Thursday, November 12, 2009

Free! and delicious! Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

I've had a lot of requests for "free" baking lately: egg-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free. I am not yet confident in the "free" department to offer a satisfactory product. There are special flours and specific ingredients the everyday amateur baker doesn't have on hand. Looks like it's time to do some experimenting for good recipes that can cater to people's specific dietary needs.

"-Free" cooking is requested more and more. Last weekend I made sugar-free cupcakes for a friend's birthday, and I am afraid they were more like short-cake muffins than birthday cupcakes, texture-wise. I used Splenda and a four-star recipe (from Splenda's website) and while they may have tasted fine, I could tap the top of them and hear a hollow echo. Not really ideal for a cake. Then trying to make sugar-free frosting was a challenge, and I ended up mixing a sugar-free white-chocolate instant pudding mix with heavy cream and beating the bejezus out of it until it was stiff enough to pipe through a bag. I think the frosting tasted fine and it looked pretty. I shaved some dark chocolate over the top and the cupcakes were very pretty, but I am concerned that they were a disappointment. I haven't heard. No news is, so far, good news.

My friend Peggy follows a gluten-free diet for medical reasons, and shared with me her cookbook Easy Gluten-Free Baking by Elizabeth Barbone. Ms. Barbone is a frequent guest chef on our local tv station WNYT Channel 13. I'm taking the cookbook home for the weekend, but before I do I'm sharing with you her recipe for Chocolate Dipped Macaroons:

Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

1 13-ounce package sweetened coconut

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)

1 large egg white

1 cup chopped dark chocolate

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.In large mixing bowl, combine coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and egg white. Mix well with wooden spoon.

  • Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheet.

  • Bake 10-12 minutes or until deeply browned. (You want to really brown these lovely cookies. A nice brown crust will provide for a wonderfully chewy cookie, somewhat reminiscent of a campfire-browned marshmallow).

  • Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet. Don't move until they are completely cooled.

  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 20-second increments, stirring each time. Continue until all the chocolate is melted.

  • Dip macaroons in chocolate. Place dipped macaroons on a clean sheet of parchment paper and allow to set until firm.

2 dozen cookies

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