I have been on the hunt for a great Passover macaroon recipe. I let a room full of friends be my taste-testers, and this chocolate macaroon came up the winner. The cookie is moist, chewy, and a wonderful showcase for chocolate. This chocolate macaroon is a holiday treat that I look forward to sharing with my family. Since many friends requested the recipe, I promised I would post it here.
Here's how my macaroon recipe hunt started. Although I bake, I had never made macaroons before. When I researched recipes, I discovered that there are so many variations. Some recipes call for eggs whites or matzo cake flour or sweetened condensed milk, and some do not. Some are made with sweetened coconut, whereas others use unsweetened. The proportions in different recipes vary wildly. The multitude of choices was overwhelming.
As I was reading recipes, this chocolate macaroon by cookbook author Marlene Sorosky was a stand out. I especially like the addition of coffee which accentuates the chocolate flavor. The small amount of coffee does not impart a detectable coffee taste to the cookie, but it has a divine effect. The coffee adds a depth of flavor because it registers on the taste buds at a different time than the chocolate and sugar, thus lengthening the amount of time the cookie is enjoyed-- much like a fine wine. Also, the coffee is a counterbalance to the sweet ingredients, so the cookie is rich but not overly sweet.
After I picked the recipe, I went off to the market to get sweetened coconut so that I could get started. Once in the baking aisle, I went to grab the coconut, only to discover that it too comes in many different versions-- shredded, flaked, shaved, and grated, to be exact. I stood there not knowing which one to pick. It felt like the Home Depot phenomenon where unexpectedly I have more choices that I ever imagined, and I don't quite understand the nuances. After much deliberation, I hedged my bet and ended up buying both shredded and flaked sweetened coconut. In the end, both types of coconut came out well, but my first choice is shredded.
I adapted Marlene Sorosky's recipe from her cookbook Fast & Festive Meals for the Jewish Holidays. I took out the nuts, and then changed the ratio of coconut to condensed milk to compensate for removing the nuts and to match the size of cans and packages that are commonly sold in the market today. I also added vanilla to enhance the flavor. Do not fear that this batter has slightly more liquid than the average macaroon and that the cookies come out a little flatter. I tested and re-tested the recipe, and it comes out amazingly delicious. If you are worried about the batter spreading while baking, refrigerate the batter between making batches, and do not place the batter on warm cookie sheets.
Best of all, these cookies are quick and easy to make. The recipe uses a small number of ingredients and whips up in one bowl without a mixer. This is definitely a recipe where little kids can help because there is nothing fussy about the recipe. These cookies are not your typical, dry, second-rate Passover dessert. They are rich and satisfying, and I can't wait to serve these cookies for the holidays.
Recipe for Chocolate Macaroons
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
Adapted from Marlene Sorosky's Fast and Festive Meals for the Jewish Holidays
Cooking spray- optional
2 ounces semisweet chocolate (2 squares)
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
½ teaspoon real vanilla
1 tablespoon strong coffee or ¼ teaspoon instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
2 pinches of sea salt
1 bag (7 ounces) shredded sweetened coconut (about a heaping 2-½ cups)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If you have a convection bake setting, use it and set the temperature to between 350 and 325 degrees F. Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Put parchment paper on each cookie sheet. Optional- spray parchment with cooking spray for easier cookie removal.
2. Place the chocolate in a medium size microwaveable bowl. Microwave the chocolate on 50% power for about 3 minutes or until chocolate is just melted. Do not over-cook. Stir chocolate so that it has a uniform smooth consistency.
3. Add milk, vanilla, coffee, and salt; stir to combine well. Then add the coconut and combine evenly.
4. Using 2 teaspoons, drop the batter on to the prepared cookie sheets making small rounds about a teaspoon in size each. Leave room for the cookies to spread a little.
5. Bake the cookies for 10-13 minutes, or until the bottoms are set and you see a little of the coconut start to get slightly brown. The cookies will be soft, but will firm up when cooled. Carefully slide the parchment paper with the cookies still attached to a cooling rack. Wait until the cookies have completely cooled before removing from the paper; otherwise, the cookies will stick and tear. Gently grip a cookie and slowly peel back the paper to separately the cookies and paper. Run a metal spatula under cookies if necessary. Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days or freeze.