Wednesday, December 9, 2009
You might have noticed that I go through phases with my cooking and baking. I will cook the same type of foods for a few weeks or months and then move onto something new. Well, welcome to the treat phase. My brain has been thinking up all sorts of fattening, sugary ideas. Cupcakes, cookies, hot chocolates, puddings. It's all on it's way. I find it convenient that all of these ideas have bombarded me during Christmas. Maybe it has something to do with peppermint extract. I have a thing for peppermint extract right now. And white chocolate too.
Oh how pungent the vanilla bean was in these little cookies. It made these macaroons rich. Such a great depth of flavor. Some of the macaroons stayed naked and some were given pants, red pants to be precise. My grocery store had cherry baking chips. So I melted some up and dipped half of the macaroons in it. Very festive.
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and all the black goop scraped out with the back of a paring knife
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups sweetened shredded coconut (14 oz)
3 egg white, at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
Set oven to 325 degrees. Spray two cookie sheets with non-stick spray or line with Silpats and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, vanilla bean goo and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine, until vanilla specks are evenly mixed. Fold in shredded coconut and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine eggs white, salt and cream of tartar. With a hand mixer on medium speed, whip egg white until soft peaks form. Fold egg white into coconut mixture.
With a cookie scoop or two tablespoons, scoop mounds of coconut mixture onto a cookie sheet, spacing them one inch apart. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges and tops are lightly browned. Let cool completely on cookie sheets before removing. Store in an airtight container.
Yields 24 macaroons.
Rookie's Notes: Why vanilla bean and vanilla extract? Because I am a miser with my vanilla beans. I love the flavor and one bean was enough to get the deep vanilla flavor. Two would have been great, but I didn't want to part with another one, so vanilla extract was use.
For EXCELLENT prices on vanilla beans, Arizona Vanilla Company is where it's at. Thanks to my friend Mindy for the heads up.