Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chocolate Cranberry Macaroons

Inspired by Au Bon Pain's ambrosial, fist-sized Chocolate-Dipped Cranberry Almond Macaroon, I experimented a little bit and created this easy and quick bite-size replica. I should say, these macaroons are quick in that they require very little hands-on time, but there is cooling time needed for the "cookies" and then for the chocolate. So allow for a couple of hours overall, or make them at a leisurely pace, baking the macaroons in the early evening, dipping them in melted chocolate later that night, so they'll be ready and waiting in the morning. Mmm!

2 egg whites
pinch of salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1/4 - 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 - 2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter a mini-muffin pan.

Beat the egg whites and salt with an electric mixer until they form soft peaks; that is, you can form a temporary crest in the whites before it falls back down a little. (It is very important that you do not overbeat the egg whites into stiff peaks, as if you were making a meringue, or your macaroons will turn out too crunchy—more like macaringues...) Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar over the whites and beat again for just a few seconds, until the peaks appear glossy.

In a separate bowl, toss together the remaining sugar, the almond extract, the coconut and the dried cranberries. With a rubber spatula, carefully fold these into the egg whites until evenly blended.

Drop the batter into the buttered mini-muffin pan, filling each cup just a little over the top. You probably will end up with a couple of empty spaces. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the coconut tips have begun to brown and the macaroons look like they're "breathing." Allow the macaroons to cool completely in the pan.

When the macaroons have cooled, use a spoon to scoop them out of the mini-muffin pan and onto a sheet of waxed paper or a baking sheet. They will still be gooey, so don't worry too much about their shape as you're scooping them—just keep them in somewhat of a ball form.

Put the chocolate chips and butter (start with the smaller amounts listed and melt more later if necessary) in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until all melty and smooth, heating for another 15 seconds at a time if necessary. Spoon a glob of melted chocolate onto each macaroon and allow to set at room temperature. The chocolate will stay soft but won't come off on your hands when you gently pick up one of the treats.

These macaroons will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days.

Shared at: Thursday's Treasures, Full Plate Thursday, Whip it Up Wednesday, Friday Favorites

1 comment:

  1. Your Macaroons look fabulous, we will just love them. Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen
    A New Follower