Alice Mendrich’s Lime-in-the-Coconut Macaroons

2 05 2012

Coconut snubbers – get out now.

I thought I hated macaroons too, I truly did. Gooey little processed sugarpiles with sticky bits that inevitably get lodged in your palate, only to be unearthed by nothing short of archeological excavation hours later.

If you couldn’t tell already by the crispy punk rock style of Alice Medrich’s version, these puppies have zero in common with those bland saccharine nightmares.

Instead of the cloying shredded fluff called for in most recipes, here you use coconut flakes – unsweetened! – then heat them over a double boiler mixed with classic egg whites, a touch of sugar, and a few drops of vanilla. They take a siesta for half an hour, the better to absorb the slowly hydrating egg. A heap of lime zest rounds out the dough, which is piled into attractive little spike-bundles and dusted with cinnamon, then briefly singed at high heat followed by coalescing under lower intensity.

They’re light, miniature piña coladas. They’re lime-in-the-coconut buttercrisps. They’re gluten-free. They will disappear within 24 hours.

Alice Mendrich’s Lime-in-the-Coconut Macaroons
from food52’s take on Alice Mendrich’s recipe.

4 large egg whites
3 1/2 cups unsweetened dried flaked, not shredded, coconut (also apparently known as coconut chips?)
3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
zest from 1 lime
cinnamon for dusting

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large heatproof mixing bowl, preferably stainless steel because the mixture will heat faster than in glass. Set the bowl directly in a wide skillet of barely simmering water (if your bowl bobs in the water, simply pour some out). Stir the mixture with a silicone spatula, scraping the bottom to prevent burning, until the mixture is very hot to the touch and the egg whites have thickened slightly and turned from translucent to opaque, 5 to 7 minutes. Set the batter aside for 30 minutes to let the coconut absorb more of the goop.

2. Stir grated lime zest into batter.

3. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350F/170C. Using approximately 2 tablespoons of batter, make attractive heaps 2 inches apart on the lined cookie sheets. Dust dough with cinnamon. Bake for about 5 minutes, just until the coconut tips begin to color, rotating the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.

4. Lower the temperature to 325F/160C and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are a beautiful cream and gold with deeper brown edges, again rotating the pans from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time. If the coconut tips are browning too fast, lower the heat to 300F/150C. Set just the liners on racks to cool. Let cool completely before gently peeling the parchment away from each cookie.




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