A Deli and a Coconut Macaroon

A Deli and a Coconut Macaroon

Cleveland is a city of great ethnic diversity.  And one of the greatest treasures brought to our community from the Eastern Europeans is the classic delicatessen.  And, to find myself only a few blocks from one of the most popular delis in the city must mean I’m guided by a special star!

Of course the corned beef, pastrami, latkes and all the rest is just the best kind of heaven food.  But Corky & Lenny’s also has a sizeable bit of counter space dedicated to their fresh baked sweet treats.  Not the least are giant, fist-sized, golden coconut macaroons.  My mouth waters just thinking about them.  So, no matter how stuffed I am from one of their mountainous deli sandwiches, there’s always room for a macaroon.

Choco Dipped Macaroon Blog Photo

Now, what I’m about to share is MY favorite recipe for these tropical delights.  They are quick and easy to put together, and truly luscious all on their own, but I ALWAYS have to go one step further.  I dip them in dark chocolate!  (Yes, decadence is an appropriate adjective.)
Promise yourself to make some today…..

7 1/2 Cups shredded, sweetened Coconut
3 Tbls. sweetened Condensed Milk
2/3 Cup Egg Whites (4-5 large egg whites, free of yolk, at room temperature)
Generous 1/4 Tsp. Cream of Tartar
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 Tsp. Coconut or Almond Extract
Dipping Chocolate
8 oz. bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate
2 1/2 Tbls. white Vegetable Shortening

Preheat the oven to 325
Coat several baking sheets liberally with non-stick cooking spray.

Spread the coconut on baking sheets and toast in the oven, stirring frequently for 7 to 9 minutes, or until just beginning to color at the edges.

In a large bowl, stir together the coconut and condensed milk until well blended.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer and whisk beater on low speed, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat just until opaque and soft peaks form.
Add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating after each addition.
Add the vanilla and coconut or almond extract.  Increase the speed to high.  Beat until the mixture forms very stiff, glossy peaks, about 2 more minutes.
Gently fold the coconut mixture into the egg whites.

Drop the mixture onto clean, oiled baking sheets using a 1/4 cup measure, spacing about 2″ apart.
Bake macaroons, one sheet at a time, in the middle of the oven for 13 to 18 minutes or until lightly tinged with brown on top and barely firm when lightly pressed.
Cool on a wire rack for several minutes allowing the macaroons to firm up before removing from the baking sheet.

For the Dipping Chocolate:

Create a double boiler by placing a heat resistant (metal) bowl over a pot of simmering water.  The chocolate should be pre-cut into small pieces enabling it to melt evenly.
Place the chocolate pieces and shortening into the bowl and watch closely.  Chocolate melts quickly.  Stir occasionally to make sure the melt is even throughout.

Simply dip the macaroons into the warm chocolate mixture.  Just a crown of chocolate will do.  Place on a wire rack with parchment paper underneath to catch any drips.  The chocolate will harden within about 20 minutes.

Store in a single layer, or with a sheet of waxed paper in between the layers in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.  You can freeze these cookies for up to 1 month.