Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
This column is a little bit late for Passover, but if you like macaroons, they’re fine year round. In the past few days I have dealt with Passover Madness, food poisoning and Niall Horan from One Direction getting his braces off. It was extremely trying, but I am a stronger person for getting through it.
Once again, I was solo in the kitchen, so took the opportunity to pose for twenty “selfies”. You can’t see it in the picture, but I am wearing an apron that says “Hail to the Chef”, courtesy of my mother.
Now for blackberry macaroons! The original recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, a weblog I use pretty frequently. I changed a few parts of the recipe and switched the berry type. Macaroons vary, so it’s easy to adjust for taste. These are also really easy to make—and gluten free.
- 14 ounces sweetened, flaked coconut
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 large egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 pint fresh berries (or just do it by sight)
1. First, pick something to watch while you preheat the oven to 325°F. I just started watching the show Lost Girl, which I would describe as “poorly acted” but “appealingly homoerotic.” Life is a balancing game, so here we are. The show might also be Canadian.
You should note that the original recipe recommends you begin by putting the coconut in a food processor. I have made these macaroons using coconut that has already been in the food processor and is, hence, already shredded. I wouldn’t say either is better, so just go with the coconut texture that best reflects what’s right for you.
2. Add in the sugar, and either mix or blend—depending on how you’re making these. Once mixed, add the salt, vanilla, and egg whites. In order to separate egg whites, first crack the egg. Try to get it into two equal parts. Over a bowl, transfer the yolk from shell to shell. The egg white should separate into the bowl after a few transfers. Or, watch a Youtube tutorial if this is difficult to visualize.
3. Blend again. Just keep blending or mixing for as long as you want.
Berries! When I made these without the blender, I worked to crush them into the rest of the dough. There ended up being many more berry chunks in that batch, whereas the blender kept the berry distribution much more even.
Something I learned about macaroons during this process is that it is almost impossible to mess up. Do whatever you want, honestly. You can use any berry you want—or chocolate—or nothing at all. I’d say use your best judgment, but really, you can bring mediocre judgment to the table on this one and have it be all right.
4. Scoop the dough onto the baking sheets. You really need to use parchment paper for these, since the dough will naturally stick to the tray. You can make these as large or small as you want, as long as you keep an eye on them in the oven. You can also place the balls of dough pretty close together, making allowances for baking time.
The last time I did this I did not have parchment paper, and the macaroons all more or less melted into one sheet. They still tasted good, but were obviously a crushing disappointment.
5. Bake for about 30 minutes. The original recipe said 25 to 30, but mine took about 30 to 35. Just keep an eye on them.
6. Clean up the coconut shreds that you got everywhere and all of those berries you accidentally smashed on the floor. Other people were in the kitchen while I was cleaning up and wanted to listen to different music than I did. I reacted by cleaning very intensely and sulking, which is to say, appropriately.
7. They are ready to be removed when the coconut begins to look toasted around the top and sides of the macaroons.It is a little bit more difficult to tell if the berries are well-mixed, but you can also use a spatula or fork to check the bottoms.
8. Once you take the macaroons out, let them cool before taking them off of the tray.
9. Mazel Tov! Accept all compliments on the cookies with grace and humility and nobody will know about your silent rage.