Chocolate Thumbprint Macaroons

Chocolate Thumbprint Macaroons. Guilt-free, gluten-free, dairy-free.

There’s actually a shop or two that just sells well-dressed macaroons. Who knew? But they are so easy to make at home, why bother to spend a fortune when you can spend pennies for a whole lot more? Interested?

These are the simplest of macaroons – a few egg whites, some flavoring, lots of unsweetened coconut, a bit of sugar and then a surprise – thumbprints with a chocolate center. Think almost-good-for-you treats loaded with dark chocolate and coconut. Almost guiltless.

And that they take minutes to make is a bonus. By the time you went to the special-special macaroon shop, picked out your order, took out a 2nd mortgage to pay for a couple dozen and drove home, you could have made these with stuff you already have in the kitchen. Got eggs? Coconut? A little sugar? Chocolate? Then you’re good to go.

Here are a few macaroon making hints that work every time. First, do not be tempted to use more ingredients than what is called for – too much egg white, they won’t dry out sufficiently. Too much coconut and they will crumble apart. Too much sugar and your teeth will crack and fall out. It’s a balance where less is perfect.

Second, be sure to let them rest at room temperature before baking. The egg whites start to dry out and form a nice barrier that holds everything together. There is a perfectly sound scientific explanation which eludes me every time, but it works.

And two small, but important things to remember. Bake them until they are nutty brown and you think they are moving toward burned. If you are feeling slightly anxious about how brown they are, then they are probably perfect. If you aren’t concerned, probably bake them longer. And then – most important – do not touch them until they are cooled. Leave them on the parchment right on the baking sheet until they are cold to the touch. They will peel or lift right off but if you try to move them while they are hot or even warm – bam – cookie parts all over. They will fall apart. They crisp up as they cool and then some little humid maven comes along and softens up the centers to make them crunchy-chewy. It’s all good.

So there you go. Macaroons without breaking a sweat or draining the bank account.

And guess what? We have a big new book (September 3, 2013) with tons of new recipes and few updated versions of recipes you might have seen here and there. It’s available for preorder and that means you will get it as soon as it is hot off the press. It’s all about baking, and we’ve included a savory chapter (did you faint?).  Nosh on This published by The Experiment. You can buy it everywhere it seems, but you can preorder it here.

Chocolate Thumbprint Macaroons. Guilt-free, gluten-free, dairy-free.

Chocolate Thumbprint Macaroons
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Sometimes the simplest cookie is the tastiest. Chocolate thumbprint macaroons take minutes to prepare with few ingredients. Be sure to save some because once you offer these they will disappear in no time at all. Makes about 44-48 macaroons.
Ingredients
  • 4 extra-large egg whites
  • 100 grams superfine sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 260 grams finely shredded unsweetened coconut (3 ½ cups)
  • 80 grams chocolate pistoles/disks or chips (1/2 cup)
Instructions
  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together egg whites, sugar and vanilla extract until slightly frothy. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the coconut until fully combined. Scoop by tablespoons and form into balls with wet hands. Place 22-24 macaroons on each baking sheet rather close together – they don’t spread. Using wet fingers, flatten each ball into a round disk. Using a wet thumb, press a dent in the center of each macaroon (thumbprint cookie style). Place a chocolate disk or a few chocolate chips into the thumbprint in the center of each macaroon.
  3. Let the macaroons rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325°F while the macaroons rest. Bake both baking sheets at once for 15 minutes. Rotate pans for even baking. Bake 6-8 minutes more or until they are toasty brown and the coconut looks crispy. Cool on the parchment until room temperature. Peel from parchment and transfer cookies to a rack. They will crisp up as they cool and some will also become more chewy in the center. Makes about 44-48.

Chocolate Thumbprint Macaroons. A guilt free treat. Guilt-free, gluten-free, dairy-free.