When I was little, I used to imagine that I’d grow up to be an extremely graceful young woman. I begged my parents to let me take a ballet class, and the only thing I remember from that is getting into a fight with a girl over ballet shoes (I don’t even remember if the shoes were mine). Later, I took gymnastics, and I’m certain I was the laziest gymnast in the history of the sport.
At this point in my life, it’s obvious that grace and poise will never be among my strong suits. I have poor balance, pathetic spatial perception, and I seem to be a magnet for awkward or embarrassing situations. Case in point:
Last week, I realized I was out of almost every necessary toiletry, so I ran out to pick some up. I had gathered up the majority of the things I needed and handed them off to a nice employee who offered to hold them at the counter. The last item on my list was lotion. As I stood in front of a giant display, the Shimmery Coconut lotion caught my eye. Not because I thought I might want to buy it, but because I wondered, “How shimmery is ‘shimmery’?” It was in one of those pump-style bottles on the top shelf of the display (about 4 inches above my head). I pressed on the pump of the tester bottle a couple times, but nothing came out. So I pressed harder. In what seemed like slow motion, I watched a stream of lotion rocket out of the bottle, over my hand, and hit me square in the forehead. It was everywhere. In my bangs. On my nose. In my eye. And, as I suspected, “shimmery” was very shimmery. I cleaned myself up as best I could, casually paid for everything with an extremely sparkly face, and hurried home. And for days afterward, I was craving coconut. Finally, I figured out what I wanted: macaroons!
(Adapted from Bon Appétit)
- 3 cups of sweetened shredded coconut
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 3/4 cup of egg whites (about 5–6 large eggs)
- half of a vanilla bean (or 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract)
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- 6 ounces of bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used a 50/50 combination)
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
Slice open the vanilla bean and scrape caviar out into a large, heavy sauce pan. Add the pod, coconut, sugar, and egg whites*, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is somewhat pasty. Remove from heat. Remove the pod and stir in almond extract. Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet and refrigerate until cold, around 30 minutes.
*A note about eggs: I used to avoid making things that called for more than 2 egg whites because it felt like such a waste to throw out the yolks. Then I found out that you can save them (as long as they aren’t broken) for up to 2 days. Just put them in an airtight container, cover them with water, and refrigerate. (I’ll be making chocolate pudding with my leftover yolks.)
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line another large baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape tablespoons of mixture into domes and place on sheet. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to a rack and let cool.
To make the ganache: Place chocolate in a medium-sized bowl. Heat heavy cream in a saucepan until hot and steaming, but not boiling. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Spoon ganache over cooled macaroons. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until glaze has set.