Before I even start on this post, let me just get something straight here. To my knowledge,
= MACAROONS. End of story.
It just bothers me when people mix up the two, you know? I can be OCD about some things, like that one letter “o” that totally changes the whole game of this dessert. If you’re talking about French macarons, those are sort of sandwich cookies that look like whoopie pies and are typically made with a lot of food coloring. I’ve heard raving reviews of good macarons, but have yet to try them myself, so I have no opinion on them. What I do know for sure, macarOOns, with the significant double “o”, are better.
Okay, so you might disagree, and we all have a right to our (sometimes false) opinions, but look at it from a Jew’s perspective: we have to restrict our diets mostly to carboard-y, boring foods during the seven days of Passover, which is coming up next week. Macarons, whether or not they are good, are not kosher for Passover. Macaroons are not only kosher for Passover, they are one of the most delicious baked goods permissible during that week: a scrumptious, chewy mound of coconut baked with sweetness and often dipped in chocolate. Sometimes they have chocolate chips, too. What more could anyone ask for?
I wanted to practice making macaroons early so I’d be an expert by Passover, when we’d all need them most. As it turned out, the very day I planned to make some macaroons, my mom picked up a container of them at Ralph’s. Well, that’s fine. I thought to myself. I’ll surprise her with some homemade macaroons that are even better than store-bought! So I kept my plot a secret.
Now, I’m not sure my macaroons can replace the store-bought kind, for a number of petty reasons:
1) Macaroons are “supposed” to be mound-shaped. Mine are more like little plateaus than mountains of coconut.
2) Mine are not kosher for Passover. I used regular flour, but it turns out according to my mom that during Passover you’re supposed to replace flour with matzah meal! I learn something new about this holiday every year.
Still, they are awfully good. I added some caramel into the batter, and also made a melted chocolate/caramel drizzle for them. You can’t really taste the caramel, but I think the condensed milk has a texture so similar to thick caramel topping that some of the condensed milk could be swapped out for caramel to make the flavor more noticeable. I also sprinkled a bit of salt on top and stirred in some walnuts, to go with the caramel that you can’t even taste!!! So frustrating. Despite the absence of caramel flavor, they are really good for a first try, if I do say so myself. Especially warm, the sweet flavor really harmonizes well with the chocolate and the salt on top. And they are chewy, which is the most important feature of any coconut macaroon. My mom and brother both liked them, and I gave them to some friends at school who enjoyed them despite the unprofessionalism of the flat shape.
Here is my recipe.
Caramel Walnut Macaroons with Chocolate Caramel Drizzle
Makes 24 macaroons
- 1 1/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut (I know you’re supposed to use unsweetened but I couldn’t find that anywhere!)
- 6 tbls all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tbl walnuts (Could’ve used more)
- 2 tbls organic caramel topping (because organic junk food is always good for you, right?! 🙂 )
- 30 semisweet chocolate chips (about 2-3 tbls)
- 1 tbl of caramel topping
To make macaroons: Preheat oven to 300 Fahrenheit. Grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray. (My macaroons ended up sort of hard to extract from the cookie sheet, so I suggest not skimping on this step!)
In a large bowl, toss the coconut and flour. Stir in condensed milk and caramel. Mixture will be sticky.
Drop in mounds of abut one teaspoon each onto cookie sheet, with room to allow for some spreading/flattening.
Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until edges are brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
To make chocolate/
Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until chocolate is melted. In a separate, microwave safe bowl, microwave the caramel for 15-20 seconds or until thin and liquid-y. (I was dumb enough to microwave a tablespoon of caramel while it was in the tablespoon measurer, and of course got hot, sticky sauce all over the microwave.)
Mix the caramel and melted chocolate until blended. Spoon the mixture into a ziplock and cut off just the very tip of the ziplock. Use this to drizzle the chocolatey topping over the cookies.
At first they looked kinda eh…
So much more inviting when they’re all fancy with chocolatey drizzle!
Chewy texture… mmm…