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a Violet & Burnt Butter Caramel Macaron but I’m never going to be able to achieve the same glossy, crispy result in my own oven. I leave that to the professionals. I stick to a tried and true recipe that turns out rustic but reliable Coconut Macaroons by the dozen. These are perfect for Christmas gift giving.
- 3 egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
- 2 tbsp cornflour, sifted
- 3 cups desiccated coconut
- 125g chocolate, melted
- Place egg whites into a small, dry mixing bowl and beat with electric beaters until firm peaks form.
- Gradually add sugar to beaten egg whites, beating constantly until mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved completely.
- Transfer mixture to a larger bowl and add coconut and cornflour. Use a metal spoon to mix until just combined.
- Drop heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto lined baking trays
- Place in pre-heated 160c (slow) oven and bake on top shelf for 15 – 20 mins or until golden. If you are baking two trays, swap trays around half way through cooking time.
- Remove from oven, allow to cool fully and then half dip macaroons into melted chocolate. Allow to set on lined baking trays.
- When completely cool, store in an airtight container.
– makes approximately 60 coconut macaroons
– watch the last few minutes in the oven as these will brown quickly towards the end
– try to bake these on a dry (not humid) day so that the macaroons remain crisp on the outside as they cool
– placed in a groovy bowl, these are the perfect gift for the neighbours